In finding a solution to one problem you discover you've created another. The smaller the body, the larger the percentage that the blade represents of the overall weight, this combined with the narrow sole has led to problems in the pull stroke. The weight is so high that there's little encouraging the blade to take a cut. Scaling an idea down always produces problems, and the mouth clearance has been a consistent pain in the rump.
Changes had to be made and I made a thicker version with a wider sole and a low front. This solved the pull stroke problem but then negated the possibility of using it in the skewed manner so many woodworkers favour. Knowing there were other problems, I didn't even bother shaping the handles this time around.
As can be seen above, the sole has been shaped front to back and side to side but with little perceivable benefit. The only change left to try is a front panel with threaded bolts holding the blade in place. The one positive from this is that my faith in the potential of an all hand tool approach is proving well placed.
I've had a few people enquire about buying one of these and I will be selling them at some point in the future but there's no set date. So you'll have to bear with me as I wander somewhat blind through this project.