Clay, Application to Refinement


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Stanley Surform Plane

The Stanley Surform plane is the perfect little plane for shaping in wheel arch lips, "A" pillars and cant rails on full size clay models. It is equally at home in sketching in the basic shapes on scale models. Therefore the Surform plane is a must for any sculptors toolbox.

This plane is readily available through hardware stores such as Home Depot, Lowes and B&Q (UK)


The body shape of the plane is built to handle more robust jobs than just shaping clay. For the needs of clay modeling it is beneficial to refine the plane by reducing the side profile to enhance performance. This will help to release the clay shavings and prevent it from clogging as often.



Stanley surform plane.


As you can see from the photograph on the left, the main body is high and doesn't  leave much room for the clay to escape. The clay will easily clog up under the front and under the handle of the plane body.


The photograph on the right shows the rough outline of where the plane needs to be cut to reduce the overall bulk, without compromising rigidity.

Stanley surform plane marked out ready for modification.


Stanley surform plane being modified.

The basic shape was cut out with a hacksaw and then filed to obtain a clean form that is equal on both sides.


You will notice that there is a bow to the side rails. This was done intentionally so as to maintain strength along the length of the plane.


When it is in use, it is quite normal to tap the plane on the surface plate or the modeling table to remove the clay shavings. The bowed side rails prevent the sole of the plane from distorting over time.


The handle was also drilled and filed to provide easy clay removal.



Modification of the Stanley surform plane complete.


The Stanley Surform plane above, has been filed to the required shape and all the edges de-burred. As you can see it has been transformed from a heavy bodied plane to a sleek, ready to do business plane.


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