How To Make The World’s Best Router Plane: Episode 1

Best Router Plane EP1 KF

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This episode is Paul’s answer to a worldwide problem of supply and demand and he guarantees that you will not only love making your own, fully adjustable router plane, but also owning one for a lifetime of work.

78 Comments

  1. Tony Hanlon on 22 October 2021 at 2:14 pm

    I’ve waited a long time for the Maestro to design this tool. Thank you, you lovely man!

  2. Gary Mercer on 22 October 2021 at 2:23 pm

    I see your thought process and I love it. I am excited to make this. Thank you for posting this video and the detailed drawing.

    • gtrboy77 on 22 October 2021 at 5:58 pm

      Where is the drawing and list of materials? I don’t see a link…

      • Stephen Hughes-Jelen on 22 October 2021 at 10:28 pm

        @gtrboy77 – the drawings are linked on the introductory video page.

        Looking forward to building this. The current crop of router planes are just too expensive for me. Paul, would Maple be an acceptable wood for this? I have some that is just about ready for use from a found stump. Otherwise I’ll have to go purchase some hardwood.

        • tim rapp on 24 October 2021 at 3:14 pm

          Paul said he made his first one out of spruce, maple is a big step up from that, but most common hardwoods should be fine.
          The value of your time is way greater than cost of two small pieces of lumber, treat yo’ self 🙂

          • Rob Siklos on 25 October 2021 at 3:39 pm

            The spruce one was just a prototype. The one in the video is made of beech. Maple should be fine.



  3. Philip Johnson on 22 October 2021 at 2:24 pm

    How exiting can this be? I love these kinds of projects and can’t wait till the next episode. I picked up some Ambosia Maple a couple of months ago, will this work for this tool? Will it be durable enough?

  4. Gary Mercer on 22 October 2021 at 2:48 pm

    I am also going to also make the miniature sliding bevel… looks very useful! Thanks.

  5. James Vibert on 22 October 2021 at 3:05 pm

    Absolutely wonderful video. Thank you for your efforts. I love how normal you are in that you too have batteries that expire in the middle of things, accidentally drop a piece of wood, etc. Makes me think of my shop save the “shop tourettes” that I have occasionally. But then you are much younger than I. I am interested in your angled blade plane as I made two vertical blade planes from WoodSmith (as I recall) years ago using Lee Valley blades which are fine blades but some what difficult to stropp. Your 50 degree blades would be quite easily renewed. Looking forward to the second video.

  6. Izzy Berger on 22 October 2021 at 4:10 pm

    What a game changer! Great work team WWMC!

  7. Benoît Van Noten on 22 October 2021 at 4:34 pm

    To be able to use the clamp in the vice, one need a long blank top-piece.
    This is the opportunity to make two top-pieces before cutting the blank in two.
    It is handy to have two routers, one of them kept at the final depth. (One might need to paint the metal strap of one of them to avoid confusion if they are completely similar.)

    I don’t yet know what screw bolts and knurled knobs Paul could obtain and use, but, for those interested, the M6 thread has a 1 mm pitch.
    Anyway I will adapt the dimensions to the hardware I will find.

  8. Valentina on 22 October 2021 at 4:34 pm

    I am more and more sure Mr. Sellers reads in our mind. A router plane is a game changer and yet hard and expensive to get (especially for us Italians).

  9. Frank Mcinroy on 22 October 2021 at 6:10 pm

    An excellent video , as well as being a superb woodworker Paul you would have made a brilliant engineer had you tried to work with metal.
    Your aptitude for design is first class.
    Can’t wait for episode 2

  10. Gerard Fallon on 22 October 2021 at 6:50 pm

    It’s always a pleasure learning from you and the project is something I’ve been needing for far too long.
    Thanks
    Cheers

  11. Scott Nations on 22 October 2021 at 8:42 pm

    This is so great !! the video – the concept- the teaching – the consideration about tool selection – the realism – the complexity vs simplicity- the cost consideration – the time put in and engineering for function- the passion- and most of all the end product ! as Paul S said “I just love this” ! Thank you ! Scott Nations

  12. Paul Walton on 22 October 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Love this, it’s not only great woodworking but making the tools to do the woodworking. But what appeals to me is making it affordable to the lad down the street who could never afford a branded one of even second hand but makes as good a job if not better, and to make it yourself well it just gets better. Well done Paul.

  13. Dean Brewer on 22 October 2021 at 9:29 pm

    Wonderful design! Thank you!!

  14. Alexander Miller on 22 October 2021 at 9:36 pm

    I have 1/4 and 1/2 inch Lee Valley router plane blades purchased for a home-design project abandoned in frustration. The blade in this design looks larger. Would this plane – with modified dimensions if necessary – work well with these blades, or would they compromise its usefulness?

    Thank you for the project. It’s one I’ve wanted/waited to see. Someone referred to detail drawings. Do hey exist?

    Thanks, Alexander.

  15. Peter Abrey on 22 October 2021 at 10:05 pm

    Paul is pretty good at this woodworking lark, I reckon he could make a living out of it

  16. Phil Baumbach on 22 October 2021 at 10:15 pm

    Excellent video, I look forward to making the router.

  17. Marco Padierna on 23 October 2021 at 2:34 am

    I’m a huge admirer of you and your work. I always found a myriad of useful things in every bit of these videos, besides the main subject, of course. Thanks for posting it.

  18. Michael Bennett on 23 October 2021 at 2:42 am

    If you want the perfect fit for the blade, start by making that. Then you can use it to chisel out its own bedding slot. Leave it a little longer to give yourself some “handle room”. You can even use the rest of the bar (‘cuz you’ll end up buying more than you need) to make yourself a firmer or mortising chisel.

  19. Jeffery L Burnip on 23 October 2021 at 2:56 am

    Looking forward to part 2…. in the meantime I have some South Texas mesquite logs to process for this project.

  20. Rick Johnson on 23 October 2021 at 3:45 am

    Hi Paul…I can hardly wait to get the materials. Love it. Anxiously awaiting the other episodes. What a nail biter!

  21. Jim Allen on 23 October 2021 at 4:25 am

    I have been looking for a Stanley 71 for a long time. I found one at a yard sale about 15 years ago for $6.00 US but it didn’t have any cutters. I didn’t know where to get the cutters at the time so I didn’t buy it. Big mistake on my part. I bid on several on E bay but dropped out at $70. I made one with an Allen wrench cutter and it was okay but not quite good enough for my satisfaction. Finally I saved up enough to get one from Lee Valley and I use it a lot. I thought why not get a brand new one if I have to pay that much. I have used the Poor Mans router a few times that worked almost as good as the one I made. Now I will have to make one from Paul’s current plans. Thanks a million for this project Paul! — Jim Allen

  22. woodturner on 23 October 2021 at 5:43 am

    Very nice project and useful. Would you please let us know the source of parts needed to complete the project?
    Where can you get the square tool steel and the rest parts. Thank you.

  23. James Carter on 23 October 2021 at 6:18 am

    This is a fantastic project. I have 3/8′ mortise chisel laying around that is no use to me, may use that, can get 5 inch blade out of it and it is square all around. This looks like it cuts really swell.

  24. Peter Carson on 23 October 2021 at 9:31 am

    yet another great video paul and so easy to follow. i made your rebate plane a while back and it works perfectly just as you said i used white oak for durability and reduced wear. i made a router plane by another YouTube also a while ago but i’m positive your design is going to be so much more user friendly .where did you purchase the thumb turn nuts from and what is the best way to describe them in a google or ebay search ,as usual can’t wait for part two cheers again paul for such great content ,peter

  25. Alexander Bagelman on 23 October 2021 at 10:48 am

    Excellent! I’d like to make one. But, where can I buy the metal for a cutter?

    • wrstew on 23 October 2021 at 4:09 pm

      For those who need a source for the metal- your local hardware store for cold rolled square stock, you can get tool steel from many dealers, MSG or McMaster Carr in the US, eBay, google search and you can get almost anything at a reasonable price. I think that hardening would be an option, see earlier video on making a spokeshave and it will make sense. The additional hardware will be discussed in a later video, but looking like all could be purchased locally, or if you are in the boondocks like I am, once again online. Hopefully this helps.

  26. Rick Gatewood on 23 October 2021 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you!

  27. Alexander Mahmoud Helmy on 23 October 2021 at 2:34 pm

    Great project! I already have 2 Veritas router planes, but I’m gonna make this anyway.

  28. wrstew on 23 October 2021 at 3:18 pm

    Great addition to the toolbox! Next we need a plow, or ploughing plane. The prices are astronomical and it should not be a problem for someone as talented as you. Handy to have, price prohibited on a retirement budget. Thanks!

  29. Robert Hauser on 23 October 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Very nice and simple design. I was about to make a router plane to replace one I made years ago, but this is so much better than what I planned. Thanks again.

  30. Michael OBrien on 23 October 2021 at 4:23 pm

    Excellent, very useful and fun project Paul. Many thanks.
    Cheers,
    Michael O’Brien
    Alabama, USA

  31. MARK POULSON on 23 October 2021 at 4:26 pm

    Does your daughter work with wood, too?

  32. Hunter Menken on 23 October 2021 at 4:34 pm

    I think it has been said previously, but the increased diligence in cinematography is well worth it. These videos are immaculate and I’m so very glad that Paul and the team have decided to share a piece of themselves with this world. If you don’t know it already you all change lives, you certainly changed mine (for the better)!

  33. joeleonetti on 23 October 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks Paul. I have no need for this as I already own a router plane. However, it looks to fun to not make. I will definitely be making one. Thank you for your efforts on creating tihs.

  34. Brian Stormont on 23 October 2021 at 6:24 pm

    I have a question on the part-list for the upstand piece. It is listed as 5 1/2” x 1 3/4”, but in the video Paul says it is 2”. What is the correct dimension, 1 3/4” or 2”?

    I’m looking forward to making this, but then noticed the difference while trying to follow along the video after I had cut the pieces of wood.

    Thank you for sharing this project!

    Best regards,
    Brian

  35. Norm Coutts on 23 October 2021 at 8:56 pm

    That was an engaging watch on many levels. I very much look forward to part 2 and the subsequent build. Thanks ever so much.

  36. Tom Orlando on 23 October 2021 at 10:37 pm

    Wow, as a retired”do it when I feel like it” woodworker, I have been making handmade personal tools to get that “Studley Tool Box Collection but to my taste. Paul you have once again added knowledge, reality, and personal taste to a great project. Thank you, Tom O

  37. colin reynolds on 24 October 2021 at 3:41 am

    some leftover yellow birch from my recent bench build should do nicely 🙂

  38. Romina Hernández on 24 October 2021 at 5:56 am

    Just ordered these for the cutter on Aliexpress:

    https://es.aliexpress.com/item/32657449034.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.3cb81e5exSIvKO&algo_pvid=6ff6304b-cc98-4e19-a2db-c82e5988bd90&algo_exp_id=6ff6304b-cc98-4e19-a2db-c82e5988bd90-1&pdp_ext_f=%7B%22sku_id%22%3A%2259801067144%22%7D

    I’m in Mexico, so it’s tricky to get some stuff, but I’ve had good luck with Aliexpress. Just have to patient because shipping can take weeks.

  39. Paul Heffer on 24 October 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Wonderful as always. Entertainment viewing first and I’m sure I’ll take it into the workshop soon. Have enjoyed watching you use your router plane on a host of projects. Looking forward to building my own. Great production values (two drills and a flat battery! Haha It’s how it happens.) Much appreciated.

  40. Pat Harte on 24 October 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you Paul, wonderful video and i so looking forward to either buying a kit or making one . best wishes

  41. tim ziegler on 24 October 2021 at 8:01 pm

    Thank you Paul!

    Absolutely outstanding design! I have learned to not expect anything less from you. Best wishes.

  42. Joseph Degeling on 25 October 2021 at 1:43 am

    This is great Paul, thanks for sharing. Anyone know where to get the tool steel bar in Sydney?

  43. Bill Elliott on 26 October 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Watching your videos are so therapeutic. I’m eager to give this project a go. Thank you so much for continuing to share you knowledge and passion.

  44. Michael Carapiet on 26 October 2021 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Paul im so glad you designed this, because I was so frustrated by the price of these wonderful tools, both new and used.
    I can’t wait to make one. I don’t seem to be able to find episode two, or has this yet to be released.
    Sorry if I’ve missed something, or being impatient.
    Best wishes
    Mike

  45. Anthony Novello on 27 October 2021 at 6:03 am

    This is by far one of the best tool design/videos posted as of yet. Simple amazing! A wonderful tool from a wonderful talented person. Thank you so very much Paul and your crew.

  46. Colin Scowen on 27 October 2021 at 12:03 pm

    For those interested in a bit of background on steel, check out this weeks video from Stumpy Nubs.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQW8EDTvsFg

  47. John Costello on 27 October 2021 at 6:37 pm

    @ 4:56 “So I’m going to find the centre of my soul …, Ohooh”. LOL Thank you very much, Paul. All my Christmases at once.

  48. Richard 1941 on 27 October 2021 at 11:42 pm

    I think this is a great project. I changed a few elements of the design, however. I opened the front of the big hole to give better visibility of where the blade is cutting. And I extended the bed of the blade into the base piece and used a taller upper piece to give it a little longer support baseline when routing deeper channels. I made it out of a branch that my wife “pruned” from her orange tree– that wood is so incredibly hard, it might as well be metal! But I don’t know if it will still be unsplit in 20 years. I guess I don’t need the second video, since I already finished mine and it works great. Previously I was using your “poor man’s router” (a small chisel pounded through a 45 degree hold in a piece of 2 x 4). The more I used it, the more indispensable it became. However, this baby works much better. I just don’t know why. Maybe the change from 45 to 50 degrees. Thanks again for a great idea.

  49. Bogdan Sima on 28 October 2021 at 5:05 pm

    Lovely project and long expected after several attempts to make my own hand router planes with Allen keys as cutting irons, one of which works quite well.
    However, I could not help getting involved in this brand-new, which resulted in my making two prototypes out of beech, one by 4 laminated 1″-squared as a body and an upstand as advised, and another one out of a bigger block of beech that allowed me for a full block build.
    Anyway, I stopped suddenly as metal parts have come into role, especially the 10 x 10 [mm] O1 tool steel, because of their availability in my region.
    As already expressed, I do believe that your providing an extra kit (i.e., metal hardware) for this project would be highly appreciated.
    All the best!

  50. Lynn Lard on 28 October 2021 at 11:11 pm

    We don’t yet know how the business end of the cutter is to be ground. But the loss of visibility if seated at 45 degrees or lower could be dealt with by elongating the hole. i.e. make it an oval.

  51. bob abney on 29 October 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Have watched second episode, will do again. Great videos. For those interested, I found 10x10x200 mm 01 bars on Amazon at reasonable price. For Paul, I understood you to quench the heated steel for hardening with water. All things on this topic I find warn against this and insist one should use oil.

    I’m perplexed. Please help. I’d rather be safe than sorry…
    Bob Abney

    • Bret Loucks on 2 November 2021 at 5:28 pm

      Officially, it’s an oil hardening steel. But the part is small, so water will work just fine. On larger parts the metal may not cool fast enough to harden properly. To test for hardness, run a file along the corner of the tool steel. It should “skate” and not bite in.

  52. Paul Chek on 30 October 2021 at 12:01 am

    Excellent video and plans.
    Here is a source for 1/4×20 knurled Head Nuts to go with 1/4×20 hanger bolts in the USA.
    https://workholdingcomponents.mortonmachine.com/item/workholding-components-nuts/stainless-steel-knurled-head-nuts-1/8522-1 . $5.75 each no tax or shipping. I bought the tool steel on Amazon.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0036TGZ6K/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  53. Robert Robinson on 30 October 2021 at 1:31 pm

    The earlier post relating to the width of the upstand has not been answered. If you start with a width of 44m it will be less when you cut off the back face but the drawing shows a final dimension of 44mm. Should the cut list have specified a 51mm width?
    Thanks.

  54. Dirk Ogier on 31 October 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Dear Paul. Thank you so much. I learn a lot with every video or blog. I hope you will continue to do so for a long time to come.
    I wish you a lot of health.
    With many greetings, Dirk Ogier

  55. Colin Ashby on 18 November 2021 at 10:50 am

    Unlike Paul I did drill by hand; the largest hole using a brace and bit. Drilling through 1″ beech with a 32mm spade bit took a bit of doing but wasn’t too bad.
    I like a challenge!

  56. Chris Logan on 4 December 2021 at 5:24 pm

    I love the design. Can we please, please have the dimensions of the extra wide plane?

    Many thanks

    Chris

    • Katrina Sellers on 9 December 2021 at 8:46 am

      As with many of our projects Paul has come up with a design which is scaleable. Paul has experimented with different sizes of router plane using his design. While Paul may talk about them in a blog post we do not plan to release drawings, cut list or metal parts for these other sizes. I understand you may just want a few measurements but we feel that to avoid inaccuracies and confusion we would need to give a full technical drawing and hardware list.

  57. Bill Porter on 17 January 2022 at 3:00 pm

    I’m still waiting for my 5/4 beech to arrive but I’m really looking forward to starting on this router project.

    Is there any update on the availability of the “metal parts kit”?

    I apologize if it’s already posted above and I missed it.

    Bill in Bozeman, Montana

    • Katrina Sellers on 18 January 2022 at 9:33 am

      The boxes have arrived, we have most of the component parts it is just the blade we are waiting for. Hoping to sell the first batch beginning of March

  58. Misha on 25 January 2022 at 6:40 pm

    Dear Paul, thanks a lot for your projects. I have got a particular question. Wouldn’t this router plane catch wood when dealing with a dovetail recess?

  59. Jae Shaul on 23 April 2022 at 4:05 pm

    I just received my metal parts kit. The kit was well packaged and all in order. It was opened by customs (as expected) and the small bag of parts was cut open, but all the parts were there. I have the wood sized and was waiting for the cutter to size the cutter slot.

    I look forward to completing and using.

    Jae, California USA

    • James A on 2 May 2022 at 2:55 pm

      I can’t find anything here about the kit price or how to order. How did you do it?
      Thanks,

      • Katrina Sellers on 3 May 2022 at 4:02 pm

        We have limited stock of blades and so we have been emailing people in the order that they filled out a form on Paul’s blog showed interest in the kit. Once we are able to fulfil those orders and have more regular supply of blades we will post about this more widely and publicly.

  60. mitown on 3 May 2022 at 10:42 pm

    Hi,
    I noticed in the video that after cutting the 50 degree front face of the up-stand that Paul measured the 90 degree line for the back face at the point where the front face meets the top. However, Paul’s drawing shows a 1/4″ flat on the the top of the up-stand before the 90 degree line drops down, in effect making the finished up-stand wider by 1/4″ from front to back than how Paul made it. Clearly the way Paul makes it in the video work fine, but was it an intended change to how the drawing shows it? i.e. should the drawing be corrected?

    Super router plane by the way – I’ve made two now.

    Thank you.

  61. BruceLamb on 19 August 2022 at 2:34 pm

    On page 2 of the plan, the bevel on the blade is up, but in all other drawings, it’s clear that the bevel should be down. Also, the drawing specifies that that there should be a 1/4” wide platform on the top of the piece that the blade rests on, but Paul does not include this on his piece. He starts the back angle at the peak of the front angle. If you do that, the back piece will end I up being a bit narrower than specified in the plan. Finally, in the US, be sure to get 3/8” 01 steel, not high speed steel. Then modify the plan accordingly to accommodate the 3/8” square blade as opposed to the 10mm square blade. One last thing. The screw/bolt for the vertical adjuster is supposed to be 8mm from the bottom of the blade recess, but I found that at this distance, it would not engage in the blade notch deeply enough. I think 6mm from the blade recess is better. If you’ve already made this hole, you can deepen the blade recess and then plane the front side of the top piece so the blade just barely protrudes from the blade recess. A great project, but it took me some trial and error to get it right.

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