Router Plane - No money for Veritas/LN!

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Project by USCJeff posted 05-29-2008 04:03 PM 29831 views 118 times favorited 54 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been really tempted to purchase a Veritas Router Plane. LN makes a couple nice ones as well. They are simple in function, so I gave it a shot before shelling out gas money (grrrrrrr) on tools. The assembly is two pieces.

The walnut top was shaped to fit the index finger and thumb of each hand. It is about 4” wide. I cut it on the bandsaw and shaped it with sanding drums and files. There is a 1/4” – 20 threaded insert in the rear with thumb screw to match.

The walnut base is rectangular, in the neighborhood of 4” x 3”. It is attached to the top by screws (pic 3). I chose screws versus glue so that I can attach it to a different base if desired in the future. I might make a larger handled base that are sold commercially. I also will use it without a base for shallow hinge mortising. I angled the top slightly after using a pine prototype. I found that being a lefty, I favored my left hand a bit and the angled top worked better for me. I drilled a hole through both for the iron.

The iron is actually an allen wrench that I tweaked on the grinder and sandpaper. It gets pretty sharp. It dulled after about 7-8’ of dadoes, but honed back sharp quickly. I chose one the approximate size of the Veritas Iron in case I decide to upgrade in the future. Given it’s limited function in my shop, I think this set up will work, however. The thumb screw keeps things square and in place.

The biggest challenge, was ensuring that the iron was sharpened parallel to the base. This took a little guess and check, but was simple enough.

Little oil all around and paste wax on the bottom.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

54 comments so far

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4448 days

#1 posted 05-29-2008 04:18 PM

Very cool….I have a number of old allen wrenches laying around, I may just give this a try.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4185 days

#2 posted 05-29-2008 04:23 PM

Good job, Jeff. This is a clever use of an allen wrench. I am sure a lot of us have old ones lying around that could be transformed into a useful tool such as this.

Well done.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4146 days

#3 posted 05-29-2008 04:26 PM

Hey that looks great! Nice job.

-- Eric at

View Dusty56's profile


11838 posts in 4051 days

#4 posted 05-29-2008 04:31 PM

wonderful idea….thanks for sharing

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

425 posts in 4061 days

#5 posted 05-29-2008 04:34 PM

Outstanding. I love homemade tools, and jigs.

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4460 days

#6 posted 05-29-2008 04:34 PM


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

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4439 days

#7 posted 05-29-2008 04:44 PM

Very nicely done, Jeff! Save those big bucks for your family.

It is also a very good use for scrap wood. I have some walnut and hard maple scraps too small for a regular project that are just looking to be used. I also have an old 7/16” and 1/2” allen wrenches that would make good “blades” so I can use them on larger dadoes I usually cut.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 4203 days

#8 posted 05-29-2008 05:07 PM

Look out LN, very nice.
And it does the job, great work!

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Tony's profile


993 posts in 4393 days

#9 posted 05-29-2008 05:14 PM

I wish I had seen this 2 days ago, I just bought a Veritas – Nice use of the Allen wrench

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 4063 days

#10 posted 05-29-2008 05:18 PM

Very inventive! I wish I would have thought of that…

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View WoodChucker's profile


16 posts in 4270 days

#11 posted 05-29-2008 05:42 PM

Necessity is the mother of invention, and so is the cost of things

-- WoodChucker, Sherwood Park, Alberta

View jcees's profile


1077 posts in 4162 days

#12 posted 05-29-2008 05:53 PM



-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4351 days

#13 posted 05-29-2008 05:57 PM

That’s pretty nice! How well does it work?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 4175 days

#14 posted 05-29-2008 06:06 PM

Nice work. It shouldn’t dull that quickly (being tool steel) so I’m guessing that you lost the temper by heating it too much when grinding.

Take out the blade, and heat it to a dull orange colour, then submerse it in used motor oil to cool it, then re-sharpen (slowly :) )

Should restore the hardness and make it keep it’s edge.


-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here:

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 4431 days

#15 posted 05-29-2008 06:07 PM

Gary: I can’t really give a comparison of function compared to the commercial planes as I haven’t used one. It does what I needed it for in that it cleaned up grooves and such smoothly. I’d be amazed if a commercial iron didn’t hold it’s edge much longer, but I’m satisfied with this set up. I cleaned up three shelves worth of dadoes (7’ to 8’) before I felt it needed sharpening. That length will get me through most projects without having to stop to hone.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

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