Car spring plane irons???

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Blog entry by kiwi1969 posted 12-30-2008 04:31 AM 2749 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So its almost New Year and I,m planing my projects for the next 12 months and one of those is a set of bench planes. I have a number 3 and 5 from Stanley, a block lane from Stanley and a copy of a Record rebate plane from Rolson all of which are ok to start with but I,m keen to make something a bit different. I have all the info I need to make the bodies so thats not a problem, what i can,t find here in the Philippines is the irons. I could order some from hock or lee valley but there is two problems with that plan.
Firstly I dont have a credit card, so ordering anything online aint an option and secondly I dont have any money! seriously (its a long story)
So i was thinking about making my own. Have any of you lumber jocks done this? I was thinking of using steel from old car leaf springs! its good stuff and must be better than the paper thin ones in my current tools, so how would it perform?
Any thoughts, comments or ideas would be appreciated.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

7 comments so far

View jerryw's profile


158 posts in 3940 days

#1 posted 12-30-2008 05:34 AM

might be worth a try. i’ve made turning chisels out of car spring. they stayed sharp and held up well. they were made to turn pattern that i wanted to repeat many times. i made them 30 years ago and still use them.

-- jerryw-wva.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3987 days

#2 posted 12-30-2008 05:39 AM

Check out Phil Edwards site. He makes irons from plain old tool steel or HS. Phil is a member of Lumber Jocks. He can fill you in on tempering with real simple tools.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4298 days

#3 posted 12-30-2008 07:07 AM

My Dad used to make sheet metal cutting tools out of car springs. He was an auto body repair man for a long time. I have one of the springs that he made into a cutting tool for cutting of quarter panels on cars. It works great and really holds an edge. So I would think that they would work rather well.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3910 days

#4 posted 12-30-2008 07:18 AM

Spring steel and reclaimed railroad iron both work well. After you have them made they need to be re-tempered properly. If you really want to do this you might look at some black smithing web sites, there’s a art to it.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Andraxia's profile


133 posts in 3533 days

#5 posted 12-30-2008 09:07 AM

They work fine. Made one once. It just takes time and patience. Something at the time I didn’t have. Honing the edge is the more time consuming.

-- The wood slayer - Yes dear I did plan to make more kindling out of that wood I have been drying for the last year - honest!

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 3872 days

#6 posted 12-30-2008 07:22 PM

spring steel is difficult to work with..if possible find springs off as old a car as possible…pre 70’s ideally….now a steel that works wonderfully is the cutting edges bolted to the bottom of heavy equipment blades..say on bulldozers…or graders…the cutting edges on this type of equipment need replacement routinely…so access to these used cutting edges is readily available. Another good steel is the gatts or steel shanks used in large heavy equipment jack hammers…I have 2 used gatts from a backhoe sized jackhammer and also have one enormous gatt from a hammer originally used on a 750 komatsu excavator, 8” in diameter and almost 4’ long…although it’s wonderful steel…it is also incredibly heavy, in fact when I unloaded it from my pickup it rolled down a small embankment coming to rest against a small pine tree next to my driveway….

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View Douglas Krueger's profile

Douglas Krueger

416 posts in 3748 days

#7 posted 01-07-2009 07:27 PM


Don’t have any experience with spring steel but the others seem to think it will work. I have seen plane blades here in Thailand but it may take some detective work to find some of any quality as most seem to be from China.

Let me know if you want me to look around for ya.


-- I can so I wood but why are my learning curves always circles

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