Hand-build Bench Plane

hand-plane-1One of the projects that I have been thinking about it a hand-build wood hand plane.  I have a couple planes that I love but they are small and not appropriate for squaring large pieces of timber.  I wanted to get a jointer or jack plane for this but the cost is simply not in my budget.  Then I found some plans for building 3 wood planes on the Popular Mechanics site.  With this, I think I might be able to get somewhere.

About a month ago, I was trolling in the local WoodCraft store and found a piece of Poplar that is 2x3x20 in the scrap bin.  I thought that this might be a good starter piece with a separate sole, and some sides, I can make this work.

Now, I just heard someone groan.  Yeah, its poplar… maybe not the first choice but was going to build it with pine.  I generally like to build a prototype out of something cheap or reclaimed so that there isn’t the fear of jacking up a $40 piece of timber.  It cost me $5.  Prototype started.

Days later, I was trolling through Home Depot and found 1/4x3x24 timbers of Red Oak.  Looks like I found my sole (finally) and my sides.  While I was there, I picked up a couple cheap plane irons so that I had a close approximation to what the size of the iron will be.  Later, I will discuss my choices for materials for the real thing.  Oak planks were $15 for three.

I next picked up a 1/4″ piece of steel for the wedge cross-pin.  $2 for 36″ rod.

Sunday night, I laminated one of the red oak planks to the poplar body and clamped.  Sorry, but I don’t have any pictures of that but thats not really interesting.  Then last night I unclamped and cut off the excess red oak from around the poplar and began planing the sides.  There’s something fundamentally ironic about planing a plane.

That is where I ended up last night.  This weekend, I hope to get in a couple hours so that I can cut the body, fit the iron, and get the sides glued to the body.  Maybe I will have enough time to gift this to myself for Christmas.  Maybe.

Here’s the link to the site and plans that I am referencing:



2 thoughts on “Hand-build Bench Plane

  1. Thanks for the comment, Bill. I actually remember reading your post a few months back and the size of your plane is pretty close to what I’m looking for. As I mentioned, my approach is to prototype the build with relatively inexpensive materials and build from there. I like that you used a hard wood wedge pin. I think that I need to go with either a thicker steel rod or switch to a wood pin. We’ll see what WoodCraft has on clearance this week. 😉


  2. I built several planes from kits over the past year, and back during the summer I made my first from scratch, here is a link to it if you want to check it out: http://confusedwoodworker.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/the-slightly-confused-plane-maker/
    I made the plane from Ash and Oak. I very nearly made it from Poplar but a plane maker informed me that I probably shouldn’t. But like you said, it is your plane and you can do what you like. Good luck. For what it’s worth, my plane turned out great and my only real experience was from the kits I had made. Thanks.

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