This is a tool that could well interest a few people. After a few years of on-off tool hunting, I’ve only come across a few Preston 2500P router planes and those I have found have tended to stay in my box and not sold on. They are a great tool to have around, but as I say, not easy to find.
A relatively new toolmaking duo from the US, Walke Moore, are now producing a similar plane that looks to be very nicely put together and looks to do the same job.
The 2500 (they dropped the ‘P’ because it’s not an exact copy of the Preston and it’s good to have some differentiation in the naming), is on their website now, priced at $274.00, with the option to add more knobs to the order.
You can choose the Preston or Stanley-style knobs, (although Stanley only made the the ’71’ configuration I believe) and the tool comes as a bronze, machined casting with an O1 steel cutter. The great thing about this style of plane is the enormous variety of uses, due to the different positions you can place the knobs.
It looks to be a well-made tool, although personally I would gripe at cleaning up pale wood because of bronze markings. That’s something that’s always made me shy away from LN bronze tools for the same reason. It seems odd to me that people don’t mind re-planing stock or sanding it, after their high-end, expensive plane has made marks all over it. However, I would say, in it’s defence you can still add a wooden base to the router with built-in screw holes and this was also a common thing to do with the earlier planes.
I’ll stick with my Preston for now, but good to see new makers on the scene. Here are some more pics, courtesy of Walke Moore. Walker Moore also have an Instagram feed, showing more pics and video.
PS. I did once find a nice page showing a chap making his own wooden plane that did the same job. Damned if I can find it now, of course, such is the confusing morass we have built and called the internet. If anyone recalls this, please do comment.