Hand made hand plane

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Project by richgreer posted 11-29-2010 07:07 PM 3826 views 3 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve recently developed an interest in hand tools and hand planes in particular. I’ve purchased a few used hand planes including a very old one that is made of wood. Then I said, “I can do that” and I did.

I bought the iron from Hock tools ( and my “plan” consisted of looking at pictures online. Without an actual plan, the only real challenge was the correct placement of the crosspiece that the wedge fits under. A cheap mockup using a 2×4 helped me find the correct placement.

The primary wood is leopard wood (often confused with lace wood). The “plate” on the bottom is ligum vitae. The wedge and the crosspiece are bubinga.

This plane is not just a “pretty face”. It really works and it works well.

As an FYI, I have ordered the iron for a shoulder plane and I am looking forward to making my own shoulder plane.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

24 comments so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4631 days

#1 posted 11-29-2010 07:18 PM

Great job Rich.
That is on my to-do list for sure.

View FredG's profile


139 posts in 4752 days

#2 posted 11-29-2010 07:55 PM

Wonderful plane, Rich.
You didn’t think it necessary to sort of “fingerjoint” the sole?
I have no experience with that. (yet)

-- Fred

View tdv's profile


1203 posts in 4125 days

#3 posted 11-29-2010 08:18 PM

That’s a work of art Rich

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4220 days

#4 posted 11-29-2010 08:30 PM

That’s great, Rich, is that type of plane easy to adjust?.........don’t know much about wood planes. Sounds like a fun project.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4130 days

#5 posted 11-29-2010 08:35 PM

Jim – Adjusting this plane requires a little bit of “trial and error” but it is not very hard to do and when it is right – it is right until it’s time to re-sharpen the iron. The objective here is to get super thin shavings (i.e. shavings you can read through). I can do that if the font is large enough (24 pt.)

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3922 days

#6 posted 11-29-2010 08:37 PM

Nice going, Rich. You did a good job on that plane.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4130 days

#7 posted 11-29-2010 08:42 PM

Fred – I’ve wondered about the need to “fingerjoint” the sole. I also considered placing a couple of dowels through the sole and into the body. However, I am pretty confident in the power of glue. Besides, the sole is not stressed very much in normal use.

FYI – I used Gorilla Wood Glue (not to be confused with regular gorilla glue).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View wchips's profile


314 posts in 4143 days

#8 posted 11-29-2010 09:18 PM

Nice plane Rich.Looks real good

-- wchips

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4302 days

#9 posted 11-29-2010 09:58 PM

Nice looking plane. Didn’t know that Gorilla makes wood glue.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3936 days

#10 posted 11-29-2010 10:01 PM

A shop made plane has been on my list for a while… Yours looks great. I love hand planes of all types.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 4307 days

#11 posted 11-29-2010 10:11 PM

Great looking plane. Just one question, why such a wide throat? Normally it is only as wide as the blade, maybe 1/16” or so wider, yours is the whole widthe of the sole?
Just curious.


-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3873 days

#12 posted 11-29-2010 10:18 PM

Hi Rich

Great job on the plane! I also enjoy making my own tools – there is a lot of satisfaction in using them and watching the collection grow. I made a pair of plow planes with lignum vitae sandwiched between two pieces of maple and glued with Tightbond lll. I was concerned that the oiliness of the lignum vitae might lead to a joint failure – so far no sign of that and I am holding off on dowels until a problem develops. Your use as a sole should be less inclined to separate due to the low stress as you pointed out.

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4130 days

#13 posted 11-29-2010 10:50 PM

Ryan – Your point about the width of the throat is well taken and I compliment you for being so observant.

The answer is one of being pragmatic. I did not have a piece of lignum vitae that was long enough to go the full length of the bottom of the plane. I had to do the sole in 2 pieces and this seemed like a simple, easy way to do that.

I had other another option. I could have had the leopard wood come down on each side flush to the lignum vitae such that the width of the lignum vitae was equivalent to (or slightly larger) than the width of the iron. I didn’t like that idea. I wanted the sole to be visible from the sides.

FWIW – I really don’t think this design compromise has any noticeable effect on the performance of the plane.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Woodcanuck's profile


128 posts in 4056 days

#14 posted 11-29-2010 11:22 PM

Nice work Rich. You’re more ambitious than I am….I bought the Hock kit which includes the milled and cut parts for the plane. I haven’t built the smoother plane yet, but I did build the shoulder plane kit from Ron Hock. I posted it as a project and video taped the build on my own blog.

Good luck with the shoulder plane.

-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4171 days

#15 posted 11-30-2010 01:19 AM

its a very beautyfull plane Rich , did you plan for a jackplane since the mouth opening seems
to bee a little too big for a smoothingplane

may it serve you well, and enjoy your new toy :-)


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