Opening My Mouth

jack plane mouth

Whatever step I take next in this process of making a jack plane (see part 1 here), I like to have my muse close by and through looking at then trying to replicate, I gain more respect for the tool making art. From a distance the simple rectilinear form of jack, try and jointer planes do little to suggest the nuances and evolution present within them. It is only when I try to replicate what at first seems simple do I appreciate more fully how crisp the detailing is on the original and professionally made plane. I missed my float delivery at the weekend but look forward to collecting it from the depot tomorrow. In the meantime I’ve been working with a small Japanese-style pull saw and paring chisels to form the abutments and shape up the mouth/escapement.

jack plane mouth

I’ve sometimes read about concerns that clamping work to a bench with aprons is a non starter; thankfully clamping and workholding is the easy part of this project. Working with paring chisels is also pretty unfamiliar for me (all my work is typically accessible with a regular bench chisel). Their delicate nature, especially the 1/4″ and 1/2″, makes for a very sensitive tool. I’m far from an expert with them but by changing finger pressure on the blade you can make the 1/4″ really do what you want it to. I hope to have the mouth finished up by my next post and be moving onto the wedge and perhaps some interesting observations on grinding angles.

jack plane mouth

— Graham Haydon

Ed note: If you want to make your own wooden-bodied plane, you’ll find Bill Anderson’s instructional video “Building a Traditional 18th-century Jointer Plane” invaluable.

PWM Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs
Graham Haydon

About Graham Haydon

Graham Haydon is a Joiner based in the UK, working in the same woodworking business his great grandfather started in 1926 alongside his father, brother and a small team of craftspeople. The business makes custom architectural joinery, simple furniture and custom kitchens along with a variety of other woodworking projects. He served an apprenticeship in both Joinery and Carpentry and also gained a National Certificate in Building Studies. During his spare time he enjoys woodworking mainly with hand tools.

8 thoughts on “Opening My Mouth

  1. Potomacker

    “Working with paring chisels is also pretty unfamiliar for me (all my work is typically accessible with a regular bench chisel).”

    How do you distinguish a paring chisel from a bench chisel? Are you simply talking about the length of the blade?

  2. Sven in Colorado

    Nice work…. I do have one criticism. Stand up and use your whole body, arms, core and legs to work the chisel or whatever hand tool. If needs be, raise your work bench height. Right now you are using your arms and shoulders, neck and some belly. This leaves out some of the strongest muscles in your body and the kinetic strength that comes with learning, training the whole body to do process.

    1. Graham HaydonGraham Haydon Post author

      Hey Steve,

      Thanks for the advice. I’m very inexperienced with tool making (this is the first one ever) but I do try to make the most out of each situation. The light paring cuts and refining here don’t require me to exert much force at all and it was not hard to perform the tasks shown. Also I like to see the progress of the saw. Cutting an abutment is a critical process and clear vision out weighs everything here. Raising my bench is a nice idea but the stool suits just fine.



  3. nkallner

    When doing fine adjustments on the mouth of a wooden plane, planemakers floats are far easier to use than a chisel.

  4. Redbat

    Looking good. I would like to see some dimensions for what you are doing. How wide is the plane, how wide is the mouth, what are the angles you are using, or matching, etc. Thanks.

    1. Graham HaydonGraham Haydon Post author

      Hi Redbat

      No worries, will make sure I add that in. I must say it’s easier doing a jack first. The mouth is a little wider and therefore it’s a bit more forgiving. So far it’s a carbon copy of the Mathiseon. They were much more experienced than me so I’ve avoided trying anything different. Interestingly the bed angle on the Matheison is 45 deg not the 47.5 often mentioned. On a tangent I then also thought that as the iron is tapered in it’s length the actual cutting angle of the iron is perhaps 44 deg? Anyhow, happy to discuss that next time out, thanks for the interest.



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