Adjustable shoulder plane iron, made from an old spade drill (Bonus track)

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Blog entry by mafe posted 05-24-2011 02:01 PM 7874 reads 16 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Adjustable shoulder plane iron, made from an old spade drill
Because I had to try!

Ok I know some of you will say ‘he finally lost it’, and you might be right!
I have no reason to make this plane iron at all, I simply had to try!

Ever since I read that you could make a plane iron from a spade drill I had this tempting thought to do it, but not just to do it, but improve it so it would become adjustable also.

Here we go!

I set up a good 12 mm spade drill in my metal vice.
Then a torch with fire to red hot all the way down to 1 cm from the spade.
Put the spade good down in the wise so you will not over heat the spade.

Look red hot!
And then just let it cool down slowly.

Now it is easy to work on the metal.
So shape it up as you want.

And then time to thread that bit.
Remember to use some oil for lubrication.

And adjustment for the shoulders.

Time to cut off the nose… Not your own please.

And shape that blade, while dipping often in water to cool it.

I leave some of the mark for the charm.

Flatten the back.

Create side bevels.

Like so!
I love to play on the water grinder; it’s my second wheel now in two years.

Create a bevel.

And sharpen.

Really sharp – wonderful it seems to hold a nice edge.

Sweet yes
And then a hole so you can hang it on the wall after…

That’s it, now I just need to build a third plane where I can use this blade, but for now it’s back to the low angle shoulder plane.

How to make a shoulder plane iron from a normal plane iron:
The blog is also how to make a low angle shoulder plane.

Now it’s done, and perhaps someone will beat me on this one, and make a plane that works with it, I will be happy to see that.

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

20 comments so far

View Sodabowski's profile


2273 posts in 1924 days

#1 posted 05-24-2011 02:09 PM

That’s ultra freakin’ clever. I absolutely LOVE the idea and will definately give it a try with my old dull spade drill bits.

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 2150 days

#2 posted 05-24-2011 02:15 PM

This is why you should be designing tools for some of the manufacturers and making the big bucks. You always think of the ideas that, when I see them, make me slap my forehead and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Unfortunately, I rarely do think of them. I would have never thought of threading the shaft like that. It does pose a challenge for how to securely hold the iron within a plane as you would not be able to use a traditional wedge to secure it. I am hoping someone will take this idea and make a plane for us all to see.



-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View ratchet's profile


1337 posts in 2878 days

#3 posted 05-24-2011 02:47 PM

You amaze me over and over again. Thats an elegant solution to the problem, and very cost effective.
Thanks for sharing it with us.

View murch's profile


1246 posts in 1716 days

#4 posted 05-24-2011 02:49 PM

Mads – your blogs are always interesting. And free. Cool.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View Bertha's profile


12982 posts in 1784 days

#5 posted 05-24-2011 02:51 PM

Mads, you’re lapping me! I at least cleaned my shop yesterday so I can cut my iron tonight. :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View sras's profile


4268 posts in 2220 days

#6 posted 05-24-2011 02:55 PM

Great idea! Well presented with a clear description. Thanks for sharing.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View patron's profile


13422 posts in 2432 days

#7 posted 05-24-2011 03:00 PM

sweet idea mads

cant wait to see
how the thread and adjustment work

this is something i could do
and do i have lots of spade bits

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View RGtools's profile


3343 posts in 1746 days

#8 posted 05-24-2011 03:48 PM

That’s a cool way to do it.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Don W's profile

Don W

16829 posts in 1659 days

#9 posted 05-24-2011 05:37 PM

Every time I hit this site my to-do list get longer and longer. I’ve been meaning to build a shoulder plane and have been looking for a cheap (but good) iron. Looks like I just ran out of that excuse. Thanks for the idea.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View stefang's profile (online now)


14969 posts in 2425 days

#10 posted 05-24-2011 05:57 PM

Wonderful Mads! I was originally planning to use a spade bit for my shoulder plane, so this is really interesting and I’m so looking forward to seeing what you do with it. Life is much easier with you around to save me from my own shop made tool solutions.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View fernandoindia's profile


1079 posts in 2035 days

#11 posted 05-24-2011 06:51 PM

Wow Mads. You´re going too fast mate.

Your tools reproduce like rabbits!!

Awesome work. just in case still save this site in my hard disk !!

-- Back home. Fernando

View Bertha's profile


12982 posts in 1784 days

#12 posted 05-24-2011 06:53 PM

Mafe, my thread tapper is too wimpy to attempt this. I need one like yours with loooooong arms. :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View lanwater's profile


3105 posts in 2025 days

#13 posted 05-24-2011 07:01 PM

Mads you are like a rollercoaster way too fast.

Another great blog.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View lanwater's profile


3105 posts in 2025 days

#14 posted 05-24-2011 08:04 PM

I forgot:

you lost it!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View tdv's profile


1139 posts in 2161 days

#15 posted 05-24-2011 09:51 PM

Mads you’re priceless….. I have an empty drinks carton & I wonder if you could make me a new tablesaw from it?? Of course I would supply the blade
Best regards

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

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