User Made Hand Planes Discussion – VIDEO

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I’ve been making a few hand planes this week in preparation for an upcoming series we have planned all about getting in to wooden planes. I’ve trialled a couple of designs and here are my thoughts so far. To see a video of my smoothing plane in action head over to our Facebook page and scroll down a bit.

47 Responses

  1. Droogs

    Fantastic Richard, shows perfectly that a new comer to woodwork needn’t fork out stupendous amounts of cash to get going.

    Reply
    • Richard

      Thanks Droogs, it’s still hard to resist though as they can be so shiny!

      Reply
      • Droogs

        Indeed, as my better half says “I was going to conquer the world but then something shiny caught my eye”.

        Reply
  2. Joe Laviolette

    I’m sorry if I missed it, but is that plane made of ash? I’ve found ash bodied planes respond really really well to mallet strikes. In fact I don’t even use a mallet anymore. I just gently tap the heel or toe of my ash planes on the bench to adjust.

    Reply
    • Richard

      Yes Joe, it is ash. I’m not massively fond of ash on a furniture level but it is the most utilitarian wood for tool making, bench building etc.

      Reply
  3. Stefan

    Great stuff. And believe it or not but I’m actually thinking about the stuff you are talking about in that video.
    I would like to have a dedicated smoother and thinking about buying one (additionally to my #4). But someone else told me to think about building a Krenov style smoother.
    Frankly spoken I don’t know if I should spend the time to do it, but what you have said in the video, that it will took a few hours on a Sunday afternoon would encourage me to give it a try.
    Can’t wait for the video.

    Cheers,
    Stefan

    Reply
    • Richard

      Hi Stefan, these are so quick and simple that I can’t see it hurting to give it a try.

      Reply
  4. Chris Buckingham

    A excellent idea ! As one who has a pile of Boxwood logs in the barn I find this project very interesting,
    do you think the original bodies were made/cut by hand, or on a machine for repeatability?
    I think that with modern glues, this is a very feasable idea.( I do like the way you put down your tools).

    Reply
    • Richard

      If I was to imagine the type of person to have boxwood logs kicking around I would think, ahh, Mr Buckingham. I think you’ve really knocked the nail on the head that modern glues really make this doable and long lasting. The vast majority of the wooden planes would have been machine done I expect although I have several that were made by hand or at least have a lot of handwork done in them.

      Reply
  5. Peter Zimmer

    Brilliant Richard! I’ve made a couple of Krenov planes and yes, they’re dead easy to build and I’ve never been happy with the Krenov shape but never thought to make them coffin style. Pretty dumb, eh?
    BTW I agree with you about the value of a handle on a long plane. I look forward to seeing more.

    Reply
    • Richard

      Many thanks Peter, I’m always pretty stubborn with what I’m used to and have little experience with anything other than the traditional shape, so I had to get the traditional patterns in to help me accept them!

      Reply
  6. Adam Fletcher

    It’s good to see these things being made and at a level the amateur can manage, you keep re-igniting my interest in hand tools, thank you.

    Reply
  7. Jeremy

    Great video as always. I look forward to seeing the final series. I’ve made a few planes (including a crazy corian plane) and I’ve recently been toying with the idea of 2-piece plane, split in the middle. The old “Nice Ash” company was making plane kits like this with dominos (or dowels) providing alignment. http://blog.lostartpress.com/2014/04/06/chipbreaker-setting-trick/ Wondering if you considered this method?
    Also I’d be interested in seeing your series continue into side escapement planes, which I (and Brian Eve) have been exploring developing a modern “user” version. See my recent blog posts if you are interested, I’d certainly appreciate your input if you want to take a look, though beware, the concept model is pretty hideous looking.

    Reply
    • Richard

      Thanks Jeremy, the dowel alignments are interesting and not something I’d considered, mine’s a little more ‘crude’. The side escapement planes are something I’d given a little bit of thought but not something I’ve followed up yet. I’d be interested in your progress on that.

      Reply
  8. Brian Huff

    Good day Richard,
    I would very much like to see a series on making new planes. Also, I have many old
    planes that I have purchased at a garage sale, that I would like to refurbish and try to get them working again.

    Question, at what point should or does a plane become an “antique” or “collectible” that it gets moved to the display shelf ?

    Brian
    From across the pond.

    Reply
    • Richard

      Hi Brian, there are a lot of people who collect wooden planes, and it may be a particular maker or just the age of the plane that is of interest. I’m not really one of these but I’m sure you could find plenty of info around on the internet.

      Reply
  9. John

    Brilliant Richard.

    If you want to spend 100’s on planes it is easy but unless you know what you are doing with them you cannot really justify the expense – at least I can’t and have better things to spend money on. Tuning up old Stanley/Preston planes is a good way in and making a simple plane seems like a logical step. Great work as usual.
    Regards

    John

    Reply
  10. Bob Stott

    I am so glad to have found your site/blog. I love your passion for the planes. I have ordered from the states from David Finck, his book, DVD’s on making the Jim Krenov style wood planes and mastering planing and 2 plane irons sets. Then I tune into your video and I am inspired even more to build these but now with your method also as we need or can really make use of a variety of planes and always more gained skill in the making and using.
    I also like the loving way you handle your tools as it is a love most of us have for our tools and the fine woods we work with.

    So thank you Richard for the work you are doing for this series and the experiment of fine tuning different methods of build. I am also interested in your large joiner plane, which I am planing on making.

    Reply
    • Richard

      Hi Bob, I’ve heard a lot of good things about David Finck’s book, it’s great to hear you’re getting prepared for making your own planes. Best of luck.

      Reply
  11. johnnny rowell

    Richard, really have enjoyed your videos and would like to make a suggestion for your build video. I have an old Thomas Appleton Razee closed handle style
    jack plane and i find it the most comfortable style wooden plane to use. I have had some of the standard wooden planes with straight bodies and found that the wooden totes such as the one on your video have a tendency to crack so I remove those totes and bandsaw the rear of the plane to turn it into a Razee style and make a new closed tote and mortise it into the dropped portion of the bandsawn plane. Thanks for your videos

    Reply
    • Richard

      Thanks for the suggestion Johnny, I know a lot of people favour the closed handle.
      Cheers.

      Reply
  12. john franzese

    hi richard

    This is great,I have a friend ,anthony D’ambrosio,living in chicago usa since 1958 born in raggiecilliano campania 1922,apprentice to a cabinet maker at 7 years old. he makes planes 18th century chairs-anything – and they are perfect and he is FAST. he made solid wood planes as easily as you explained doing the glued up version-he works about 4 hours every day -making tools, whatever!

    his work bench is a scared(but Sturdy)table hr built with a standard vise and a pop up metal tab to hold a board for planing. He is especially good at wine barrels(of which he drinks a liter- at least -a day

    thank you for staying,in a sense in tony’s tradition. love watching you.

    if possible tony and I coukld hop over from naples to england and visit.

    Tony is in His town 40 miles inland from salerno every summer.

    I enjoy your video’s and wholesome attitude toward woodworking/life

    My very best regards

    John F Franzese

    Reply
    • Richard

      Hi John, thanks for the lovely comment. Tony sounds like a wonderful craftsman, and remember a craftsman can never have too much wine!

      Reply
  13. Mark Jenkins

    Richard,

    in days of old tools were built to meet an end (make a piece of furniture ). Today the only thing woodworkers care about is the perfect ribbon off there plane. I am guilty myself as I have spent a small fortune on hand tools thinking it would make me a better craftsman. WRONG!

    I am looking forward to these videos as I was about to use my retirement funds to purchase An infill smoothing plane made in some place on the planet by The Wood Genius that guaranteed I would be a better MASTER CABINETMAKER, rubbish.

    Keep up the good fight, Mark

    Reply
    • Richard

      Thank Mark, I’m very much for supporting small toolmakers but I don’t like to think of people setting up and feeling like they ‘have’ to spend a fortune to be good. It’s also a lovely feeling to have some tools which you’ve built yourself.

      Reply
  14. Bob Groh

    I’ll join the general chorus and say that I’m looking forward to your video(s). And, yes, there are lots of similar planes out there (e.g. Jack Wilson et al). I am also looking forward to your work on restoring old planes as I have a old coffin plane with a fine old thick Sorby iron that is just begging to be rebuilt. Also a Stanley combination plane that needs a bit of work on the wood part. I am going to build a new wood plane – it is only a question of when!! The 3 piece body with a dowel and simple wedge does seem to the be the best combination for a fast build for amateur wood workers. Carry on!!

    Reply
  15. Daniel

    WOW! Again a thoroughly passionate, entertaining and educational post – thanks. I’d be very excited if you could teach my unskilled hands to make a wooden jointer plane! The new ones are very expensive to buy.

    Reply
    • Richard

      Thanks Daniel, I’ve always found that the best planes to use are wooden and jointers are certainly no exception. And so far the jointer’s been my most rewarding plane to make.

      Reply
  16. Jeroen

    Great this! I’ve been wanting to make a wooden smoother this summer with the Krenov style. So this comes in perfectly 🙂
    Really looking foreword to this.

    Reply
  17. Ian M. Stewart

    Hi Richard.

    Thanks for the encouragement to build my own plane! I have a nice 1-5/8″ double iron that I’d like to turn into a small smooth plane, like your coffin shaped Krenov style. However, I see you have used a single iron, and wondered if your design would work as well with a double iron?

    Looking forward to the videos!

    Reply
    • Richard

      Hi Ian, I’ve nicked the iron out of a No. 3 Stanley for my smoother so it has been designed around the double iron and works well.

      Reply
  18. Kirk Zabolio

    Thanks Richard I’m really looking forward to the videos. I’ve always wanted to make a wooden hand plane and thought them too complicated.

    Reply
  19. Jim Ladd

    Looking forward to the series. Hope we can obtain dimensions of the three laminations early in the series.
    Enjoy your presentations.
    Jim

    Reply
  20. Jason

    Hey Richard (and Helen)

    You guys are a great team. I love the content of your blog and videos.

    My vote is that a smoother is made in the video cuz thats one plane that i don’t have yet. Keep up the Good work. I’m excited for more content.

    Reply
  21. John Slattery

    Brilliant video Richard, excellent idea for a series, looking forward to the build detail and will definitely be making some of my own. Many thanks.

    Reply
  22. Tyler

    Richard, you are a mind reader! I was just reading the other day and making plans to build my own wooden smoothing plane. Looking forward to the set-up and the build videos. Thanks for all the wonderful videos and blog post. Thanks to you I am happily venturing into hand tool woodworking!

    Reply
  23. Kevin

    Thank you so much for what you do with the videos and such. As a person learning traditional woodworking techniques using nothing but hand tools I rely on you and a few others to educate myself. Keep up the good work. I look forward to making my own plane.

    Kevin

    Reply
  24. Matheus Soares

    Thank you for those videos. I love your blog and videos, very neat and very organized and you talk enthusiastically so it’s very amusing to watch. Congratulations! Woodworking is awesome! I’d like to know what you mean when you say ‘to respond to the hammer’. Thanks!

    Reply
  25. Jonathan BRUNEL

    i’ve recently watch your series on how to make a bench, and it’s marvelous, so i’ve decided to make one myself.
    but the question about planes came out, and, i’ve got several iron plane (3,4, 4 1/2, 5 and small ones) but i’ve always favored my wooden planes.
    i have some french jointer, but they are all warped … my jack is made of beech and of the 3 i think it’s the one that holding better.
    the main cause is the fact that they were stored in some barn or garage for a long time, and i bought them for nothing at a garage sale, and brought them back to my flat where there not much humidity.
    it’s a shame because the irons are good, made of laminated steel.
    so seing your video quite got me thinking … why don’t i make my own ?
    but what material to use ? ECE use Hornbeam or beech for their planes … and you use ASH…
    in my “workshop” (second room of my flat….) i have only some Oak from an old house.
    so it’s quite puzzling for me … maybe your can guide me (and maybe others) on what wood to use ?

    Reply
  26. Rob

    Richard, I love your approach to woodworking as well as your humor. You guys make a lovely team! I have enjoyed each of the member builds and look forward to the sharpening videos as well. So, when will we see the plane builds? In several videos you have mentioned that they were filmed and yet they are not shown. A case of holding out the good stuff? If they will not be forthcoming, could you make the plans available? I have made a few Krenov planes and love them but I would like to try a coffin smoother and maybe a shooting plane in the old wooden style. If for nothing else, we just want to see more of Richard, Helen and Jeremy the shop dog. Cheers!

    Reply

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