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Woodworking with Diego de Assis


Building a Wooden Planes

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Diego de Assis


To build a plane, the first thing to do is acquire the iron blade and adapt its width to the project, with certain safety margin for the plane throat.

I built these planes based on an article from the Popular Mechanics magazine.  They provide the project drawings for three basic planes with dimensions for the traditional wooden planes.

I used both electric and traditional hand tools. The use of more sophisticated equipment gives certain celerity and comfort to the production process, but these planes can be made with hand tools only, resulting in the same accuracy. This article involves the building of the three planes, showing concisely the similar stages of their construction.

The drawing of these planes is clear and simple. The three basic designs: the smoothing plane (smallest), the jointer plane and the block plane (largest).

I did some adaptations, although I have reproduced with fidelity the tools outline.  I used Amaranth (Peltogyne spp), extremely hard and weighty wood, and, because of this, I dispensed the base sole, which isn't absolutely necessary. Be sure that the wood is well dry.

I preferred a cross a brass to hold the iron, instead of using a wooden pin, as shown in the project (cross pin). Iíve made a tote for the block plane (the largest) which has made its use more safe. I used British Stanley iron blades. Differently from the metalic plane, the wooden plane is light and can be easily resurfaced. But its adjustment is difficult and depends on the skils of each craftsman.

First of all, the wood must be perfectly jointed. I used thickness and jointer planers (stationary electric planes). I take advantage of the this piece of Amaranth and make two planes.

After that, I separated the piece using the circular saw. The pieces with the smallest thickness will be the laterals of the planes. The correct position for the cut is tangential to the annual rings.

Transfer the layout to the middle piece with the help of carbon paper. This is the drawing of the smoothing plane.

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Norris Planes

English Saws


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