shop made tools #1: Shop made Krenov inspired smoothing plane

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Blog entry by Don W posted 08-01-2011 01:47 AM 7139 reads 13 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of shop made tools series Part 2: Panel Raising Plane. »

A few months ago I found the 1975 version of “The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking James Krenov” at a flee market. It was well worth the $5 I paid for it. I think its well worth the read. One of the chapters explained how to make a plane that I found intriguing. I have wanted to make a plane for a while, and this chapter just added fuel to the fire.

The Kenov book probably isn’t the perfect book for making your first plane though. I really liked the planes in the book, but it was’t real deep with detail. Luckily I have also read “Making and Mastering Wood Planes” by David Finck. Its the perfect companion.

I decided to use a piece of white oak. I just did some work on my table saw, and to test it had cut these blocks out of a large piece of firewood. I used wenge for the cross pins, and ash for the wedge.

Next was to decide what blade to use. I picked through the pile I had and came up with a 2” Millers Falls blade and an older cap.

I chose this one because it needs to be cut, and since this was stamped wrong, I would be cutting off the mis-stamped part anyhow.

I used the power hack saw to cut the blade and cap to about 4”.

Into the evapo-rust, then back to the wood work.

I decided to make the plane about 7” long. As James Krenov suggested, I made it 2 1/2” high.

Next I cut the groove for the cap bolt. David Finck shows how to create a jig for the process. I decided to just use the router with the fence.

James Krenov didn’t describe how to make the cross pin. David Finck has a good description however. I followed his advice with some modifications.I used the radial arm saw to rough out the ends instead of the table saw as David Finck recommended. I thought it was quicker and I didn’t need to make the jig. I believe the results would be the same. Neither book gave me a dimension of the pin. I made it 3/4×3/4.

I made the jig to cut the pins with a plug cutter. I used a drill bit to make sure it was lined up properly, and cut as directed. Then I finished the cut and cleaned it up with a knife.

Then it was off to the belt sander to shape it.

I didn’t go through the process of making the alignment pins. I marked the pieces as I laid it out and took the time and glued it up.

After putting it together and testing it, I noticed that there wasn’t enough room for the shavings to come out. I’m not sure what happened, I just knew I had to fix it. After a bit of contemplation, I grabbed a sharp chisel.

Now lets test it again.

Here it is all finished. I used BLO (boiled linseed oil). The wedge got a coat of Danish oil first. I’ve found the Danish oil makes the grain of Ash “pop” a little more.

And check out the project.

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

14 comments so far

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4522 days

#1 posted 08-01-2011 02:36 AM

nice work, and thanks for taking the time to detail the process. I recently made one of these but didnt follow a plan. I used a 3/8” dowel for the pin. do you know why your design called for a squared cross section?

View Don W's profile

Don W

19993 posts in 3625 days

#2 posted 08-01-2011 02:48 AM

AaonK, I think its square to hold the wedge better. It was rounded on all sides except for the back side toward the wedge. This is just my thought. Both books had a similar style though.

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

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5155 days

#3 posted 08-01-2011 02:51 AM

Very nice Don. Have you tried it out?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Don W's profile

Don W

19993 posts in 3625 days

#4 posted 08-01-2011 02:55 AM

Wayne, I did try it. If you look at the piece of wood, I show the roughness. I smoothed it, and though I took a picture after. It didn’t come out perfect, those knots are hard, but it came out pretty good. Maybe I can get some shots this week.

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

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3712 days

#5 posted 08-01-2011 03:06 PM

Great job and this little guy. Those books are a great pair, Krenov for why, Finck for how.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Don W's profile

Don W

19993 posts in 3625 days

#6 posted 08-02-2011 02:07 AM

Here is some more pictures;

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

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4346 days

#7 posted 08-02-2011 02:45 AM

very nice work!

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View DonnyBahama's profile


215 posts in 3589 days

#8 posted 08-02-2011 10:02 AM

Very nic job! Great photodocumentation – thank you!

-- Founding member of the (un)Official LumberJock's Frugal Woodworking Society -

View brazjuca's profile


54 posts in 3628 days

#9 posted 08-02-2011 11:51 PM

very good work congratulations, wonderful.

-- Brazjuca guarapari Brasil. All worth it when the soul is not small. (Fernando Pessoa)

View mafe's profile


13113 posts in 4147 days

#10 posted 08-03-2011 03:43 PM

Exelent blog.
Congrat on the build, that makes you able to create tools also as well as using them.
Best thoughts,

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

View Brit's profile


8312 posts in 3900 days

#11 posted 08-07-2011 06:11 PM

Nice job Don!

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View CTgator's profile


11 posts in 3739 days

#12 posted 09-05-2011 08:40 AM

Sweet! I am getting ready to glue mine up on Tuesday!

View tbone74's profile


65 posts in 3543 days

#13 posted 12-20-2011 06:06 AM

Great blog and wonderful little plane. I was always afraid of making the pin. Now with your pics it looks alot easier than I thought! I will have to try making one of these soon. May I ask what angle did you cut the bed?

-- Tony

View Don W's profile

Don W

19993 posts in 3625 days

#14 posted 12-20-2011 01:39 PM

Tony, this is at the typical 45 degrees

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

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