Turning a Jack plane into a scrub plane???

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Forum topic by Klickitat posted 07-28-2013 06:06 PM 4306 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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51 posts in 2045 days

07-28-2013 06:06 PM

Is it a good idea to take an extra Miller Falls #5 Jack Plane and reshape the blade and turn it into a scrub plane?

Please forgive my ignorance. I have never had a scrub plane and would like to have one, but I do not want to spend the money. I actually have several #5’s and was wondering if I put a 3” radius on the blade if that would work? Is the #5 too long?

Thanks for the input.

22 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5054 posts in 2526 days

#1 posted 07-28-2013 06:09 PM

Yes, it is good idea, all you have to do is reshape the blade. If you want to go back just pick up a another blade and chip breaker and you can switch back and forth easily.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2461 days

#2 posted 07-28-2013 06:13 PM

You sure can. I bought a #5 from DonW and he included a scrub iron with it. Use it all the time.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3822 days

#3 posted 07-28-2013 06:14 PM

Scrub planes are often short, narrow and light. A jack plane
will work but you’ll get more tired using it than a plane
designed for the task.

View Klickitat's profile


51 posts in 2045 days

#4 posted 07-28-2013 06:28 PM

Loren, what do you suggest then; a #4 to start with?

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3822 days

#5 posted 07-28-2013 06:31 PM

Not especially. If you don’t have a thickness planer,
you’re in for a lot of hard work anyway.

I have an old no-name iron scrub plane. While it’s
the right tool for the job, it doesn’t make working
with hand tools markedly less strenuous on the whole.

View Klickitat's profile


51 posts in 2045 days

#6 posted 07-28-2013 06:35 PM

I don’t mind the work. I have been switching over to more and more hand tools the older I get, because I like the work and I find it quite therapeutic.

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3126 days

#7 posted 07-28-2013 07:03 PM

I am with Loren on this; a wide jack plane is going to tire you out if it is used as a scrub plane. I modified an old wood bodied smoother one time to see how it would work out and it kicked my butt (I am a physically fit guy too). I quickly found an Ulmia scrub plane and then upgraded to a Stanley.

I guess if you put an extreme camber on it, like the 3” you mention, you could get away with it. That would leave a lot of that blade unused though. I would also be cautious of how deep you make cuts in relation to the mouth opening. A #5 doesn’t open up even close to equaling a scrub plane which means your cuts will have to be shallower and ultimately equalling more strokes to remove the desired stock.

-- Mike

View Klickitat's profile


51 posts in 2045 days

#8 posted 07-28-2013 07:14 PM

I like the input from everyone, thanks.

I am thinking based on the responses, it that I need to find a narrow plane as a donor.

View WayneC's profile


13776 posts in 4272 days

#9 posted 07-28-2013 07:16 PM

People also use transitional jack planes to scrub I believe.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Wally331's profile


350 posts in 2200 days

#10 posted 07-28-2013 07:26 PM

A number 3 has a pretty narrow blade, like 1&3/4 inches, If you put the mouth all the way open, and then filed it a bit wider, I think it would make an excellent scrub. I made a quick and dirty wooden scrub plane and used an old block plane iron. Before that i used my no.5 with about a 7 inch radius on it for general thicknessing.

View bandit571's profile


21531 posts in 2858 days

#11 posted 07-28-2013 08:37 PM

I have a Harbor Freight #33 that is now a scrub plane in the #3 size, PLUS a Corsair C-5 as a jack plane sized scrub plane, and use them both quite a bit. Then a few passes with a regular Stanley #5 and then a DE6c to try it flat.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Don W's profile

Don W

18989 posts in 2742 days

#12 posted 07-28-2013 08:47 PM

I Think you can do what you’re asking, you’re just using the terminology a bit wrong. You can put a sharp camber on a jack plane, and use it like a scrub, but its still really a jack plane. Some like to use a #5 1/4, because its narrower, but the problem is the #5 1/4 is usually as costly as a #40 (a real scrub)

My recommendation would be to camber the jack, and if you still think you need or want a scrub, either buy one, or make one.

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

View MrFid's profile


885 posts in 2079 days

#13 posted 07-28-2013 08:54 PM

I wouldn’t buy a new plane if you have one sitting around. I use a Bailey No 5 as a scrub plane and it works just fine. I have another No 5 that I use as a dedicated jack plane, so I filed the mouth on my scrub plane to open it up more. Won’t be able to sell it ever again as a jack plane, but my that’ll be for my children to deal with when I die. I use a 4” camber on my scrub and it works just fine. I’d recommend that over a 3”. You use more of the blade that way too. Actually, sharpening to a less aggressive camber makes sense with a jack → scrub conversion since the mouth won’t be as open in that case. I really wouldn’t go chasing good money after a scrub plane when you already have a No 5 lying around.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View bandit571's profile


21531 posts in 2858 days

#14 posted 07-28-2013 09:09 PM

Corsair jack planes had a wide mouth anyway, mine cost a whopping $8

seen here with my Bailey #5 jack plane.

The H-F Windsor #33 can be ground into a 3” radius on the thick single iron, ala Stumpy Nubs, and works as well as a Stanley #40. Cost is around $9-10 for the plane.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View shampeon's profile


1859 posts in 2358 days

#15 posted 07-28-2013 09:50 PM

My scrub is a converted jack, and while a true scrub plane might be lighter, I don’t find working with it particularly tiring. I heavily cambered the iron (only about 1/2” protrudes) and it eats wood like the Tasmanian Devil.

Even with the weight, it’s less tiring than taking even relatively thick shavings on a non-cambered jack.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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