Build a Wooden Handplane , in a Day
Making your own woodworking tools can be rewarding , but it can also be time-consuming and thus takes you away from building furniture. Several years ago I felt exactly this way when I built five metal planes from kits. However, you can have the best of both worlds: building furniture and the occasional useful woodworking tool. Hock Tools sells a wooden plane kit that you can assemble in less than a day if you please.
The $98.50 kit comes with pre-cut parts , a maple body and a jarrah sole , plus a sweet 1 1/2″-wide iron and a beefy chipbreaker made by Hock. The kit is designed to make a low-slung plane like the ones popularized by craftsman James Krenov, but because the body is wood, you can make any plane you please. I used the kit to make a Roman-style plane, with its unusual through-the-body grips, and the kit worked brilliantly for that.
To build any style plane with this kit, here’s what you do: First glue the two maple sidewalls to the two center blocks using four included dowels to keep the parts in line. Then glue the sole to the body and add the cross dowel that secures the cutter with the wedge (which is included). Then comes the fun part: Shape the 11″-long body using a band saw, rasps and knives. Sharpen up the cutter, open the plane’s throat with a pocket knife, flatten the sole on some sandpaper and go to work. Honestly, most of the time invested in making this handplane is in allowing the glue to dry.
Building your own plane , even from a kit , is a fast way to learn a lot about plane mechanics. You don’t need to do much tuning on the plane, but the work you do have to do is quick (because the body is wood, not metal) and enlightening for any handplane user.
My Roman-style plane came out great and is a blast to use.
More information about the Plane Kit from Hock Tools