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At Axminster we aim to stay ‘ahead of the curve’, keep sharp, anticipate market trends and adopt a little ‘blue sky thinking’. This time we seem to have carved a vapour trail across it.

We recently introduced a new range of Rider bench planes, from a No.4 up to the biggest, a No.7. Each is presented in a rather smart, black, foam lined box, complete with a sock, instruction booklet and spare blade. We have high expectations that this plane will do rather well, so we’ve had an ‘idea shower’ and thought we’d run a new one ‘up the flagpole’… And here it is, the brand spanking new Rider Reversa.

It’s essentially designed to correct or reverse those inevitable mistakes which occur when an ordinary plane blade digs in and leaves horrendous tear-out or if the grain becomes completely mangled because you’ve planed the piece of wood the wrong way.

How? By simply re-gluing the offending material back onto the surface as the plane is pulled backwards or moved in reverse.

I should explain in a little more detail how it works as it’s a bit of a technical marvel. Firstly, there’s a hopper at the front end which contains the raw material: the shavings that have to be re-glued to the wood. It’s not just any plain old hopper as a lot of looking ‘under the bonnet’ had to be done, together with a vast amount of research. We found that the most suitable material is super-strong, ultra-lightweight titanium. It was also cheap as we found it in an odd corner of the warehouse.

As it’s used, the Reversa’s track is laser guided and it’s not just any old laser, but one we developed, after cascading all relevant information past those clever people at the Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border. There’s enough high powered, concentrated energy in the beam to vaporise chocolate.

Beneath the circular, cast titanium cover with the natty decals lies the heart of the beast. Removing it reveals a heated roller which squishes the material back onto the wood, but the really clever part is how it’s heated.

You’ll note that there’s no sign of an on/off switch, neither is there anything as vulgar as a mere 18V Li-ion battery. The Reversa uses a special reactor…very special, the AxRac!

Rob Stoakley puts the new Rider Reversa through its paces
Rob Stoakley puts the new Rider Reversa through its paces

We required a heat source that could be left on permanently, but never overheated and which was always at the correct Goldilocks temperature, so we had to touch base offline with Professor Stephen Hawking who confirmed, over a couple of pints of lager, a packet of crisps and a pickled egg down at the Slug & Lettuce one Friday night after work, that it was actually quite easy to create a miniature Black Hole, provided that it was contained within a plasma toroid. It also had to be prevented from runaway by a delicate graphene/dilithium crystal matrix, which is one reason why the Reversa can never be turned upside down. The other reason is that all the wood will fall out of the hopper.

Thanks to the genius of the Professor, our product development engineers managed to sneak into the BTS (Beyond Top Secret) R&D AxLab one Saturday morning and cobble something together before lunch time.

The adhesive is also special – Titebond Green, developed specifically for us in the USA by Franklin Fairy International as it’s the only glue able to withstand the extremes of heat and pressure at the roller.

The final part of this ingenious hand plane is the shavings cutter, located just above the rear tote. This is no bit of ordinary, common or garden steel. Like the glue, it’s made to withstand the enormously high temperatures and pressures encountered at the roller. Thanks to the dedication of the Axminster Engineering Dept (AxEng), they were able to develop the first particle steel in Devon. We call it Axminster Particle (steel) or AP-O1.

So there you have it, the new Rider Reversa.

As a pointy eared personage would have dryly exclaimed: “It’s a plane Jim, but not as we know it.” Live long and prosper.

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