This article, by John Wilson (of The Home Shop, which offers Shaker boxes and supplies for making them) first appeared in the August 2005 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. While we’re still calling it the “$5 Router Plane,” it’s possible it will now cost a bit more to make – but likely still less than $10 (plus a bit of shop time).
Here is a real-life shop problem: The project calls for a shallow slot, or dado, in the middle of a board. Defining the edges using a wide chisel is a first step. But determining the best way to remove the waste is a challenge. The chisel could do it, although gauging the depth accurately would take patience. Using my electric router would solve that problem, yet experience tells me that freehand use of this power tool can lead to stray excursions into surrounding margins. So fence guides would need to be set.
This situation calls for a router plane. An uncommon plane that looks different, it most often elicits the question, “What does it do?” Now you know – it levels dados and hinge gains. Its right-angle blade will allow you to make a fl at cut of an accurate depth.
Download the PDF below for the plans and rest of the article: