Two blue gum infill planes

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Project by JuanVergara posted 06-08-2014 08:10 PM 2857 views 6 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The infill on these planes is blue gum eucalyptus, though the character of the wood is so different in each that you might not know it. Ron Hock supplies my irons, but I do everything else in making my planes.

I also follow my own nose in designing them, as you probably guess, and I readily acknowledge that my nose doesn’t take me down the pathways of traditional plane makers. I also acknowledge the risks inherent in the design of these planes: Drop one of these babies and you might crack the bun or even lose that lovely fillip on the tote that sits so nicely on the web between thumb and first finger when you work this plane.

I have no idea where I got the idea for the bun. I only know I don’t like the knobs I see on most ordinary planes, and the word “clunky” comes to mind when I think of the buns on Norris infills. As for that lovely fillip, I can tell you that my wife and I spend Sunday afternoons at a particular spot on the ocean just north of our home on the central coast of California, watching the shorebirds skitter over the wet sands looking for their afternoon snacks.

What do shorebirds have to do with anything here? Take another look at that fillip. Can you see the head and bill of maybe a avocet (that is, one with a short bill)? How about a godwit, also with a short, upturned bill? How about a lowly duck?

I call these planes my shorebird planes.

-- Juan Vergara, California,

23 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile


1939 posts in 2224 days

#1 posted 06-08-2014 08:17 PM

That’s is a damn beautiful plane, wish I had one in my shop. Never seen eucalyptus like that, it looks good. How are the sides attached to the sole? The brass lever cap and pin outlines look great, too.

-- Allen, Colorado

View ShaneA's profile


5779 posts in 1638 days

#2 posted 06-08-2014 08:21 PM

Amazing, just amazing.

View waho6o9's profile


6311 posts in 1617 days

#3 posted 06-08-2014 08:24 PM

Impressive to say the least, keep doing the good work!

View Buckethead's profile


3100 posts in 909 days

#4 posted 06-08-2014 08:31 PM

Oh my.

I’m usually not at a loss for words.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View prospector45's profile


149 posts in 770 days

#5 posted 06-08-2014 09:39 PM

No need for a blade. These are just too darn beautiful to use. Thanks for allowing us to see your meticulous work.

-- Skilled craftsman are not cheap, cheap craftsman are not skilled. Bert, Wooster

View racerglen's profile


2824 posts in 1820 days

#6 posted 06-08-2014 10:21 PM

Very very nice work, sculpture for the hands to use !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5782 posts in 2625 days

#7 posted 06-08-2014 10:42 PM

Yes that’s a real beauty. I love the design.Might I recommend you to study a few German European plane design as your work shows a sign of that kind of influence.Not exactly but heck you might enjoy looking at their designs of handplanes.I bought quite a few over the years from Germany myself and am most impressed.Your plane here is tip top Brother simply beautiful workmanship and design. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5489 posts in 1332 days

#8 posted 06-09-2014 12:06 AM

Outstanding! Beautifully crafted.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View RussInMichigan's profile


551 posts in 1821 days

#9 posted 06-09-2014 12:06 AM

They look beautiful. Can you show us some shavings?

View JuanVergara's profile


20 posts in 489 days

#10 posted 06-09-2014 12:10 AM

Wow. Many thanks, folks. I made my first plane two years ago last January, and I’ve done nothing but make one plane after the other since then – 30, maybe 40 planes in all, many of them still on a shelf in my shop marked “This is how you don’t do thus stuff, bub.”

The sides and base are 1/4 inch mild steel joined with dovetails and 1/8 inch round steel pins driven through the sides into the sole as well, though the pins probably constitute over-engineering. Each joint is peened and filed twice, maybe three times in what machinists used to call “cold welding.” The amazing thing is that steel flows like water, given time and the push of the ball peen hammer, and the joints disappear.

I have the basic shape cut on a water jet, but with the exception of the irons – Ron Hock specials – I do everything else in making a plane. I do love the things – the heft, the feel, the sound of the iron on wood, the gossamer shavings curling up out of the mouth.

I’m about half done with another No. 4 with a black acacia infill, and I’m toying with the idea of making a matched set of three planes – a No. 3, 4 and 5 – out of the same wood. That would be a tall order, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it quite yet.

We’ll see. Meantime, many thanks for the kind words.

-- Juan Vergara, California,

View Bieser's profile


176 posts in 1074 days

#11 posted 06-09-2014 12:25 AM

Those look wonderful do you sell them?

View JuanVergara's profile


20 posts in 489 days

#12 posted 06-09-2014 12:58 AM

RussinMichigan – Here are two pix of shavings measuring 0.0015. The infill on this plane is black walnut ebonized via the vinegar-and-steel wool method.

Alistair – Interesting that you find traces of German plane making in my work. Tell me more.

-- Juan Vergara, California,

View JuanVergara's profile


20 posts in 489 days

#13 posted 06-09-2014 01:00 AM

Bieser – Not sure whether the rules will let me answer your question.

-- Juan Vergara, California,

View Bieser's profile


176 posts in 1074 days

#14 posted 06-09-2014 01:03 AM

LOL… I forget send me a pm.


View JuanVergara's profile


20 posts in 489 days

#15 posted 06-09-2014 01:22 AM

Bieser – No can do, apparently, until I have five posts under my belt. You can reach me via my website

Hope I’m not breaking the rules with this.

-- Juan Vergara, California,

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