Manufactured in Switzerland, RALI handplanes dominate the market in Europe.
Here in Australia they have a somewhat lacklustre image, viewed by some as
a DIY-type gimmick. This is largely due to RALI’s unique European styling
that most woodworkers are unfamiliar with along with its long-time absence
from the Australian market.
What makes Rali Unique?
When looking at RALI, you need to consider the purpose of the plane, including
the plane’s construction and design features. RALI planes are constructed
using toughened anodised steel. This offers two benefits: first, it provides
ductile strength for durability and long-life use, and second, it means that
these planes are extremely corrosion resistant. The sturdiness of these planes
is legendary. If dropped, they will resist breaking and warping. In fact,
they to actually tend to bounce a little. They are also extremely comfortable
to hold, especially for those with larger hands.
Yet the biggest advantage of RALI planes is also the biggest source of contention
about them – their unique blade system. The simple yet effective blade
setting and change on RALI planes is what definitely sets these tools apart
from any of their counterparts. Within 10 seconds a razor sharp blade can be
removed, changed, reset and be used again.
RALI offer a range of planes to suit a variety of applications.
The Jack (225mm long 60mm wide with a 48mm blade) with chip breaker adjustment
is a general all-rounder that can aptly be called a ‘Jack of all trades’.
RALI block planes (120mm long 55mm wide 48mmm blade) are most suited to small-scale
stock removal, usually when fitting cupboards drawers and other minor adjustments
to oversized stock.
RALI’s rebate plane (130mm long 30mm wide with a 31mm blade) is - as
the title states - for removing material up to a shoulder. This is made simple
with a RALI fence attachment.
RALI’s apron plane (115mm long 35mm wide with a 31mm blade) is perfect
for trimming timber and laminates. It also incorporates a spare blade clip.
RALI’s PRO series offers an extended range including all the planes
mentioned previously except the Apron Plane. The Pro series all have laminated
steel soles giving the weight more often sought when dealing with denser, ‘crankier’ timbers.
The PRO Rebate, Large Rebate and Bullnose planes all have attractive nickel
plating which also provides extreme resistance to corrosion. In addition to
the regular style planes, the glue trimmer is a featured plane designed with
panel glue lines in mind. This plane has a centre recess running the length
of the plane with a blade that can extend to the surface, leaving a perfect
Not Just Another Hand Plane
Today’s market offers a huge selection of handplanes from different
manufacturers. These planes offer a wide variety of features and qualities
to suit practically any application, from general woodwork and smoothing of
large tabletops down to small, specialised instrument making planes for even
the most minute applications.
There is a plane to suit every user, from the most basic economy planes to
cover general requirements, up to the most unusual collector-style limited
production planes. You’ll find planes made from iron, steel, brass, bronze,
timber (multiple species available) – and probably in any combination
of the previous.
Consider RALI when you weigh up all the factors – the type of work
you hope to do, how will you sharpen your tools, how often your planes will
be used, how time affects your work and - last but not least - the price
you’re willing to pay for your planing requirements.
RALI will meet the needs of many who like too keep their expenditure for planes
to a minimum, and who don’t want to outlay $120+ on sharpening on a regular
basis. RALI’s razor sharp blades not only provide very reasonable durability,
they are simply to set up, requiring none of the fiddly lateral adjustment
that traditional hand planes do.
Practical Use on the Job Site
For two months a couple of builders took one of our block planes to their
worksite. They’d previously overlooked the RALI when comparing to other
traditional hand plane types, but when they actually used it they were amazed
at the planes’ light
weight and consistent performance. They found that its size is handy for small
scale surfacing but they found it especially useful for chamfering and rounding
They found that the features are well thought out - the blade adjustment lever
doesn’t protrude during use and won’t get entangled with anything
in the toolbox.
When it came to holding and using this plane they were both surprised that
has a natural feel in the hand that makes it comfortable to work with. The
RALI disposable blade, which the range is based around is a high quality manufactured
blade made of surgical grade steel and tungsten that is made specifically for
the RALI tools.
The blade that came with the plane lasted the entire period during which the
planes were in use. A single blade lasting for such a period has easily paid
for itself by saving time required for sharpening as well as the equipment
RALI is often overlooked due to is strange appearance. You may also have misconceptions
about its durability, reliability and accuracy, however each tool has its home
and RALI has the quality and performance capabilities to please many woodworkers.
RALI will save you money, time and frustration with clean, smooth results.
Come in to your nearest Carba-Tec and have a look for yourself.