Karl Holtey’s Final Plane: The 984


In the event you ever hear a criticism of the pioneering work of Karl Holtey it’s that his
planes are “too good” or “lack a soul.” I’ve all the time been a
little befuddled by these feedback as a result of I’ve used a great
variety of planes that don’t have any soul by the likes of Harbor
Freight, late-model Stanleys and different Far East makers.

These “planes,” which may solely be referred to as by that phrase as a result of
it’s printed on the blister pack, are made with little regard
as to whether they are going to really work or not. The individual behind
these objects was clearly simply attempting to fabricate a factor at
a sure value with no regard for the consumer. They’re an enormous
waste – of uncooked materials, human effort and your cash.

As a substitute of shopping for this,
I like to recommend you merely burn the $14.99. At the very least you’ll get a
few moments of heat from the fireplace.


Holtey’s planes are the other of those zombie instruments. Take a
couple of minutes to learn his blog and you’ll
be humbled by the extremes the person goes to with a view to obtain
his goals. Simply making the lever cap for his closing aircraft – the
No. 984 Panel Aircraft – is a marvel.

Is all this essential to make a aircraft that can flatten wooden?
No. Do his planes work 1,000 occasions higher than a Lie-Nielsen or
Veritas? In fact not.
used about the identical quantity of paint. Each hold on a
wall. Each make you consider Jesus. However are they the identical

For the final month I’ve been utilizing a Holtey No. 984 that was
loaned to me. I don’t overview instruments anymore, so this isn’t a
overview. However I want to say one thing that typically will get
misplaced when folks speak about Holtey’s work. Before everything,
the No. 984 is a device, and a rare one at that.


I’ve used a large number of fancy-looking instruments that have been first
artwork objects and likewise had some tool-like features. To show my
level (to myself), I’ve been utilizing this panel aircraft like a
rented mule. I’ve sharpened it a number of occasions and put it to work
doing grunt work on oak, ash and pine. Taking heavy shavings
and skinny ones. Processing inventory.

(Observe to the proprietor: I haven’t dinged it. It should look pristine
when it’s returned.)

As I’ve discovered with all of Holtey’s planes, they simply shrug at
the arduous use. Maybe it’s uncommon for these planes to be taken
out behind the woodshed, however they’re designed to be the most effective
every day consumer you’ve ever had. Not a present pony or (as we are saying in
the automotive restoration interest) a “trailer queen.”


The components slide collectively like you’re working the lock on a
financial institution’s protected. The adjuster strikes confidently and could be the
solely Norris-style adjuster that I actually like. Even the acrylic
handles, that are a bit showy for my style, are comfy
even after many hours of use. And no, they aren’t slippery.

So don’t purchase into the trope that Holtey’s planes are “jewellery.”
It’s a disservice to the engineering that makes his planes the
high-water mark of the craft. They’re instruments, they usually rank
among the many most interesting I’ve ever used.

— Christopher Schwarz

Learn Kieran Binnie’s profile of Karl Holtey

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