Mini Chamfer Plane Mod (from Harbor Freight Mini-plane)





Introduction: Mini Chamfer Plane Mod (from Harbor Freight Mini-plane)

About: I'm a fledgling electronics hobbyist and a member of the Planetary Society!! I play percussion, but am teaching myself electric bass tin whistle and am a space flight sim/game enthusiast. Having been into wo...

Hello again!

So I went down to Harbor Freight a while back and saw a set of 3 mini-planes and picked them up, mainly out of curiosity. The set contained mini block, scraper, and bullnose planes, but  I had really only used the block up to this point.

Now, like most other Harbor Freight tools, they need to be 'fixed' before they can be properly used. In this case, it was just a matter of sharpening the blade. Afterwards, the plane cut just fine.

Later, I thought to try out the other two, but then realized that instead of a bullnose, somehow a second block plane was packed into the set. Having taken so long to open the rest of the package, my return period had expired. Now having a spare plane that I knew I wouldn't use, I decided to alter it to make it a bit more useful. Now follows my (short) process for turning it into a chamfer plane.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

-Mini Block Plane (to be converted)
-Router Table (homemade will work)
-V-Groove Router Bit
-Small Triangular File

- n/a

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Step 2: Preparation

In order to run the plane through the router safely you'll have to remove the blade and chip breaker, and if you're the cautious type, the knob on the front as well. It should come out fairly easily, but you may have to twist it to get it going.

Step 3: Router Table

Install the v-groove bit into the router table to make a 1/8th inch deep cut, making sure it's nice and snug. Set the fence so that the tip of the bit lines up with the center of the plane.

With the fence set, place the plane against it near the router bit opening in the table, and clamp a guide block (STRAIGHT cut-offs will do) against it, parallel with the fence. This will keep the cut on target, if you think you'll need the extra support.

Step 4: Groove

At this point, you should have a workable groove that will ride fairly well on the edges of your wood. Again, the final depth doesn't really matter, as long you still have room to adjust (and lock down) your blade.

Ideally, with this plane you don't want to go much deeper than I did, or you won't be able to set your blade in a position that will keep it in place. I would suggest creeping up on your final depth.

Step 5: Filing Back the Chip-breaker

Now, I kind of just dove right into this, so I ran into a slight snag. Due to the groove being cut in the plane, the blade was meeting the wood much higher in the body of the plane, whereas it would normally contact underneath the plane. In order to keep shavings from piling up inside the plane, I had to clear away some of the metal on the chip-breaker.

I first filed a v-shaped groove into the bottom end (shown here at top), and then, presumably because I had the main groove so deep, had to to file off some more metal off the end. Depending on how deep you route the first groove, you may not have to do this part!

Step 6: Final Product

Reattach the hardware, and there you have it! A neat little miniature chamfer plane, just for you!

I hope you enjoyed this little 'ible, and if you give this a try, let me know how it turns out.

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time!

Feel free to comment below! =)



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    18 Discussions

    I thought you made the whole planes. The irons in those planes are really any good? I just picked up a pair of Stanley 101 trim planes on Friday myself. I paid 75 cents a piece for them. One is even Sweetheart marked.

    Of course the file uploader is not working on this site. It works here though

    I don't think I will be dadoing either of those planes out though.

    3 replies

    Nope, just made a modification. =P

    Actually, I can't imagine that the irons are any good, expecially compared to "real" ones, but they didn't complain too much when putting a pretty little chamfer on the edges of a maple mallet I just made! =)

    Deng, those little planes you got look nice! Were they any good? Also, when in the heck did you get them for THAT little? =0?

    Thanks. I think they're nice. Nice enough to shell out a buck and a half for the pair of them. I got them the day before I posted my first comment. That was a Saturday. I'd picked up everything in that picture on the 2nd, and 3rd. It was a haul picture for the two days. I go to a lot of yard sales and flea markets looking for deals. Occasionally I'll run across something decent too.

    I've got one of these "slickplanes" to round off my edges.  I think if you reverse or change the blade it does a chamfer but I have never taken it apart...yet.  I guess you could also cut a round profile in the blade to do a radius cut edge treatment.  It's rough getting it started on endgrain though as it will tear out the end if you don't ease it in the other direction first.

    5 replies

    I have the same "slickplane" since 15 years or more (it was called "radius plane" if my memory serves me well, and was manufactured in Stockton Ca.) : this company proposed either a round shaped cutter or a bevel shaped one.
    Shape is the same, but it was made of maple (I guess).
    I do not see the use of buying a plane and ruining it as you can buy an other model that has been designed for its initial purpose

    In case of "cheaper import" tools, you are not ruining it when you do a mod but either elevating it or fixing it to do what it was intended to do. I got my slickplane so long ago I forgot where but it was something I saw in a specialty mail order catalog "before the internet" and it seemed reasonably priced, maybe it was used by Norm Abrams on TV. You don't really know about these things going up and down the Home Depot or Lowe's aisles.

    No, I don't see why nor any offense intended. The cool thing about instructables is seeing how necessity is the mother of invention or how many times independent thought can come up with something but someone already has it out there...and making money off of it.

    Great mod. Thanks. I too wander into HF on occasion for no rational reason. Maybe it's the authentic Chinese industrial aroma.

    Nice pictures, but having trouble scaling the depth of your groove. About 7/16ths?

    1 reply

    "Authentic Chinese industrial aroma." I've been trying to figure out what to call that for years! =D
    Oh yeah! Thanks for the catch! Actually, mine came in at 1/8", but I didn't exactly aim for that. I kind of winged-it really.

    The notch in the blade was so unexpected. I thought you were going to leave the blade straight, so it would put a 45 degree chamfer onto a square edge.

    1 reply

    Very nice modification. You just gave me a reason to go to Harbor Freight, (like I really need one) How would you do the round over version of this plane?
    Keep up the good work!!!

    1 reply

    Haha, I know right? I'm going there in about half an hour myself. =P

    Let's see, you could probably get away with using the same construction as this one, but you may want to think about grinding a rounded profile in the blade, rather than leaving it flat/chisel-edged.

    If I had an extra blade lying around, I would definitely try that out!