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Project Information

I really enjoy using my tools to make more tools. Sometimes I put a lot of effort in the aesthetics and details, and sometimes I just want something that works. This falls into the latter category.

I was in the process of making a wooden plane with an adjustable mouth, and I needed to make sure the mortise where the mouth piece mates with the plane was totally flat and at a consistent depth relative to the bottom of the sole. I had flattened that area before laminating the sole, but after doing so and putting on the finish, some glue and finish had gotten in there and needed to be cleaned up. I started with a chisel, but I had trouble getting the surface totally flat, and I didn't know if it was a consistent depth.

I had seen a couple homemade router planes before, and this situation pushed me to finally make one. I discovered that it was trivially easy, and realized I should have done it a long time ago. For making the router plane itself, most of the time was spent waiting for the glue to dry. I flattened the bottom with a piece of sandpaper adhered to glass, but it could also be planed flat. For most purposes, the bottom doesn't have to be as perfectly flat as, say, a smoothing plane, since this kind of plane generally is not used to take super fine shavings or make a perfect surface texture.

Making the blade was a lot more work. As others have done, I took a hex wrench I had lying around (4mm), ground it to shape (being careful to avoid overheating), then honed it. Sharpening it isn't easy, but the edge doesn't have to be perfect since my goal is to use it for joints where the surface isn't visible. I was careful not to put a left or right tilt on the blade, by putting the blade flat-side down on a table, and then checking with a square that the handle stood vertically. It's also important to add some relief to the blade (grinding the back higher than the front) so that the blade can't "skate" on the surface.

Some things that are less than ideal about my execution:
- I didn't put in the insert nut for the thumbscrew quite straight, so when the screw is tightened down, the cutter ends up being off at a slight angle. But it's not a problem at all for my use.
- Currently, the cutter is a little too long. In the future I'll probably grind it shorter, because at its current length, it can be difficult to access tight spaces.
- I would put the locking screw a little lower to minimize flexing of the blade. It's not a big issue, but I can tell that there's a little bit of flex in the system when making a deep cuts.

A couple hours after I started making this guy, it was finished and I was able to use it to clean up the mortise in my smoothing plane. You can see it in the last photo above. In addition to cleaning up mortises, it can also be used for cutting grooves and dadoes, if the sides are scored with a knife/chisel/saw cut.

If you've ever had a desire for a router plane, but didn't have the funds for it, you should try making one for yourself. It's surprisingly easy-much easier than a "normal" hand plane, for example. Not counting the time spent making the blade (or waiting for the glue to dry), it took about 15 minutes. If you don't want to make a blade, they can be purchased for $9-$12 dollars at Lee Valley.

None of this is new; my only "innovation" was to expend the least possible effort in making it. Ideas and inspiration were from these much more polished examples:
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/7884
http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMadeTools/OldWoman'sTooth.html
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/article/Router_Plane/

Gallery

Comments

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In Loving Memory
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8,391 Posts
Thanks much WCH. I put this in my favorites. I like the simple execution and if that doesn't work I'll use the links you so kindly included for additional info. There have been many times when such a tool could have been handy to have.
 

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1,162 Posts
I'm cutting a lot of butterfly dovetail keys and a router plane is a necessity.
I'm thinking about making one from some hornbeam that I have set aside for tool making.

My old Stanleys could use a little help.

Many thanks.
 

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38 Posts
What a great idea!
 

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1,266 Posts
Thanks as well for the router plane web site, its on my 2 do list…BC
 

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74 Posts
Thanks for the links showing what exactly it does, and how it does it. I saw the other "Granny's Tooth" project and had no idea what it was, how it functioned, or what it would be used for. IMO it looks perfect. It is completely functional, and that is all that is required for a tool.
 

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1,831 Posts
Well done!
 

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19,674 Posts
More like quick and useful great job.
 

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6,114 Posts
Less is more, love it.
 

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125 Posts
Cool idea. I will use this one at some point.
 

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156 Posts
A simple, yet very functional OWT indeed. Nice Job!
 

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Premium Member
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20,131 Posts
Great idea. don't know how I missed thnis one :)
 

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In Loving Memory
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10,409 Posts
GOOD ONE
 

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4,420 Posts
Interesting, I think I want to try this just to say I've actually made a tool…and it would be something to do with those hex keys that always seem to accumulate!
 

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201 Posts
Thanks so much for sharing, deff going to make one of these. Excelent!!
 
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