Low-angle, Bevel-up Infill Stanley Global #3 for 2021 plane swap

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Project by Dave Polaschek posted 06-27-2021 01:35 PM 1353 views 1 time favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For the plane swap this year, I wanted to build something a little different. I have a stash of Stanley Global Plane #3s that I bought cheap on eBay from a seller in Canada when the exchange rate between the dollar and the loonie got fairly lopsided, so I decided to infill one.

But just a normal infill plane didn’t seem challenging enough. Let’s make a low-angle bevel-up plane from it. That should be a good challenge!

So I started out by removing the plane hardware and trying some things. One of my very first discoveries was that I would need to modify both the mouth and the bedding for the blade to achieve what I wanted.

But I had a Veritas plane kit on hand, and I was pretty sure it worked with most of the smaller Veritas blades, so I ordered a spare blade for their bevel-up smoother that matched the size of the #3. I also initially planned to do the infill with some eucalyptus I got from AZWoody, but that plan fell by the wayside… Mostly because the eucalyptus from Arizona is brittle and hard to work, but also because I discovered I had a very nice bit of white oak in the shop. I bought a 6 foot long 10 inch wide 12/4 board a while back, and there was a knot near one end. The remaining bit on that end of the board looked like it would make a great infill for the plane.

I set aside my pieces of oak and went to work with a chunk of fir from a tubafor as my prototype, and made some templates from MDF so I could try things out as I experimented.

First thing I discovered was that the blad would be unsupported without the factory frog in place, so I cut a piece of brass to fill the area immediately behind the mouth with metal, giving me solid support for the blade where it would need it the most. I epoxied this into the plane body (picture 6 above) and set to work with a file making a smooth transition for the blade or infill to rest upon.

I also decided that I wanted to dress the plane up from the stock purple that Stanley chose. I had some Chromium Yellow (aka CAT Yellow) lettering enamel laying about, and decided that would look pretty good. It’s not a sansoo-level paint job, but I think I did okay. I think there were four coats in most places. Picture 5 shows that.

I was also working out the geometry of the plane, and knew that I wanted to use the original bolts to help hold the infill pieces in place. I wouldn’t be able to do a tote like I had initially planned, but I got something that felt okay in my hand, which used the original bolts.

But the nuts that came with the plane wouldn’t do, so I found a piece of 5/8” brass rod, and fashioned some new nuts for the plane. Rather than turn them into hex nuts or something that was a lot of work, I decided to make them split-nuts so I could use a driver I already had.

The bolts in this Stanley plane were 12-32. I don’t have a tap and die for that, but I do have a set for 10-32, so I left the bottom ends stock, and reduced the upper ends of the bolts to 10-32 so I could tap the nuts to match. Pretty easy to reduce the diameter of a bolt a little while not changing the thread.

As I worked, I ended up cutting off the tip of the rear infill and making it a separate piece. This meant that I had better access to it to shape it to match the slope I needed to bed the plane (see picture 5 again) but I had to file down the heads of the factor screws a bit. But things were taking shape!

I drilled the holes for the cross-pin. The stock one from the Veritas plane kit wouldn’t work, because it was too short, but I have a bunch of 1/4” brass rod on hand. Turns out it’s actually 15/64, but drilling a 1/4” hole still worked, I just needed to make sure I didn’t widen the hole too much.

I also drilled holes for screw the infill into place. I used #8 brass wood screws, countersunk just enough that when I filed off the head of the screw down to the bottom of the slot, I would be down to the side of the plane. My post-drill was getting quite a workout, and I spent quite a bit of time filing the screws, and peening the cross-bar into place and filing the ends of that smooth.

My first attempt at assembling the plane didn’t go so well. Picture 4 shows that, but with the blade not fully bedded, the chatter when trying to plane was horrible. I almost gave up and moved on to plan B, but I figured I’d give it one last try and took things apart and cut deeper grooves for the adjuster to ride in, which also meant making a deeper space for the adjuster knob.

With thos changes made the plane suddenly worked well! The chatter was gone, and it would take shavings. Not great shavings, and the blade was now about 1/32” too long, but making things shorter is easy! Off to the grinder to establish a new bevel on the blade.

With that done, everything went together well, and it was just a matter of finishing it up. Well, almost. The metal plane wedge that I had initially planned to ship was no longer thick enough to hold the (now lower) plane blade securely. And making things thicker isn’t as easy as making them thinner. So I got out some bubinga and ash veneer I had on hand and laminated up a new wedge for the plane. I alternated the grains, so the bubinga grain, which is visible, runs cross-wise in the plane body. It looks a little strange, but I like it.

Finish was three coats of BLO on all the wooden bits. I let each coat cure for a full day, while I worked on the bonus projects for the swap, and then once the oil had dried, I coated all the exposed metal (and the wood) with paste wax. It looks and feels pretty good, I think.

I also included a spokeshave as a bonus, and built a box to hold everything.

That’s it! Thanks for looking!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

28 comments so far

View recycle1943's profile


5850 posts in 2864 days

#1 posted 06-27-2021 01:54 PM

I don’t know the first thing about a plane but I do recognize tedious craftsmanship when I see it – Great job Dave

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Eric's profile


1921 posts in 1115 days

#2 posted 06-27-2021 01:54 PM

Nicely done Dave.

I thought about trying to make the opening on the sole adjustable, decided it was to much to take on for this round.

-- Eric, building the dream

View Lazyman's profile


7951 posts in 2629 days

#3 posted 06-27-2021 02:02 PM

Cool idea for retasking what might otherwise be a “meh” plane. I guess yellow is going to be known as the Polaschek Stanley— sort of like a Shelby Mustang. :-)

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8417 posts in 1824 days

#4 posted 06-27-2021 02:27 PM

Thanks, Dick! Lots of steps to figure out as I was going.

Thanks, Eric! The nice thing about this low angle way of going is that it almost automatically ends up tightening the mouth. I thought about trying to support the blade more at the back of the mouth, perhaps with a bigger chunk of brass, but it turned out to have enough support as-is.

Thanks, Nathan. I looked through a bunch of DonW’s infill experiments, and this seemed like a good way to go. And I like the look of the yellow, though I definitely need to improve my painting game if I’m going to make more.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


10396 posts in 3651 days

#5 posted 06-27-2021 02:47 PM

I am just in awe at the entire process you went through for this build. Outstanding work!!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8417 posts in 1824 days

#6 posted 06-27-2021 03:08 PM

Thanks, Butcher! There was a reason I made the plane swap two weeks longer than a normal swap. I ended up needing one of those two weeks to get everything working, and we had a few folks drop late because it wasn’t enough time for people’s ambitions.

Turns out, making planes can be hard! Who knew?!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View pottz's profile


20657 posts in 2226 days

#7 posted 06-27-2021 03:27 PM

nice work my friend,that old plane will now live on making planes is one thing your not gonna get me hooked on-lol.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View MrWolfe's profile


1669 posts in 1365 days

#8 posted 06-27-2021 03:48 PM

Excellent work Dave!
The plane turned out great and will get a couple more lifetimes of use.
Great write up on your blog too.

View MikeB_UK's profile


696 posts in 2276 days

#9 posted 06-27-2021 03:52 PM

Nice job Dave.

So, it turns out the best way to make a Stanley Global look really good is to get rid of most of it ;)

-- Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

View JohnMcClure's profile


1400 posts in 1882 days

#10 posted 06-27-2021 04:21 PM

Beautiful Dave, a great swap item and a great swap you ran as well.

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

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8417 posts in 1824 days

#11 posted 06-27-2021 04:42 PM

Thanks, Pottz. It was actually a new plane, though. New in blister-pack. Guy’s still got five of them left if you want to try upgrading one. ;-)

Thanks, Jon! Quite a few other parts went into it too. I wish I could figure a way to reuse the stock frog and/or adjuster.

Thanks, Mike! As a bonus, I also have a handful of plane parts now. The blade might be useful for something…

Thanks, John! It was a fun build, and I’m glad I’m retired and had plenty of time to think things though. It was a lot to bite off.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View MikeB_UK's profile


696 posts in 2276 days

#12 posted 06-27-2021 04:51 PM

By my reckoning, you now have all the spare parts to build a Marples style transitional plane

-- Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8417 posts in 1824 days

#13 posted 06-27-2021 04:57 PM

I may indeed, Mike! Good thinking!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View duckmilk's profile


4843 posts in 2566 days

#14 posted 06-27-2021 05:39 PM

All the modifications you did to the plane made me sweat just thinking how you managed it. Very happy it came about in the end. Great job Dave.

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

View doubleDD's profile


10700 posts in 3285 days

#15 posted 06-27-2021 05:50 PM

Awesome job Dave. Almost looks like something you buy in a retail store. The thought and work put into this is impressive.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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