The longer your jointer plane, the straighter the work that flows beneath it. Because of that maxim of handwork, some Old World planes for making furniture were lengthy – 36″ isn’t unusual.
Most modern jointers top out at 24″ long, so picking up the new 36″ jointer from Scott Meek Woodworks is a time-bending experience. On the one hand, it’s like using an old Dutch jointer because of its wooden body and extreme length. But it’s made like one of the planes James Krenov made famous – its body is laminated to create the bed and sidewalls of the tool. And the tool has flowing shapes like a futuristic sports car.
The plane works quite well once you become acquainted with its grip and the space it occupies. Your first instinct is to place the web between your thumb and index finger on the horn behind the blade. For me, that was a recipe for a sore hand. After pushing with my palm instead, the tool became easier to wield.
But it is huge. I have a small shop and an 8′ bench, so I had to make sure the area around the tool was clear before I started work. Once I made a path, the plane made remarkably straight edge joints and flat panels.
There is another downside to long and accurate tools: Because they make flatter surfaces, they require more passes than a shorter tool will to finish an edge or surface. Luckily, if a 36″-long tool is too long, Meek also makes a shorter version of this plane.
The iron is bedded at 50°, which is steeper than Stanley jointers, and uses a nice 2″-wide Hock blade made from high-carbon steel (.19″ thick).
The craftsmanship on the tool is top-shelf; it’s like a piece of sculpture with its flowing lines. I quite like the tool, though I’d probably buy a shorter one for my smaller shop.
Video: See two ways to grip this plane.
From the June 2013 issue #204
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