Monday, January 2, 2012

First Shavings & I'm EXCITED !!

First Scrub Plane Shavings
     There you have it -- the first shavings from the first plane I've ever attempted to make!  The cut is pretty nice and I haven't even honed the blade!  This blade from Ron Hock will be a joy to use.  I'm thinking that once I have the plane adjusted I'll just be able to leave it set up.  In my last blog I mentioned entering that realm of the unknown, something I always look forward to.  Kind of like your first race at a new distance and I've experienced that from a 10k to a 100 miler, you just have to take those first steps and even though there may lots of trepidation you push forward.  In the picture, the dowel that is used to wedge the blade tight is only pushed part way through one side.  This is my second wedge because the first one was too short.  Now that the dowel is glued in I can work on shaping the wedge so it's easier to grab on to.
     One area that was a little vague to me was to determine where to locate the 1/2" dowel in the body of the plane.  Krenov's book and Hock's plan showed it to be 1 1/4" from the bottom.  Here's how I solved this:

Dowel Lay-Out
     By using a small sliding bevel  I located the 45 degree ramp for the blade and also the other side of the mouth.  There is a line drawn on at 1 1/4" from the bottom.  Laying the blade and wedge on the side of the plane allowed me to locate the dowel.  Simply cut a small piece of it, laid in on the line, then after marking the center of it drilled the hole through the body on the drill press to ensure it being square.

     I also needed to complete the mouth opening through the sole.  At first, this is what it looked like inside the plane.  If you look closely you can see how I put a slight chamfer on it before I glued it on.  That really helped when I used chisels to extend that 45 degree angle completely through the plane.

     By first "nibbling" the Purple Heart sole with a smaller chisel it was easier to use the long paring chisel to set the angle.  This had to be as close to perfection as I could get so the blade would have a good, flat surface to bed on.

Clogged Mouth
     After drilling the dowel hole and then wedging the blade in for the first attempts I found that the throat was too small.  This was an area that I wasn't too sure about.  For a smooth plane you want the smallest possible throat so that the plane presses down on the wood and allows the thinnest of shavings to come through.  I thought I'd made it pretty large but, as you can see, the shavings wouldn't pass through and it became clogged.
     To remedy that the plane was clamped upside-down and then I carefully chiseled the front of the mouth larger.  Similar to chiseling out a mortise for a hinge but the Walnut block had end grain which I didn't want to split through.  As the first picture showed it all worked.  Looking forward to working the shape of the plane so that it will fit my hand when I use it.  That's the next step in this process.


  1. What length is that blade, 3-1/2" or 4-1/2"?

    Paul in Texas

    1. Sorry to take so long Paul, the blade is 4 1/2" long.

  2. Hi John,

    It has been enjoyable reading this particular series, and have been building a scrub plane also. I think the scrub plane well suited for this type of build as the bed does not have to be as accurate and as you have found out, the mouth can be pretty wide. I had some trouble with the blade wanting to back out during use but some 120 grit scratches on the bedding surface has remedied the problem.

    Thanks for all the pictures and info and great blog!


  3. You're welcome Tim, it's fun to take off lots of material with the scrub plane isn't it? I find that working diagonally across is effective.

    1. Yes it is, and relatively easy to hog off a lot of material.

  4. What mouth size did you ultimately end up with?

  5. The size of the mouth ended up being 7/16", I'll try to send you a picture of it via email. If you're making a scrub plane for yourself hope it comes out nicely -- I enjoy using mine!