Advice on making wooden planes

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Forum topic by groy87 posted 12-02-2012 05:02 AM 1409 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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133 posts in 1625 days

12-02-2012 05:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: resource question plane

I’m looking into trying to make a few wood planes (jack and jointer in particular) and I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good resource such as a book that provides the necessary steps and dimensions. I’ve found numerous sites that provide good examples but I figure the more info I get beforehand the better the plane I can make. :)

8 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


5442 posts in 1363 days

#1 posted 12-02-2012 05:29 AM

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133 posts in 1625 days

#2 posted 12-02-2012 05:45 AM

I’m planning on using hock for the blade but I’m leaning towards making a plane like this:

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Mark Kornell

736 posts in 1317 days

#3 posted 12-05-2012 08:05 AM

Making and Mastering Wooden Planes by David Finck is a pretty thorough guide with step-by-step instructions. And, if you prefer to do your own thinking, Krenov had a brief presentation of the process in one of his books. Google is your friend, too – I’ve seen a number of sites describing very similar methods.

That is assuming you want to go with the “sandwich” construction method. If you’re looking to go the more traditional method – chopping a cavity out of a solid block and shaping the bed with a float – advise is harder to come by. I like “Wooden Planes and How to Make Them” by Perch and Lee. That book isn’t step by step, but covers a much wider variety of topics than Finck’s book.

Reference material aside, the first thing you need to start with is the iron. Wooden planes get built around a specific iron, so pick that before you begin construction. The Hock irons are great if you want a chipbreaker, and if you don’t, Lee Valley make some nice thick irons for that purpose. I’ve built planes with both, doesn’t seem to make a difference in performance, so it comes down to style.

There’s no reason you can’t use the same iron in different planes, you just need to switch the iron from plane to plane. Given that you should be able to make a plane in less that a day’s work (not counting time for glue to dry), make both a jack and jointer.

My recommendation would be to start with 2 irons. A 1 3/8” or 1 1/2” and build a couple of block planes and a small (narrow) smoother. Also get a 1 3/4” or 1 7/8” and build a jack and jointer and maybe a wide smoother. In no particular order, but you will get hooked and probably want to make a half dozen more…

While a 4-foot jointer would be awe-inspiring, and I won’t discourage you from tackling that, I will suggest that you’d get more use out of something along a more traditional size. Blocks are handy – I’ve always got at least one hanging around – and a jack is pretty versatile…

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View RonInOhio's profile


720 posts in 1650 days

#4 posted 12-05-2012 09:10 AM

I have three plane building project references (magazines) for you.

Variable-pitch Jack Plane . Popular Woodworking April 2011 Issue #189

Infill Smoothing Plane ShopNotes Volume 21 Issue 121 (I particularly like this one.)

Classic Finger Plane Woodworkers Journal October 2010

These projects are documented well and provide sources for all the hardware and tooling steel needed.
I’m probably going to build one of these sometime.

You should be able to get these magazines from a public library.

Additionally , I would shop around for the hardware and tooling steel supplies you will need . As these items will be the bulk of your cost , you may as well compare pricing. Here is a popular source that Shop Notes magazine
supplies with many of their projects.

I am not endorsing them as I have not ordered from them yet. But they carry a huge inventory.

Good luck.

View groy87's profile


133 posts in 1625 days

#5 posted 12-06-2012 04:25 PM

RoninOhio: thanks for the share. Are there any notes or diagrams for setting up the sole of the infill?

Thanks for the advice and recommendations everyone! Lots to look into.

View RonInOhio's profile


720 posts in 1650 days

#6 posted 12-07-2012 04:47 AM

“Are there any notes or diagrams for setting up the sole of the infill?”

Yes the build covers around 10 pages in the mag with a lot of good illustrations and explanations. Several sections focus on the sole and and lever cap. The link I provided in the other post is just a template for the tote and bun mainly. The article is quite detailed.

If you dive into this sure hope you post about it.

Good luck.

View groy87's profile


133 posts in 1625 days

#7 posted 12-08-2012 06:08 AM

RonInOhio: I saw the link but was unable to find an online copy of the Shopnotes 121. Do you know of an online source or would I be better off trying to order a copy of the magazine?

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720 posts in 1650 days

#8 posted 12-08-2012 07:36 AM

I don’t think you can get single back issues. I saw some someone selling 11 issues on ebay that included the issue in question for 20 dollars.

ShopNotes sells an archive DVD of all projects going back to 1995 . But that is 99 dollars.
One suggestion. If your county library system is computerized you can create a free account and search their data base.
Other than that , ebay is probably your best bet.
Not sure if you can download back issue plans if you become a new subscriber to ShopNotes.

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