Low angel shoulder plane DIY (Div style plane) #1: Making the body part one.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 05-24-2011 11:23 AM 75455 reads 68 times favorited 48 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Low angel shoulder plane DIY (Div style plane) series Part 2: Making a blade from another plane iron. »

Low angel shoulder plane
Because it’s fun….

Before you start reading I want to tell that I finally managed to make it run!
It was giving me a headache, but once I found out the problem it was right on.

Here is a video showing it in action.

But I will blog a improved version also in this blog serie.

Not so long ago I followed a class here on LJ with Stefang where we build a bucket, part of this project was to make a convex hand plane (Krenov style).

So what have this to do with a low angle shoulder plane that I now build alongside Div's blog
The fact that they are both based on the same technique, where you cut up a block of wood and glue it back together rather than hollow out (to cut is fast and easy), Krenov style traditionally add a cross pin and a wedge, where Div’s shoulder plane skips the cross pin and just makes a wedge that fit the hole and let the shaves out sideways, so when you have made one plane it is no sweat to do the next’s (trust me on this).

If you want to build a traditional and way too cool shoulder plane, you can use Divs blog to make a bevel down 45 degree bed shoulder plane.

This is a Div shoulder plane, made by Div. (Yes I am really proud to own one).

I choose to be a naughty boy and make my version of the shoulder plane as a low angle bevel up, where Div make it a medium angel (45 degree) bevel down (look at drawings). The reason for this is that I am so lucky to have received one of Div’s wonderful planes as a gift from him, so it would be more interesting for me to try new ways to be able to compare after.

This is where we are going now.
As you can see I made a new design just for my pleasure, I am going to play with the circle here, so the opening will be a half circle and then I will shape the plane also from this center.

Ok I start my blog here, sorry I had not thought I would make a blog.
I have already chosen the dimensions of my plane, the width after what I need and the rest just to match my wish for size.
Look here for the basic cuts:
When I had these dimensions I cut up a block of wood that matched that, and then ‘cut of’ the sides in a thickness that will make a strong plane. The smaller the plane the thicker the sides need to be compared to the total width. Here app 1/6 of the width for each side.
So I have now a center piece and two shoulder pieces as you see on the picture.
All rest in the middle of drawing tools and a sketch of my ideas for the plane.

Div’s plane is a bed angel of 45 degrees and bevel down plane iron, the one I will make will be a 12 degree bed and a bevel up plane iron, if you make only one then make the 45 degree bevel down, in this you get a relly cool and well functioning plane, where the 12 degree bevel up is a tricky lady to get dancing and might be never really rhe thing, at least if you make a 12 degree then make it bigger size to provide stability.
The difference is as you can see on my illustration how we approach ‘attack’ the wood.
With the bevel down the angel is fixed once the plane is done (unless you start honing back bevels).
With the bevel down you can change your bevel angle and in this way change your planes approach.
Why should you ever want to do that? Because different types of wood can require different angles for a good result. I do it just for the fun of it, and will make the bevel on mine 22 I think that gives me a total of 34.


I have been thinking of advantage and disadvantage of each version
The 45 degree version have a more solid bed to place the iron on since it is more solid, and should then make less shatter (the blade wobbling), but then the bed stops at the bevel and this makes the last piece of the iron hang free, so it probably more or less equals it I think.
What I do think can be improved is that it would be better with a higher wedge, this would give more stability and the wedge can be made pointed towards the opening so it will not make the shavings get stocked.

Enough theory let’s get to it!

Take the top piece of the three and use this to draw the layout on (I use the center piece here since I already did the other).
Make a point where you want the mouth of the plane to be, I choose a little over center of the sole.
From this point make a line of 12 degrees back.

Like this.

Hold the iron on top and draw the thickness of it on top of the first line.
(If you don’t have the iron yet just draw the thickness).

The wedge I design here are after the Div model and is a long slim one.
But you should follow the red change and make a higher wedge, this will support the blade better.
I have no number here but I will say 8-10 degrees.

Now I want to decide app where I want the mouth so I hold up the blade and make a point app at the end of a 22 degree bevel.
And you can see the change line for the wedge.

Now I can draw my half circle and find my ‘center’ of the layout.

Some 1,5 mm brass rod for pins to hold it together while it’s being made and later for beauty.
You can use wood pins also.

I decided that the pins also should be placed in the circular system, so I make a second circle app 1 cm offset from the outer.

And mark 1 cm from the sides where the circle strikes this.

With an awl mark the points so the drill will be controlled.

Clamp the three pieces together and drill a hole in one end.

Now fit a pin in the hole.

And cut off.

Do this in the other end also so it will be fixed, and then you can remove the clamps and do the rest since the pins will hold the three parts in place now.

Time for tobacco.

Ohh yes and look at the mail.
Ironically today I received a vintage brass compass I got of E-bay for a dollar, this must be a sign that my circular design is the way to go now.

Look how funny.
The old beautiful brass compass – the newer mass produced ugly version of this that are less steady. Then a new quality compass for drawing (from I was a student making technical drawings) – and a modern made in China version with no charm and also less steady.
Yes life goes in circles, and in my life I often end back where we call it vintage du to the wonderful quality back then.

Sorry I’m back from dreaming!
Drill a hole somewhere in the area that will be the opening for shavings.

Time to cut out this piece, I’m lucky to have a motorized saw here, but a hand scroll saw will be just as good.

And cut!
But leave some at the area that will be the mouth, so it will be possible to adjust here.

Here we are.

Time to saw out the area that later shall hold the wedge.
I use a brass bar that has traveled all the way from US (thank you Maddie and Rand) to hold my saw at 90 degree. You should try and stay focused here since it is going to be the bed of the iron and we want it to be flat and in angle.

And saw some more (I use here the little inexpensive Zona saw since it has extremely fine teeth and makes absolutely no tear out).

And out it came.
Keep the piece, then you have the angle for the wedge later.

Put the body apart.

And find your favorite glue. I have a soft spot for two component epoxy, probably because of all the knifes I have build with this stuff. It is rock hard and will never fail.

Mix the glue and spend the time doing it good.
I use a 16 hour dry time epoxy here, since I want time to make sure it come together fine. If you are in a hurry you can use a fast version, but don’t drink coffee then.

I add glue to two pins and position then in each end then add glue to the one surface of the plane core and then place it in place using the pins as guides.

Now it’s the top piece tour.

And time to clamp and clean off glue.
Since this epoxy gets rock hard, it is a good idea to spend a little time now.
And remember to clean the hole for the wedge.

Clamped up.

Ohh yes and two mistakes here!
The picture is not sharp and I made a hole to close to the bed…

So a quick repair (yes I do like to show my mistakes also).
Making a little wood pin from the same wood as the plane.

Dipping in glue.

And hole in one…

Now the plane body has to dry for 16 hours before the clamps can be removed.
So it’s time to split the blog here.
Next part will be making the shoulder plane iron (in this version from an ‘old’ plane blade).

I hope this blog can inspire others to go for a low angel shoulder plane, or any plane at all, the satisfaction by making your own plane is priceless.

Thank you div for playing with me my brother.

Best thoughts,

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

48 comments so far

View Tinnocker's profile


107 posts in 4055 days

#1 posted 05-24-2011 12:30 PM

Oh boy oh boy, I have been wanting to make my own wooden planes for a time now and I missed the one you mention by Div so I am going to follow this blog of yours like a map! (heh heh) Thanks for being such an inspiration Mafe!
It is so nice to have such a wealth of talented friends connected from so far away with this LumberJocks interface. Still, it would be even nicer to be able to meet and chat face to face, share a cup of coffee and build stuff together.
Thank you for putting up this blog Mafe.

-- Ted, Browns Mills, NJ Darn! I cut it 3 times and it's still too short! I get ideas for things that I can make to make things easier for me to make!

View Sodabowski's profile


2399 posts in 3887 days

#2 posted 05-24-2011 12:37 PM

Yup, definately I’ll build a few too. Power tools aren’t made for fine tasks.

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4113 days

#3 posted 05-24-2011 12:56 PM

Nice blog. Lot’s of detailed information. Most anyone should be able to go about making a plane from this.

Thanks Mad,


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View bko's profile


118 posts in 4071 days

#4 posted 05-24-2011 01:00 PM

Great post! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Your drawings are amazing!


View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4727 days

#5 posted 05-24-2011 02:03 PM

Nice blog, Mad. I have try my hand at plane making.

View Broglea's profile


694 posts in 4145 days

#6 posted 05-24-2011 02:07 PM

Love your blogs Mafe. I’ll be adding this to my bucket list.

View mafe's profile


13089 posts in 4143 days

#7 posted 05-24-2011 02:15 PM

Hi guys just a litle update with some words that Doc and I shared on the subject (he have allowed me to post the mails):

Doc wrote:
xxx I am curious about making a wooden plane with that shallow of a bed angle. One of the reasons that we don’t often see really old planes (wooden) with low bed angles like that is that it leaves a very thin amount of wood supporting the blade (the bed) due to the shallow angle. I am sure that low angled planes were made, but maybe have not survived because of the reason that I just stated. I wonder if this might be on of the reasons that later we see infill planes with steel and iron added and then of course, later, we have the iron bodied planes?

Mads wrote:
Thats interesting thoughts.
And yes I think it must be one of the reasons, but I think also that it was just not made and thought of, that the other types of planes could handle the problems so why bother… I do not know, just guessing.
I look forward to try this plane out, I think it will be stron enough, but only time will tell that (I used some relativly hard wood).

Doc wrote:
I sent my question to the old tools guys and I will keep you posted on the responses that I receive. I also posed the question a different way. It occured to me that all of the low angle (12 degree bed angle) planes that I have ever seen, always present the iron to the work, bevel up. It occurred to me that it might be possible that plane makers may have made planes with bed angles lower than the traditional 45 degrees, possibly as low as 30 degrees, but with a bevel down configuration. This would achieve the typical 30-35 degree cutting angle found in most low angle planes while still allowing for more support for the iron. We shall see what these guys have to say about it. Some of those guys are pretty knowledgable about the old ways of things.

Mads wrote:
This I have seen.
Otherwise they used to make the iron skewed, and then get the higher cutting angle that way.

Just thought it was interesting to share.
Best thoughts,

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

View mafe's profile


13089 posts in 4143 days

#8 posted 05-24-2011 03:00 PM

Doc, I think I got a bigger problem, and that this is the reason why they are usually made bevel up and not down – how do I get the mouth small enoug when the bevel will be agains the mouth… Here I will get in trouble. I’m sure I will not be able to get that super tight mouth then. So this supports my theory that the wedge hole must be bigger, acually so big that the blade can come in that way. That is the solution, but to late for this one – laugh! I love to learn, life is sweet when we learn the hard way, an have fun as we do it.
I’ll make a correction to the blog right away!!!
Best thoughts,

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

View patron's profile


13717 posts in 4395 days

#9 posted 05-24-2011 03:06 PM

good point mads

how to get a ‘t’ blade
in and out
of a tight mouth
maybe a sliding front shoe

like some planes have

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

View mafe's profile


13089 posts in 4143 days

#10 posted 05-24-2011 03:10 PM

David, you can just have a heigher wedge and come in from the back, I have seen old planes like that, a moveable mouth would be optimal, but I want this plane to be simple so every one can make it.
Will make a drawing later, have to run for my daughter and the fysio after.
Best thoughts,

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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4388 days

#11 posted 05-24-2011 05:41 PM

Very good tutorial blog Mads and a lot of interesting discussion about blade angles, etc. I just wish I had some some for all this stuff right now. I guess I will have to wait for Fall.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3988 days

#12 posted 05-24-2011 06:49 PM

Great tutorial Mafe.

I think I will be building one.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3747 days

#13 posted 05-24-2011 06:51 PM

I was distracted by that fine compass and Japanese knife. I had actually considered making mine bevel-up too but I hadn’t the nerve. Maybe now I do. Where are y’all finding the brass pin stock?

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

View Cher's profile


965 posts in 4148 days

#14 posted 05-24-2011 08:22 PM

Hi Mads, as usual your blogs are very detailed and easy to follow, I would like make one some time in the future. I will be going to visit Div in a few months time and I will be taking my plane with so that he can show me how to use it.

Thanks for taking the time to photograph and detail the process.

-- When you know better you do better.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3995 days

#15 posted 05-24-2011 08:56 PM

Hi Mads, thanks for showing my plane. I must say, they have evolved a little since that one! You might want to consider chamfering the hole the help with ejecting shavings :^)

I share Doc’s consern re the small amount of wood supporting the blade. I tried this once but my glue line failed. As Doc rightfully points out, having a 30 degree ramp and bevel down will make for a stronger, longer lasting plane whilst giving the same cutting angle. Maybe the epoxy you are using will do a better job. Only one way to find out!!

I also thought of the mouth problem but I’m sure you will sort it out!

Good pictures, and plenty. Took my slow connection a while to open it but I had to see what you are up to! Enjoy your build!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

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