In Tricks of the Trade

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Chamfering an edge with a block plane is often easier, faster and safer than using a router or tablesaw—particularly on a small part. I do it so often that I’ve dedicated one of my planes for the job.

To modify your plane, make two 3/16″ thick hardwood sides, two 3/8″ thick chamfering guides and shims of various thicknesses. Shape the sides and shims to fit your plane. Bevel the guides at 45° and glue them to the sides.

The space between the guides determines the width of the chamfer. I made my guides wide enough to make a 1/8″ chamfer, then add shims between the sides and the plane to make larger chamfers.

To attach the guides, drill mounting holes in the sides for 8-32 machine screws. Position the guides on the plane and mark the holes’ locations with a center punch. Drill and tap the holes.

When you start planing, hold the tool at approximately 45°. It will automatically adjust itself to the correct angle as you go. When the plane bottoms out against the guides, you’re done. –Doug Perlick

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