The Hand Plane Build – Getting Prepped

38

Edit – 5th April 2016: The plane build is now filmed and the video is in the process of being edited.

What You’ll Need

If you plan to build along with us then here’s what you’ll need to follow the same Jack Plane design:

Iron – I’m using a Hock blade complete with cap iron (chip breaker) made to fit the Stanley No. 4 and 5 Bailey planes. In the UK, I found mine from Classic Hand Tools. I was spoiling myself with this and you certainly don’t need to be buying a new blade. An old iron from a Stanley plane will also fit in the measured plans and we’ll cover how to get around that little bulbous bit on the cap iron. Of course if you have an iron to hand then any other iron will also work, you’ll just have to accommodate for any difference in the width once you see the drawings. Using a double iron is recommended as it allows us to be a bit more loose with our tolerances during the build and still have a great tool for dealing with tear out.

Blank Dimensions – If you’ve got the same size iron as the No. 4 or 5 Stanley Bailey type then your timber blank will be approx:

16″ (400mm) long x 3 1/4″ (80mm) wide x 2 5/8″ (65mm) high.

These dimensions are rough as we’ll refine to the exact size once it’s all re-laminated. If you’re not using the same size iron as me then you’ll need to alter the width of the blank by the difference in your iron – mine is 2″ wide.

If you aren’t planning to build a Jack plane then you should plan the length of plane you want to build and add a couple of inches for cutting off after lamination.

Three Piece Blank – If you’re not ripping out of a solid blank you’ll need:

A centre piece which once planed will be finished at a width just over that of your iron.

Two side pieces are finish planed to approx. 3/8″ (8mm ish), so rough sawn 1/2″.

Read a bit more info about the wooden planes I’ve made if you haven’t seen it already.

 


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Making a wooden Jack Plane

38 Responses

    • Richard

      Hi Jared,
      A good question. Almost any timber will do the job, I would strongly avoid soft wood though as it will wear quickly. If you’re sawing the blank out of a solid piece then a wood that you could easily obtain in thick section such as ash, beech, maple etc are good. If you have any exotics kicking about then that could make a very nice plane. Dense woods are good, and obviously something which is nicely dried so that it’s stable. Beech is a popular choice and it’s great because it absorbs so much oil when it comes to finishing it.
      My choice is probably going to be ash, for the one reason that I have a lot of big off cuts kicking about, although I do have a nice chunk of beech looking at me at the minute, so we’ll see.

      Reply
  1. Ian M. Stewart

    Looking forward to this Richard, thanks for the work you’ve put in. You have described the wooden blanks to be set aside, but did not mention the type of wood or the grain orientation. I wonder if that was deliberate, to make the job more approachable? I thought the grain orientation on a wooden plane was important though.
    With your encouragement, I think I will be laminating a small smoother using an old 1-5/8″ I.Sorby blade and cap that I have.

    Reply
    • Richard

      It’s nice to hear that you’ll be building along Ian. Species for the wood, pretty much anything but softwood will be fine, I should have made a mention of this in the post. I don’t find grain orientation to be all that important, I know it sounds odd. If I was making planes to sell at a high price then I’d give it plenty of attention and I know that many plane makers are very picky over the wood that they choose, but these are just going to be real world user planes. Having said that I will be covering it a little in the final video.
      Cheers, Richard

      Reply
  2. Len Aspell

    Richard

    What an excellent teaser video and I can’t wait for the follow ups. As usual your explanations are clear and it is certainly something that I will attempt to make. I have some spare irons around so will take a look at what I have and see if any are suitable.

    Also good to see you back posting though your schedule must be horrendous at times. I know your contributions are welcome by so many.

    Len

    Reply
    • Richard

      Many thanks Len,
      Ha ha, yep the schedule keeps me busy… run ragged 😉
      The video we’re hoping to get put out sooner rather than latter, I’ve a day off at the weekend ready to get it built and filmed. I’m certain your irons will be fine.

      Reply
  3. Steve Voigt

    Hi Richard,
    For folks on your side of the pond, a vintage laminated double iron is a pretty attractive option. In U.S., they are harder to find in good shape, and shipping rates from U.K. are horrific. But they’re cheap over there, and can even be found N.O.S.
    You mentioned that the old irons are often warped…definitely true, but one of the nice things about the old irons is that they’re mostly soft steel or iron, except for the little bit of laminated tool steel, so they’re easy to hammer or bend back into shape.
    At the same time, there’s no doubt that they can be a lot of work, so for folks who just want to get on with it, you’re absolutely right, the Hock iron is a good option.
    Nice marking gauge, too. I was in the middle of making a mortise gauge when you did your last video, and impulsively decided to go with the English wedge. Glad I did…20 years of using gauges, and I never learned to set the English style correctly until your video!
    One question: I notice that all the gauges in the Seaton chest (1796) are the French style, with the wedge perpendicular to the stem. Does the English style post-date the French, or were they made concurrently? I thought it was odd for all the gauges in an English toolchest to be French!
    Thanks Richard, keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Richard

      Thanks Steve,
      These plane builds I’m hoping will be a bit of a gateway for many to get in to wooden planes (hence laminated construction). I feel I maybe should have been more encouraging to going down the old iron route in the video, and it would be my preferred option – cheap and good quality (usually). But at the same time I know they can be a bit troublesome if you don’t know what you’re doing, and I’d hate for this to be the reason for someone to feel as though they’d failed. I’ll maybe do another talk on the old irons and the prepping required.
      With regards to the Seaton marking gauges, I’m certainly not qualified in any way to making this historic fact, but I believe a lot of decisions in English history were often as fickle as fashion, and most often the fashionable thing was the harder option. The Seaton chest certainly screams out high end. Perhaps the cross pin could have been seen to be the better gauge as you could fine adjust in both directions? I know if we go back before the wedges then they would work on a friction fit and I would guess that the wedges and their differing orientation would have evolved alongside each other. It’s certainly a very good question, I’ll do some digging – good observations!

      Reply
  4. John Kemp

    Richard,

    I just wanted to say I’m really excited for this build. I just registered for the Spoon Rack course but I don’t have a jointer to thickness the side panels (I do have a #5 so I may tri that). I will probably tackle the jointer and I can’t wait! Now off to the lumber store!

    Reply
    • Richard

      Hi John, many thanks for joining us with the Spoon Rack. You’re No. 5 will be absolutely fine for the build (you should see what I’ve made with a No. 5). But by all means build that jointer, whilst it’s a luxury plane, it’s a luxury well worth having. Just build it out of a good heavy bit of hardwood, jointers like to be heavy.

      Reply
  5. Ian T

    Dieter Schmid has some plane iron + breaker combos more reasonably priced than the (eye-watering) Hock ones.

    Reply
    • Richard

      Many thanks Ian, we’re getting together a list at the moment for a range of iron manufactures so people don’t feel like they have to foot the expense of the Hock, so I really appreciate that.
      Cheers.

      Reply
  6. Martin

    You mention making the blade carrying center piece out of one piece of metal. I was wondering if had any opposition to using a laminated piece for the center as well. I have a good stock of some 6/4 quartersawn white oak and a two inch iron, so laminating that center piece would be tremendously convenient for me. Thanks much and I’m really looking forward to this build!

    Reply
    • Richard

      Hi Martin,
      Laminating the centre would be absolutely fine. I’d laminate it up prior to the build so you can treat it as one piece during the build. Your quarter sawn white oak sounds perfect.

      Reply
  7. Tim Dahn

    This is great Richard, and I just happen to have an almost new Hock iron/chip breaker to use. Now to find a suitable piece of timber….

    Anyway, looking forward to this build Thanks!

    Reply
  8. john skears

    Excellent Richard look forward to the build. One option for folks might be a Quansheng chipbreaker from Workshop Heaven to fit an existing Stanley type blade, their flat i.e. no hump and reasonably priced. [ or at least they were when I got mine] hope this helps. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  9. Len Aspell

    Richard

    Have decided to use a spare Lie-Nielsen iron I have available rather than a spare Stanley iron I also have available to me or an old wooden plane iron in need of restoration. I looked at the chipbreaker from Classic Handtools but went with the Quansheng from Workshop Heaven as recommended by John Skears above. Ordered today and has been despatched to me. Now I need to find some suitable hardwood for the blank.

    Can’t wait to get started.

    Len

    Reply
  10. Richard Cary

    Richard

    Just ordered my Hock blade and chip breaker and look forward to the build. I found your site just this evening and watched several of your videos. Very informative and well done!

    Rick

    Reply
  11. Alan G Hall

    Hi Richard

    Any update on timescale please?
    I have an old Marples 2 3/8″ blade and breaker and some well seasoned stock, I have 3 pieces of this timber all about 27″ long it is very heavy and very red. Hopefully I would like to build a dedicated shooting plane and board

    Regards

    Alan

    Reply
  12. Richard

    Ordered and received my Hock blade and chip breaker months ago after watching your hand plane build prep video. What happened to this project? It’s now February 2016! Was this just a scam to increase Hock sales?

    Reply
    • Len A

      I think this is an outrageous statement to make frankly. Why not just ask when the series will be released. I have my two irons waiting for the two different lengths I shall make, one I bought and one I already had spare.

      Bearing in mind Richard went out of his way to say any blade would do I think the scam comment is uncalled for and unnecessary. I have copied and pasted his comments as follows.

      “I was spoiling myself with this and you certainly don’t need to be buying a new blade. An old iron from a Stanley plane will also fit in the measured plans and we’ll cover how to get around that little bulbous bit on the cap iron. Of course if you have an iron to hand then any other iron will also work, you’ll just have to accommodate for any difference in the width once you see the drawings. Using a double iron is recommended as it allows us to be a bit more loose with our tolerances during the build and still have a great tool for dealing with tear out.”

      Just my opinion and to be clear I have no association with Hock or Classic Hand Tools apart from the odd purchase very occasionally.

      Len

      Reply
    • Richard Maguire

      Hi Richard,
      The hand plane build is in the plans to be filmed this month. Due to the nature of changes to our work over the last year the creation of free resources such as this had to move to a lower priority. From this year forward, since closing our workbench business we are changing the structure of how we schedule in this kind of work, and we’ll discuss more details on that through the blog.
      With regards to any scam; certainly not. We have no benefit, affiliation or sponsorship with Hock or any other tool company, and never have. Advice or recommendations are based solely on my opinion or experiences, and always aim to be rounded.
      The hand plane build is next on the list.

      Reply
  13. Len A

    Richard

    Very much looking forward to the hand plane build. See how well mine turn out and if they look reasonable I will send photos. If not I’ll try again. Hoping to make two planes of different lengths and from different wood to compare the two.

    I have had a very busy three weeks and have spent considerably longer sitting on trains to and from London than in the workshop and that discounts the time actually at meetings but it was important stuff. After Tuesday I will be back in the workshop once more to redress the imbalance. I can’t wait.

    Len

    Reply
  14. Richard

    Thank you for the response. Len A is correct. Please accept my apology for implying that it was a scam. Looking forward to the build.

    Reply
  15. Igor Kerstges

    Hi Richard,

    Count me in as well, looking forward to your ins and outs! I still keep several fleamarket finds of planes that are beyond restoration, now will see which blade I’ll pick to use.

    Will see to find suitable wood for the blank!

    Cheers, Igor

    Reply
  16. LLano

    When I make my first plane .. I will follow your lead ..
    however on the bottom of the plane, I believe I will laminate a nice
    piece of ebony on the bottom for wear and tear .. also I have already
    bought my irons from Hock in the USA .. these blades are AMAZING.

    Reply
  17. Alan

    Hi Richard,

    I’m planning on making my first plane. I have a question about the laminate plane build up. After band sawing the sides and the center piece, do you plane the mating surfaces prior to gluing together? or just leave the surface rough?

    Thanks,
    Alan

    Reply
  18. Bill Warner

    Hi Richard
    Love the site can’t wait to build a plane
    Any idea as to when we will see this happen as you can imagine everyone is waiting with eager anticipation

    Reply
  19. Duane Peterson

    Hi Richard,
    Was just checking out your site and reread the plane making upcoming video. I got ahold of some teakwood. Is that a good wood to make a plane out of? The grain is pretty straight.
    Duane

    Reply
  20. David Germeroth

    Richard,

    I suspect you’re tired of the question . . .

    Anyway, if it were me, I wouldn’t put the video out as a freebie. Speaking most definitely as me, a purchaser of your spoon rack series, your videos have value to me and the price you charge is very fair.

    Reply
  21. Michael Schumacher

    Looking forward to this being a premium video release – hoping for something soon as I look for different techniques in building hand planes.

    Reply
  22. Pawel Janiak

    I’ve always wanted to make a panel gauge …its something I’ve never don’t and I don’t really want to pay for a premium one. So I think best option is to build one to my own requirements etc. What your thoughts on this one Richard?

    Reply

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