Hand made Plane #1: Getting started

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Blog entry by GaryK posted 02-10-2008 11:46 PM 11497 reads 20 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Hand made Plane series Part 2: Finishing it up! »

First of all let me say that this is the first hand plane I have ever made. I looked at some plans to get the
general idea, but basically I am making it up as I go. There are things I did wrong but I will be able to fix them.

I saw this type of sole on some planes in magazines and always wondered how they did it.
It took me a while but I figured it out. Simple once you know how.

I got ahead of myself didn’t get started taking pictures until later so I kind of went back over some things
for the pictures.

I started with a 1 1/2” hock plane blade and chip breaker. I added 1/4” to each side to make my plane 2”

I got started by basically making a long box joint on the router table. Not having done this before I started
with en extra wide piece of Sapele and Cumaru. I just moved the fence 1/4” at a time and alternated
between the two pieces of wood.

Then I took a 2” wide strip of thin plywood and layed it across the pattern until I fould an angle I liked and
then marked it. Using my new bevel gauge I transfered it to a piece of plywood to make a jig for the table
saw. You can see it in the third picture.

When you cut them make sure that the box joint is facing up on one piece when you cut it and facing down
for the other. Otherwise they won’t interlock at the same angle. Then I set my rip fence to 2” and cut them
to width with the freshly side against the fence.

Here is where I made my first mistake. Well, not a mistake but a lack of foresight. To get the sapele piece
to line up, after I cut the throat for the blade, it has to be cut in exactly the right place. For example if
I were to move the pieces a little closer together they would slide in their grooves and not be aligned anymore.

Look at the picture below to get the idea.

It was at this point I figured that I would use maple for the sides. One reason is that the maple will contrast
with the sole to show off the joint better. So back to the router table to cut another piece. Remembering
to cut it with the same box joint facing up like the sapele.

I cut many strips because the groove starts at different places

Just test fitting the iron.

This is when I decided to just eliminate the grooves on the middle all together leaving a gap centered about
1/16” wider then that the iron. It just solves all kinds of problems that make my head hurt just thinking
about it. My router table still have the bit set to the correct height, so it was easy.

A complete view.

Then I just cut off the grooves off the sapele. Just test fitting them below. The face for the iron is 45
degrees wnile the other is 65 degrees. At this point I cut the groove for clearence for the iron screw.

To make sure the I got a good clean surface I used acetone to clean the cumaru. Then glued it in place.


To be continued…

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

15 comments so far

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 4983 days

#1 posted 02-11-2008 12:39 AM

Thanks for this Gary. Too late for me to take all this in; I’m just off to bed. Thanks for taking the time to blog it and for our little chat this evening – much appreciated!

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5103 days

#2 posted 02-11-2008 01:01 AM

Gary, you always seem to take the plunge on projects in the back of my mind.
This one is a delight!


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 5079 days

#3 posted 02-11-2008 01:38 AM

This ones going to take a bit to digest…I get the long box joints at angles part…but I’m not sure I have it all yet.

So the Sapele, is flat/flush with the sole, and it’s only the maple that fits into the finger jointrs?

I think I need to see the plane again…cause I can’t recall what the front looked like.

Let me go check it out…ahh, it’s just the maple…

How did you open up the mouth?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 4878 days

#4 posted 02-11-2008 03:01 AM

Looks really good so far Gary. I can’t wait to see the finished plane! I’ve toyed with the idea of making my own planes down the road, but it’ll be a while. Still, I have to add this one to my favorites just to refer back to it later :)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5044 days

#5 posted 02-11-2008 03:02 AM

I’m with Dorje, it seems pretty complicated but interesting. I think I’ll need to see more to understand. But, it looks like you are having lots of fun.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 4900 days

#6 posted 02-11-2008 05:00 AM

I learn so much from your projects, keeping my eyes out for the next episode.

-- Thuan

View Karson's profile


35273 posts in 5482 days

#7 posted 02-11-2008 05:03 AM

Gary great blog. I guess I following along like everyone else. it will be great to follow.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5176 days

#8 posted 02-11-2008 06:28 AM

I get it now… I had no idea that was how the sole was joined to the body. Thanks for the tutorial.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5148 days

#9 posted 02-11-2008 06:55 AM

Gary your projects and blogs are always interesting, this one is no exception.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4897 days

#10 posted 02-11-2008 07:00 AM


I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at a plane made out of metal or wood and asked my self “how in the he.. do you get that dovetail on the bottom”. Seems to defy all physical law. Although these are not dovetails, now I see how it is done. Elegance is everything!

Thanks for the insight!

-- Scott - Chico California

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4956 days

#11 posted 02-11-2008 02:29 PM

Great job Gary. I’ll be following this one.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6874 posts in 5061 days

#12 posted 02-11-2008 04:43 PM

Great blog Gary


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View sharad's profile


1119 posts in 4886 days

#13 posted 02-11-2008 04:47 PM

It is beyond my comprehension, wonderful.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 4933 days

#14 posted 02-12-2008 03:59 AM

Pretty complex stuff there Gary but great result.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 3922 days

#15 posted 12-28-2010 08:50 AM

Im along for the ride. I cant wait for the finish.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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