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Making a Miter Plane

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Forum topic by Homick posted 02-20-2013 10:11 PM 1998 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Homick

10 posts in 572 days


02-20-2013 10:11 PM

I’m interested in making my first plane: A Miter Plane

Since it’s my first one, I’m wondering if anyone could point me to a resource (book, webpage, etc…) that might be able to explain the steps involved or the considerations I need to make to build a miter plane. It would be specifically for shooting miters if that’s any help.


15 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

15018 posts in 1219 days


#1 posted 02-20-2013 10:40 PM

Get making and mastering wood plane by David finck. I’m can’t recall if there is a specific reference to shooting miters, but its great foe making all kinds of wood planes.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2045 days


#2 posted 02-20-2013 11:06 PM

Do you want it all in wood or an infill?

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

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Homick

10 posts in 572 days


#3 posted 02-20-2013 11:38 PM

Ah, necessary detail … yes all wood.

Since it’s a dedicated shooter, I’m interested in incorporating a skewed blade and a proper grip to apply the force in the right direction.

Thanks for the book reference. I can also assume I will need some floats or special tools? (making it with all hand tools)

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Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2045 days


#4 posted 02-20-2013 11:54 PM

I have never tried to make one, but its something I have been thinking for a long time.
I particularly like the work of Bill Carter, a planemaker from London. If his web page, he has a “Wooden Planes” tab, and there is a nice mitre Plane with a particular piece inlaid in the mouth area. I really think that’s a neat piece!

It’s true, the more tools you have, the easier the work, but I have seen people doing great pieces with simple firmer chisels.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View Don W's profile

Don W

15018 posts in 1219 days


#5 posted 02-21-2013 12:02 AM

I’ve made several krenov style planes and haven’t bought a float. I do have a pretty large variety of rasps and files however. Some floats are on my list of wants, they just haven’t ”floated” to the top yet.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

544 posts in 1933 days


#6 posted 02-21-2013 01:25 AM

I don’t think I’d make a skewed plane as my first plane. I also don’t understand why you want a skewed miter plane. You need to be able to use it both directions. In one direction a skew will tend to lift the work and in the other it will tend to lift the plane. Cutting geometry is important in a miter plane. You’ll want an effective cutting angle of around 40 degrees.

Traditional 20 degree bedded, bevel-up type miter planes need a stop in the mouth to close the mouth after you make the plane. You need to be able to work through the mouth with a float which leaves the cutting edge too far from the leading edge of the mouth. These planes were unsuccessful because the 20 bed angle is too close to the cleavage lines of the wooden body. Every old one I’ve seen failed structurally because the wedge pressure split the wooden body. These are actually what led to the development of infill planes.

The predecessor of the wooden miter plane was the strike block which is bevel down and bedded at about 40 degrees. These are actually really nice planes and work well. The design wasn’t suitable for the time because the critical thing with strike block planes is clearance angle. Trade practice back when these were made was to freehand grind on a large wheel with no control over actual grinding angle. If you grind or sharpen a strike block at 30 degrees or greater you’ll run into clearance angle issues where the plane balks or acts dull even when it’s sharp. With today’s grinding equipment, it’s easy to maintain a 25 degree ground and honed bevel so strike block planes today are great.

I thought I had images of both on my computer but I can’t find them.

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Homick

10 posts in 572 days


#7 posted 02-21-2013 09:50 PM

Thanks for the background. I have to admit, I don’t know what you mean by needing to use a miter plane in both directions. The only direction I need mine to work in is ‘forward’ on the shooting board. I have experimented with entering the cut at a skewed angle. It has a significant impact on ease of planing the end grain. I believe that’s why the new Lie Neilsen plane that is designed specifically for shooting also has a skewed iron. I would like to replicate a geometry that takes advantage of that.

I have to wrap my head around the comments you made about the mouth of the plane I want to make. I’m planning to cut endgrain exclusively with this plane. Unless I’m missing something, I won’t ever get tearout so the mouth clearance isn’t really an issue is it? I guess that leads me to an even more fundamental question: Do I even need a sole in front of the iron? Wouldn’t a bullnose or chisel plane shoot end grain the same way a miter would?

View Don W's profile

Don W

15018 posts in 1219 days


#8 posted 02-21-2013 10:00 PM

I’m interested in the “both ways” as well.

A mouth on a plane helps control the depth of cut. That’s why an adjustable mouth plane has such an advantage. I’d hate to try using a chisel plane as a miter plane. I think the experience would be horrible.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Homick's profile

Homick

10 posts in 572 days


#9 posted 02-22-2013 12:55 AM

I will take your word for it, even though I still don’t understand how the mouth helps control cut depth.

Not to be obtuse or argumentative here but I was under the impression that the depth was simply controlled by how far the iron protrudes from the reference area of the sole. For bench and block planes, I can understand why sole in front of the plane is necessary; you don’t want the downward force of your hands digging the blade to far into the work causing tearout.

For a miter plane on a shooting board, I’m working endgrain and the depth is controlled by the reference edge of the miter plane to the shooting board (in both the horizontal and vertical plane). No matter how hard I would try to push into the iron into the work, I won’t push harder than the reference edges of my shooting board pushing back on my plane … depth of cut is how far the iron protudes past the reference edge of my shooting board.

Anyways, off I go to try making a miter plane. I found the book referenced above and it does have a few plans for miter planes in it. Thanks all.

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

544 posts in 1933 days


#10 posted 02-22-2013 01:48 AM

Homick,

Some of the common things mitered are moldings or other profiled stock. One mitered piece needs to be planed from one direction and the other needs to be planed in the opposite direction. You need to plane into the face of the profiles. That’s why miter saws swing both directions and tools like the Lion Miter Trimmer has two fences. Even if you’re working flat stock you should have the reference face or edge down when using a shooting board, it’s good traditional practice and is a great aid in keeping wind out of a project.

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1603 days


#11 posted 02-22-2013 02:10 AM

Homick, you are on the right track. Not sure what lwllms is referring to. The skewed blade will really help you out on the shooting board. I have an old wood bodied Mathieson fore plane with a skewed blade and have been contemplating making it my dedicated plane for the shooting board.

Good luck and be sure to share your results with us….be interesting to see how it turns out.

-- Mike

View Caleb James's profile

Caleb James

149 posts in 1581 days


#12 posted 03-19-2013 07:30 PM

Homick,

lwllms is dead on right. After all he is a professional wooden planemaker and knows. After you use and sharpen, etc. a miter plane for a while his comments will hit home.

-- http://www.calebjameschairmaker.com, http://www.kapeldesigns.com

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

394 posts in 1649 days


#13 posted 03-21-2013 02:56 AM

If I follow you Larry, a mitre plane needs to be able to plane from both the right and left sides of the shooting board to accurately trim molding. A skew plane set up for cuts on the right side of a shooting board may not automatically be set up for accurate cutting on the left side. In theory a regular bedded iron would minimize this.

But what is interesting is I don’t think that the Stanley 51 or Lie Nielsen 51 comes in both a left and right hand version. I’m not sure how you could trim molding on a 51 if you kept the same board face down and against the fence.

Homick could always build two planes – a right handed skew mitre plane and a left handed skew mitre plane.

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

544 posts in 1933 days


#14 posted 03-22-2013 02:17 AM

The #51 plane and #52 shooting board is a bit problematic. It was designed with the task of trimming old lead type printing plates for assembly. Yeah, someone at Stanley decided it would be good for pattern makers and woodworking hobbyists but it only trims half of a mitered joint. The shooting board has an adjustable hold-down to keep the skewed iron from pulling the surface being cut down enough to lift the other end of the stock and spoil the 90° part of the joint. I don’t know anyone who’s actually tried using these, it seems there aren’t many around. I’m sure Lie-Nielsen had a lot of requests for it but my best guess is those requests were based on assumptions that perhaps shouldn’t have been made. If you know how to cut both sides of a mitered joint in molding with one of these, please let me know.

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Greg In Maryland

394 posts in 1649 days


#15 posted 03-22-2013 03:07 AM

I don’t have a clue how to cut both sides of a mitre joint using a number 51 plane. Good thing I just use a number 62. Thanks for your insight on this.

Greg

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