Making a toted coffin smoother

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Wally331 posted 06-06-2014 12:26 AM 6976 reads 15 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pics will be on in a few min- will edit when I’ve got em all, hang in there ;)

After making my small cherry smoother which worked great, I decided I wanted to up my game and build a more traditional styled plane. I also wanted it to be toted and have a harder wood for the sole of the plane.

I chose to use cherry again because it’s what I had and it is very beautiful. For the sole I chose purpleheart- mostly because its what I had, but its also extremely hard and it is actually quite a nice accent to cherry. The tote is bubinga but any reasonable wood works. I prefer a darker wood to hide staining if I am working with metal or whatever.

I drew up some simple plans using my other smoother as a reference just to get the proportions right and so I could make a 1:1 template for the handle. Plus I’ll have some shop art when I’m done ;)

The core of the plane is constructed just like a krenov plane, however instead of a crosspin and wedge, I glued on cheeks to make abutments like in a traditional style plane. It is quite a lot easier to build this way ( rather then chopping it from a solid block) and no special tools are required. I think that the abutments look more classy then a crosspin, and Larry Williams think they hold the wedge and blade better.

For this plane I started with the tote and then moved on to the body. Using my plans I cut the outer shape out on the bandsaw, and finished the middle up with a drill press and coping saw. After that I routed the edges with a .5 in. round-over. Some rasps and sandpaper did a fine job of further rounding and smoothing. I find the easiest way to work on totes is to clamp them in a handscrew, and clamp the handscrew in a vise. You can get much better angles and the work is at a much much better height.

So once I had the body glued up with about a 3/8 mouth due to the thick blade I will be using, I glued on the purpleheart sole. Using the bed to reference my chisel I chopped out the mouth and adjusted the wear angle.

After that you cut out the razee for the tote, and give the sides their coffin profile. A spokeshave and sandpaper make quick work of smoothing the bandsaw cuts

Next its chopping the mortise for the tote, and for the chipbreaker screw. The mortises went very quick with my new narex mortising chisels- so much more power then a bevel edge. With a little paring I managed to get a fairly tight fit.

Use the scrap cutoff from the handle to help you glue the tote in.

Making the wedge is pretty standard, just like in a krenov style other then you carve out the area in the middle for the chips to flow easier.

I put the blade and wedge in the plane aswell as a piece of paper. I used the top of the wedge to scribe the paper for the right angle for the cheeks. Cut the cheeks out of the waste from the bed and glue them in. I gave the wedge a few light taps once the clamps were on so that they fit perfectly. You can’t possibly screw up the angle this way. I’ve always had trouble fitting the wedge for traditional style planes but no more!

Plane the cheeks flush, and then pare them back towards the front of the plane so it forms a sort of trapezoid. This gives you more room to pull shavings out- and helps to prevent jamming of the plane.

Now all that’s left is to give the plane some nice chamfers and throw on some finish. The chamfers on the cheeks are called the eyes. These are a real nice detail and make it a lot more comfortable. For a finish I simple used tung oil. It really makes the bubinga pop, the cherry turned out quite nice too! I figure I will keep throwing on layers of it over the years. I figure that is what the old timers used and I see no reason to end that trend. It is a traditional style after all…

Final touches are making sure the sole is flat and give it plenty of wax. You may have to true up the bed with a mill file after a few week depending on humidity, but as long as you used a fairly dry wood you should be okay. With a sharp blade these plane like no other, and leave a surface to prove it.

Thanks for reading!

14 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

19748 posts in 3480 days

#1 posted 06-06-2014 12:48 AM

Wally,,, DO have some talent. That is gorgeous.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3511 days

#2 posted 06-06-2014 12:53 AM

Sweet looking plane.

View Don Broussard's profile (online now)

Don Broussard

3960 posts in 3164 days

#3 posted 06-06-2014 01:38 AM

I would have thought that the coffin smoother was too small to have a tote, but I see that I would have been wrong. I like the curve on the back end, where the tote is—looks very sharp! Well done, Wally!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1934 posts in 2882 days

#4 posted 06-06-2014 03:15 AM

That is one beautiful plane! Really good blog and thank you for sharing

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3398 days

#5 posted 06-06-2014 03:35 AM

Damn nice work. Thanks for including us for the ride.

-- Brian Timmons -

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1349 posts in 2626 days

#6 posted 06-06-2014 07:45 AM

Mmmmmm lovely looking!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3693 days

#7 posted 06-06-2014 09:40 AM

Lovely work Wally, and great shavings at the end too !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 3898 days

#8 posted 06-06-2014 02:35 PM

Beautiful work! Also, it never dawned on me that one could put in the cheeks by addition rather than subtraction. Brilliant!

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View JayT's profile


6414 posts in 3124 days

#9 posted 06-06-2014 02:51 PM

Beautifully done, young sir.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

669 posts in 3114 days

#10 posted 06-06-2014 04:24 PM

Beautiful work. Must be a joy to use. Thanks for photo progression!

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View Slyy's profile


2840 posts in 2568 days

#11 posted 06-06-2014 04:28 PM

Strong work Wally, as with everything else you do!

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 3916 days

#12 posted 06-07-2014 09:46 PM

Very nice piece

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Wally331's profile


350 posts in 2937 days

#13 posted 06-13-2014 07:56 PM

Thanks for the kind comments everyone! I have really come to appreciate the feel of woodies lately. Can’t wait to make some more.

View mafe's profile


12650 posts in 4002 days

#14 posted 08-17-2014 01:12 PM

Wonderful I love it.
Good thinking in combining the traditional and the Krenov way.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics