Making a Wooden Plane

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This is the introduction for a free series. Want to watch the whole thing? It is free to do so, you just need to log into the site and you can enjoy this series and many other videos we think you will love.

Follow this series to create a neat little wooden plane for shaping your work.

45 Comments

  1. Andy Evans on 7 January 2014 at 11:47 am

    I’ve seen self-built planes before and often thought about building one, so this is a very welcome surprise. Looking forward to the series, many thanks…

  2. Eddy Flynn on 7 January 2014 at 12:56 pm

    wow this is going to be a fantastic series and with an option for every pocket where else looks after its members like here , its more about the technique rather than the big brand machine thanks so much .

  3. Matt on 7 January 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Great first episode. Love the idea of making my own tools. Quick question. If using fire wood or logs do they need to be dry or is green wood ok. Also is there a way you could possibly show how to make and attach and handle for a bigger plane like the bigger older planes.

    Thanks again
    Matt

    • Joseph SellersTeam Member on 7 January 2014 at 2:59 pm

      I wouldn’t use green wood. There will be instruction later in the series on how to fit the blade and wedge. If the wood twisted or shrank it could mess up the way the parts fit together.

      We don’t show how to fit the handle in this series but maybe will do in a later series.

  4. Greg Merritt on 7 January 2014 at 2:17 pm

    This is going to be a great series. I too love shop built tools. I am planning to put together a couple of starter tool kits, one for my son and one for my nephew. They are currently not all that interested but are starting to ask more and more questions. So I don’t think it will be too long before they are in the shop. Projects like this make it possible to outfit them with some tools without breaking my budget.

  5. STEVE MASSIE on 7 January 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Paul and Staff this is exciting, I love hand made tools and this is one thing I have been wanting to do ASAP. A couple friends of mine have sent me some shorts of different woods that would be perfect for this. Also the City cut some hardwood trees of some sort in my neighborhood a few weeks back and I missed out grabbing a couple logs. I am curious also wether it is best to use dry wood or would green wood suffice, I understand there could be some movement in the green wood ?

    As I have mentioned I do not live in a wood haven and rely primarily on Home Depot for my wood.

    Thanks again !

    Steve

  6. EricH on 7 January 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Like others who have posted, I am very excited about this new series on plane making. I am in dire need of a compass plane, so this has come at an opportune time. I had never considered the old wood planes as a material resource. What an excellent idea.

  7. RL on 7 January 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Lee Valley sell plane blanks that are 3/16″ thick and of various widths 1 7/8″ to 2 3/8″. Would it be possible to use one of these blanks and put a footnote in the relevant episode(s) where one should change the necessary dimensions?

    • Steve Follis on 8 January 2014 at 2:15 am

      I’m looking forward to this series. I ordered a piece of tool steel today, 1/8″ x 1.5″ x 18″ long, that should net me 6 blades, if I end up with two usable blades out of that I will be satisfied.

    • cagenuts on 9 January 2014 at 1:41 pm

      I think those are too long. Ron Hock has some; 1½ x 3½” #PI150 $48.00

      Tad pricey me thinks.

      For $7 more you could get a V11 blade from Lee Valley that comes with a wooden plane kit including a Norris adjuster.

  8. pbates on 7 January 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I’m excited to follow this series and hace some beech in the garage waiting to be worked.

    I have been thinking about a wooden plow (plough) plane, but they are difficult to find here (Arizona) and new ones come dear. Would it be too ambitious to try to buid one? Has anyone seen plans, or have suggestions for a style? Does anyone care to offer feedback on the ECE plow plane? Thanks!

    Pete

  9. david o'sullivan on 7 January 2014 at 11:14 pm

    very nice project .i am wondering what type of twine Paul uses on the bow saw ? i bought one a while back without the twine have used standard rope type but i dont feel it give enough thighness on the blade .

  10. constable415 on 8 January 2014 at 6:34 am

    Is this series going to include how to make hollows & rounds?

  11. tosyu on 8 January 2014 at 7:16 am

    Great, I’m “in the topic” right now, as I’m researching wooden plane projects (like the ones found on Caleb James blog), so I’m really looking forward to the series.

    Will the series perhaps include making moulding planes?

    • davebulow on 8 January 2014 at 11:36 am

      I like the suggestion of touching on methods for making moulding planes if it is possible, though I do appreciate it’s a big ask, as I’d imagine the construction is completely different from standard smoothers/jacks/curved sole planes of the type used in the recent stool build.

      I know it’s not possible to cover all types of wooden planes, but a mention of moulding planes would be especially appreciated if there’s a possibility thereof. I’ve wanted to make a moulding plane for a while but have never dared make one as wouldn’t know how or where to start.

      There was a specific moulding I had in mind which I searched ebay (for moulding planes) for months for, but to no avail, and I even attempted using a combination of two different planes to achieve it, but it didn’t really work well (it was a complex shape), so I can only assume the best option would be to make my own. Scratch stock is a possibility, but I’d rather make a full time moulding plane of it one day.

      Once again, looking forward to this series!

      • Kjord on 2 November 2015 at 5:29 am

        Check out the DVD “Making Traditional Side Escapement Planes” from Old Street Tool, formerly Clark and Williams, at planemaker.com

  12. davebulow on 8 January 2014 at 10:49 am

    Have been really looking forward to this one! Thank you!

  13. bloqbeta on 8 January 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Moulding Planes!!!

    That would be Great!!! simple ones though, enough instruction to build your own set of hollow and rounds…I feel they are rather expensive new….

  14. Cormac on 18 January 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Thats a beautiful bow saw. Maybe you could walk us through that in a future series! Looking forward to the rest of this series for now. Many thanks for your no-nonsense approach. I’m now less afraid of learning to work wood thanks to all your other videos and the blog.

  15. Philip Adams on 20 January 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Concerning hollows and rounds and moulding planes, we do not plan on covering them in this series, as that would add a whole range of complexities. We are planning on doing videos covering the refurbishment and sharpening of moulding planes in the near future. Thanks for all the great comments.

  16. Anonymous on 7 February 2014 at 2:12 am

    Was linseed oil used to preserve the old planes? I’m wondering why he would have noted that smell.

  17. Ben Fisher on 4 September 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Seems the blog link is no longer valid…?

  18. petervalcanas on 27 September 2015 at 2:28 am

    Paul, what do you think of Pear wood? We have 4 Pear trees in our little yard and I think one has major pruning to be done or should I say it’s coming down.

    Peter

  19. ivrib on 30 October 2015 at 9:05 am

    Hello,
    Wonderful series. What would be the dimension requirements for the steel stock for a larger plane, something parallel to a no. 4 or 5. plane?
    Thanks
    Ivri

  20. Kjord on 2 November 2015 at 5:38 am

    For making hollows and rounds or moulding planes, check out “Making Traditional Side Escapement Planes” from Old Street Tool, formerly Clark and Williams at planemaker.com. Plane blade blanks are available along with planemaker’s floats at LieNielsen

  21. Bill Pierson on 29 September 2016 at 2:10 am

    How do you aline the growth rings to keep the body from moving? I want to use quarter sawn so if the growth rings go from top to bottom and the Rays run left to right the body should be stable correct ?

  22. JCPierre Bourbonnais on 24 October 2017 at 1:34 am

    I must admit, although I have been a fan of yours for several months and watched all the videos I could glean from Youtube, I just signed-up as a “Member”. I love your teaching technique, the demonstrations,
    the detailed explanations and the lack of “hype” often exhibited on other websites. I am retired and though living on modest means, I truly appreciate the hours of entertainment you have so generously provided.

  23. Tad on 27 March 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Would it be possible to use a small old coffin style wood plane and just radius the bottom, both ways, similar to what Paul does in this series? I have a few old coffin planes that are chipped or have other edge damage that I thought might work.
    I don’t want to go down that road if that isn’t a good idea.
    Thanks,
    Tad

    • Philip Adams on 28 March 2018 at 10:31 am

      Hello Tad,
      You certainly could do this. It may be a little large overall and just keep an eye on how open the mouth is. The iron will of course still need shaping.

      • Tad on 30 March 2018 at 8:02 pm

        Thanks Philip, that makes sense. It might be better to just make a new one and just reuse the iron.

  24. Hamish Gordon on 8 August 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Paul,
    First of all, thank you for your series of videos, which have been a great help in getting me back into woodworking again. Now to my query:

    I recently restored some tools I inherited from my grandfather, including a plane iron (with back iron) which doesn’t fit any of the (wooden) planes I have, as it is too wide.

    I would like to make a long plane (No. 5 1/2 or longer) for it, so I looked for some tutorials online, but they all show the use of a cross pin to anchor the wedge and iron, along with the laminated method you demonstrate in these videos.

    I wondered if you have any views on the use of a cross pin as opposed to the traditional method.

    Regards,

    Hamish

    • Philip Adams on 10 August 2018 at 4:52 pm

      Hello Hamish,
      Hard to go into it in much detail here, but Paul said the cross pin method is often easier, but the wedge method will work too.
      Hope that helps.
      Phil

      • Hamish Gordon on 12 August 2018 at 9:49 am

        Hi Philip
        Thanks for the prompt reply. It was the fact that the cross pin method seemed “easier” that prompted my question. An innate suspicion of the seemingly easy way, I suppose. I just wondered if there were any difference in the end result, in terms of function and durability.

        Anyway, I have decided to stick to the more traditional way shown above and wondered if there were any modifications needed (other than the addition of a tote) when making a larger plane.

        Regards

        Hamish

      • Philip Adams on 15 August 2018 at 9:55 am

        Hi Hamish,
        Apart from working out the sizing on all the components and therefore the wedge aspects (which it is hard to specifically advise on), there are no particular modifications we would recommend. Sorry not to be more helpful.
        Phil

        • Hamish Gordon on 16 August 2018 at 10:13 pm

          Hi Philip
          Thanks again for the prompt reply. A negative reply is actually very helpful. I had assumed that I just needed to upsize the dimensions given in the above videos, but I wanted to be sure. Paul has already given some helpful tips on fitting a tote in his video on restoring wooden planes. All I need now is to track down a nice billet or two of beech.

          Please pass on my thanks to Paul for this and all his other sage advice.

          Regards

          Hamish

  25. claudisimo on 29 September 2018 at 9:47 am

    Can this be applied in the same way to make planes of any size? Would it be ok to make a jointer like this?

    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 1 October 2018 at 3:30 pm

      Hi,

      Yes this can.

      Kind regards,
      Izzy

      • claudisimo on 2 October 2018 at 5:16 pm

        Thank you, nice.

        By the way, do the pieces have to be from the same piece? I mean, does it need to be 1 piece, cut into 3, worked and glued back into one? Or is it ok if I take 3 separated pieces (I mean like different tree or different section of a board) of the same kind of wood and glue them?

        I have a piece of wood that I want to make a jointer (because i don’t have one) with but it’s a 2×6 piece, and I haven’t found 4×4 or something that size.

        No idea how the wood is called in english. Here it’s called “avellano” and it’s a beautifull wood. I’ve heard that in the past some woodworkers here used to make planes. I actually have one made from that wood but the throat is extremely open (like 1cm open) so I want to try to make one.

        • Peter Brown on 4 October 2018 at 3:24 am

          No. It looks way coooler if it’s differrent woods.

          • claudisimo on 5 October 2018 at 3:20 am

            Yes, I have seen them made like that, but I’ve always wondered if it’s a good practice, and as I got a response before, if it is ok to apply to any size of plane.



    • claudisimo on 6 October 2018 at 10:51 am

      I just read this blog post: https://paulsellers.com/2013/11/making-curve-soled-plane-others/

      That clarifies everything now, jeje

  26. Will Leigh on 7 February 2021 at 8:19 am

    Hi, any advice on how to finish the planes? Oil? Wax? Shellac?
    Cheers
    W

    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 18 March 2021 at 3:08 pm

      Hi Will,

      Paul says:
      My favourite is shellac, but boiled linseed oil will work well too.

      Izzy

  27. Larry Geib on 7 February 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Traditionally, finishes were pretty minimal on wooden planes. The idea was to allow then to rapidly aclimate with the seasons.
    Tallow was prevalent in England, refreshed from time to time. It was cheap.
    In the colonies Beeswax and turpentine to thin it was a popular finish.
    But almost any finish would work nowadays with modern climate controlled shops, just enough so they are easier to keep clean. Paste wax, shellac, and thinned wiping varnishes would be fine.

    Matt Bickford, famous maker of hollows and rounds and author, uses a couple coats Minwax antique oil finish on his planes. It’s of a thinner consistency than most wiping varnishes. So that’s what I use on the planes I make, and it functions well to keep the planes looking good.

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