I got wind last week of a new German-made smoothing plane from Kunz and , surprise , today it landed on a table while I was signing books at our Woodworking in America conference.
It’s called the Kunz Plus, and it’s a 9-3/4″-long smoothing plane that is quite obviously a departure from the company’s planes of the past. I think the kindest thing I can say about the old green Kunz planes is that they, ahem, “required tuning.”
I say this as someone who spent hard-earned money on a couple Kunz bench planes, a spokeshave and a scraper plane.
This new Kunz plane is nothing like the Kunz planes I’m familiar with. The casting was quite fine. The machining looked excellent. The handles were nice. They look like cherry (the box says they are a “native hardwood”). The front knob is a low knob (an interesting choice) and has an attractive bead detail at its base. The rear tote is fairly slender , thinner than a Veritas or new Stanley tote but a little girth-ier than a Lie-Nielsen or vintage Stanley.
The guts of the tool were most interesting and unlike other designs I am familiar with. The adjuster is a Norris adjuster, which moved finely with little slop. The frog, however, is quite unusual. The movable frog sits on a fully machined bed, much like a Bed Rock-style plane.
The frog is secured to the bed of the tool with two Allen-head screws. However, they are not tightened to the point that they immobilize the frog. The frog is moved forward and back with a single Allen-head screw under the adjuster.
What is interesting about all this is that you don’t have to loosen or disassemble anything to move the frog. Like a Bed Rock mechanism, you can keep the frog, breaker and iron assembled and move the frog. But unlike the Bed Rock mechanism you have only one screw to turn instead of three.
How does it work? No clue whatsoever. I had only enough time to take the thing apart and inspect it closely. Then I had to run off to introduce a speaker at the next session. I do have a few more technical details: The body is stress-relieved gray iron. The iron is bedded at 45Ã?Â° and is high-carbon steel that is hardened to Rc60-62. The retail price should be about $250.
These will be available from di Legno Woodshop Supply at dilegnosupply.com. I’m sure I’ll purchase one soon and give it a test drive.
– Christopher Schwarz
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