Monday 9 July 2018
Shaping wood can be a laborious and tedious task, but given the right tools, it can actually be quite the opposite. I personally like the idea of getting great results fast, so I was more than a little interested when the new microplanes from Carroll Tools dropped into the workshop with the promise that the blades will cut faster and hold their edge longer than similar tools. Not one to shirk a challenge, I decided to put them to the test.
The device is simple in form consisting of a flexible plastic handle, with a finger rest for added pressure control. From here, you are able to snap-on special blades of varying shapes and coarseness, and away you go. When it comes to changing the blade, just snap out the one you are using, and snap in a new one; all done without the use of additional tools. All sounds simple and straightforward so far which is good. I like simplicity!
The handle measures in at 9in with interchangeable blades at 3in. A larger 14in handle with 8in blades is also available but not tested here.
Tying in nicely with the bird theme for this issue, I decided it was appropriate to attack my version of Mike Wood's kestrel with the microplanes and as time was of the essence, it made perfect sense. My roughed out bird needed a lot of shaping and fast, so to get things moving, I began with the coarse rounded profile.
Snapping the blade in place was a doddle and it felt reassuringly secure, so full marks there. But how would they hold up in use? Well the blade seemed to glide over all lumps and bumps with ease, and removed waste wickedly fast. Working on the push stroke, it cut effortlessly, and results were clean. I was amazed with how much wood I was able to remove in such a short space of time, and my rough-out was beginning to look like a bird in no time at all.
And when it came to tackling delicate areas where the fine blade would be more appropriate, the snap-out snap-in system worked a treat. Bonus!
The handle proved comfortable to hold and you could happily use this for quite some time before fatigue sets in. A quick word of warning: be careful not to use the microplane on the pull stroke otherwise you might end up damaging the cutting area, and as always, keep your fingers clear of the blade in action.
To say I am impressed with the microplane shaping and carving tools would be an understatement. They are superb, fast, and get the job done, and I will definitely be adding these beauties to my toolbag when the next pay cheque comes in!
Shaping has never been this easy!