Review: Red Rose floats – FineWoodworking

Red Rose floats $78 to $84

FLOATS ARE USED TO ADJUST the blade opening when making a wood plane, but they also work great for fine-tuning joinery. They can be sharpened with a file, and are made so adjacent surfaces don’t get touched. Think of truing a tenon cheek without the risk of touching the shoulder. Or removing a whisker of material from a dovetail. You can do these things with other hand tools, but I often find that I can be more judicious with a float.

The floats I’ve used before, mass-produced in Japan, never worked as well as I thought they should. But these hand-crafted models from Red Rose remove the perfect amount of material: not so much that you go past your layout lines, and not so little that the task becomes arduous. Amazingly, they cost just about the same as the mass-produced models.

Handmade floats for wooden planes and more, great for joinery too. File being used on side of tenon.
Great for joinery too. The small cheek floats are excellent for adjusting the fit of dovetails and tenons, taking off a whisker of material without affecting nearby surfaces.

They come in push and pull formats. Push floats allow a more aggressive cut, pull floats a more delicate touch. I can see the value of both for different situations and also to ensure that you are working with the grain.

The ends of the handles can be uncomfortable, but that’s easily solved with a bit of filing.

—Vic Tesolin is a frequent contributor.
Photos: Vic Tesolin
From Fine Woodworking #309

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