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Kunz Scraper Plane, an excellent product

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Review by stefang posted 420 days ago 3314 views 1 time favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Kunz Scraper Plane, an excellent product Kunz Scraper Plane, an excellent product Kunz Scraper Plane, an excellent product Click the pictures to enlarge them

THE SOURCE
I bought this scraper plane from a German mail order company Dictum. Probably not the best source if you don’t live in Europe. The good news is that they sell some of their products in the States and maybe Canada too.

I can’t buy tools like this in a store where I live, so I have to buy mail order. I have learned to trust the German tools as they have never disappointed me yet. This scraper plane is no exception. This tool is in the ‘good value’ category of their tools, but they do not have any better line of this particular tool.

GENERAL QUALITY
I first checked the sole and found it dead flat, a good beginning. The standard blade is about 1/20” thick and made of pretty hard steel at 62 HRC. They also have HSS steel blades available for it, but I thought it would be easier to sharpen and turn the burr on the standard blade. The plane has a nice smooth epoxy finish on it.

TOOL SETUP
To get the scraper ready for use, the first thing I did was to try putting a 45 degree bevel on the blade with my 600 grit diamond stone. This was going way too slow, so I decided to grind the bevel on my bench grinder. I set my large tool rest at 45 degrees and made a lot of light passes to create a very nice consistent bevel. Then I honed the bevel by hand on my diamond stone to remove the hollow grind and create a very smooth surface. I also removed the burr on the back of the edge. Photo #1 shows the finished bevel.

Next, I turned the burr using my new triangle shape Kunz burnisher. I used a light oil on the bevel and took a couple of very light passes and then applied more, but not too heavy pressure for the ensuing 5 or so passes.

The burnisher is tapered and it is my understanding that using widest part of one side of the triangle gives the smallest burr and using the smallest surface more towards the tip creates a larger burr. I went for the smallest burr this time as I wanted to try scraping my last marquetry picture to eliminate sanding. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of that part.

With the burr turned I inserted the blade from the bottom of the plane so as not to ruin the burr, then I put the plane sole on a flat surface and pushed the blade down until it hit the surface under the plane. The thumb screw was then tightened, but only enough to hold the blade securely in position, so I could take the finest shavings possible.

FIRST TEST
With everything set to go, it was finally time to take the plane for a test drive. My first test was on the piece of scrap straight off the bandsaw pictured below in photo#2.

The plane produced a very fine surface with no vibration whatsoever after just a few passes as shown in photo #3 below.

And here is a shot of the shavings. Nice little curlies in photo#4 below.

2ND TEST
I went over my dragon marquetry picture and it came out perfect. Sanding will not be necessary. No picture taken as I’m sure everyone is sick of looking at it.

CONCLUSION
I am much more than just pleased with this scraper plane. I can’t imagine that one could be better. I understand that a 30 to 45 degree bevel works well. I chose the 45 degree bevel because I thought it produce a stronger, longer lasting edge and also to save some blade steel since the 45 bevel is shorter.

After using cabinet scrapers the last 15 years, I can really appreciate the comfort and ease of using this tool.

For those of you who want expert advice on setting up your scraper plane, I highly recommend this link which I used to set up my own.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.




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stefang

12537 posts in 1930 days



26 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2173 days


#1 posted 420 days ago

Very good review Mike
I’m a bit surprised in the results because here in the states Kunz tools are considered rather low end tools. Looks like your experience shatters that image. Thanks a lot for the great review and the photo lay out.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4085 posts in 1452 days


#2 posted 420 days ago

Great Review Mike,
I’ve a few of these one Stanley SW and two Record
They originally came with a double edged blade. Ouch!
Jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View stefang's profile

stefang

12537 posts in 1930 days


#3 posted 420 days ago

Jim Kunz has an economy line and a premium line. This plane is part of their economy line. I think they sell only the economy tools in the States judging from ads I’ve seen them in, but if this plane is any indication, I would expect even their economy line to be pretty good. Do you know anyone who has bought a Kunz tool and is disappointed with it? I admit that the color may not give the quality appearance, but the Germans like green.

Jamie I guess this one could be used double edged too, but then sliding it into the tool might ruin one edge. I did notice in the catalog that the blade came with one edge at 110 degrees. I hadn’t noticed this before I sharpened it, but I wonder why they make it that way.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4740 posts in 2478 days


#4 posted 420 days ago

Nice. Thanks.
It looks easier than hand scraping – which is a skill that I am not too good at.
Maybe I just might have to go with a holder plane.

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2173 days


#5 posted 420 days ago

Mike
I never thought that a German company would turn out poor product either. I did buy a Kunz #2 hand plane years ago and the casting seemed rough as a cob on it, over the years I’ve heard others turn their nose up at them and act like they were considered the worst products around, other than that I have not heard more about Kunz. I certainly would value your opinion over any hear say that’s out there.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View stefang's profile

stefang

12537 posts in 1930 days


#6 posted 420 days ago

Steve If you get a scraper plane I think you will be amazed how much easier it is to work with compared to a card type cabinet scraper. I know that I sure was amazed by the difference. I am hoping that I won’t be doing much sanding in the future. Time will tell.

Jim I wouldn’t want to endorse Kunz economy line of hand planes since I have never tried any aside from the scraper plane, but I have seen ads in Wooden Boat mag. with offers of Kunz planes from the Wooden Boat Store where they are advertised as good value for the money. They don’t usually sell poor quality products from that store, but your own experience may still be relevant. That said, maybe they have improved their general quality since you bought yours. Handplanes are in again and many manufacturers have improved their lines a great deal.

As for myself, I was planning to buy a Kunz smoother, a Jackplane and a foreplane from their premium line, but I decided instead to order Dictum’s own brand of these planes because they are less expensive and after reading about them I decided to take a chance and order them, which I did today. So another review will be on it’s way in a couple of weeks or so with either a very disappointed or very happy Mike writing it. The Dick planes are bedrock design and the irons are over 1/8” (3.2mm) thick, the same as the Lie-Nielsen planes, but a lesser overall quality, I’m quite sure. These 3 planes will be costing me over $500 including freight, 25% added value tax and probably around $90 import duty. I hope they will be worth it. Life has it’s little risks.

I have been using my 30 year old Stanley Jackplane up to now and A Stanley bailey smoother. The jackplane is by far the better of the two, but I dropped the Jack on a concrete floor about 15 years ago and broke off one of the cheeks. It still works well, but I hate to look at it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11052 posts in 1701 days


#7 posted 420 days ago

Mike you made a believer out of me!!!!!! I have been thinking of getting a hand scraper. In fact I looked at several at antique shops in Shipshewanna, Ind. on Monday. I just have to make or buy one. I do have an old Red Devil wood scraper that works good when I put a real keen edge on it, but that one you have looks like a fine tool that I’ll use a lot. Thank you so much for the review!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View stefang's profile

stefang

12537 posts in 1930 days


#8 posted 420 days ago

I hope you find one you like Jim. The Kunz is of course a copy of the old Stanley #80, so maybe you will get lucky and find and old Stanley. I have plans in one of my old Woodworker’s Journal mags. of a wooden scraper plane, but I like the heft and precision of this one over the wood one.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2173 days


#9 posted 420 days ago

No more planes or scrapers for me Mike I have about 50 now that I use very little.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View stefang's profile

stefang

12537 posts in 1930 days


#10 posted 420 days ago

Sorry Jim. it was Jim Jakosh I was addressing.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3622 posts in 1760 days


#11 posted 419 days ago

Interesting, Mike. I have a few scraper holders from Veritas that I have yet to use. But they will get used now that I am back in the shop.

As I have said before, I like to use hand tools now and then. But I have to limit their use to minor parts of a project since they are too hard on my wrists and finger joints.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile

stefang

12537 posts in 1930 days


#12 posted 419 days ago

I am only a moderate user of hand tools myself Jim, but I just find them more convenient and even sometimes necessary for the type of work I’m doing now. Luckily I can still use them, but I do leave the heavy work to the machines. I am all excited about the handplanes I ordered. I can’t wait to get them. At my age it is wonderful to still be able to get excited about anything!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4286 posts in 1644 days


#13 posted 418 days ago

I have a Stanley scraper plane from the late 1800’s and it looks almost identical to this one.
Thank you for the review.
I never grind a bevel on my scrapers on the contrary I make sure that they are perfect ninety degrees.

-- Bert

View stefang's profile

stefang

12537 posts in 1930 days


#14 posted 418 days ago

This one is a copy of the original Stanley #80. I suppose it would work without the bevel, but I took the advice from the Highland woodworking site to use 45 degrees and I’m extremely happy with it’s performance. They did say that 30 degrees was ok too. I do have all of my card scrapers at 90 degrees, but I have to tilt item forward while in use. However, if 90 degree works well for you that is what counts. According to the mfg. the Kunz blade came with a factory 110 degree bevel, so there seems to quite a difference of opinion as to what bevel should be used. Personally I think the least bevel necessary is the way to go if only to save on the blade.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TechRedneck's profile

TechRedneck

735 posts in 1453 days


#15 posted 418 days ago

Thanks Mike

I have been looking at one of these. A Stanley #80 is hard to find and always wondered if the Kuntz was any good. I have the WR #80 and use it for glue clean up only due to its poor quality. This may do the trick for finish work prior to saving up for a scraper plane.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

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