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Handplane Central has featured interviews with well known planemakers such as Bill Carter (which was our first ever interview way back in 1999), wooden plane maker Steve Knight, Philip Marcou and John Economaki from Bridge City Tool Works.


MuJingFang Palm Smoothing Plane


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At under $20 the MuJingFang palm smoothing plane is certainly an affordable hand tool for most woodworkers, but Michael Brereton asks "Is it any good?"

Made of rosewood and measuring in at 5-1/8" long by 1-9/16" wide this little plane is handy for smaller trimming jobs rather than any sort of major cabinetry. The 1-3/8" wide blade is made of HSS and is 1/8" thick and it needed a little work done to it before the plane was suitable enough testing but, once that was done, it seemed to hold an edge well. Bedded at an angle of 62° it resisted chatter on most of the difficult timber I tested it on, but not all. Still, the results were pretty impressive and more reminiscent of a popular, more expensive brand of Asian style hand planes.

The mouth of the smoother was fine and tight - aided by a strip of brass let in to the front edge. The sole did have a twist to it, however, which was quickly rectified by a little lapping (Ah, the beauty of wooden planes - fast lapping). Once this was achieved the plane performed very well on birds-eye and curly maple as well as mahogany and purpleheart. The only wood that it didn't seem to tame was some highly figured bubinga, where there was a bit of tearout present.

The plane was comfortable to use both with the crossbar or without it. With the crossbar you have the control of a bench plane and without it the plane is great for one-handed use, much like a block plane.

At around $18 this little plane is not without its faults - most of which can be eliminated by a bit of fettling. Sure, its not exactly an HNT Gordon, but its certainly excellent value for money.

MuJingFang Palm Smoothing Plane
$18

Review by Michael Brereton.

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