Rounding Plane / Dowel Maker attempt #3: Tool making gone fractal + finishing the blade holder

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Blog entry by llwynog posted 03-04-2012 08:13 AM 11739 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The blade Part 3 of Rounding Plane / Dowel Maker attempt series Part 4: Test run with first prototype »

If I ever succeed in making a usable rounding plane, it will be a tool to be used with a tool to make a tool.
The rounding plane makes a dowel, which is used with a wood die to shape a thread in order to make a clamp such as these

Then it got convoluted when I realized that I needed yet another tool to be able to recess the blade into the blade holder somewhat accurately.
As I do not own a router plane and as I did not wish to use my electric router, my only resort was to make a tool to make a tool to be used with a tool to make a tool.

I did not follow any conscious plan in making this but I am pretty sure I did not invent anything there.

Started by planing a 45 degree bevel on a scrap piece of wood :

I considered re-sawing the whole length close to the line to save some planing but I am glad I did not, it would probably have been longer to saw than to plane. I don’t think it took me even 2 minutes to jack plane the bevel down to this state :

This will serve as both the handle and the blade support.
Next I glued a Baltic birch plywood sole beneath the first part :

While the glue set, I took the opportunity to sharpen a couple of chisels I had bought from ebay as the smaller one would be used in this makeshift router plane.

Finally, I just screwed a simple holder for the chisel and the finished result looked like this :

I can put decent pressure on the chisel (enough to hold it in place during use) but it is just enough friction to let me adjust the blade depth with light hammer touches. Obviously wood screws are not the best hardware to use but it will serve for today and I will probably replace them with bolts at a later time if I happen to use this tool often.

Now for its first try, I used it to rout a wide and shallow groove on the rounding plane’s blade holder :

All in all, it performed decently. I could not take huge bites at a time but that was the plan all along anyway as I needed to check every time against the actual blade. Eventually, I could get to the point where only a saw kerf high section of the blade would to come out of the recess.
(If I had gone too deep, I could always have shimmed my way back to the proper height but the need did not come up)

And here is the finished blade holder :

If someone is interested in making a similar makeshift router plane, I found 2 points which made my life easier :
  • Defining the edges of the dado with my tenon saw. This really helped in not getting tearout (except when I slipped in the first 2 passes)
  • Resting one of my thumbs on the blade below the holder while planing. This significantly reduced chatter and made for smoother a surface. The chisel blade holder is rather high so the blade is not as well supported as it should.

This is it for today. Next post will be about test running this first rounding plane prototype.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bĂȘte mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

3 comments so far

View mafe's profile


12950 posts in 4105 days

#1 posted 03-04-2012 12:08 PM

I think this is a wonderful idea, to make a router plane out of a chisel.
And I love your way to invent your way out of the situation, this is what makes woodworking really fun I think.
Best thoughts,

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

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 4013 days

#2 posted 03-04-2012 01:33 PM

Nice inventive idea. IF I may add, I would cut a groove the width of chisel on the main piece, this will help keep the chisel firmer, you may not have to tighten screws as much. I too would use bolts with a wing nut to hold chisel in place (no need to look for screwdriver to make adjustment)

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View llwynog's profile


288 posts in 3594 days

#3 posted 03-05-2012 12:08 PM

Thank you.
Yes, thumbscrews/wing nuts are a definite upgrades I’ve been thinking of as soon as I proved that the concept was working.
As for the groove, I considered it first but I temporarily dismissed the idea for now as I wanted to keep open the possibility to change for a different chisel or a dedicated blade at a later time.
For the time being, I did not notice any lateral play in use.

All in all, very decent results and fully usable for something that was slapped together in a few minutes.m

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bĂȘte mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

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