Slow Days at the Shop. #8: My Version of the Chisel Plane

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by fatman51 posted 04-24-2016 08:13 AM 1994 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Mr Customer's Reading Table. Part 8 of Slow Days at the Shop. series Part 9: Fixing my Low $ Stanley Surform. »

Admittedly, Tow Mater chairs and well executed portable work benches are both more interesting and practical than my fancy decoration but I am always happy when I build a tool that is received well by my woodworking peers.

This chisel plane project is particularly special to me because where I have had several occasions to want one, I have never been willing to purchase one, nor had it occurred to make one until I saw that several other Lumberjocks have made their own and done a nice job of it. (see: , , , , , , ) These are all good examples of shop-made edged trimming, flush trimming, planes that I have run accross here. Of course, I do a lot of knot and end grain inlay so I wanted my chisel plane to have some heft to it and a soundly bedded cutting edge, which is why I made it out of ipe and brass.

The tool is 1-3/4 inches wide, 7-1/8 inches long and weighs 28 ounces, making it heavier than the Veritus and small Wood River models but lighter than the Stanley #97, Lie Nielsen, and the large Wood River models. This tool should have enough mass, however, to do the work I made it for, cleaning inlays, removing excess dry glue, planing inside corners or edges where necessary, resting conspicuously in the background with one of my Veritus back saws when I take pictures of projects in my shop, and holding stacks of paper in place. I am not joking, look for the thing to show up in every thing I post from now on.

I do not have pictures of every step but I took enough photos to tell the story of the making of this edge plane.

The first thing I did was cut the body out out of ipe. I cut the block to size on the table saw, laid out my 12 degree angle, cut it on the band saw, and smoothed it on the disc sander. Next I drilled the iron adjustment hole in the drill press before clamping the block in the Zyliss vice to cut out the mortise for the top brass nose piece inlay with my gent-saw.

Next, I clamped my cordless portaband into the Zyliss and cut the brass top nose piece and the rear pomel (I still have not figured out what to call the thing)

I fit the top or “bed” nosepiece, bedded it to the body with PL-200 construction adhesive and secured it with 4 6-32 hardened flat headed machine screws, sanding both surfaces flush on the disc sander. I drilled the mounting holes for the brass pommel with a 7/32 drill and threaded the ipe to accept 1/4-20 stainless steel socket headed cap screws. I did not bed the pommel with PL-200, but it is well secured with the two bolts.

I salvaged a trashed, US made, iron from a parts plane and made a a cap Iron out of a chunk of 1/4×2 aluminum bar. I used a hammer and an ironworker’s vice to put the required camber into the cap iron. I used a thin, 1/2 inch, stainless steel washer between the bronze knob and the aluminum cap iron to prevent digging and slipping when turning the knob to secure the iron to the bed.

Next, it was time to turn my attention to remachining the big bronze adjustment knob I found to fit my purpose. I do not have the capacity to properly machine metal in my woodshop, but my eldest brother has a well equipped metal shop. I dropped by and he chucked the thing up in his lathe.

I do not have as many pictures of the next steps as I should but I will try to explain the process. I cut a 1/8 by 2×7-1/4 inch brass strip to use for the sole of the plane. I used 12 flat head machine screws to attach this securely to the body of the plane. To do this, I clamped the sole in place, marked and drilled the twelve holes with a 1/8 inch drill. Removing the sole, I tapped each hole in the sole for an 8-32 thread. I enlarged each of these holes in the body with a 3/16 drill and counter sunk the holes to allow the flat heads to turn in flush with the surface. I drilled the holes in the bed of the plane square with the 12 degree bed angle so that the machine screw heads there would seat flush and tapped the holes in the sole accordingly. When I finished with all of this, I bedded the sole with pl-200, tightening the screws securely and repeatedly until the sole was seated permanently before sanding the bed and sole flush on the disc sander. Once this was done I was ready to finish sand the body and brass before drilling and tapping the hole for the knob.

I should have taken this step prior to bedding the sole. Had I done so, I would not have a round hole in the sole of my plane. I can fix this by threading a thin piece of 1/2-20 threaded brass rod into the hole with lock tight and sanding it smooth, but I do not know that this is necessary. Additionally, this hole is slightly off center because I did not clamp the body of the plane properly to the drill press table when I drilled the hole. This, too, is not a problem, but it is imperfect. This imperfection carries through to the top of the plane, causing the slot in the iron to be slightly off center and the hole in the cap Iron had to be enlarged so it could be centered to compensate. It is not off much but this will detract from the value of the plane someday when some guy buys it at my estate sale and wants to turn it in his flea market booth. Factoring in inflation, the off center hole in the sole is going to cost some flea market vendor ten or twenty bucks all because I was in a hurry and skipped two steps. We should all feel bad for him and I am sure that this will be weighing on my conscious when God judges me..

Thank you for seeing this through with me and I am looking forward to using this plane for a great many years before the auctioneer calls out my eulogy.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

5 comments so far

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2971 posts in 2553 days

#1 posted 04-24-2016 07:11 PM

Ahhh. Four screws. Very good, John.

-- Mark

View fatman51's profile


335 posts in 3327 days

#2 posted 04-24-2016 07:35 PM

16 flat head machine screws total to secure the nose and sole. 2 cap screws to secure the pommel. Good thing they are all in there, otherwise the thing might have weighed 27.473 ounces or something, instead of an even 28 oz

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4494 days

#3 posted 04-25-2016 02:22 AM

Great build, thank you for sharing. Also, love the photo process

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

View fatman51's profile


335 posts in 3327 days

#4 posted 04-25-2016 04:18 AM

Thanks Norman and you are welcome. It was an enjoyable project, which made it a fun blog to put together.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

View Matt Hegedus's profile

Matt Hegedus

147 posts in 2283 days

#5 posted 01-08-2017 01:27 PM

Very nice “combination” chisel plane.

I feel sorry for that future flea market vendor ;) Maybe he could mod it with a disc sander and get the hole centered? (Oh wait that would throw the other screws off center).

I will one day build a similar plane. And I’m pretty sure it won’t be perfect. Thanks

-- From Pittsburgh, PA

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