And you can tighten up the mouth until a gnat would
have a hard time poking any of its parts through the aperture.
blade adjuster is just as impressive. With a smoothing plane, I
don't want a coarse adjuster. And the loopy delivers on this point
with an adjuster that moves in tiny increments. It's easy to dial in
just the shaving you want.
All this makes it sound like it's a fussy tool. It's
not. Thomas is a working woodworker, and he wants his tools to
remove sizable shavings and still remain stable. The loopy delivered
on this point as well. Even while taking a .002" or .003" shaving it
didn't vibrate or produce tearing.
Part of the secret to the performance is the
thickness of the sole. It is almost a whopping 5/8" thick. That
contributes incredible weight to the tool and a secure bed for the
iron under the cap iron.
The adjustable mouth is so well integrated into the
tool that most people overlook it when inspecting the tool. The shoe
plate in front of the mouth is substantial (see the photos for
proof) and it moves forward and back after loosening a screw on top
of the front bun.
The other innovation Thomas brings to the party is
his chipbreaker. It looks like a typical heavy-duty Norris-style
breaker, but close inspection reveals otherwise.
The breaker has a
small plate screwed to it that allows you to easily set the breaker
square to the iron. And the plate itself mates to the Norris-style
adjuster. The result is a solid fit between the adjuster, breaker,
iron and plane body.
My only criticism of the tool stems from one of its
advantages: the weight. This is a shockingly heavy tool, which would
be unacceptable in a jointer or jack plane.
For large projects, I
have found the tool wears me out a bit, but here's the caveat: Every
time I finish a project with this plane I finish with a big smile on
my face because there is no tearing to scrape or sand out.
That is quite an achievement
I'm not sure if Thomas is going to go into the
infill business or not. But I encourage you to send him a note
through his agent, Vlad Spehar, at
spehar-toolworks.com/planes.html, and encourage him to continue
making loopy planes. I'd hate for this particular legend to be so
— Christopher Schwarz is the editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine
and one of the authors of "The Joiner and Cabinet Maker," available