Wooden Planes

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Blog series by Mark Kornell updated 07-08-2017 11:32 PM 17 parts 39219 reads 58 comments total

Part 1: The first one

04-13-2014 05:53 AM by Mark Kornell | 3 comments »

My first experience with handplanes were two 70’s era Stanleys (the block with a red lever cap, and a Handyman smoother) I “rescued” from a drawer in my dad’s garage three years ago. He had a brief flirtation with woodworking around the time I was 5, and the planes had obviously been unused since. The climate here is pretty dry, so there was only minor surface rust to deal with. I cleaned them up, worked on the soles a bit, and without really knowing what I was doing, turned the smoother into...

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Part 2: A Jack

04-13-2014 06:02 AM by Mark Kornell | 2 comments »

Conceptually, a plane is a fairly simple device. It holds some kind of cutter that can be passed over a piece of wood to effect a cut. To work well, it needs to hold the cutter securely, and may have fences, guides or stops to help control the path of the cut. And even those fences, guides and stops aren’t there to help with making the cut, just to ensure consistency. So that’s it. Hold the cutter securely. In a Krenov-style plane, there are a small number of pieces that factor...

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Part 3: The Mouse

04-13-2014 06:07 AM by Mark Kornell | 10 comments »

I wanted plane #3 to be another block plane, but I wanted it to be a different kind of block. By this point, I’d done a lot of reading about planes in general and plane-making, and some of it was starting to sink in. Low angle, bevel-up planes sounded like a good thing because of the versatility, so I hit on the idea of making one from wood. The Internet is a wonderful resource for finding information on just about any conceivable topic. Usually, there is too much information, re...

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Part 4: Shoulder Plane

04-14-2014 05:13 AM by Mark Kornell | 5 comments »

I don’t remember the order I built the rest of the planes I’ve made, so they’ll appear in no particular order. 3/4” shoulder plane. Sapele body and two-piece walnut wedge. Waterlox finish. This pic is a bit harshly lit, but it shows off some subtle figure in the sapele. Instead of a 4-piece lamination, this was done in two pieces. I drilled out the hole for the mouth area, then cut off one cheek. Hollowed out the cavity for the iron and wedge. Fit the wedge and then glued the cheek ...

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Part 5: A Pair of Pocket Planes

04-14-2014 05:16 AM by Mark Kornell | 2 comments »

Here’s a couple of pocket planes: The one on the left is made from walnut, the right is purpleheart and mahogany. Meant to carry around in an apron pocket for quick accessibility. They definitely show signs of banging around with all the other detritus in apron pockets… The irons came from Lee Valley, replacement irons for small planes. The iron in the walnut 7/8” wide and the other is 1” wide. As long as the irons are kept sharp, they work pretty well for putting quic...

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Part 6: A Short Smoother

04-14-2014 05:20 AM by Mark Kornell | 6 comments »

I use this one as a smoother for some woods. It is short-ish for a smoother at 8 1/2”, but does its job quite well. Has a nice weight to it in use – not too light and not too heavy. Feels very solid. Made from wenge, with beech stripes and an ipe sole. Finish is tung oil and wax The bed is 50 degrees and the iron is another of the LV wooden plane irons. I cut it down with a Dremel and about 10 of those tiny cutting wheels. —Mark Kornell, Kornell ...

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Part 7: Laminated Block

04-15-2014 02:53 AM by Mark Kornell | 0 comments »

This one was an exercise in lamination. 6 primary species of wood – western maple, red oak, sapele, cherry, birch and walnut. Two pieces of each species, each piece at a different thickness, and some random veneer thrown in between each primary wood piece, for a total of 23 layers. The sole is white oak. Glue is urea formaldehyde, so I could glue it up in one go. Didn’t think I could get it done with PVA. The bed is 45 degrees, and was my first double iron plane. I someho...

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Part 8: Checker board block plane

04-15-2014 02:57 AM by Mark Kornell | 5 comments »

This is a bevel-down low angle block, bedded at 37° This one was also an exercise in lamination. Cherry and walnut, with a white oak sole. Finish is Waterlox and wax. It darkened the cherry considerably (and the cherry has continued to darken all on its own), so the contrast isn’t what I was originally going for. Again, the glueup was done with UF glue. While the number of pieces would have been manageable with PVA, I didn’t feel like rushing. It took 3 separate glueups t...

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Part 9: Curly smoother

04-15-2014 03:14 AM by Mark Kornell | 7 comments »

This one is a smoother with a 45 degree bed. About 10 1/2” long Curly maple, jatoba stripes and ipe sole. (I have half a plank of 1×4 ipe – what else am I going to use it for besides soles for planes?) And another cut-down LV wooden plane iron. Finish is tung oil and wax. The configuration of the stripes was inspired by a picture of a AC Cobra in racing trim. Not a typical stripe configuration for a Cobra, so it stuck out. This one loves making beautifully f...

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Part 10: High-angle Block

04-16-2014 03:26 AM by Mark Kornell | 4 comments »

This one doesn’t see much use because it is fairly specialized. The bed angle is 60 degrees, highly useful in certain applications. Completely useless in most others. :-) That’s too bad, because it is a nice fit in the hand. It tends to be hard to adjust. Tapping the iron to advance is fine, but tapping the back of the plane is just as likely to either do nothing or loosen the wedge as it is to retract the iron. The applied shock when you tap it at the back doesn’t me...

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Part 11: Jatoba block

04-16-2014 03:31 AM by Mark Kornell | 0 comments »

Next up is a 50 degree block plane. The body is jatoba with an ipe sole. The stripe in the middle is ebony and beech. Iron is a Hock 1 1/2”. Finish is Waterlox and wax. Thanks to the jatoba and the Hock iron, this thing weighs more than some metal block planes. It fits very comfortably in the hand. Jatoba is extremely hard and dense. Sanding end grain is about the same as sanding hardened steel. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. Forget about doin...

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Part 12: Jatoba smoother

04-16-2014 03:37 AM by Mark Kornell | 4 comments »

This is another jatoba plane. Apart from sanding end grain, jatoba is a relatively easy wood to work with. Machines well, holds an edge and seems to be pretty stable. I’ve also not (yet) encountered any boards with reaction wood. Kind of smells like a wet dog when being cut. I like it for planes because it is dense – the added mass in a small plane really helps performance. No stripes this time, just jatoba and an ipe sole. The bed is a fairly steep 60 degrees, which releg...

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Part 13: Two Cherries Jointer

04-17-2014 04:27 AM by Mark Kornell | 0 comments »

Neither as long nor as wide as Derek Cohen's, but still pretty hefty: 24” long jointer, bedded at 45 degrees. The iron is a LV woodie, 2 3/8” wide. Beech body with ipe sole. The tote is cherry, knob is jatoba. Finish is tung oil. The knob is threaded in so I can remove it easily. Without the knob, I find it hard to get a good grip for planing or lifting it, so I just leave the knob on. I must admit that I’m not a hand plane purist. If I need to joint something in e...

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Part 14: A Block for a Friend

04-17-2014 04:30 AM by Mark Kornell | 1 comment »

I made this plane as a gift for a friend. He took a woodworking course to build a chair, and ran out of time. Hasn’t had any luck finding a shop to get some time in, so the pieces for the chair are sitting on a shelf in his apartment. I was hoping to inspire him to complete the project by giving him a tool he could use without needing a shop. We’ll see what happens. Jatoba body with beech stripe. Ipe sole. Tung oil and wax finish. 45 degree bed, Hock iron. I barely opened the mo...

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Part 15: Miscellany

04-17-2014 04:32 AM by Mark Kornell | 1 comment »

SpokeshaveMade from the Lee Valley small shave kit. Beech body. Knives The outer ones are small carving knives. Jatoba on the left and african mahogany on the right. The middle is an ebony marking knife. The blades on the carving knives are HCS jigsaw blades, while the blade on the marking knife came from Grizzly. Chisel Plane Quite possibly the ugliest, crudest plane in my collection. Well, no. Definitely the ugliest and crudest. But it does what it needs to do. Mahoga...

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Part 16: 2013 Plane Swap plane - 37° block

04-17-2014 04:57 AM by Mark Kornell | 3 comments »

I made this plane for the 2013 Plane Swap. It is also posted as a project, but I thought I’d give more details here. First, I draw up a plan. Fairly simple, but it helps me work out the shaping details and sort out any conflicts with the mouth opening. This plan shows a crosspin, but I changed my mind and went with the more traditional eared approach. It is still a laminated construction, with the ears being glued in after the fact. A bit of a challenge getting them ali...

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Part 17: Another Swap, another block plane

07-08-2017 11:32 PM by Mark Kornell | 5 comments »

Made this block plane for the recent swap. The construction was basically the same as the previous blog posting. Laminated (sandwich) body construction with glued-in ears. Since that blog post I’ve made a couple more in the same style, learning a bit more each time. One thing I focused on was how the ears and wedge are shaped. I’ve been gradually working my way to a more traditional tapering near the mouth. The details don’t show up in these pics, unfortunately...

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