The first plane I ever made was a low angle
This may seem a bit of an odd choice for a first attempt.
In fact it does have some advantages over a conventional bench plane build. One
of the major hurdles to overcome is finding the right materials, but with this
build I hope I can show that by doing a bit of recycling it's possible to use
some very high quality wood and steel without breaking the bank.
The first thing to look for is an old 22" wooden try plane, preferably one
damaged or missing some parts. Here in the UK, try planes can be picked up for
next to nothing, but the beech they are made from is always top notch, and due
to its age is going to be well seasoned.
The other main component we need is a good iron. Again, old Sheffield laminated
irons are plentiful on the second hand market, and are possibly some of the best
blades ever made. It's important to look for one that has had little wear, and
is preferably 7 3/8" or longer. The width is not to critical and anything
between 2"-2-1/4" will be fine.
Traditionally mitre planes would be fitted with an uncut iron, but there is no
disadvantages with using a cut iron for this project.
The rear section of a try plane will generally give you a piece of timber
just under 12" long for the body. The hight is dictated by how far the tote has
been let into the body, bt hopefully it won't be much less than 2".
There are no real set measurements for this build as it's defined by how much
wood you can salvage, and the width of cutter you are using.
The length can be optimized by leaving a small portion of the bed slope in. This
can be incorporated into the rounded heel of the finished body. Don't discard
the front end of the try plane, as this will be used for the wedge and mouth
One of the things I have learnt from my plane making is how crucial it is to
spend time making sure the stock is prepared as accurately as possible. It's
very important that it is perfectly square and parallel before any setting out
is carried out.
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