I’ve wittered quite a bit before about about my troubles with goblin hands and small knobs. In particular, plane handles.
Normally anything that trys to be a handle makes a rubbish handle, and as a rule the most un-restrictive handles make for the best. A wooden smoother for example doesn’t even have a handle, but in my opinion at least, it’s one of the most comfortable. Wooden jacks and trys are also very good for enduring tasks, despite their boxy looks, and this is because they give flexibility for slightly different positionings of your hands.
One style of plane that has always seemed like a bit of a dictator to me are the European horned planes. But this turned out to be another case of me being wrong.
The horned plane isn’t only very comfortable, but it has some advantages too.
Normally when we plane we have a power arm which pushes the plane (the engine), and a guide arm which directs and guides the plane (the steering). The latter also provides a bit of downwards force every now and then (the suspension). With the horned plane (with a bit of practice) you can also power the guide arm (four wheel drive) and this can give you immense power surges when required, or just take some of the load.
Of course you can do this with other types of plane, but this feels a lot more designed.
The only negative is that this Dictator is such a dictator, that the bloody thing is handed (you have to specify if you’re a lefty or righty).
Despite the fact that you can only hold this plane the way it tells you to, there’s nothing about it that restricts you. Where your main power hand goes, at the back of the plane, it’s just a slightly more curved version of the English pattern smoother. The other hand gets a bent branch, that’s hardly affected by hand size.
It does look rather odd though… but my Stanley’s have a draw knob as a handle, and I’d call that normal.