A Family of Hand Planes

Here is The Waney Edge Family of Hand Planes, all made by me (by hand) in my workshop.

These were made from scratch; no kits were involved (I don’t even think kits can be got any more!)

They are all excellent user planes and are frequently put to work. Made from

brass and exotic hardwoods each one is designed for a specific task.IMG_5275[1]

From left to right we have a roughing smoother designed to remove wood quickly, a fine general smoother that gives an excellent finish , a high-angled finishing smoother; 60 degree pitch (This plane is capable of producing the finest of shavings and leaving a finish better than sandpaper. A painter/decorator friend of mine observed that he could not get a better finish than this plane does, with sandpaper). Next comes an old style smoother with oak-leaf design front for small work (This plane is a real delight to use) and finally, a low-angled mitre plane with beautiful Desert Ironwood infill.

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Here is a rear/side view of the set. All my planing needs are catered for with this set, except perhaps for a chamfering.

But look! Here is my (again shop-built, hand made), Japanese style Chamfer Plane that covers that problem:

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Ooh! Look at that grain. Can you guess what wood it is?

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This chamfering plane can be used like any Japanese plane, that is, pulled along the wood, or used like a conventional European plane, pushed along the wood. Its simple lines are deceptive; this plane works extremely well and is ideal for quickly cutting champhers on long  boards.

All these hand planes are essentially my own design and are a pleasure to use. With the exception of the chamfer plane, all are hammer-adjusted either with a small, shop-built conventional  hammer or my preferred, Palm-hammer:

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This simple, little tool slips easily into my shop-apron pocket so is always at hand. Learning to adjust the setting of a plane with a hammer is a short learning curve but once mastered, gives the finest adjustment. I moved away from fitting Norris style adjusters in my planes after listening to Ron Brese’s arguments against them.  Now, any hand plane I make is hammer adjusted. It is surprising how fine an adjustment can be made from the deftest touch of the hammer. I could never get quite such a fine adjustment from a Norris style adjuster. And it’s fun to do.

There is an exquisite pleasure in constructing projects using hand tools that you have made yourself. No words can describe that feeling. You have to immerse yourself in it to appreciate it.

7 Comments

  1. Brendon,can’t believe there are no comments on the beautiful workmanship of your planes.I see you don’t use adjusters,But use hammer adjustment.Is there any particular reason ? Believe me,it’s not a criticism,Just an interest,as to your thinking.

    All the best,Don from Dorset in the UK

    • Brendon

      March 18, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      Hello Don,
      Thanks for your interest and kind comments.
      I have had a fair bit of interest on Homemadetools.net where I also have the planes posted.
      If you get a chance, have a look there.
      I used to fit adjusters on all my planes until I became a convert to Ron Brese’s
      ideas. I began to realize that he was right in what he said to me.
      What he said was that in adjuster type planes you will generally have to loosen the lever cap
      to avoid stretching the threads on the adjuster mechanism. Once you do this you immediately lose some of the lateral
      adjustment. Especially when you re-tighten the lever cap which changes the depth adjustment and torques
      the tip of the screw on the iron, once again changing the lateral adjustment. Then you find yourself
      loosening the lever cap and starting over.
      This may sound over the top, but when you realize that very fine adjustment is what we require, you begin
      to understand that mechanical parts working against each other is not what you want.
      Hammer adjustment is straightforward. You don’t have to loosen the lever cap. Once you have set
      your depth of cut you’re done. And you don’t have to worry about stretch and wear on the screw adjuster mechanisms
      like you do on adjuster type planes. I have found that with just a little practice setting the plane only takes moments
      and that the finest of adjustments can be achieved with the deft touch of the hammer.
      I find the hammer adjusted planes easier to adjust and get right than the adjuster types.
      So, there you have it.
      Thanks again for your interest and sorry for being so long-winded.
      Cheers
      Brendon

  2. Bernard Brown

    May 17, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    your planes are Fantastic I originally trained as a toolmaker since i completed my apprenticeship i worked in Engineering and Management serious injury has forced early retirement. and once again i look forward to working with my hands your blog. interests and craftsmanship are inspirational to me are you far from Waterford ? perhaps i could visit one day we appear to have a lot in common.

  3. Excellent. Now that I am retired, I want to try my hand at plane-making, especially infills.

    • Brendon

      July 24, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      Hi John,
      It’s a very satisfying thing to make a good hand tool of any kind and then use on a project.
      I wish you well with your work and look forward to seeing posts when you have planes ready to view.
      Best Wishes
      Brendon

  4. Fab work Brendon.

    Are the metal plane bodies pinned together or dovetailed / peened?

    ConGer

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