Best razor plane?

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Rktman

Eric
TRF Supporter
Your recommendations on what is the best razor plane? I bought a Master Airscrew razor plane that is extremely difficult to adjust and either gouges balsa badly, shaves material inconsistently (skips), or doesn't remove anything at all. I'm looking for a good alternative.

dr wogz

Fly caster
I have one, and kinda love it. yes, it is a bit of a pain to adjust, but once you have it, it works. I find it's best for sticks, not shaving down planks/sheets. (the center of the plane tends to 'dive down' into the material you're planning..)

Balsa is a pain to plane as well, and it's soft, goey, and easily bends. so, it easily gets sucked into planes & such. My best advise for that is to just sand and sand and sand away..

I do, however, have a small palm plane. The blade is about 1" wide and the whole plane is just over 3" long. https://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=32700&cat=1,41182

the trick is to get as sharp a blade as you can! and do your utmost to keep it sharp!

rharshberger

Well-Known Member
I use the Master Airscrew plane, one technique is to use a shearing cut, hold the plane at an angle to the direction of cut. Wood will also plane easier one direction or the other inline with the grain, if the plane is skipping odds are you are going "against" the lay of the grain. While the MA planes certainly not the best it is functional and easy to get.

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Rktman

Eric
TRF Supporter
i like the David Plane Pretty easy to adjust and works well. All the google links I found are for European sources so not sure where to find it in the US. I've had mine for years.

https://www.rcworld.co.uk/acatalog/David-Plane--T_DT4.html#SID=133
Thanks for the feedback, I've heard good things about the David Plane but you're right about it being hard to find in the U.S. Regardless, it still seems better designed than the MA plane.

Rktman

Eric
TRF Supporter
I have one, and kinda love it. yes, it is a bit of a pain to adjust, but once you have it, it works. I find it's best for sticks, not shaving down planks/sheets. (the center of the plane tends to 'dive down' into the material you're planning..)

Balsa is a pain to plane as well, and it's soft, goey, and easily bends. so, it easily gets sucked into planes & such. My best advise for that is to just sand and sand and sand away..

I do, however, have a small palm plane. The blade is about 1" wide and the whole plane is just over 3" long. https://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=32700&cat=1,41182

the trick is to get as sharp a blade as you can! and do your utmost to keep it sharp!
Thanks Paul, you're so right about the blades tendency to dig down into sheets of balsa. Interesting to find out that it works better on sticks. I got a razor plane to save time on carving airfoils into glider wings and helicopter recovery rotor blades, something which can take hours. Although the MA put some pretty severe gouges into the wing I was shaping, it DID save a lot of time and I finished the job with my sanding block while things were still salvageable. I was able to remove most of the craters and dings with a drop of water to swell the balsa back out but not all of them.
Appreciate you pointing me in the direction of the palm plane, it looks like a good alternative.

Rktman

Eric
TRF Supporter
I have one, and kinda love it. yes, it is a bit of a pain to adjust, but once you have it, it works. I find it's best for sticks, not shaving down planks/sheets. (the center of the plane tends to 'dive down' into the material you're planning..)

Balsa is a pain to plane as well, and it's soft, goey, and easily bends. so, it easily gets sucked into planes & such. My best advise for that is to just sand and sand and sand away..

I do, however, have a small palm plane. The blade is about 1" wide and the whole plane is just over 3" long. https://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=32700&cat=1,41182

the trick is to get as sharp a blade as you can! and do your utmost to keep it sharp!

I did use a shearing cut and tried to use a light touch, but I guess my major complaint is that it's virtually impossible to adjust the blade position evenly and consistently. The adjustment screws bottom out too soon and do little to hold the position of the razor fixed. I have to loosen the set screw for the hold down plate first to allow movement of the blade, and then use it to keep it more or less at the right depth/position (also hard to do because torqueing down the set screw twists both the hold down plate and blade).

I don't know if manufacturing of these planes has been outsourced to countries with poor quality control and that use substandard materials but the blade hold down plate has skewed sides and has to be jammed into place at an angle, and the foot of the plane body isn't flat (it's higher at 2 of the edges and lower where the blade is) which may account for some of my problems. At this point I think I'd be better off with a metal-bodied plane with a better designed blade adjustment system.

Rktman

Eric
TRF Supporter
I have a Stanley Trimming plane that I've used in the past. It's all metal and much better than the MA razor plane.

https://www.acehardware.com/product...JnK8mwHhsVxXzJ9cS!822627010?productId=1290025
I like that it has a metal body and parts, and Stanley is a well known brand with a long history. You are using this to shape balsa sheets for air foiling wings and such yes? I wasn't sure about using a plane designed to shape hard wood for shaping soft balsa. I opted for the MA razor plane because a lot of the RC plane builders use it (though most of them said they'd had it for a long time, and now I'm wondering if the more recent MA razor planes are made offshore and the quality isn't what it used to be).

BEC

Well-Known Member
I've happily used one of these for years. https://www.ebay.com/sch/items/?_nkw=wilkro+razor+planer

What I don't know at the moment is how hard it is to get replacement blades....this uses the once common double-edged razor blade.

added: well, it looks like I can get blades at my local Target...so not so hard to find as I feared. I probably ought to get some, though.

I came close to ordering a David combi plane on John Boren's recommendation over on YORF but I haven't done it yet.

Rktman

Eric
TRF Supporter
Some really fancy (and \$!) planes here:
https://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?cat=1&p=41182

And, in addition to the MA razor plane, the palm plane quoted above, I also have this little guy. (Used it for he wing strake / fuse transition on an SU-27 R/C kit..
https://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32680&cat=1,41182
Nice! At that price point I'm sure it would do the job, but the price tag is a mite too stratospheric for my budget to justify considering I don't do as much woodworking as, say, an RC modeler. It does leave me drooling though...

Rktman

Eric
TRF Supporter
The David Combi Plane, recommended by surfboard shapers and The Chief Designer, Jumpjet.

I actually use a Master Airscrew plane from Hobbylinc. Cheaper and readily available. It does take practice, practice, practice (at least for me). I figured the Combi Plane would take practice as well; I couldn't pull the trigger on it 'cause I'm cheap ! :blush:
https://www.foamez.com/david-combi-plane-p-161.html

https://forums.rocketshoppe.com/showpost.php?p=200643&postcount=53

Me too, but after the frustration I've had with the MA plane and the almost-catastrophic effect it had on my balsa wing, I'm leaning more and more toward something like the David combi since it's made of metal instead of plastic, and it's had some good reviews.

Rktman

Eric
TRF Supporter
I've happily used one of these for years. https://www.ebay.com/sch/items/?_nkw=wilkro+razor+planer

What I don't know at the moment is how hard it is to get replacement blades....this uses the once common double-edged razor blade.

added: well, it looks like I can get blades at my local Target...so not so hard to find as I feared. I probably ought to get some, though.

I came close to ordering a David combi plane on John Boren's recommendation over on YORF but I haven't done it yet.
I'm sure you've heard the "they sure don't make them the way they once did" lament but it seems quality went out the window in favor of disposable consumerism. My uncle's car was still running fine after 30 years and my dad's car never gave us any problems after 10...until he traded it for a new car that starting falling apart the minute it went over the 5 year warranty. I've heard good things about the vintage Wilkro (mostly for leather paring though) but wonder what kind of condition it would be in and if all the parts would be there if I bought one?

ChrisAttebery

Well-Known Member
It's been a long time since I've used it for anything. I do know that it was much better than the MA razor plane.

I like that it has a metal body and parts, and Stanley is a well known brand with a long history. You are using this to shape balsa sheets for air foiling wings and such yes? I wasn't sure about using a plane designed to shape hard wood for shaping soft balsa. I opted for the MA razor plane because a lot of the RC plane builders use it (though most of them said they'd had it for a long time, and now I'm wondering if the more recent MA razor planes are made offshore and the quality isn't what it used to be).

BEC

Well-Known Member
I've heard good things about the vintage Wilkro (mostly for leather paring though) but wonder what kind of condition it would be in and if all the parts would be there if I bought one?

The Wilkro is made from cast metal. There are four parts plus the blade - so you can see in the eBay pictures if they're complete. It looks like most of the are that are up right now. The only concern I'd have is if the machined surface of the base of it is OK. I bought a backup for the one I got new in a long-gone LHS off of eBay a number of years ago and it had a bit of a chip out of the base.

Rktman

Eric
TRF Supporter
The Wilkro is made from cast metal. There are four parts plus the blade - so you can see in the eBay pictures if they're complete. It looks like most of the are that are up right now. The only concern I'd have is if the machined surface of the base of it is OK. I bought a backup for the one I got new in a long-gone LHS off of eBay a number of years ago and it had a bit of a chip out of the base.
Thanks man, good to know.

vcp

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I've happily used one of these for years. https://www.ebay.com/sch/items/?_nkw=wilkro+razor+planer

What I don't know at the moment is how hard it is to get replacement blades....this uses the once common double-edged razor blade.
Heh, I've had one of those for well over 40 years. It always worked swell for me, though I haven't used it in a long time.