The DJO Plane

  • Advertise with us
Project by Div posted 09-07-2010 08:40 PM 2457 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A while back a good friend came by the shop while I was busy flattening a large slab of Pine with a #5 jack plane. “Don’t you have a scrub plane? “He asked. “Nope”, I said as I worked away at a rather severe bump. Time went by and recently I visited my brother in spirit who also happens to be a serious tool collector amongst many other things. I hardly had a chance to light my pipe before he asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hands.
“A gift for you”. In my hands was a wooden scrub plane! Now I had coveted metal Stanley scrub planes before but a wooden plane to me is rather special. To make it even more special, the one he gave me is a one off, made by some craftsman who knows when. Call me romantic but there is only one like it in the whole wide world! What can a plane like this tell if it could speak?
I spent some time with the plane today. Upon truing the sole I discovered that the plane body is made out of a solid block of Kiaat. Also known as Mukwa or brown African Padauk, it is a fairly hard timber with good dimensional stability. Kiaat also contains natural oils like Teak, so it is a good choice for a plane body. The oils help to make it decay resistant, one of the reasons why it is the timber of choice for making the dug out canoes or makoros used in the Okovango delta.I wanted to retain the patina that only old wood can have, so I just scraped the sides a little to take off some paint drops. Why is it that old planes are so often full of paint stains? I gave the wooden parts some time with steel wool before giving it a coat of Danish oil. The letters DJO is stamped onto the body, no doubt the craftsman’s initials. I wonder what it stands for. Well, DJO knew something about plane making; there is even a strike button. The mouth of the plane might be a little to large but the plane was built with an insert. I will replace that soon to tighten up the mouth a bit.
I’m no expert but the blade looks forged to me and it is a full 4mm thick. They don’t make them like this anymore! It needed some work so I flattened the back first. I only got as far as 800 before curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to try the plane!
There was a small nick in the blade so I had to grind that curved bevel some. Not as easy as a straight blade but I got a very nice edge by swinging the blade through an arc as I grind. Then to the stone and the strop.
Finally the test drive, the reason for all the work above – to see those shavings curl, to hear the sound of wood being planed with a sharp plane. Shhhht, shhhht!

Thank you brother Jan!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

16 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3613 days

#1 posted 09-07-2010 08:51 PM


this is definitely on my list (scrub). this one looks very well made. the mouth looks ok to me though as it’s supposed to be wide open on scrubs usually.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3306 days

#2 posted 09-07-2010 09:02 PM

great gift there div ,
got you wish ,
and from a friend too !
the story continues ….............

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

View Ole's profile


67 posts in 3041 days

#3 posted 09-07-2010 09:11 PM

Very nice! Don’t worry about the mouth, it needs to be able to pass the large shavings. They will be more like chips, since the plane is used diagonally or across the grain.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2905 days

#4 posted 09-07-2010 09:30 PM

Purplev yeah, it was well made indeed. I am very happy with it. patron thanks. The story continues indeed, and what a wonderful story… Ole I hear you. If you look closely at the photo you might see the diagonal passes I have taken… notottoman We’ll rectify all that when you visit! Not as serious as you think. When you are here, you can make your own swooshes and shhhts, then you’ll be hooked!!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3306 days

#5 posted 09-07-2010 09:38 PM

yea mario

don’t forget to take a
when you go visit ,LOL !

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

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 3879 days

#6 posted 09-07-2010 09:47 PM

Nice brother. Nice plane! Funny you should mention the paint. I was asking the same question just a few days ago. Same with old chisels.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View swirt's profile


2644 posts in 2937 days

#7 posted 09-07-2010 11:13 PM

A great looking scrub. You’ll be out looking for boards with wind in them just so you have an excuse to use it.

-- Galootish log blog,

View aurora's profile


229 posts in 3217 days

#8 posted 09-08-2010 12:02 AM

excellent story, ... good friend, ..... wonderful plane ! now all you need is a rough piece of lumber fresh off the saw mill and you/ll have lots of fun.

thanks for sharing your good fortune.

View kcrandy's profile


285 posts in 3397 days

#9 posted 09-08-2010 03:21 AM

I need to get off this site. I am not worthy!

-- Caulk and paint are a poor carpenter's best friends

View YoungestSon's profile


93 posts in 3021 days

#10 posted 09-08-2010 03:42 AM

When I joined this web site I didn’t know that I would be learning so much about wood found around the world. I never heard of Kiaat before. It sounds like a good wood to be used for a plane.

You certainly will put it to good use.

-- Don - Rochester, NY

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3024 days

#11 posted 09-08-2010 04:39 AM

Ole already said it, but the mouth is supposed to be pretty big on a scrub plane. Also, the blade should have a pretty noticable camber to it. It should actually leave a sort of scalloped surface that is then easy to flatten using a jack plane, followed by the jointer plane to get it flat and finally finished off with a smoother. My scrub plane is actually an old wooden jack plane that I converted into a jointer plane because the mouth was too wide for finish work and I already had a good jack plane anyway so I simply ground a camber on the iron and opened up the mouth a little bit more. It can hog off material prety quick. I think I can probably take a board down quicker than I can with my power planer. Only problem is, I haven’t mastered the knack well enough to do so as precisely.

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

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2853 days

#12 posted 09-08-2010 05:25 AM

Congratulations on your new “wooden friend”. May you both find happiness in your companionship through the years to come. Just think, a few generations from now some woodworker is going to be fondling that plane with the same love you feel for it, and wishing it could tell him about you.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View mafe's profile


11643 posts in 3054 days

#13 posted 09-08-2010 01:52 PM

Hi Div.
Thank you for this sweet story.
Yes she is surely a wonderful little lady with a story to go. A little like the beautiful old ladys we see in Greece, all in black, with a scarf arround their head – full of memory, full of dignity and full of life, allways a smile of compassion. Stop Mad.s… No, I really mean it, I love her.
If you look at the Stanley 40 scrubplanes they also have a wide open mouth, and with the thicker shavings it should be fine. The Scandinavian (German) style planes also have a wide open mouth and looks like yours.

Look here what our LJ friend writes:
So good luck with her, nothing like a tool with a story, and send a good thought to your friend.
The front handle looks just like a thumb, ‘thumbs up for that’...
Ohhh ya, and wonderful to see the grease pot are beeing usefull again.
Best thoughts brother,
Mads (reporting life from Paris…)

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

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2905 days

#14 posted 09-08-2010 09:32 PM

Thanks for all the comments dudes!

I still think the mouth is a little too wide….

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View toolchap's profile


150 posts in 2885 days

#15 posted 09-14-2010 08:34 PM

It means much to me that you restored it and are enjoying it. I think of you whilst working….

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics