3 Plane Set - Vermillion & Maple - 3/4" Irons

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Project by mcjibbin posted 04-03-2011 10:56 PM 3638 views 24 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a set of three small Luthier-sized planes made from Vermillion & Maple. For the plane irons, I used an old 3/4” flat bastard file that I first cut up, ground smooth and flat, then ground at different cutting angles for my small plane irons. I had been wanting to make a plane for a very long time, and I thought making a few small planes would be a great way to learn and experiment, without the risk of wasting a ton of wood or other materials (if the plane happened to turn out bad). So, I came up with three different designs for planes – a low angle, a high angle, and a scraper.

The wood was first cut to shape and glued together. When that dried, I glued and pressed in the brass rod. I have an old manual end mill that I used to machine some copper into the lever caps. The thumb screws were made from some 1/4-20 threaded brass rod, and some brass finger nuts that I threaded on, fluxed up and soldered, then filed flat. This method proved to be plenty strong enough for my purpose. I did this because I couldn’t find anything to fit my needs at the hardware store, and I thought the ugly galvanized flat thumb screws just wouldn’t do.

So, anyway – there you have it! These planes are the result of my first experiments in the field of plane making. And actually, all three of them work very well – I was quite surprised. The irons can be ground and honed very sharp, and the file tool steel is very hard and holds the edge exceptionally. If anyone has any questions or would like more photos or drawings / instructions on how to make such a plane, let me know – I have everything sketched out from my own design process.

13 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3848 days

#1 posted 04-03-2011 11:57 PM

nothing is like the feeling of using homemade tools :-)
and they are looking butyfull too
congratĀ“s with the build

thankĀ“s for sharing them with us
looking forward to the next set of tools from your hand

take care

View BlueHatMan's profile


25 posts in 3362 days

#2 posted 04-04-2011 12:25 AM

Raelly, really nice. You have a lutherie project in mind?

-- BlueHatMan, N. California,

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4021 days

#3 posted 04-04-2011 12:46 AM

Saweeeeeeeeeeet set of planes they would be good at making boxes and for little touch ups. That is a neat idea for the blades and the thumb screws, I didn’t even know that was copper (lever caps) untill I looked again it looks like wood.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View joey's profile


396 posts in 4637 days

#4 posted 04-04-2011 01:04 AM

I would love to see some detail on them, they are a great little set planes. I have been wanting to build a small set for myself but I just haven’t gotten to it yet. Just started a mountain dulcimer and I want to build a banjo after that so that gives the excuse I need to get bust on a nice set of little planes. Thanks for posting

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View larryw's profile


335 posts in 3395 days

#5 posted 04-04-2011 02:06 AM

Really awesome job on the design and making of these planes. This is really interesting to me, because I intended to build my own guitar and work my way into lutherie, and small planes such as these would be a great asset in the building process.

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~

View mcjibbin's profile


44 posts in 3420 days

#6 posted 04-04-2011 02:08 AM

Thanks guys – it was a fun project.

@BlueHatMan – Honestly, no – I haven’t done much lutherie work before (other than the restoration of an acoustic bass that included some repair, and a major repair of an acoustic guitar) but I’ve always wanted to make an acoustic guitar from scratch or maybe a mandolin. For right now, it was more about the design and build of the planes. Though I’ve already found many uses for them (other than lutherie work) i.e. furniture work, and on the box that I’m making to hold these three planes (project in progress).

@bigike – Yep, they’re copper – but yeah, it is kinda hard to tell. I happen to have a few small blocks of solid copper lying around, and I thought it would go good with the brass. Thanks for lookin!

@Joey – I will try and scan my sketches and include some dims if you are interested. I also have a couple more photos on a Flickr account –

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1596 posts in 4298 days

#7 posted 04-04-2011 02:15 AM

Nice set of planes, like how you made the thumb screws too!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3731 days

#8 posted 04-04-2011 04:07 AM

Warning, these are addictive. Look great.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View swirt's profile


5098 posts in 3705 days

#9 posted 04-04-2011 04:53 AM

Very nice. Cute little buggers.

-- Galootish log blog,

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1129 posts in 3706 days

#10 posted 04-04-2011 07:57 AM

These are absolutely gorgeous!!!.....can you tell I have a little thing about planes??

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View mcjibbin's profile


44 posts in 3420 days

#11 posted 04-04-2011 08:41 AM

Haha, yeah they’ll get ya – I was bit by the same bug.

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3566 days

#12 posted 04-04-2011 02:38 PM

I’m in awe, you guys making planes are really driving me towards building one myself! :)

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View mafe's profile


12580 posts in 3822 days

#13 posted 05-01-2011 01:53 AM

Looking really nice!
You have done a fine job there.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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