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End grain sole hand plane

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Forum topic by DevinT posted 03-28-2021 03:18 PM 492 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DevinT

702 posts in 43 days


03-28-2021 03:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane

Has anyone ever considered making a hand plane with an end-grain sole? We create end grain cutting boards because end grain is tough, why not on the sole of a hand plane? For example, if the plane was constructed by laminating sheets in such a way that it exposes the end grain on the bottom.

Bad idea? There must be a reason why I’ve never seen anyone do it before on a wooden hand plane.

-- Devin, SF, CA


14 replies so far

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SMP

3936 posts in 982 days


#1 posted 03-28-2021 03:37 PM

Well, the first issue you’ll have right away is the little wedge that supports the iron is gonna snap off the second you use it and open up the mouth. And your not chopping carrots with a chef’s knife on th sole of your plane.

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Loren

11190 posts in 4724 days


#2 posted 03-28-2021 03:40 PM

Sometimes wood planes have an end grain section right in front of the iron. I have one like the by Knight Toolworks.

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DevinT

702 posts in 43 days


#3 posted 03-28-2021 04:24 PM

Thank you, SMP and Loren.

SMP – yes, I do imagine that would happen. Thanks for preventing me from making that mistake and learning it the hard way ;D

Loren – very interesting. I was sad to learn that Steve is no longer making hand planes. I think he’s been focusing on CNC work lately, from what I’ve read.

-- Devin, SF, CA

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SMP

3936 posts in 982 days


#4 posted 03-28-2021 04:27 PM



Thank you, SMP and Loren.

SMP – yes, I do imagine that would happen. Thanks for preventing me from making that mistake and learning it the hard way ;D

Loren – very interesting. I was sad to learn that Steve is no longer making hand planes. I think he s been focusing on CNC work lately, from what I ve read.

- DevinT

Haha np, i’ve learned a lot of things the hard way. I started woodworking over 30 years ago. Back then there was no youtube etc to learn from. So i learned a lot by “making firewood”.

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Loren

11190 posts in 4724 days


#5 posted 03-28-2021 04:38 PM

I made one out of plywood once but it wasn’t really usable because of errors I made. I think I was trying to make something like a low angle jack and the plywood at the mouth bulged.

Planes are pretty easy to make though, and fun. I have a crude double curved compass plane that works fine that I still keep around. Only took me a couple of hours to glue it up and shape it.

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Dave Polaschek

7420 posts in 1659 days


#6 posted 03-28-2021 05:33 PM

It might work with stabilized wood, but the grain direction and strength would be the main problems I can see. As SMP said, the bit of sole behind the mouth pretty much has to have the grain running back to front for strength. But with a brass or steel insert, you could probably do end grain. But at that point, why not just make a brass or steel sole?

I think end-grain would also have an issue with friction, and you’d probably need to wax the sole more often, but that’s just a guess.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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Sylvain

1246 posts in 3576 days


#7 posted 03-30-2021 02:13 PM

The German manufacturer ECE Emmerich makes wooden planes with a sole in another wood:
hornbeam or, more expensive, lignum vitae.
see: https://www.fine-tools.com/putzh.html
Wouldn’t an end grain sole tend to burnish the piece surface?
End grain might collect grit more easily.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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DevinT

702 posts in 43 days


#8 posted 03-30-2021 02:46 PM

That’s a very good point Sylvain. You are absolutely right. Since end-grain is like a pack of straws, I imagine quite easily that the exposed end grain would effect the finished surface on whatever stock you are planing.

-- Devin, SF, CA

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SMP

3936 posts in 982 days


#9 posted 03-30-2021 03:15 PM


That s a very good point Sylvain. You are absolutely right. Since end-grain is like a pack of straws, I imagine quite easily that the exposed end grain would effect the finished surface on whatever stock you are planing.

- DevinT

One thing you have to remember is that basically all hand tools have evolved over hundreds/thousands of years. Anything you think of has been tried more than once. The main changes over the past 150ish years have mainly been new materials and manufacturing techniques and economies of scale. Are metal planes “better” than wooden planes? Not really. But where it takes a highly skilled plane maker 10 hours to creat a single plane, any kid off the street can be quickly trained to sand cast 100 iron planes in that same amount of time. Even the newer crazy looking planes from places like bridge city tool works still operate on the same basic design from 150 years ago.

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DevinT

702 posts in 43 days


#10 posted 03-30-2021 03:48 PM

Bridge City Tools, ...

I saw a review of their dual-angle bench plane and simply taking the blade out is a pain. It’s engineered to the Nth-degree and they missed that not-so-fine detail.

In my opinion, agreeing with you, all the major improvements have already been done and you’re really not going to ever produce a hand plane that does something unique …

Or are you?

To the best of my knowledge, Steve Knight is the only person that ever made a sliding DT plane. That’s certainly some out-of-the-box thinking right there. I think that speaks to the notion that intrepid individuals never give up and if you are creative, you will never be bored.

Take also for example, a unique plane in another thread where someone modified a coffin plane to make a combination howel and make-shift croze for coopering. Before I saw that plane, I had never thought about making a plane that functions one way when used left-handed versus functioning a different way when used right-handed. It makes perfect sense for a coopersmith, maybe not for all situations. Still a rather unique concept.

What I have come to learn over the years is that:

1. There is always going to be that rare antique that was modified for someone’s needs
2. Sometimes those modifications go undiscovered because the owner that performed it works alone without an apprentice and it remains a trade secret (until their tools end up at an estate sale, for example)
3. Just occasionally, those modifications are something that I want and really improve my life

-- Devin, SF, CA

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SMP

3936 posts in 982 days


#11 posted 03-30-2021 04:21 PM


To the best of my knowledge, Steve Knight is the only person that ever made a sliding DT plane. That s certainly some out-of-the-box thinking right there. I think that speaks to the notion that intrepid individuals never give up and if you are creative, you will never be bored.

- DevinT

Sliding DT planes definitely have existed a long time. Have seen several old wooden ones and was actually just looking at a Japanese version on Tokyocraft’s etsy page a few days ago. I think the problem with the older ones is they don’t seem to survive.

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DevinT

702 posts in 43 days


#12 posted 03-30-2021 04:35 PM

SMP: Thanks, I did not know that.

-- Devin, SF, CA

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HokieKen

17533 posts in 2215 days


#13 posted 03-30-2021 04:35 PM

The Stanley 444 is a dovetail plane that at least a couple of folks I know have and use :-)

Endgrain is typically used for cutting boards not so much because it’s tough but because it is kind of “self-healing” due to the “pack of straws” analogy. As others pointed out, it’s much weaker when it comes to splitting the wood in that direction. Personally, I don’t really see an advantage to using endgrain as a plane sole.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

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DevinT

702 posts in 43 days


#14 posted 03-31-2021 05:06 PM

I was picking up some granite for a lapping station today and thought to myself … hmm… anyone ever created a plane out of stone before? (except for the blade, though I did see someone on YT try to make a plane blade out of lignum vitae once—it didn’t work, stone might actually have a chance)

-- Devin, SF, CA

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