Infill Low Angle Mini Block Plane

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Project by GrantA posted 03-16-2019 02:33 AM 1380 views 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted to jump right in with my new milling machine so I thought a small infill would be perfect! I underestimated the labor involved by 2 miles, even using the mill I cut it close and hand filed the dovetails to fit.
It’s 99% built from scratch – the screw came from the hardware store (common 1/4-20 in case it ever need replaced). Everything else was machined in my home shop, even the blade. The intended use is to clean up joinery, especially dovetails and easing /chamfering edges.

The sole is mild steel, sides and clamp are brass and the blade is 5160 steel. The bed angle is an ultra low 10 degrees and I put a 30 degree bevel on the blade honed to 800 grit. There’s room for improvement but it tested nicely for me!
The wood is figured /tiger maple and in the right light you’ll see ribbons across it.
The whole thing is coated in Renaissance wax. My pictures on the black granite background are from right after applying the wax- mistake! It looks much better in Joe’s (Pointer) pics so I used a couple of his here.

Here are some pics of the process.
Cutting tails first

Setting up the vise to cut pins

ready for assembly

Getting there!

I didn’t take pics from this point to the finish, it was all blur! The blade was cut from a piece of 1/8” 5160 knife steel, I put a 30 degree bevel on it with the mill then hand honed the flats and bevel on my granite surface plate. It was hardened using a torch til non-magnetic, quenched in peanut oil and tempered in the shop toaster oven.

The clamping block was machined from a slice of 1-1/2” square brass bar I had on hand and the pivot pin is 3/8” stainless bar.

Overall the sole is about 3×1-1/2” and I hope it is a great user for years to come for Joe!
Thanks to Kenny & Dave K for pointers along the way!!

18 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


3664 posts in 3080 days

#1 posted 03-16-2019 03:13 AM

Grant – you set the bar way, way, way up there for the rest of us mere mortals for swaps and for planes.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View duckmilk's profile


4107 posts in 2057 days

#2 posted 03-16-2019 03:28 AM

That is totally cool Grant! Congratulations.
you also need to edit your tag to read “2019 Spring Swap” and leave out “surprise” so it will show up with the others that have been posted.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5155 posts in 1314 days

#3 posted 03-16-2019 05:21 AM

Phenomenal work, Grant. I’m (very) slowly working on an infill plane, and am just far enough along to know they’re a ton of work. It looks very nicely done!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View pottz's profile (online now)


9409 posts in 1716 days

#4 posted 03-16-2019 06:42 AM


beautiful “metal” working.ill take a couple-lol.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View poospleasures's profile


856 posts in 3216 days

#5 posted 03-16-2019 10:33 AM

You sure know how to leave a guy in the dust or metal shavings. I have been working on sharpening an old Stanley smoother and still it only jerks along. Your plane is a work of art. I envy you your talent.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View Redoak49's profile


4639 posts in 2721 days

#6 posted 03-16-2019 10:52 AM

Well done…how does it feel in your hand?

View GrantA's profile (online now)


2418 posts in 2140 days

#7 posted 03-16-2019 01:06 PM

Thanks guys! It was a fun challenge for sure, feels great in the hand, it is a mini plane though so it doesn’t fill your palm necessarily. The sole is 1/4” thick and the sides are 3/16 so it’s got a great weight to it in my opinion. Gotta make myself one next!!

View Pointer's profile


451 posts in 1843 days

#8 posted 03-16-2019 03:58 PM

It feels great in the hand! I can’t believe I got so lucky as to be the recipient of this amazing plane. Maybe I could have my wife bake Grant some cookies or something. Better her than me! Thanks for all the work and attention to detail that you put into this. It is now like my guns, you can have it as soon as you pry it from my cold dead fingers. :)

-- Joe - I am not entirely worthless, I can always serve as a bad example.

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1272 days

#9 posted 03-16-2019 08:40 PM

That is amazing … did a GREAT job! WOW

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View JohnMcClure's profile


991 posts in 1372 days

#10 posted 03-17-2019 04:40 AM

Grant, you did an incredible job on this. Way to break in the new mill.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1083 posts in 1121 days

#11 posted 03-17-2019 01:12 PM

LOL… I can see my next “Big Tool” purchase is going to be a Mill.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View GrantA's profile (online now)


2418 posts in 2140 days

#12 posted 03-17-2019 01:14 PM

Join the club Bill! I’ve done a lot of questionable things on drill presses but this is where it’s at! Just like what happened with my metal lathe though be prepared to spend double what the machine costs (assuming a used machine) on tooling!

View therealSteveN's profile


5549 posts in 1306 days

#13 posted 03-17-2019 06:02 PM

This would be a kick butt post on a metalworking site. On a WWing site you kicked the can a long ways down the road.

Nice job, thanks for sharing.

-- Think safe, be safe

View HokieKen's profile (online now)


13508 posts in 1871 days

#14 posted 03-18-2019 12:40 PM

Nicely done Grant. Good to see that mill likes you. I was afraid it might run away to VA but I guess it must like it down there in GA. It’s obviously behaving itself. Milling those locking dovetails is no small thing. Well done for a first project!

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

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4829 days

#15 posted 03-18-2019 02:26 PM

Lovely plane. The dovetails are awesome.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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