Small router plane tutorial blog

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Blog entry by mafe posted 05-01-2011 01:37 AM 49290 reads 95 times favorited 44 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Small router plane tutorial
another of my tool making journeys

I have a Stanley and a Record router plane, but sometimes it would be wonderful with a small router plane, I have been looking at the Veritas small router plane, but thought it could be fun to make my own, so when I purchased some stuff from Lee Valley I also ordered a 9,5 dollar Veritas blade for their small router. This little blade has then been resting in my plane cabinet until I had the right idea for a design, at first I just wanted to scale down an old Scandinavian wood router plane, but decided the handles would be too small once scaled down, so at the end I made a design that held several opportunities.

And it came!
Here are my version of a small router plane.

First some sketching of the ideas on my head, I wanted to keep the base simple, and give the handles the character.

So here we are ready to go.
Drawing, a piece of wood from an old hardwood table (I love recycle), a knurled brass bolt and a threaded insert.
Oh yes and the 9,5 dollar Veritas blade, if this is too expensive you can use a hex key to make your own.
(As you can see on the wood I first thought of using the old wood router shape, but thought this would give me a too small grip ).

Drilling holes for center opening.

Using a file to finish the opening.

Marking for the blade rod hole.

Drilling the hole.

Cutting a slice for the blade to go into, so the blade can be elevated up into the plane and be used from zero to full rod deepness. (Using my homemade mallet and it is a pleasure to use, even with my not so beautiful Bahco chisels, but I do dream of the Ashley Iles chisels.).

Flat on the table.

You can see how it goes up into the plane body.

Drilling for the threaded insert.

Mounting it, while I shake the camera…

Determining the length of the knurled brass bolt.

Cutting it.
This is not really rocket science is it?

Flattening the back.
Christopher Schwartz would be happy…

Basically no reason to do more now!
This is a fully functional router plane.

But time to design and improve.
Cutting the front in angel.

Like this I will have a better view into what I cut.

Now for the sides.
This is done to give a good angel for gripping the handles I will make.
And I think also it fits my design.

Now we are closer to the drawing.

Again we could stop here, but we will continue.

An old hard wood table leg (more recycle).

Cut of two pieces.

Time to spin the lathe (Div you will spin the drill press).

And this is how I like it!

The finish is sand paper grid 120 – 1000 – linseed oil – compound – polish – antique wax.

Sweet yes?

Time for some shaping of the body.

And the same finish as the handles will happen.

Here we are, with that nice body!

I also made a set of small handles, this for two reasons; I wanted to be able to use it in narrow spaces and I had an old dream that I will get back to.

To find the right spot for the handles I put a little nail in the end of a knob, and then cut it so only a little part was sticking out as a marking point.

Then it was just to push when I had the perfect spot, and little marks were left.

Using an awl to mark them deeper for controlling the drilling.
If you only make one set of handles you can use a screw to fix them, but since I now wanted changeable handles I needed to add threaded inserts for the handle mounts.

So I drilled large holes to fit threaded inserts.

And shit happens…
The wood made tear out when I was trying to make a nice edge…

Now mounting the threaded inserts, I used the drill press to hold them straight and then turned the drill around slow by hand.
(As you can see I have made a little tool for this, it’s a threaded rod with a fixed stop).

After they were mounted I used plastic wood to make a nice fix of my tear.
The bolts and tape are so no plastic wood would get into the threaded insert.

Time to drill holes in the handles.

Making a thread in the handles.

Epoxy glue in the hole.

Screw in a bolt, or a piece of threaded rod (I had none in the right size).

Status, now time to clean up the mess from the plastic wood.

Cut of the bolt head.

And the MaFe small router plane is born.



Look how wonderful the knobs turned out, they are such a pleasure to hold.

A place in the wooden planes cabinet.

Ok what happens MaFe?

With the mini handles the plane can be stored and transported in an Altoids box.
Just for the fun of it, and because I wanted to follow the Altoids stream with my version.

Her ready to use, in the palm of my hand.

That’s it!

Link for Veritas small router plane:
Lee Valley:,41182

I hope this could inspire others to make their own router planes, to me this was a fun journey in my tool making world,

Best thoughts,

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

44 comments so far

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 3089 days

#1 posted 05-01-2011 02:15 AM

Too cool Mads. Thanks for the tutorial.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View patron's profile


13649 posts in 3792 days

#2 posted 05-01-2011 02:32 AM

what a wonderful
new life you have mads

and your joy is showing us all the way
to enjoy our own too

i like the planes

you never know
when you might need one
in your journey

like at the eiffel tower
or chasing reindeer
in the north country

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3144 days

#3 posted 05-01-2011 02:36 AM

Outstanding as usual! I love the dual handles. I wouldn’t have thought to taper the body. I really love it.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4170 days

#4 posted 05-01-2011 02:38 AM

Hey, that is a great little tool! I was worried about you cutting those tapers on the table saw in such a small piece of wood. I really like the second set of handles, nice touch. Thank God for the plastic tree which always grows straight and true with no grain to tear out. Nice plane!

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View a1Jim's profile


117689 posts in 4028 days

#5 posted 05-01-2011 02:47 AM

You always do great blogs very well done.

View pickpapa's profile


129 posts in 3111 days

#6 posted 05-01-2011 03:00 AM

I find it facinating your approach to making your own handtools. I do realize your chosen field of education is an asset in such endevors, none-the-less, there is an admirable talent and thought process at work here. I do so enjoy your tutorials and fully intend on putting the lessons given by you to the advantage of and addition to my own tool supply. Thank you for educating me.

-- Chuck.. aka Pickpapa`'`'`'`'`'` The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. Heb. 1:3

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3517 days

#7 posted 05-01-2011 03:47 AM

Mads What a great little plane you have made!! I am amazed at what you can do with just a very few pieces. What may have passed as too small a scrap piece at the cut off bin, you gave it a great twist and now has its own character.


View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3105 days

#8 posted 05-01-2011 03:59 AM

Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been wanting to make a small router for quite some time but I was making the mechanism far to complicated in my head. Seeing the way you did it, I am going to have to make the project happen now.

The Altoids box is a great touch.

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3566 days

#9 posted 05-01-2011 04:06 AM

thank´s for the toturial Mads
its a great picturebook too :-)
you never stop to amaze me

take care

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 3264 days

#10 posted 05-01-2011 04:55 AM

Wow. Well done. Thanks for sharing!

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 4012 days

#11 posted 05-01-2011 05:19 AM

If you cut the front and side tapers with a table saw as shown, you are one lucky man if you still have all your fingers.

-- Joe

View FreddyS's profile


212 posts in 3224 days

#12 posted 05-01-2011 06:08 AM

Hey mafe, when are you going to open a boutique tools shop? As usual from you, another great work with lots of personality :)

By the way, this blade looks a lot like your drawer lock chisel, I guess you wanted to spend the 9.50 anyway, right?

Thanks for all the inspiration!

-- Learning one thing at a time

View sras's profile


5135 posts in 3580 days

#13 posted 05-01-2011 06:14 AM

Excellent tutorial! Lots of pictures makes it easy to follow. Now I’m thinking I might need one of these…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Harry_Ch's profile


63 posts in 3126 days

#14 posted 05-01-2011 07:33 AM

Great tool idea, mafe. Been looking to get one but the price has been the big stinker for me. The tutorial is clear and easy to follow. What I like most is that I don’t have to break out the whole shops to build it. Thanks.

-- Deeds not Words.

View mafe's profile


12094 posts in 3540 days

#15 posted 05-01-2011 12:18 PM

Hi guys,
What a wonderful bunch of comments to find here today.
Harry, so happy you think the tutorial is easy to follow, hope that it will inspire you to do one, and post it after.
sras, yes you just might need that! I know that feeling way too well.
Freddy, I do this for me, and then for others to follow it’s democraticwoodworking as I call it. Yes the drawerlock chisel I made my self. Yes I thought the 9,5 dolar was a fair price for a good blade.
ajosephg, yes I know it looks not to fine… I did use a push stick with the other hand. But yes the guide should be on, and I might even have used a clamp as handle while running it through. Sorry, I’m a bad example.
woodworkerscott, smile.
Dennis, I hope I never will.
RGtools. look forward to see it. Ahhh finally someone who also find the Altoids touch funny.
Chelios, yes the pieces were almost too small for scrap, and now they are full of life, wood never stop to amaze me. Glad you like the lines.
Pickpapa, those were really kind words, you might be right that me beeing a architect makes me start out with a different approch. I try always to think out of the box, to brake it down to simple shapes, and then rebuild it from the functions, it’s kind of like a puzzle in the head… Hope you will make one.
A1, and I always love to see you arround.
kenn, yes if had not done the polish and finish I think I would have made a new base, but what the heck now it got patina. Sorry for the hazard cutting.
Bertha, I think even these dual handles might come in usefull at small spaces on day.
David, especially the Tour Eifel (i have never been up there). Yes I make my life wonderful, this is what it is all about, so much we cant do anything about, but within these borders life can be a miracle if we open the eyes and look – ohhh yes and remember to put some rabbits in the hat once in a while.
saddletramp, big smile.
Thank you all for taking the time to comment.
The very best of my thoughts,

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

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