You might have heard that Karl Holtey will cease making planes soon. If you have ever wanted one, now is the time to buy as they will only go up in value.
I got to fondle two of them at the New English Workshop. They are such jewels I found myself trying to figure out how to raise the 2,000 pounds to purchase one in ebony.
The New English Workshop still has them for sale on its site here. Snag one if you can. During last week two (two!) were sold immediately.
The last plane Holtey is making is the No. 984 panel plane. According to his site, he is still accepting deposits for these.
While most people will remember Holtey’s planemaking enterprise as a quest for perfection (which is correct, in my opinion), I think Holtey should also be remembered for how he single-handedly changed the woodworking world.
It was Holtey who first explained how bevel-up planes could be used to create high-angle tools. It sounds obvious now, but it wasn’t then.
He created a smoothing plane in 1998 (the No. 98) that basically was transformed into Veritas’s line of bevel-up bench planes, which took the woodworking by storm and have been a boon for beginners.
Holtey was the first – as far as I know – to experiment with different steel alloys for cutting irons for handplanes and spread the idea worldwide. The first A2 plane blade I saw was made by Holtey.
Holtey also developed a unique bedding system for plane irons that negates wood movement in wooden-bodied planes and even simplifies the bedding in metallic planes.
And those are just off the top of my head.
— Christopher Schwarz