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Peter Made Planes

December 1, 2013


The long plane on the left is my joiner. I made it a few years ago using the “Philly Method” of laminated bodies. The shape is a “Razzy” plane; the tote is a step down from the top of the plane.  The balance is not the greatest– the blade should be further towards to the toe– but all in all it works so well that I have not messed with it.  One side note: When making this plane I tried an “easier” method that involved gluing in the cheeks; I will never do that again as it was a pain in the neck to line up.

The little plane in the center is a “smoother” based off of the profile from the Mary Rose. This is the most recent plane that I have made.  It works well, but is almost too small for my hands; it feels like it was made for a child.  With a little bit of tweaking it will shave off very thin shavings.

The mid-sized plane on the right is my general bench plane.  I have done a lot of experimenting on it.  This was the first plane I made with the laminated method. The mouth was very wide so I closed it up with a small piece of wood.  The next major change was to thicken the blade.  Previously I was using a cheap Buck Brothers plane blade from Home Depot.  I found that gluing an 1/8″ or 3/16″ piece of steel to the blade allowed the plane to be adjusted by whacking on the back and front of the plane body.  Previously the only way to adjust it was by tapping the blade directly.

While the laminated method of making planes is not historically correct, it works so well that to date I have not ventured to try to cut the mortice out with a chisel.  Now that I have better practical skills I’ll need to give that a try.

Things that I have learned over time:

  • Laminate the store-bought blade to make it heavier, 1/8″ hot rolled steel works well.  5 min epoxy is all it takes to bond the metal forever.  The extra weight is needed.
  • The wedge is the hardest part to get right. Make the first one out of pine so that it is easy to work.  Then, some day, you can remake it in a hard wood.
  • It is better to have a too wide mouth than too small; you can always correct a too wide mouth with an insert, you can’t do much with a too small mouth.
  • Just do it. There are a number of sets of directions out there, so pick one that makes sense and try it.  You’ll need a blade and bar stock from a home improvement store, two pieces of 1/4″ wood, something to make the body from and a tote (handle).  If you are concerned about cost, make it all out of pine and use 1/4″ plywood; it will still work.  Start with a “jack plane” because it is the most forgiving.

From → Shop Made Tools

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