Hand Tools Archive

Primus Eliminatus
Response To:
Re: Past game changers.. ()

david weaver

Perfect timing. I've copied some of the comments about the primus adjuster below....the plane that, according to advertisement, has improved on all of Stanley's shortcomings.

"My problem is that the blade keeps going askew after just 1 or 2 passes, gouging one corner into the surface I'm working on"

"I love those planes, but what a pain to resharpen. It's like taking a gun apart."

"There is enough vertical give in the assembly to allow the chromed adjusting knob to raise and lower the blade. The clever trick is that this assembly is always in tension and so there can never be any backlash ie. slack. After a number of turns of the chromed adjusting knob, the tension in the piece of steel attached to the blade needs to be adjusted so as to keep the system in equilibrium."

what an improvement. Never heard an experienced user complain about backlash in planes, but it does sell to beginners as an argument

"This seems like a lot of extra fiddling just to be rid of backlash.

How much of a hassle is it to set up after sharpening a blade?"

A lot. When I had a primus plane, I figured I must just not get something, and that there was a quick release latch somewhere or something that would prevent the fiddling. The adjuster assembly was stamped and felt cheap, too. A no-backlash coke can feeling.

"Indeed. As an engineer I have a higher than average tolerance for complex gadgetry, but that design manages to offend even my sensibilities."

"The only issue for me is keeping the spring from rolling off the bench as you unthread the rear knob and remove the bolt. Oh yeah, and there are two washers buried in there that try to jump off my bench into the dust bin as well.

I have to say that despite their set up troubles, I still reach for the Primus jack because it is quite a joy to work with as a scrub or roughing plane."

I'll bet a real joy would be an inexpensive continental smoother with a wedge.

"Update: I ended up selling the Primus and got the simpler wedged one. Much better!"


Sounds like a real improvement over a stanley. :b I was happy to see mine go, but i got it unused for $75 after seeing gobs of people spend $200 for them and find they could only sell them for $75. I still felt like I must not have gotten something, because there are a couple of ardent fans and everyone else probably also figures that they must not understand the tedious system that is supposed to be easier than stanley (but holds you up dealing with springs and washers, etc, and takes longer to sharpen because of it).

When I first got into this hobby, which wasn't that long ago, people were selling them off in droves, and I read the ad copy and put it away mentally so that I could recall it later. I could never understand why LN and LV brought 80-90% of new price, and the primus planes could hardly be sold, and then at that, unused at half their purchase price. I figured that out quickly. Same with expensive japanese chisels and planes. You'd better like them, because if you didn't buy them used, you'll take a bath when you sell them. I played with a lot of different japanese planes and in the end kept one good one and two beaters. The rest of them cost me a lot of money to try, even when I bought them well (used).

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