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Forum topic by Greg In Maryland posted 07-13-2013 01:22 PM 1139 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Greg In Maryland

553 posts in 2995 days

07-13-2013 01:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hand plane swap hand plane tools

Hi all,

I am building a few planes for the hand plane swap. I plan to make two smoothers—one for myself and one for the swap. I have a few questions that I thought I would throw out to the group for their collective input:

1) I am using of one of Rhett’s 1 1/2 inch blades without a chip breaker. I was thinking of embedding small magnet in the bed to help keep the blade in the plane when fiddling with it. Obviously any protrusion into the bed by the magnet would be a problem, but beyond this are there any issues with trying this out?

2) Over at woodnet (yes, I am a Lumberjocks cheater) a fellow stuffed this plane with lead. Link. My understanding from reading about infill planes and planning in general that mass is beneficial. What do you think of that approach for a smoother approximately 10 inches long?

3) For the hand plane swap is it proper etiquette to flatten and sharpen the blades? What about putting a makers mark on the plane?

4) What finish would folks recommend? I plan on using hard maple and walnut. The sole will be hard maple and rest of the plane will be walnut. I don’t want a finish that will yellow the hard maple, though I don’t think that adding a finish on the sole is probably the best thing. On those lines, is the throat and bed finished?

That’s it for now



7 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18713 posts in 2565 days

#1 posted 07-13-2013 03:30 PM

1. I can’t think of any. I’ve seen several guys doing it.
2. Mass does help. I believe it would add benefit at times. It is heavier to carry around though. Knock it off your bench and you’ve got more force breaking it in half.
3. Yes and Yes. Putting your mark on it was strongly suggested on the gauge swap. It should be in working order when received, so the iron should be sharp.
4. Almost any finish is ok. I like oil. Usually just BLO, but personally don’t care for BLO on maple. Danish oil, shellac, etc, etc. You can finish the whole thing, but keep in mind the iron is held by friction, so the back of the wedge or cap, iron and bed should NOT be sanded beyond about 80 grit IMHO.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2528 days

#2 posted 07-14-2013 06:19 AM

I’ll echo what Don said and add a couple of thoughts.

1) The magnet won’t cause any problems that I can see, but there’s no real benefit to it, either. Even lightly set, a wedge is more than enough to keep the iron in place.

2) Mass is good. Walnut isn’t particularly dense so adding mass will probably help. That being said, there’s a fair amount of wood in a 10” plane, so adding mass may not make a discernible difference in performance.

3) What Don said.

4) Wax the sole. Coarse sand, but DO NOT finish or wax the bed, wedge or back of crosspin (if your design uses a crosspin). As far as finishing the rest of the plane, keep in mind that it is a tool meant to be gripped. So nothing too smooth and slick. I stick with oil finishes, as film finishes will wear off from use and are hard to renew. But a film finish will work OK and doesn’t interfere with the function of the plane.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Greg In Maryland

553 posts in 2995 days

#3 posted 07-14-2013 01:12 PM

Thanks for the input.


View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3279 days

#4 posted 07-14-2013 01:41 PM

1. A magnet in the bed of a plane will magnetize the iron. This greatly complicates sharpening and grinding.

2. The weight you can add to a wooden plane body is insignificant compared to what you can do with your own body and effort during use. The one thing adding weight does do is negate the advantage of a light weight and agile wooden plane.

3. See Don’s response.

4. I don’t know the answer for a laminated plane.

Larry Williams
Old Street Tool, Inc.

View Woodknack's profile


11624 posts in 2377 days

#5 posted 07-14-2013 10:46 PM

For a first plane I would keep it simple, no magnet, no lead, oil finish on the outside.

-- Rick M,

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

553 posts in 2995 days

#6 posted 07-15-2013 12:28 AM

Again, thanks for the input. I think I’ll chuck the magnet and lead and opt for a simpler approach ….

One last question, I plan to laminate walnut (I already have in fact) and then add some hard maple for the sole. Everything I have read indicates that the grain orientation of the plane body is important. However, since I am laminating walnut onto hard maple, I suppose that the orientation of the walnut is of less important than the orientation of the hard maple. So what say the experts?



View Don W's profile

Don W

18713 posts in 2565 days

#7 posted 07-15-2013 12:36 AM

if your making a short smoother, I wouldn’t worry an awful lot. Its best if the outside of the tree is to the sole when ever possible.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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