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Final Details


Using back saws and rasps, most of the changes to the shape of the plane were pretty easy to accomplish, save for one - reducing the width at the back of the plane.  The front of the "taper" I wanted to be round and slanted slightly towards the toe of the plane.  I taped the cutoff from making the razee to bottom of the plane so it held the plane at the right angle, and cut off a big chunk of the waste at the band saw.


I then clean up the rest with a round file for the front, and files for the flat part leading from there towards the heel.

For the carving - I'm fairly new to carving at all, and had never attempted anything like what I wanted.  I did have some experience carving a wheat pattern into saw handles, and the center "stalks" of those carvings were a simple vee shape.  I decided to try a similar approach for these patterns, with just a couple small differences.

First, after tracing the pattern onto the wood that I wanted, I followed the tracing with my carving knife - slicing the wood straight down along the lines:

After making the straight downwards cut, I came back with the carving knife, and from the inside of the pattern, made a slicing diagonal cut back towards the initial straight down cut, pulling a sliver of wood out as I went:

 I had to be careful to make the second slice so it wasn't against the grain, otherwise it wanted to either pull the knife into it too far, or break out small sections of wood.  Afterwards, I used pretty much the same technique for the handle sides and the wedge.

The Final Product

Finally!  Sheesh, what a long winded geek!

After finishing the carving, I tuned the plane as well as I could - using the floats I'd made to smooth out the throat, sharpening the iron, and tuning up the chipbreaker so it didn't obstruct the shavings.  I probably spent the most time on the wedge, getting the bottom shaped so it wouldn't catch the shavings...  it took the longest time, because I didn't want to make it too short, so I would make a small change, re-mount the blade, make some shavings, and see where they caught in the mouth.  Then I would disassemble it, make another small change, re-assemble it, and start the whole process again.  I didn't want to remove too much material anywhere and have to remake something, especially at this stage of the game.

All of the shavings you see were made during that process, which probably took a couple of hours.

After I was satisfied with the performance of the plane, I gave it a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil (cut about 20% with mineral spirits - I normally cut it more than that, but it was in the 90's for temperature when I did this, so the oil didn't need it as much) which you can see in both of the final photos here (above and below - lighting is the only difference between the two photos).


Final Thoughts

Wow!  What a fun project!  I am not as satisfied with the final finish of the plane as I'd like - I found I was spending too much time on it and other projects were suffering (I was having way too much fun messing around with it), so had to finish it up.  My carving skills are still a bit crude, but I guess they're passable for now, anyway (it's not like this is for anyone other than me!).

As I learn more and more about the traditional throat design of these planes, I think I'm starting to see a few of the benefits of using a thicker single iron rather than an iron with a chipbreaker - I believe the next one I attempt will use a single 1/4" thick iron.  I can't really explain it well other than to say ucsing a chipbreaker seems to create more spots that can catch a shaving and plug the mouth up... I'll have to experiment with a single iron to see if my hunches are correct.

More than ever, I recommend tackling projects like this if you are interested in wooden planes at all - each time I do, I'm learning more and more on how they function.  It's fun too, and I like this plane!  I can tell already I like it better than a Bailey for smoothing.  I'll still use a Bailey to make some of the initial passes, but this fellow really shines in bringing the finish to finality.

Well - you made it all the way to the end (you didn't cheat and skip over pages, did you?!).  Thanks for reading!



Leif, I didn't cheat ^_^

It was fun to read from the first page to the last. I only hope one day I will give it a try ! (I've been interested in woodworking for about 3 months).

One question though, how the sole wears ?? I bought used wooden plane and notice that even with whole block the sole wears differently (not much different, but noticeably different).

Again, it was a pleasure to read this.


Hi, Vincent!

Glad you liked it, and thanks!

On the question of soles - wood planes do wear faster than metal planes - but for most users today this isn't much of an issue, so long as it's in good shape to begin with.  Back in the day, such planes were in constant use - that's not so much the case today, so the wood soled planes should last you many years.  Think of it, there are still 100 and 200 year old wooden planes out there that are still quite usable!

You can re-hab a wooden plane - that's a little bit deeper than a comment here covers, but it's not that difficult.  Most of the time,  either a new sole is laminated over the entire bottom of the plane, or a piece is inserted directly in front of the blade to tighten up the mouth.

Yes, you can get uneven wearing across the sole, either because of use or because wood is a natural thing with inconsistencies. For the different woods used in the plane above, it's not too much of an issue - the largest part is the purpleheart, what's on the side isn't going to wear or if it does, it won't have much impact on the use of the plane, as the main, most important contact points - at the front, each side of the mouth, and the back of the plane - are all of the purpleheart.

Thanks for commenting!



Hi Leif,


Thanks for replying ^_^


I told you before that I am very interested in woodworking. Now I am working to get my basic set of tools. Unfortunately where I live, used hand tools of good quality is very hard to come by. Either I have to make it, or using ebay (with hefty shipping cost).


Your site (and other site with generous tips and how-to) give me an idea or two, will try to make/harden chisels first on my spare time.


I have a plan to flatten the sole of the used wooden plane I bought. What do you think will work best for beginner, flat glass and sandpaper with gradual grit or laminate with other piece of wood ? Mind you, I didn't have table saw/belt sander, yet.




What do you think will work best for beginner, flat glass and sandpaper with gradual grit or laminate with other piece of wood ?


That depends on how much of the sole of the plane has been removed, and what the width of the mouth is.  If the mouth is pretty tight, then flat glass on sandpaper should be fine.  If however the mouth is pretty open, then it might be better to laminate a new sole on the bottom.  A third option might be to infill a piece in front of the blade to close up the mouth, then use sandpaper on glass to get it flat again.


Just make sure you don't do more damage than good, and you flatten the sole and not introduce a slight warp to it, which is easy to do if you aren't watching yourself.


There's some good how-to's on Cian's Index, such as this one.  I don't agree with using epoxy (I would use hide glue), but the basics are there.  You might also pick up Michael Dunbar's book on restoring and using old tools, it's a great reference.


Good Luck!