Shopmade Tools - spokeshave, wooden planes, marking gauge, dovetail marker

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Project by PflugervilleSteve posted 06-15-2011 07:21 AM 6808 views 8 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been busy with work and life and haven’t posted anything in a bit, so here’s catchup post number one.

Spokeshave – As usual I’ve been traveling a fair amount. I was in Calgary in January (BRRRR!!!!) and picked up a pair of Lee Valley’s medium spokeshave kits. Finally had a chance to get together with a buddy of mine (UgoBoy) a couple months later and we built them together. Mine’s made of mesquite and finished with a couple coats of super blonde shellac. I like the way it turned out and building a tools with a friend was a lot of fun.

Shoulder plane – I picked up a Hock shoulder plane kit on a whim. Ouch dat was expensive! I worked my way through the instructions and promptly managed to muck up the wood included with the kit at the last minute. GO ME!!! So, I looked around and decided a little California sycamore I picked up out near Sacramento, California from Frank Sieferman, Jr would go with a mesquite core. This stuff has even more figure than normal sycamore when it’s quartersawn. It looks a lot like lacewood but no allergy issues. Anyway, I think it turned out ok in the looks dept. It’s pretty comfortable and the Hock blade is REALLY nice. I’d definitely skip the kit cost next time and just go with the blade for sure.

Grooving plane – I’ve been wanting to buy/build a decent moving fillister plane. Since I haven’t been able to find a design online or in a book (yet!) and haven’t spent the time looking at old moving filister planes to put together a sketchup drawing of one, I decided to start simple and build a fixed filister plane. This is a 1/4” grooving plane that cuts a groove 1/4” deep and 1/4” from the edge. I tend to cut these grooves a fair amount for panels in 3/4” material, so, it will get used. UgoBoy happened to be in the neighborhood of the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks main office and SHOWROOM and brought me back a half dozen of their molding plane blanks. So, after getting the body built, I ground most of an edge, hardened, and tempered the blade and Voila! grooving plane. I’m fairly pleased with it. It’s a bit fat since I used 3/4” rift sawn beech on both side of my mesquite core. But, I like the look, it’s comfortable and cuts cleanly. The only thing I still need to do is lop off the extra metal at the top of the blade. Hmmm – what can I do with a couple inches of 1/8” tool steel… (Nicker for a crosscutting plane maybe?). Finish is a couple coats of boiled linseed oil (BLO).

Marking gauge – I built this over eighteen months ago. Mesquite and brass. I keep meaning to get a nice brass knurled knob instead of my plain jane plastic one, but… Shrug. I’m fairly happy with this little fellow. I picked up a replacement wheel for marking gauges circular cutter from Lee Valley when I was up in Ottawa a while back. I just countersunk it a hair and attached it with a screw, but it cuts a very nice clean line. I ended up almost goofing it up when I drilled a hole for the threaded insert. I drilled a 3/8” hole from the top all the way through to the mortise. OOPS! I don’t remember if the knob was too short or it was just going to be a sloppy fit, but either way it worked out quite well because I had a bit of 3/8 dowel and I lopped about 3/8” off, stuffed it into the hole and now there’s a nice little wooden pad between the screw and the brass on the arm. Let’s hear it for serendipity! Finish is polyurethane. I’m not normally a polyurethane guy, but I was experimenting with the finish I was using for my daughter’s nightstand.

Dovetail marker – I had built an 8 degree dovetail marker a while back and now after the great shop cleanup of May 2011 (that story is coming), my first dovetail marker has gone missing. I can find lots of stuff that was lost, but a few new things have gone awol. Sigh. Anyway, I just whipped this guy up from a scrap bit of 1/4” mesquite (grooving plane core leftover) and some pear that I milled up a while back. It’s deliberately wider than usual because I wanted to mark some dovetails that particular size and I figured if I was having to make a new one, I might as well be able to mark both sides at once. Finish is a coat of BLO.

Shop made hand tools rock. If you like using hand tools for some or all of your work, I encourage you to build some of the tools you’ll use in your work. It’s a good feeling to know you’re a member of the group of people who will someday leave behind a beautiful tool for someone else to enjoy.

9 comments so far

View JohnAjluni's profile


102 posts in 3710 days

#1 posted 06-15-2011 08:11 AM

excellent work!I like your spokeshave with the shelac finish!

-- John

View mafe's profile


13173 posts in 4164 days

#2 posted 06-15-2011 11:21 AM

Really fine tools you have done.
And yes there are nothing like selfmade tools, the work gives more sence after, it’s like a understanding is made.
Div and I have been building planes lately so you can look in our blogs for instructions if you will go on without the plans.
Best thoughts,

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

View Ken90712's profile


17994 posts in 4264 days

#3 posted 06-15-2011 04:03 PM

Well done amd great post! Very good reading.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Russ's profile


357 posts in 4152 days

#4 posted 06-15-2011 07:05 PM

Nice work on the tools Steve

-- Russ

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3768 days

#5 posted 06-15-2011 07:20 PM

So handsome, my friend! I love them all but the molder is my favorite. I plan to build a full set before I die. Yes, including ploughs, so I’ll have to live a long time! Bookmarked, favorited, friended, everything!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4345 days

#6 posted 06-15-2011 07:26 PM

Excellent….I am a big fan of shop made tools and jigs – I would make all of them myself if given the time. Love the woods used…and great finish.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 5099 days

#7 posted 06-16-2011 03:44 AM

Nicely done! There’s something special, and addictive, about making your own tools.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View CartersWhittling's profile


454 posts in 3749 days

#8 posted 06-20-2011 09:08 PM

Thanks for the post, all really great tools.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4363 days

#9 posted 07-20-2011 01:21 AM

very nice

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

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