Bartender, shooter! Make it a double.

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Project by JayT posted 08-02-2015 10:43 PM 16291 views 51 times favorited 39 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When the Plane and Spokeshave Swap was announced, it was an opportunity to attempt a plane build that had been bouncing around my head for a while. I had wanted a shooting plane, so rather than invest in a vintage Stanley or a new Veritas or LN, decided to build my own. The darker colored plane in pic 2 was the prototype for the other one that was sent to terryR as part of the swap. Parts and ideas from so many sources were combined, I have no idea what they should be called.

Starting with a couple of transitional frogs, courtesy of DonW, the rest of the planes were built up from there. It’s taken me a while to warm up to the look of infill planes, but the ones that really speak to me are the overstuffed style, so mimicked a bit of that look in the design. Both the base and side are precision ground O1 steel. 3/8 for the base to add mass (a serious benefit on a shooter) while also moving the center of gravity down to help with stability. The side is 1/8 thick, just enough to resist abrasion and not wear like a wooden side would. The steel was attached to the wood with brass screws and epoxy, while the two steel pieces were joined with brass machine screws. All the screw heads were then ground/sanded flat.

Irons are bedded at 45 degrees, to match up with the transitional frog, while also set at a 20 degree skew to help slice through end grain. The net result is about a 40 degree attack angle. Those angles are very similar to the Stanley and LN #51 shooting planes. The shape of the nose is kind of reminiscent of and heavily influenced by those, as well. Using the transitional frog allows all the controls to be similar to iron planes, but with the thickness of the body, no tote is needed. The body was shaped to allow an easy, natural place for the hand.

The darker prototype is ebonized walnut (done with a vinegar & steel wool solution). The one sent out was made from apitong trailer decking cutoffs. I like finding uses for wood that may otherwise just become trash and the apitong’s weight and density were an asset in this application for adding even more mass. Not sure what the final tally is, but I think Terry’s plane probably tips the scales around 10 pounds, with the prototype being maybe a half pound lighter. A small brass medallion was added to commemorate the 2015 plane swap.

In addition to the shooting planes, I also ginned up a couple complementary shooting boards. Both are Baltic Birch with apitong trim—the darker one got the same steel wool & vinegar solution as the walnut, while the apitong on all of the pieces sent to Terry were finished first with a coat of dark walnut Watco Danish Oil. Both sets then got a couple coats of natural Danish Oil and wax.

Fences on the shooting boards have holes for 90 and 45 degree work, just by removing a couple bolts and flipping the fence around. The holes are slightly oversize to allow for micro adjustment, if needed, and matching allen wrenches were made to keep with the shooting boards. Both shooting boards have cleats on the bottom, as well as drawer liner, so that they can just be plopped on the bench and the user will not have to worry about them moving around.

Terry reports he has been getting a little use out of his.

Finally, since any shooter should be enjoyed with a good cigar, a couple cigar spokeshaves were made from pencil sharpener cutters and wood to match the planes. I had seen this on an Instructable sometime and finally had a chance to try it out. Works pretty well for small, hard to reach areas and tight curves.

All in all, this was a great opportunity to try something new, learn a few skills and end up with a new tool for the shop. I’m still not sure what to call them, though. Transitional Infill Shooting plane, maybe?

Thank you for looking and hope you enjoy.

EDIT: Since this project was posted, I did build another one of these and blogged the whole process so that someone else could follow along and build their own. The eleven part series starts here.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

39 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

20245 posts in 3854 days

#1 posted 08-02-2015 10:49 PM

Nice work JayT. Those will be heirloom pieces for sure.

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

View farmerdude's profile


685 posts in 3326 days

#2 posted 08-02-2015 11:05 PM

WOW! Those are beautiful tools. I used to think it was hard to beat having a shooting board when you need one. Now I realize I was wrong. I’m thinking you can’t beat having a board, and plane, that you made yourself. I’m not that clever so I’ll have to stick with just a board. I’ve never seen that style of spokeshave. This is going into favorites so I can try the spokeshave idea. Great job!

-- Jeff in central Me.

View ToddJB's profile


8805 posts in 3417 days

#3 posted 08-02-2015 11:13 PM

This is amazing work, Sir. I’d love to see how the spokeshave works.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View theoldfart's profile


12913 posts in 3738 days

#4 posted 08-02-2015 11:16 PM

Jay, you seriously outdid yourself this time. Much envy going yours and Terries way!

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View terryR's profile


7679 posts in 3595 days

#5 posted 08-03-2015 12:15 AM

Awesome, Jay! just awesome.

definitely 10 pounds…at least. Works like a charm at 90 degrees; cannot wait to try a miter!

And the shave is cool! I forgot to get photos of using it…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View putty's profile


1302 posts in 2893 days

#6 posted 08-03-2015 12:35 AM


What a amazing job!!! You have raised the bar!

-- Putty

View waho6o9's profile


9105 posts in 3864 days

#7 posted 08-03-2015 12:42 AM


You knocked out of the park JayT, congratulations on your fine work.

I like the ergos of the planes and the spokeshaves look effective.

Great job JayT and congrats to terryR for receiving them. Put em to good use buddy!

View bobasaurus's profile


3743 posts in 4471 days

#8 posted 08-03-2015 12:58 AM

That is ridiculously nice. The O1 sole and bottom look great with the wood. Must have been some hefty brass screws to leave those large dots.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8581 posts in 3269 days

#9 posted 08-03-2015 02:01 AM

What duh heck? Those things are epic. Nice work buddy.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View JayT's profile


6439 posts in 3498 days

#10 posted 08-03-2015 02:21 AM

Thanks for the compliments, guys. These were a lot of work, (approx 80 hours total in the two planes, plus more for the shooting boards and spokeshaves) but I learned that making an infill is pretty straight forward and can be done with minimal metalworking equipment. Of course having some metalworking equipment would cut the time down quite a bit. :-)

Hoping to make a small smoother or block plane from the leftover steel once I get a couple other projects off the list.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View shipwright's profile


8760 posts in 4085 days

#11 posted 08-03-2015 03:58 AM

Beast JayT, it’s just a beast.
That’s just a fine bit of work.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 3299 days

#12 posted 08-03-2015 05:06 AM

Very cool Jay! Great to see those old frogs incorporated into such fine tools. Also cool to see the apitong, I too have have been amassing off cutts of it from my work. I am definitely going to look in to those shaves, interesting and very fine work all around.

Congrats Terry! Must have been quit a trip opening that box.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View fatandy2003's profile


262 posts in 3530 days

#13 posted 08-03-2015 06:23 AM


I think you and I were having some sort of ESP moment. The shooters look great an those tranny frogs solved one of my biggest problems, the bed and lever cap (or wedge in my case). Nice work.

-- -- Andy, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it” - Thomas Paine

View CFrye's profile


11376 posts in 3126 days

#14 posted 08-03-2015 10:07 AM

JayT, Wow. Just WOW! The shooter, by itself, is killer, then you added a shooting board and the shave. Is there a reason for the different thicknesses of the wood on the proto-type and the swap plane? I like that you didn’t re-paint the lever caps, and retained the patina of the old plane. Are the pencil sharpener cutters fixed? Terry scored, big time!! Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View CFrye's profile


11376 posts in 3126 days

#15 posted 08-03-2015 10:09 AM

What is the maker’s mark made of?

-- God bless, Candy

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