Contemporary design combining precision engineering with traditional hand craft.

Last chance to buy a Holtey plane.

  • A31 Infill Thumb Plane - Link to Gallery page.
Following my decision to retire from plane making, the new No. 984 will be my last plane.

In clearing my workshop I have found a few components and part made planes from previous projects. I have mostly just a single example of each plane and I will finish these and offer them as a last chance to buy, as the No. 984 project nears cpompletion.

Please visit my new 'stock' page to see what's currently available.

The No.984 Panel Plane.

The last plane. I try to make every plane better than the preceding one, in the wake of the No. 983 block plane this has been difficult but I feel I have achieved it. However, I have now reached the point where it is time for me to retire and so this limited edition No. 984 Panel plane will be my last.

It is all stainless steel 13 1/2” long with a 2” blade and is a 17 degree bevel up panel plane. Most of its features are similar to the No. 983 block plane, and as usual all my work has detail and precision which always exceeds its forebears. This plane incorporates the same design principals as the No. 98 which was the first in this series, and one of my most successful planes, similarities can be seen in many planes today. I wanted to revisit the No. 98 to make some final revisions and am taking the opportunity to do this in a panel plane.

I have revised the adjuster stem by keeping it all in one piece. Instead of traditional knurling techniques I have index milled (as in the No. 983) the edges of the thumb wheels, which seems more befitting of a high end product. Using a stepped lever cap (cut from solid stainless) means I can facilitate the use of a swivel clamping pad, and the lever cap has been contoured in a manner to keep the clamping arrangement perpendicular to the blade. I have included a line drawing to demonstrate that this is achievable without being ungainly while still maintaining traditional styling and performance [below]. This also includes a slight recess for the bridge, keeping the lever cap secure whilst making adjustments at any orientation.

No.984 Panel Plane - Drawing.

The adjuster is the well proven Norris type incorporating lateral adjustment and working in conjunction with two kicker pads in the mouth area. The mounting of this adjuster is unique as it is precisely recessed into the bottom of the plane and requires no fixing. Once the blade and lever cap are removed the adjuster can be lifted out, allowing easy access for cleaning.

As with all the planes in this series, the bun is a low profile mushroom shape which gives better feedback in use. I could never understand the tall slim type of bun, I feel that the mushroom design is logically more suited, having a flatter top which is nicer to bear down on.

No.984 Lever Cap - Drawing.

An open handle is the only practical type of tote for a bevel up plane, I considered many types of handle and have seen some examples where the handle is almost horizontal, and some people prefer handless planes. In my research I found that a handle angle approaching 20 degrees feels very comfortable when using a plane at average bench height. However this would be quite radical in its appearance, and would be difficult to fit into the space available. I found that all the traditional planes had an angle of 56 degrees (which I have used myself before). For the No. 984 I have reduced this angle by 8 degrees to 48 degrees, which feels very comfortable and more ergonomic and aesthetic. I will be keeping my blog updated during the making of this plane.

Most of these No.984 planes have now been sold, thank you to all those who bought this plane 'from the drawing board'. As with all my recent projects the building phase has included many trips back to the drawing board for minor adjustments and improvements, resulting in a significant increase to the projects man hours. All those who have paid a deposit will receive their No.984 at the previously advertised price, anyone interested in the remaining few will have to pay a higher price which reflects the true cost of manufacture.

This plane is the culmination of my career as a plane maker, 26 years of experience, development, research, and engineering. Hopefully a good plane to end with.