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The "Core" of the New Plane

The first order of business is to glue up some of the "center" stock, in this case I'm using purpleheart.  The finished dimensions of this block is going to be about 12 inches long, 1-3/4" wide, and 3-1/4" tall (that is as tall as my table saw will cut - so is an effective limit to the height to remember), and use flat sawn stock.  I orient the grain so the "outside" of the log will be facing the bottom of the plane, and so the grain dives toward the back.  This is so the grain is working with the intended path of travel of the plane, and not adding any more resistance than necessary or pointing the grain in a direction that it could catch on something and chip out during use.

The diagram above tries to show the orientation properly - the grain is represented by the grey lines.  It isn't as important that the laminations above the sole are oriented in the same direction - but it's still a good idea, especially if you are using hand tools such as planes to smooth the sides out - it will insure the grain is running in the same direction with all of the pieces, and the plane won't have near as many fits, resulting in less tear out.

When gluing up, use lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of clamps.  Here's a shot of a glue up for another plane:

It isn't that an incredible amount of pressure is required, its that you need to distribute that pressure evenly.  Once you've got the blank glued up and cut to final dimensions, it's time to make the first cuts for the throat of the plane, which will define the bed, the wear, and the upper front throat.  Using the diagram laid out on a previous plane on the last page, I've laid out the angles that are used with a miter box, and cut the center piece of the plane:


Gluing the Sides Onto the Plane

Now, we can glue the sides of the plane to the core.  The grain layout should reflect the same orientation as previously, with one big difference - because the pieces are vertical, the optimum board would be as close to quartersawn as possible.  I didn't have a piece handy, so I used 2 pieces of flatsawn beech.  I'll have to see if that gets me into trouble or not.

When gluing the sides on, it's important to keep the body and the sides flush at the bottom, and the mouth at 1/4".  I accomplished this by gluing the pieces together on top of a piece of wax paper, and using a piece of 1/4" plywood as a spacer in the mouth, pulling it out as soon as the clamps were on tight enough (don't want to glue it to the plane, do we?).  A bunch of clamps are again necessary:

 Once the glue is leather hard, it's important to get in there and clean up any squeeze out that's made it's way into the throat.  I used narrow cut offs from the 4 hand saws I made - or a pair of skewed chisels are handy to.  If you don't get it clean now, you will pay for it later, especially any that gets on the bed of the plane.

Once out of the clamps, its time to re-square the block.  Using a jointer, I got the bottom squared to the side again, then it's over to the cut-off saw to square up the ends of the plane.  Use a very good cut-off blade, mine is a Freud 80 tooth, and leaves a better edge than I can get with any other method, sanding or planing included.

I then ran the whole affair through the table saw to get the body square again, taking very light cuts with a very good blade (a Freud 24 tooth ripping blade).  Even with that blade, I still get a little burning because of the depth of cut it has to make.  I remove this by taking a very light cut with the table saw - slowly approaching final dimension, with cuts of around 1/16' - or about half the width of the saw blade.

Once the stock is square to itself,  I run it a couple times through the table saw to get it close to the finished width of the plane (about 2-1/2") - taking care that the purpleheart core remains centered in the body of the plane.  So, with the 'core' measuring 1-3/4", that means the sides should end up at 3/8" on each side. It's still OK at this point to leave a little room for error - so 1/2" on each side it OK for now, and it can be thinned down later.   For height - I leave it at about 2-7/8" to 3", though the finished height will be only 2-1/2".  This is so I have a little room in case I screw up, and to clean up the top of the plane after the work on the throat that's coming up.