Irwin Record 04 2in Smoothing Plane archive

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Matt Long gets his hands on this workhorse for the joiner


A few issues ago I tested the Irwin Record jointer, and found it to be a good plane for the money, but thought it could do with a bit of tweaking.

We've also got the marque's smoother plane in the Pocket Workshop, so as I've been using it for a while now, I thought it time to give it a proper review and tell you if it is as good as the jointer.

As with all new planes, first off, it needed tuning and sharpening.

When flatting the sole, the results weren't too bad.

After a few rubs, you could see high spots around the outside of the casting, but these were not too high, and after half an hour, I had the thing perfectly flat.

I wish the same could be said about the blade. Now, the blade in the jointer needed quite a bit of work, and this blade needed even more.

After a good half an hour of flatting it still wasn't up to scratch. I didn't have the time for a full flatting off of this blade, so replaced it with one from an older smoother that I knew had worked well when used in my Pocket Workshop.

This was handy, as it meant I could test the rest of the plane fairly.

As expected, with a nice flat blade, the plane worked really well.

The knob tightener for the cap iron and nice smooth depth of cut screw knob allowed me to set up the plane very nicely, and it worked very well, even on a bit of hardwood like the sycamore seen in the picture above.

The verdict

This smoother is great value, and you can pick one up for an absolute song on the internet.

The blade, particularly, needs a lot of work, but the body casting is basically good. Given that the blade on this plane needed quite a lot of work, you can't go wrong for the price.

Woodworkers Institute

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Matt Long , Irwin Record 04 2in Smoothing Plane

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At A Glance

1. Tungsten vanadium blade
2. Hardwood handle and knob
3. Cast iron base frog and lever cap
4. Brass adjusting nut

The Numbers

Cutter size: 2in
Length: 9 3/4in
Boxed weight: 1.97kg
Price: £52 inc. VAT

Pros & Cons

Great price
Blade needs a lot of tuning

5 Star Rating

Value for money: 4/5
Performance: 4/5
Build quality: 3/5