I needed a hand plane, but had none where I am. I also had long thought about making a wood bed plane. But, I did not want to make one with exotic woods or exotic tools, and I did not want to spend a lot of time making it,
- 3/4″ plywood
- 5/16″ hardwood dowel rod
- Plane blade
- Drywall screws
- Table saw
- Bevel finder
- Drill and bits
Saw four pieces of plywood 2 1/4″ x 12″.
I am using a home conversion table saw from an electric circular saw. I use an accurate framing square to set the rip fence parallel to the saw blade. The rip fence is a piece of plywood with a straight edge. I did not do an Instructable on this exact table saw, but at this link you can find an Instructable on its “big brother.” We spend several weeks a year visiting family in another state and I now have a home built table saw in both places.
Step 1: Determine The Blade Angle And Record It
I want the blade angle to be as shallow as possible. I set my bevel finder to that angle and use it to mark pieces and set the miter gauge.
Step 2: Cut Body Pieces At The Blade Angle
I bisected a body piece with a cut at the blade angle. I used a plywood triangle on the miter gauge face to support the body piece for such a shallow angle,
Step 3: Fit The Rest Of The Body
Shown is fitting and cutting the front internal body pieces to length. Enough opening in the bed of the plane is needed for wood chips to pass easily.
The plane blade is only a little wider than the opening for it. Rather than try for two kerfs in the sides of the outer body members, I chose to make a kerf in only one side.
Step 4: Glue
Glue the body pieces together. Check to make certain the plane blade fits into its slot and moves as it should.
Step 5: Position And Clamp
Glue can make things slide around and cause fit problems. Push the body pieces down so their bottom edges are firmly and smoothly against the flat surface under them while clamping. Check that the blade is square to the side of the assembly.
Step 6: Secure With Screws
After the glue has set a little, I counter sunk for the 1 1/2″ drywall screws I had so the screws would pass through as many layers as possible. Screws were added from both sides.
Step 7: Check Blade Fit
My blade’s cutting edge was not parallel to the bed of the plane. I needed to remove some wood so I could adjust the cutting edge and make it parallel to the plane bed.
Step 8: Smoothing The Bed
Place some sandpaper gritty side up on a flat surface. Sand the bottom of the plane bed with it by moving the bed. This will smooth the bed. It will also remove irregularities that should not have crept into the plane bed.
Step 9: Trim The Ends
The body parts were not supposed to be staggered, but it happened. Trim the ends of the plane.
Step 10: Drill For A Dowel Rod
I guessed at where to locate a dowel rod for securing the blade with a wedge. After I had drilled a hole by hand with an electric drill, I positioned the dowel and marked its proper location on the inside of the other side of the body. I removed the dowel and drilled the second hole.
Step 11: Size The Wedge
The shank of a drill makes a good sizing gauge. The space between the dowel and the blade is almost 7/32″.
Step 12: Mark The Wedge And Saw
I marked a wedge on a piece of oak. I left plenty of wiggle room in case I did not cut the wedge as accurately as hoped.
Step 14: Use
The shavings are from some soft pine. If there is a weakness on this plane, it is that rough grain can push the blade back into the body. That is even after setting the wedge with a hammer. See the second photo. I folded a piece of 150 grit sandpaper and placed it under the plane blade before tapping the wooden wedge into place. Now the blade does not slip out of place when the blade hits rough grain, although precise adjustment by tapping the wedge or the blade can be tricky. The blade tends to creep toward the bed of the plane when I tap on the wedge. Sometimes I begin with the edge of the blade still inside the plane and tap on the wedge until I get the right amount of edge showing below the bed. I would like to develop a metal screw mechanism to adjust the depth of cut much like a commercial plane, but I am still thinking about that. (I did add the cover photo as a third photo. It was originally to be the photo in the Introduction, but it got lost when I was uploading the Instructable from an iPad in the mobile app.)
Adjusting a wooden plane is a bit different from a metal plane with screw adjustment. There are some good videos at YouTube on how to do it. Here is one.
This is an easy and inexpensive way to make a long bed plane that might be too expensive for the average home workshop user to buy.