Marcou Chamfer Plane
Words and photos: Vic Tesolin
There are two types of tools that I absolutely love in my hand tool chest. One is my wooden planes, and the other my joinery planes. In the case of my chamfering plane, I get the best of both worlds. This plane, made by New Zealand planemaker Philip Marcou, is esoteric as it only cuts chamfers and this suits my style of work well.
Based on the Japanese version of the chamfer plane (mentori kanna), the plane is simple to set up. The sole has two 45° sections (one fixed and one sliding) which allows the user to set the size of the chamfer. Once you get the size you are after, it’s as simple as locking up the jam nuts to keep the setting. The two sole pieces allow the user to run the plane along an arris until the plane stops cutting. You don’t even need to pay that much attention because the sole will guide you on to a perfect 45° chamfer.
One of the most intriguing features is the sliding blade carrier. The blade holder is able to slide laterally to ensure that you are not constantly running on the same section of the blade. If the blade starts to become dull, you simply slide the blade over to expose a sharp section.
As you can imagine, this sliding action would have to be fitted precisely to ensure that it does not slip in use. I’ve owned this plane for a couple of years and this sliding piece is just as snug as the day I bought it.
Which leads me to the overall fit and finish of the plane. Philip has made sure the plane will stand the test of time by including a brass sole for years of chamfering joy. All of the moving components slide effortlessly into place, making adjustments and tweaks a simple task. The body is made from Aussie blackwood which isn’t often seen in my Canadian shop, and it has remained calm with no discernible movement plaguing the body.
I guess what I like most about this little plane is it just works. There are other ways to cut chamfers, but this plane, with its great fit and finish and ease of use, makes it come to hand easily.
Vic Tesolin is author of The Minimalist Woodworker and also writes regularly for Australian Wood Review magazine. This review is reprinted from issue 97 of the magazine.
Available from www.PiranhaTools.co.nz