Designed and manufactured in Switzerland by SAMVAZ, RALI planes are plastic and metal hybrid planes designed with replaceable blades – no sharpening required. However prevalent these planes are in Europe, they have never prospered well in North America. Their advertising literature focuses on five key points:
- No sharpening – Surgical steel disposable/reversible blades
- Easy settings – Red lever for instant depth adjustment of the blade
- No wasted time – Rough and finishing without changing blades
- Blade always 90° to sole – Blade holder actioned by eccentric cam
- Modern Swiss made design – Ergonomically designed in indestructible man made material
The plane soles are made of laminated steel, which makes it completely flat and somewhat indestructible, and supposedly able to withstand being dropped on the floor. The planes get good reviews by those who use them, but little is written about them. A more recent model has morphed from the horned-plane design, to a more British-style shape – the RALI 260L. Sleek, black, reminds me of the sort of plane that Darth Vader would use if his hobby was woodworking.
The RALI 260L is sold in Canada by TersaKnives Inc. for $159.50. The question of course is why bother, when you can by a beautiful Veritas #4 Smoothing plane for $199.00. Sure its blade will need sharpening, but isn’t that part of the craft. The RALI planes certainly exude Swiss-made precision. They are well designed and ideally suited to novice woodworkers, or in situations where the plane has to take some abuse. SAMVAZ also makes the RALI Shark – a series of chisels with disposable blades. An overview of the RALI plane features is shown below.