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Project by DynaBlue posted 09-06-2009 11:50 PM 4332 views 23 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Overall length- 26 1/2”
Materials- cocobolo, cherry, quartersawn sapelle, curly maple, ebony, padauk

I called this Frankenplane because it really started out as a proof of concept idea. I needed something for a project that I’m working on,a workbench, which would allow me to flatten a 12” x 91” top surface and 6” jointer wasn’t going to cut it. I have a couple block planes but nothing that would approach the scale of the surface I was going to work. As my wife was out of town for a few days and I could spend as much time screwing up wood as I felt like it seemed an ideal time to try to build my own plane. I searched the web for hours before finding two places that described plane building in detail; Popular mechanics and, believe it or not, the Lowe’s website. I liked the instructions from Lowe’s best so I mostly used them.

First I started digging through my scrap bins and locating 27” long pieces of wood that I thought would work well. I found three likely candidate, cocobolo, sapelle and cherry. Now before you purists chastise me for dissimilar woods I will point back to ‘proof of concept’ and ‘scrap’. I had no real intention for this to be anything other than learning how to make a plane. I put the three pieces of wood together and realized that they were just a bit too narrow to allow me a good 3/8” on either side of my Hock iron so I went back to the scraps and found some curly maple that wasn’t doing anything but was just the right thickness to get me where I needed to go. And my wife, who normally hunts down curly maple at the lumber stores, wasn’t around to stop me. I selected padauk for the sole since it seemed to be dense and fairly hard. It also smells ‘spicy’ when machined.

Armed with my plans for a small block plane and a fairly massive hunk of glued up scraps I started laying out the cut lines and getting ready to slice the block apart. I didn’t know how far back the mouth should be located on a jointing plane but it seemed to be about 1/3 along the body of the plane. Is there a more hard-fast rule? I won’t bore any more with blow by blow steps but after about three days I had something that looked like a plane. It had no handles at that point and was just a big rectangular block. I tried to use it and realized just why planes have handles (or strikes and totes, if you prefer). Back to the scrap bin for more wood and poof..I had grabbers. Of significance I was able to use my lathe for the second time since purchasing it off craig’s list almost a year ago. I have no idea really how to turn but I was able to make that strike out of cocobolo. Then I read about razee forms and decided that lowering the tote would seem to make sense so I bandsawed off a hunk from the aft end and mortised in the tote. It was a fairly realistic looking plane and I was happy and satisfied that I could, in the future, make a real plane. I gave it several coats of BLO and let it dry for several days, plastered on a coat of wax for the sole and admired my creation.

I spent the past two days jointing bows in a couple of my bench lamination faces and in desperation I turned to Frankie. I used my plane toface joint 3” x 91” surfaces on ash and I couldn’t be happier. I managed to get straight AND square all at the same time. The shavings were thin and blade width (actual shaving shown in the picture) once I monkeyed around with the iron and wedge. Turns out that my little monster is actually a good, solid working plane after all.

-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....

20 comments so far

View WoodSpanker's profile


576 posts in 4851 days

#1 posted 09-07-2009 12:13 AM

I actually think the different woods make it strangely attractive. It is beautiful and functional, so what more could you ask for? Well done! :D

-- Turning perfectly good wood into sawdust and kindling since 1990.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24612 posts in 5135 days

#2 posted 09-07-2009 12:28 AM

nice job!! Bet its a workout to push:-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5036 days

#3 posted 09-07-2009 01:09 AM

A fantastic looking plane well done


View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 5344 days

#4 posted 09-07-2009 01:19 AM

Beautiful AND it works! Great job!!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4729 days

#5 posted 09-07-2009 01:20 AM

Very nice…..and aptly named…LOL….I agee with WoodSpanker about the wood…it does have an attractive appeal to it…I will have to remember this next time I need a different sized plane…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5281 days

#6 posted 09-07-2009 02:42 AM

This is a nice looking plane. And I do like the combination of woods that you used in its construction. This makes it not only unique but gives it a visual appeal as well. And it works!!! Nice job on constructing your first plane.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 5527 days

#7 posted 09-07-2009 02:45 AM

It’s funny that you mentioned the Lowe’s article. I did the same internet search many months ago when I had the wood plane bug and found both articles you mentioned. I found a couple other resources as well and went with a hybrid of the plans. The Lowe’s one was a bit of a shock. While they do get a good portion of my discretionary income, they don’t bring thoughts of quality hand tools to mind. Plan was sound, though.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Dalbergian's profile


74 posts in 4659 days

#8 posted 09-07-2009 03:37 AM

Very nice plane,many of my projects also start out as “research & development” & also end up being usable &/or sellable.
Lovely curly Maple,I wish my scrap bins had bits of wood 27” long in them…

-- "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." ~ Frank Zappa

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5365 days

#9 posted 09-07-2009 05:37 AM

One word…wow…and I’m in love with it…beautiful plane

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4872 days

#10 posted 09-07-2009 06:53 AM

Great looking plane.

Very resourceful!

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4793 days

#11 posted 09-07-2009 11:23 AM

Your monster plane is one fine bit of woodworking and very inspiring. Have you shown your wife what you have been using the curly maple for yet?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View blackcherry's profile


3351 posts in 5282 days

#12 posted 09-07-2009 04:06 PM

I’ll just have to agree with the committee it’s a winner. Love all the wood combo but most important it functional. Great work and design…Blkcherry

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

849 posts in 5292 days

#13 posted 09-07-2009 04:29 PM

Thin shaving are sooo nice. Hard work but so satisfying. Beautiful plane!!

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4745 days

#14 posted 09-08-2009 07:52 PM

Beautiful plane. I really like the combination of wood you used. Well done!


View bfree's profile


14 posts in 4869 days

#15 posted 09-09-2009 06:10 AM

Nice…..Very, Very Nice.

-- Bryan, Jasper, Ga.

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