Adjustable Mouth No. 5 2/3 Plane (2015 Plane Swap)

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Project by bobasaurus posted 08-05-2015 05:24 AM 2288 views 5 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this plane for the LumberJocks 2015 Hand Planes and Spokeshaves Swap and sent it off to my new friend John . I’ve dubbed it a No. 5 2/3 since it has a super-wide 2.5” blade.

It has a hard maple body, jatoba sole/cheeks, and walnut knob/tote. I made the blade myself from A2 steel and did the heat treatment in my father’s kiln (here is a blog with the technique). The mouth is adjustable by loosening the knob and sliding the adjustable toe piece, allowing for heavy to fine cut adjustments. I made a stubby little tote that fits in the webbing between your thumb and pointer finger, it seems to work better than just gripping the smooth back of the plane.

I etched my logo on the blade using laser printer toner transfer to create the “resist”, then salt water electrolysis for the etching. I’ll extend my plane blade making blog someday to include the steps, but google has lots of info on the process for those interested. It’s pretty straightforward without needing a lot of equipment.

I applied two thin coats of tried and true danish oil (leaving the sole, bed, wedge, and cross pin bare for friction/wear) as the finish. It seems to take good shavings in my tests, and the blade holds an edge for a long time without showing any signs of chipping:

Here’s a neat picture from heat treating the blades:

Planes planing planes:

And here is the nice little coffin smoother I received in turn from Wally331 :

It works great in my tests so far, I’ll definitely put it to use.

Here is a full build album for this plane:

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

18 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2643 days

#1 posted 08-05-2015 06:06 AM

Absolutely Awesome! You are a man of many talents. That is a mighty fine swap tool Thanks for sharing.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Ken90712's profile


17743 posts in 3700 days

#2 posted 08-05-2015 08:20 AM

WOW cool project and what nice results. Love the details on the blade as well nice touch. Great job.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View 489tad's profile


3651 posts in 3522 days

#3 posted 08-05-2015 11:48 AM

Nice job Allen! To incorporate an adjustable mouth into a wood plane has got to be a lot of careful work. The matting surfaces have to be flat and true. The A-2 iron. I have some experience with tool steels and it sounds like you know what your doing. Well done!

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1309 posts in 2224 days

#4 posted 08-05-2015 11:57 AM

Lovely plane! And nice writeup. Tanks for sharing!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View john2005's profile


1768 posts in 2689 days

#5 posted 08-05-2015 01:25 PM

As the recipient of said tool, I couldn’t be more thrilled. It is a very precise tool. It does in fact take nice smooth shavings and came nice and sharp. All I had to do was insert the iron, adjust and go. The adjustable mouth is SWEET!!! It was something I had wanted to tackle but didn’t cause it seemed too intimidating. Not for Allen! The mouth opens and closes with very smoothly with no wiggling or chatter. When locked in place, it does not move. Great design. Thank you Allen, I love it and look forward to tomorrow night (supposed to have a few hours of shop time to myself. I got a pretty good idea what I will be doing).

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

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3109 days

#6 posted 08-05-2015 01:30 PM

Looks really good. The adjustable mouth is next level stuff.

View terryR's profile


7537 posts in 2819 days

#7 posted 08-05-2015 01:47 PM

Very impressive, Allen!
You should be proud of such a shop built plane…the adjustable mouth and etched iron certainly makes this a cut above!

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

View Shuja's profile


270 posts in 2077 days

#8 posted 08-05-2015 02:59 PM

Hats off
I wish I could be half as good

-- shuja

View shipwright's profile


8381 posts in 3309 days

#9 posted 08-05-2015 03:03 PM

That is one sweet little plane Allen, and truly made from scratch.
It will surely put a smile on John’s face every time he picks it up.

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

View CL810's profile


3963 posts in 3499 days

#10 posted 08-05-2015 03:55 PM

Master craftsmanship Allen! lucky guy that John.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2472 days

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

Adjustable mouth and etched and heat treated blade are definitely impressive. I covet one of those heat treating ovens. Would love to read more details on the blade making process when you get time.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2957 posts in 2486 days

#12 posted 08-05-2015 09:57 PM

Nice job Allen. I have thought about making an adjustable mouth smoother before, but I guess I’m to lazy.
Beautiful plane.

What do you use for a quench for the A2?

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View ToddJB's profile


8539 posts in 2641 days

#13 posted 08-05-2015 10:50 PM

Really outstanding job, Allen. You do fine work, Sir.

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

View bobasaurus's profile


3604 posts in 3695 days

#14 posted 08-05-2015 11:09 PM

Thanks for all the comments. A2 is an air quench steel, so I just took it out of the kiln and set it on a shelf at room temperature to quench. I have the blade making process here:

Despite my lack of cryo treatment, it took a fine edge and seemed to hold it all through my testing without degrading.

I’m glad you like the plane John. I hope I got the blade flat enough to not chatter… it was a bear to flatten after heat treatment. I got close after a lot of hard work rubbing on diamond stones and granite/sandpaper then called it good enough and used the ruler trick when sharpening.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Hammerthumb's profile


2957 posts in 2486 days

#15 posted 08-06-2015 01:30 PM

Thanks for the info Allen. I have not tried A-2 due to the cryo treatment but have thought about different methods of doing it. Glad to hear that it will harden sufficiently without cryo.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

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