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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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