05 October 2008

Sauer and Steiner

What a day Pete and I had yesterday! Pete picked me up and we had a run down to Weymouth to see two of the 'Woodkateers' namely Martin and Waka, mainly in order to have a look at the new Sauer and Stiener planes that Waka collected at Westonbirt earlier on in the summer (so called) Pete had also made one of his very acceptable scratch stocks and was keen to deliver it but as it happens, Martin put cash on the table so there was another sale there as well...but that's a different story.
The planes are works of art when you have a really close look at them and are beautifully made and finished...and all entirely by hand as I think the only machine tool that Konrad uses is a pillar drill (if I'm not mistaken) The infill on this little lot is Brazillian Rosewood which is superb and has a wonderful grain figure. The mouth on each of the planes is only .002" so that a really fine shaving can be produced and what was particularly noticable is that the Norris type adjuster is very, very fine, far more so than on my own Norris A1 panel plane in the 'shop...impressive indeed.
We were planing some Indonesian Rosewood for the test and all the planes just sailed through it! Interestingly, I sharpened up Waka's LN LA jack to a 52deg effective pitch and compared one against the other and I was surprised that the LA jack (again with a very tight mouth) produced identical results to the S&S planes, so for an every day sort of bench plane, they don't represent very good value, but then I suppose, that's not the reason why anyone would buy them. What was also slightly dissapointing was to discover that the sole of one of the smoothers was convex directly in front of the mouth, by about 2 thou each side. As Pete pointed out, this may well have been caused by the shrinkage of the rosewood infill pulling the sole out of true. Not good.
Would I have one, or some? If money was'nt a consideration then probably the answer would be yes as they are truly wonderful things to use, but as there's loads of other stuff that I need in the 'shop, and have got far to many planes already I think I'll pass on ownership...

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