Block plane #17

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Project by Mark Kornell posted 07-08-2017 11:13 PM 1914 views 5 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Dunno if this is the 17th block plane I’ve made, but it’s probably pretty close.

I made this plane for the April 2017 Surprise Swap. I don’t know why anybody receiving something from me would be surprised to get a plane, though :-)

I’ve made two or three in this style for previous swaps or to give away to friends but never one for myself. This time, I decided to change that and instead of making just one to give away, I made three.

The plane was going to end up at around 6 1/2” in length, but the minimum length I’ll run through my equipment is 12”. Just not real safe to run short pieces over a jointer or through a planer. I glued up a 24” long blank, from which the three planes would ultimately emerge.

I make planes using a pretty straightforward laminated construction method. I like to use some contrast in wood for aesthetic purposes, but there’s no inherent functional purpose for that. I’ve become fond of the combination of Jatoba and Beech – not only do I like the look of the combination, they are also two species I use often and therefore have plenty of scraps pieces kicking around the shop.

I found it more efficient in terms of wood usage to glue up a 24” long blank to get 3 small planes than to do 3×12” long blanks. Seems to make sense, right?

Anyways, I won’t document the process of construction – there are thousands of others who have done that before I.

The one real departure I have from the Krenovian method is to skip the cross pin. Instead, once the basic plane blank is done, I glue in ears to fit the iron and wedge. (BTW, the wedge and ears are cut from the little triangular blank left over from the laminated body construction method!) Once glued in, those ears are shaped using chisels and floats into a fairly traditional form.

Aside: I tried to make a traditional plane from Jatoba. Solid body, just drill/chop out the cavity for the iron and wedge. I like using Jatoba on a small plane – it is a fairly dense wood which translates into a decent heft for a small plane. But chopping mortises in Jatoba is an exercise in frustration – the wood is hard enough to break tips off chisels. Sharpening a chisel every third hit with a mallet is not my idea of fun. It gave me great satisfaction to watch that attempt at a plane burn in my fireplace last winter.

For this swap, I finished off one of the three planes from the blank. The other two just need the final hand tool shaping to be done when I have a free couple of hours… Check back with me a year from now to see if that has happened :-)

The body, as noted, is Jatoba and Beech (American Beech, presumably). The sole is Ipe. Finish is from an old bottle of tung oil, waxed.

The tapered iron and cap is from Rhett at Nice Ash Planes. He’s shuttered that company but still had some irons kicking around. His irons are lovely things, so I bought five. I’m now kicking myself, as twenty would’ve been a better number.

Edit: also added this plane to my blog –

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

11 comments so far

View JayT's profile


6402 posts in 2988 days

#1 posted 07-08-2017 11:39 PM

Beautiful work, Mark. Your laminations are always so well done and enhance the plane shape rather than detract from it.

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

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5424 posts in 1359 days

#2 posted 07-09-2017 12:04 AM

That’s a very pretty plane, Mark. Nicely done!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View builtinbkyn's profile


3009 posts in 1717 days

#3 posted 07-09-2017 02:22 AM

Nice work Mark. That’s a handsome and stout little block plane. The shape, especially the rear end, looks comfortable and should make a really nice usable plane for the lucky devil that received it :)

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View WoodwolfAtl's profile


39 posts in 2382 days

#4 posted 07-09-2017 03:25 AM

Very nice!

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4219 posts in 1516 days

#5 posted 07-09-2017 09:01 AM

Awesome Mark, you sir are one of the reasons I started making planes myself. Keep it up!

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3643 days

#6 posted 07-09-2017 12:22 PM

This is a beautiful plane and a nice shop-made tool. You did a fine job on this tool.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View bondogaposis's profile


5791 posts in 3128 days

#7 posted 07-09-2017 01:01 PM

That is a really nice plane. Great work.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View HokieKen's profile


14074 posts in 1915 days

#8 posted 07-09-2017 03:18 PM

Brought the heat as always Mark! Gorgeous little smoother.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Grumpy's profile


26439 posts in 4628 days

#9 posted 07-09-2017 11:59 PM

Nice job Mark and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View edward60's profile


155 posts in 2700 days

#10 posted 07-12-2017 10:19 AM

Beautiful work Mark !

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1171 posts in 3308 days

#11 posted 07-15-2017 12:50 AM

Thank you all for your kind comments.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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