Rali's revolutionary offering.
By Rob Brown
Photos by Rob Brown
This is a unique block plane. Not only does it look different than the western block plane you’re used to, but it feels different in your hand. It’s manufactured unconventionally, too. Not surprisingly, the 105 Evolution N has a number of critical benefits, so don’t think for a second that this block plane isn’t for you.
Though the plane I reviewed had anti-corrosion nickel sides, Rali has another offering (for $10 less) with anti-corrosion blackened steel sides.
I’d say the biggest problem with most woodworkers’ block planes is that they’re not sharp enough to work properly. I’m not saying the Rali 105 Evolution N will never get dull, but rather than needing to take time to sharpen it, the blade can simply be rotated for a new razor-sharp cutting edge, and eventually just replaced. For those of us who don’t enjoy the tedious task of honing a blade, this is a massive game changer. The blades are double-sided, and rotating or swapping one takes all of five seconds. When you have only an hour or so to spend in your shop, it’s nice to know part of that time won’t be spent sharpening your block plane. The benefits range far wider than this, though. A carpenter on the jobsite would surely benefit from having a sharp edge on their block plane whenever they reached for it. Okay…sharp.
Depth adjustment is unbelievably simple. So simple, in fact, that it took me 10 minutes to figure it out, as I didn’t believe it was really that simple. Sometimes I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. A handy lever is either pressed downward for a heavier cut, or pulled upward for a lighter cut. And like that, your depth of cut is set. I took very heavy shavings off black cherry, and feathery light shavings off hard maple end grain, stopping for only a few seconds between woods to adjust the depth of cut. All right…sharp and quick.
The replacement blades are available in chrome steel or carbide, so you can select the right option for you. The blades are precisely aligned by a male / female pattern on the blade holder’s surface that mates with cutouts on the blade. This process is foolproof. Well then…sharp, quick and easy.
If sharp, quick and easy are how you’d describe your deepest block plane desires, you may have found your next block plane. And with a small selection of larger hand planes available, all with the same basic features, you might want to consider your entire hand plane lineup.
Rali 105 Evolution N Hand Plane
Tester: Rob Brown