Tool Review #6 - Luban #1 Bronze Smoothing Plane

Posted by Tobias Lochner on

Please note that any woodworking tool or range of products that I review is an entirely honest appraisal based on the following criteria:

  • I have purchased the item or items.
  • I have used the items for more than a month in my own workshop.
  • I have not been paid or coerced in any way to give favourable reviews.
Tool Review #6: Luban #1 Bronze Smoothing Plane
Personal Rating: 5/5
Over and above being extremely cute and definite "Eye Candy" for hand tool enthusiasts, this beautifully made little smoothing plane from Luban is a sheer joy to use!
The complete plane measures just 150mm long by 40mm wide and 88mm high, the body and lever cap are both cast from Bronze and the knob and tote are Bubinga. Both the blade and the cap iron are a healthy 3.2mm (1/8") thick and the plane feels weighty and remarkable solid in the hand for such a small plane.
On arrival, the blade required around ten minutes work on my whetstones before producing a really good edge. Fitment of the frog is excellent and I achieved a mouth opening of 0.02mm in front of the blade.
The finish of the body and the knobs is a touch rough and I spent about half an hour on my buffs polishing the body, lever cap and handles. Some paste wax applied with 0000+ steel wool brought the figure of the Bubinga out very nicely.
The sole of the plane was flat straight out of the box and required no further work.
Adjustment mechanisms all work flawlessly.
At the ridiculous price of R1,999.90 inc VAT, this Bailey pattern #1 from Luban is incredibly value and performs beautifully.
I recommend this plane without reservation as a small standard angle smoothing plane and it will also look great in your tool cabinet!

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  • I bought this plane for myself and a Luban 60 1/2 block for my son in law.
    Although functional, the No1 was finished to a way lower standard than the 60 1/2, almost as if they were produced at different factories
    The leading edge of the chip breaker needed a total rework to get rid of course grinding marks, the blade itself honed easily to a fine edge
    The blade and chip breaker sides were and remain extremely rough, not important but in comparison to the 60 1/2 not pretty
    I bought the No. 1 to continue my testing/experimenting of extremely short planes with extremely high blade angles to deal with localized bad grain in place of scraping, this plane I prepared with a 20 (twenty) degree back bevel….works extremely well when finely adjusted on the worst grains
    I also have Lie Nielsen two Model Makers planes hone at 50 and 90 degrees respectively for the same purpose but even smaller areas, also work great

    Manuel on

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