shaving braces – Kunz squirrel tail plane

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shaving braces – Kunz squirrel tail plane

 Kunz planes

…don’t exactly have a very good reputation. Least the bench planes don’t. I tried one once and my teeth are still chattering. But I’ve been carving braces with one of these little squirrel tail planes for a few years now.

Mind that’s not how I was taught – I was taught to use a chisel, and to get the job done.  There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way, but as we all know a change is as good as a rest. So, a while back I bought a little Kunz 100 squirrel tail plane.


squirrel plane1


Kunz tools should be seen as a kit, not as finished goods, which is ok as they’re not so expensive. Luckily with this little block plane, there isn’t much to fix.

I thought I’d run through what I did to tune the plane up seeing as the blog has been on a bit of a sharpening binge these last couple of weeks.


Flatten the sole

These days I’m using abrasive paper stuck to a granite chopping board. 150 grit followed by 240 is as far as you need to go with this little feller.


squirrel plane 2


 Get rid of the paint.

A long, long time ago, Mr Kunz must’ve bought a lot of paint. A huge amount of green paint, and a fair bit of red paint. Mr Kunz really likes the green and red stuff. Our job is to remove it. The important thing here is to get it off the front edge of the cap iron, and from the plane body at the mouth and on the “stump” the cutting iron sits on. A diamond file does the job on the plane body whilst the cap iron can be fettled on your sharpening stone.


squirrel plane 5

Sharpen up!

Little blades can be fiddly. If you’re not keen on freehand, you can buy a very nice but expensive Richard Kell honing jig or just use the very cheap and super versatile jig we covered a couple of posts back.


squirrel plane 3

Finish off with the ruler trick.

You do know the ruler trick don’t you? Well, you do now. Remember, it’s just for plane irons, not for chisels.


squirrel plane 4


You’re done!

That didn’t take long did it? No, than goodness for that. I’d rather make guitars than faff around fixing tools. But with the little plane tuned up you’ll find it useful for a lot of jobs where previously you might have reached for a chisel. And whilst the blade steel may not be the best in the world, it’s nice to remember you don’t need the fanciest steel in the world for every single job.

Where to find one:

Search under Kunz 100, Kunz pocket plane, Kunz pocket plane with handle, Kunz squirrel tail plane.

LMI sell them, as do Mind, in the UK, the best price I’ve found (£20) has been on eBay.


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