Have a Big Wood Removing Job?
Get a Microplane!
All pictures courtesy of Micro Plane Inc
I had a chance recently to test almost
the complete product line from Microplane. What is a Microplane
you might ask, like I did? Tool Engineers at Grace Manufacturing
Inc. developed a patented system of photochemical machining
surgical stainless steel to a super razor sharp edge in any
size. This process was used in bone saws for surgeons that need
to cut through bone. It was discovered that these fine teeth
made short work of any type of wood. In fact the manufacturer
wants people to use these tools on anything we can to find new
Look at the many tiny cutters
This new tool could be like a thousand
tiny hand planes biting into the surface of any type of material.
It can cut copper, aluminum, epoxy, rubber, wood and anything
you think it will work on. I slipped while peeling an apple
and I can attest to the fact that it eats skin and I didn’t
even know I was hurt until I saw the blood! These blades are
as sharp as the Japanese
saw I reviewed a while back and they would compliment
each other in your tool collection.
One couple discovered that they make an excellent
zester for orange peel or my favorite, “Chocolate“.
I acquired one for my wife and she doesn’t allow me near
the thing. I can peel an apple with it in less than 30 seconds
and orange or lemon peels are just as fast. Skin is another
thing they can also cut super fast.
These tiny planes cut without much pressure just
like the Japanese saws, so you don’t have to bear down
to get great results. I took a chunk of Apitome that is used
for trailer beds on low bed trailers for hauling tracked equipment.
It comes from South America and it is very hard to cut with
anything. It sinks in water because it is dense but just like
the super sharp Shark Saw, the Microplane ate the wood like
anything I have ever seen. I once rebuilt a trailer with this
wood and it destroyed three circular saws, over twenty blades
for them and a hundred ¾” wood bits. The Microplane
cut huge grooves in this wood in just minutes.
They make dozens of different blades for just
about any type of tool you can remove wood with. I received
three hacksaw converter blades. One is a rigid blade that will
cut a flat surface; the next was a flexible blade for use on
curved surface. I also have a half round blade for shaping large
inside curves. Some of the Microplane types have course, medium
and fine blades. The different types also have different shapes
for cutting. I have ....
Hacksaw Converter Blades
.... three of the four hacksaw Microplane blades.
Micro Plane Drum Cutter Selection
Microplane also has rotary blades for use with
a drill or drill press. There are three different sizes and
you have to go to the slowest speed on your drill press to make
them work right. The faster speeds don’t allow the cutters
to make a good bite. These are the only Microplane types that
make anything near sawdust. The smaller size works great on
a variable speed drill where you can get the speed down to make
it really cut. These are superb cutting instruments and I understand
that they are coming out with a couple more types of the rotary
Drum cutter at work
Surform Replacement Blades
We can move on to the Surform replacement blades.
You know, that long thing at the back of the shop that gathers
dust because it is dull about five minutes after you start using
it. I have the long blade and the pocket plane replacement and
they make your Surform a real cutting machine again instead
of a useless dust collector. I cannot impress on you strongly
enough that you don’t use much “down pressure”
when you are removing tons of material. Both of these blade
types are wood assassins! This is the absolute best thing you
could ever do for your Surform. In the past I have overlooked
my Surform because of the poor blade life, now it sits right
out in the open ready to shape and flatten any type of material.
Snap In Blade System
Double And Single Handle Types
With these new blades I tackled the hardest material
to shape on the planet. That material is UHMW plastic. Yes it
can be machined but only the sharpest blades can cut it and
shaping it was almost impossible before the Microplane. I have
a large stockpile of the stuff I use to make jigs and other
pieces for my router table and table saws. Now curves and hand
cut dados in the UHMW are a small task instead of a big production.
I have a great respect for these blades now and I can use them
on all of my boat-building projects.
Round Micro Plane Tools
Flat and Angle Cutters
Now we have the hand tools that come in all types
of profiles and cutting abilities. There are flat, round, square
and rectangular blades. They have small, medium and large size
and a brand new R/2 model 3100 series that has reversible replaceable
blades like the 3000 series except they give a smoother finishing
stroke. What a superb combination, I have the 3000 series and
if they have improved them they must be better than I can imagine.
I have the small set that doesn’t have switchable blades.
The larger tools have great handles for gripping but again I
have to say that you do not have to use pressure to get them
to cut. In fact if you use excessive pressure you damage the
work and the tool. I’ll have to try and find the new 3100
series but if they are better than the last type they will digest
wood faster than any sander you could buy.
Model 3100 With Blades Of All Types
The 30022 Microplane is a double-handle unit that
can be used like a drawknife. I’ll have to convince my
wife I need one of these bad boys. With all of the sizes and
shapes you can find a profile that suits your need for a superior
cutting and shaping tool. Contact the company from their website.
There you will be able to find all of the dealers in your area.
I try to find tools that will be assets to my
boat-building friends that read my column. I try to test many
tools and I don’t put tools in my columns usually if they
don’t make the grade. I can recommend these tools and
I’ll stake my reputation on them as to their quality and
ability. My recommendation is that these tools are a must have
for your toolbox. I have never seen such a sharp and useful
tool that I didn’t have to sharpen myself. I only have
one reservation and that is they cannot be resharpend. I do
know that these blades last a very long time but when they are
finished they are completely finished. I will not mind buying
new blades and I know that if someone is on my boat and they
need their leg amputated, I have just the right tool, (LAUGHING
VERY HARD NOW)! All kidding aside they work even in the kitchen
sink. If you slip and remove a large chunk of a finger or hand
don’t call me. I am warning everyone now that these thing
bite if you are not careful. Go check them out, you’ll
love them like I do.
From my tool crib,