448 Building a Brese J-Style Small Smoother Pt 1

December 2, 20104 Comments

It’s been a long time in the making and that has nothing to do with the kit itself! My Brese J-Style Small Smoother has finally been completed and is making the most amazing shavings a plane has ever taken in the basement workshop.

For those of you who’ve heard me talk about this project on Wood Talk Online Radio you know it’s been an ongoing laugh each and everytime it’s been discussed. Well the laughing is over and the tears of joy are streaking my face. With the completion of the small smoother I finally have a plane I can say I crafted myself and it’s made to be unlike any other out there.

If you’re not familiar with Ron Brese and his amazingly beautiful hand planes you really need to take a look for yourself. They’re not just gorgeous to look at, but the feeling you have when you pick one up and take a few passes with them is mind blowing. They’re a really work of art and they have the capability to elevate your planing to a new level. Don’t just take my word for it, ask anyone who’s had the pleasure of trying them out.

Of course I’m not going to lie and pretend this kind of beauty doesn’t have its cost. Ron makes each plane himself and doesn’t rush the construction. He makes them to exacting tolerances with the end result being tiny, wispy shavings more reminiscent of soft billowy clouds than thin see through shavings. And that’s not just on any old wood, we’re talking those kind of results on some of the nasty, trickiest grains out there.

Again, don’t take my word for it. Ron often travels around the country with the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Hand Tool Event. Stop by his booth and manhandle a plane for yourself. Maybe you could bring a sample of that board you’ve had trouble with before and see if he’ll let you try one of the planes on it?

So without further delay, let’s get on with today’s show! This is part 1 of a 2 part episode covering the construction process in making the J-Style Small Smoother. We’ll see how you shape the wood and prep it for placement in the body. Then next week we’ll finish the whole process. It’s so easy, you’ll be asking me why it took so long for me to get my butt moving in the first place?

To learn more about Ron Brese or any of these amazing planes pictured above, visit his website at www.breseplane.com. Tell him Matt sent you!

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***editor’s note: Ron no longer offers handplane kits, a bummer for sure!***

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Comments (4)

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  1. Hey Matt, nice job on the plane. That is one stylin’ hand tool!

    Question. Is that a Ryobi miter saw you were using? I have one and it has given me no end of grief on the accuracy side through general flexing especially on tilted cuts. Thoughts?

    • Matt says:

      You’ve got it right, that’s a 12″ Ryobi saw in the background. It was a huge step up from my old one, but yes I’ve had issues with flexing and in general being accurate with almost all miters. I’ve learned to compensate, but I hate having to think that hard LOL!!!

      Oh and thanks for the comment on my plane, I still have a hard time believing I made it and it works as well as it does.

  2. Bobby Slack says:


    Beautiful plane. I went to Ron’s website and after looking at the pricing I had to go to the hospital.


    Must be nice to own one of those.

    • Matt says:

      Hey Bobby,

      Ron’s planes are definitely not on the cheap end, but it’s more than evident in the quality of materials and the quality of work they produce.

      When I’ve been asked about whether someone should buy one for their shop, I tend to avoid a response as much as possible LOL.

      Their price tag takes people’s breath away and it’s not for everyone, but once you’ve used one you’ll want one LOL.

      Of course the only way I could afford one for now was by buying the kit. Even the small smoother is a little pricey, but the kit brought it down to where I could justify it.

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