The 30 minutes MaFe chisel plane - blog.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 05-28-2011 03:14 PM 46122 reads 72 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The 30 minutes MaFe chisel plane.
It gets short for all of us one day…

I have seen plenty of different versions of the so called ‘chisel plane’, and all had the same problem for me – they simply took too long, and was too complex to make compared to then just making a real hand plane right off.

Why make a chisel plane?
1. I can’t afford different – that is a good idea then to make one.
2. I have a hand plane but could use a ‘plane’ for cleaning up rabbets, creating a quick and dirty helper – fine choice.
3. I want to make serious woodworking and need a shoulder plane – bad choice, bud or buy a shoulder plane.
4. I’m a child and just have to try – it’s you MaFe.

So When I finished my shoulder plane I was in the mood to give it a go, since I had a piece of scrap wood on the table.
I decided it should be a plane you could construct on site with simple tools and should be done fast! 15-20 minutes.

We can call it the emergency chisel, shoulder, rabbet, router, scrub and even smoothing plane…

Big words yes!

But it actually is possible, so next time you forgot one of the above and you are long away from home, try to remember this:

So lay your chisel on top of a block of wood, it should be as flat and square as possible.
Mark the width of the chisel on top.

On the side now make a 45 degree angle, lay your chisel on top and draw this line.
Make a third line for the wedge, this one should be with an 8-10 degree angle, not to high.
Mark where you will drill a hole for getting the shaves out. If you don’t have a big drill you can use a jig saw to cut the round hole.
I also marked for the front and end of the block with a compass to give it a nice feel.

Mark up carefully.

Here you can see where the mouth of the plane will be.

Drill or saw a hole.

If you have a table saw set it for the size of the chisel.

And cut 45 degrees, this can be done just as well with a handsaw.

Here we are, step one a fit with the chisel.

You see.

Now with a saw cut out for the wedge, but only at the top part of the plane body, we want a tight mouth after.

Clean out.

Like so.

Cut off.

Time for a wedge.
You can use any wood.
Cut it in length.

Take the chip you cleaned out and use to see the angle.

Cut up with any saw you wish.

Shape if you want.

Shape the wedge.
A good rounding near the mouth makes it easy for the shaves to not get stocked.

Now put it together, adjust the parts, and open the mouth as much as needed.

Look at the wood in the back, quite rough yes?

And after a little shaving with this primitive hand plane.
Nice curly shaves.

KISS – keep it simple stupid! Laugh.

You can make one like this and throw it in your tool box, then you have every plane you need when you need it…

You can always shape the sole of the plane, so it can be made with a smaller chisel size as a rabbet plane, plough, or whatever.

But my ohh it was fun to make it, and now I know I will never be lost without a plane as long as I have a chisel.

I just spoke to my 85 years old grandmother who told me my grandfather’s biggest wish as a boy was to become a carpenter, so who knows there might be a little wood in my blood.

Links on the subject:
An old book tells the story:
A man in a garage:
And one that take it to the higher level:

Best thoughts to all of you,


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

41 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13794 posts in 4331 days

#1 posted 05-28-2011 03:18 PM

Bravo. Well done Mads. Do I see that the eReader is getting some use?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View dirtybandaid's profile


21 posts in 2867 days

#2 posted 05-28-2011 04:11 PM

I love it! And, it’s nice to my budget!

View Skylark53's profile


2682 posts in 3294 days

#3 posted 05-28-2011 04:15 PM

Great idea. Thanks for the thorough blog. We’ll have to give this a try.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View Don W's profile

Don W

19034 posts in 2802 days

#4 posted 05-28-2011 04:18 PM

it would have taken me 30 minutes to take the pictures!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10364 posts in 4286 days

#5 posted 05-28-2011 05:36 PM

Thank you for a wonderfully CLEAR tutorial & procedure!


-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Lars Öhlin's profile

Lars Öhlin

83 posts in 3592 days

#6 posted 05-28-2011 05:36 PM

Very smart! i like your way of thinking Mads!
I’m also admiring all your other hand tools in the background of your pictures

Heja Danmark!


-- Lars Öhlin [Sweden - Helsingborg - Domsten]

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3270 days

#7 posted 05-29-2011 12:49 PM

Useful and resourceful project, as ever, nice one Mads.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View mafe's profile


11770 posts in 3323 days

#8 posted 05-29-2011 06:05 PM

Hi guys,
Thank you for all the kind comments, you sure make me smile.
Wayne, acually I have been too busy to really read in this but put a good handful of books also abaout plane making on it so I can bring it with me.
August McCormick Lehman III, yes I LOVE making tools!!! Some one once asked me here on LJ if I was planning to make some ‘real’ wood working, this made me laugh big time – what is more real than making tools for wood from wood? That is just wonderful.
dirtybandaid, yes it sure is a budget friendly version.
Don W, laugh here, I have become used to just taking these photos now, perhaps it helps that I have been teaching for some years constructing architects.
GarageWoodworks, this I take as a fine compliment since you are one of those who inspired me to make my own version of this, thank you.
Joe Lyddon, thank you! I’m happy if it came out all clear, I try my best.
Lars Öhlin, I smile, even I don’t always like my thoughts, lol. Hejsa!
Martyn, big wonderful smile here to you.
Best thoughts to all of you, hope you enjoy the weekend,

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

View bigike's profile


4055 posts in 3523 days

#9 posted 05-29-2011 07:00 PM

This is a very simple and cool looking plane.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2889 days

#10 posted 05-29-2011 09:23 PM

That does look like a fun day in the shop. Always nice to have a back up plane.

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

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2927 days

#11 posted 05-29-2011 09:33 PM

What’s that Ashley Iles doing being stuffed into that wooden carrier? What’s that French keyhole saw doing, just letting it happen!? And what on Earth is that beatiful brass mallet going to do about it all? Stop the Madness, Mads! :)

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

View mafe's profile


11770 posts in 3323 days

#12 posted 05-29-2011 09:46 PM

Al, the Iles are providing the blade, and what a blade – I love to use but never abuse tools. The French saw is there because it arrived that day where I finished the shoulder plane (why you see all the shoulder planes on the table also) and when that was done, I first made the chisel plane app. 30 minutes and then the saw guard app 30 minutes. The mallet (I made months ago) was for chopping out wood on the chisel plane I have become fond of these carvers mallets. So trust me, nothing was put there for the photo, but all was there because of the use, and because I am so lucky to be working in my workshop full of beautiful tools.
Big Ike, yes fast and easy.
RG, how can I not love time with all my beautiful tools, each time I make new tools I make the pleasure of working in my workshop bigger, it’s like a perfect circle.

Best thoughts,

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

View Bill J. Griffin's profile

Bill J. Griffin

99 posts in 2785 days

#13 posted 06-02-2011 06:19 PM

Very cool idea, and very well instructed.
Gonna make one.
Mind if I keep an eye on you for ideas? lol

-- Shop's too small :( ... hey the decks pretty big :)!!!

View mafe's profile


11770 posts in 3323 days

#14 posted 06-02-2011 07:21 PM

Hi Bill,
I’m only happy to be looked after… It is after all the reson why I post it.
Best thoughts,

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

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3101 days

#15 posted 06-02-2011 09:14 PM

It’s really nice, Mads, and very well presented – as usual. Congratulations.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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