Corrugated Sole on Wood Body Plane

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Forum topic by Don Broussard posted 06-21-2015 03:07 AM 825 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don Broussard

2986 posts in 1673 days

06-21-2015 03:07 AM

I’m making a wood body hand plane and I’m considering corrugating the sole. Wood is purple heart and the overall length of the body is 18”. My thinking is that the corrugated sole would have the same benefits of corrugations on an iron body plane. Is there a good reason for NOT doing it?

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

12 replies so far

View Ripthorn's profile


1402 posts in 2406 days

#1 posted 06-21-2015 03:10 AM

My main concern would be you have more corners that could splinter. This is especially a concern with purple heart. I have never found a corrugated iron sole to have significantly less drag than a flat sole, personally.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View BubbaIBA's profile


383 posts in 1798 days

#2 posted 06-21-2015 10:47 AM

My answer would be a question….Why?

Wood on wood is by nature almost frictionless, I doubt you would notice the difference. BTW, I have a couple or three “C” planes, I’ve never noticed an advantage but have noticed several disadvantages in use.


View rwe2156's profile


2119 posts in 902 days

#3 posted 06-21-2015 11:12 AM

When contemplating things like this I always ask myself “how many have you ever seen?”

This usually gives me the answer, although every once in a while I try to reinvent the wheel and end up wasting alot of valuable time.

I’m with Bubba – I’ve never seen a diff with corrugated planes.

That’s what parrafin is for!!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Don W's profile

Don W

17878 posts in 1989 days

#4 posted 06-21-2015 11:59 AM

Along with what Brian said, it would seem the corrugation would place added wear on what’s left, and would start by roundind the corners of the grooves.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

2986 posts in 1673 days

#5 posted 06-21-2015 12:54 PM

Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I may still put some shallow corrugations just to experiment. Even if there is no reduction in friction, hopefully, the corrugations will at least look good. If I remember to do it, I’ll update this post with the findings.

Brian—I had not considered the purple heart splintering.

DonW—If it turns out they are neither functional nor look good, I’ll just joint the corrugations off and install a new sole.

Thanks again for the comments—much appreciated.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

3538 posts in 1982 days

#6 posted 06-21-2015 07:28 PM


I would not do it. Not only splinter but crack and the groves can break off. There has never been a woodie that had it done to it and I also asked that question about metal planes and the consensus was it did not really help the metal planes either.

I have been wanting to make my own wooden plane for 3 years but I know I do not have the ability to do it.

-- Please help me help other Vets click..> is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7703 posts in 1801 days

#7 posted 06-21-2015 08:54 PM

Wood soles wear faster than metal and I would think corrugated would wear even faster.


View upchuck's profile


540 posts in 1086 days

#8 posted 06-22-2015 03:37 AM

I’d encourage you to try it. For all of the reasons stated above it sounds like a lame idea. And the total (?) lack of historic examples reinforces that opinion. But with wooden planes it would be an easy fix to plane off the grooves and add a new sole to correct it. And I suspect that you (and vicariously us) will learn something from the effort. Wasn’t it Thomas Edison who said, “Let’s plug her in boys and find out why it doesn’t work.”
I learn more from my failures then I ever have from my successes.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 757 days

#9 posted 06-22-2015 03:56 AM

If you don’t like the corrugations then maybe inlay lignum vitae or some other wear resistant wood?

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View TheFridge's profile


5676 posts in 907 days

#10 posted 06-22-2015 04:15 AM

I’d say no simply because of wear. But turning corrugations into dadoes and inlaying lignum sounds like an awesome idea if it doesn’t work.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

2986 posts in 1673 days

#11 posted 06-22-2015 04:20 PM

I like the idea of filling the grooves with lignum vitae if they show excessive wear. Sounds like a good Plan B.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View HornedWoodwork's profile


222 posts in 635 days

#12 posted 06-22-2015 04:33 PM

Go for it. It won’t aid in reducing friction but it will help you flatten the sole very quickly. When you run a plane, wooden or otherwise, on the edge of a board it removes a little of the material there. Repeat this hundreds of times and the plane sole beocomes concave. You need to flatten it and corrugation, wood or otherwise, will aid in that by reducing the amount of material you need to remove. If it fails, tell us all about it. If it’s a success, tell us all about it.

-- Talent, brilliance, and humility are my virtues.

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