Another thing that can be done with wooden planes like this is to convert them to grooving planes. You flip the blade so that the thin end is towards the work, sharpen that end, then remove material to the depth of groove you require, and the equally from either side remove material to clear the blade and thus set the distance of the groove from the edge of the work. Then you can attach a side fence and if you hit strange grain, just move the fence to the other side. If youtake a bit of extra time, you can also add a nicker as well.
Colin, Czech Rep.