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Smoothers and Weight

This issue of weight or mass in a smoother is interesting. Some argue for heavy, some argue for light. Some believe extra mass adds to performance. For others there is an issue about fatigue in use.

It is too easy to point out that there are successful smoothers over a wide mass range and, therefore, an argument for mass as an essential ingredient for performance is difficult to support. Whether it is subjective, some smoothers do feel better with a little more mass. And some work better for being light and nimble.

Then there is the issue of extra mass contributing to fatigue.

I have both the bronze LN #3 and an iron vintage Stanley #3. There is a difference in weight, but I hardly register this. If anything, I prefer the slightly extra mass of the LN. As I pointed out, that is a subjective thing. Both smoothers are set up to use the chipbreaker to control tearout, and both produce the same performance on interlocked wood.

I have other smoothers with even greater variation. An HNT Gordon woodie weighs next-to-nothing. A Marcou weighs 8lbs !!

You would not want to use a smoother all day long if it is a heavy plane. But who uses a smoother this way? Smoothers are for finishing. All this involves is just a few strokes. Fatigue (due to pushing a heavy plane) is really irrelevant.

Now if we were discussing roughing planes, such as a jack, then I would argue for a woodie and lower weight every time. :)

Regards from Perth


July 2017