Thursday 7 June 2012

Tribute to the Norris Plane

I worked with Andrew for many years. He was nearing retirement and used to tell me stories about 'the old days' we really got on and I started taking my planes into work to show him what I got up to.

One day he said 'I have got a Norris smoother!' so this started the year or two of hints by me that I would love to see it / buy it from him.

Then he was about to retire, a week left if I remember - so I insisted he bring it in for me to look at.

The weird thing was I was disappointed. So many people talk about how they fell in love with infills when they first saw a Norris - but not me.

It it was Rosewood perhaps it would have been nicer - but overall I thought it badly balanced and aesthetically unpleasing (controversial I know) If I had the money I would far rather spend it on a modern day plane maker - so many good ones in the last 10 years have come onto the scene.

Karl Holtey for example - had the pleasure of using one of his planes (over £4000 I think it was) but it was excellent - in every respect, pure perfection.

Lately I think the money should go to preserving the tradition of excellent plane blade making in Japan. Give your cash to a Japanese Blacksmith! Then you spend the money on the blade - the Dai (body) is replaceable instead of spending the money on an intricate body and in relative terms - a simple blade. This appeals greatly to my sense of principle, distilled in Ockhams razor, of the reduction of the superfluous, the perfect edge, small mouth - thats all you need really... 

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