Introduction: Airplane Hand Plane

About: I'm a woodworker who makes fun woodworking projects in my garage and shares them with the world!

This Airplane Hand Plane is made from mahogany and maple. It's a great wood shop display piece, plus it actually works and makes shavings too! This would be a fun starter plane for kids. Watch my video to see how I made it, then click here to download the templates from my blog.

Step 1: Print Out the Templates.

Click here to read my blog post where you can download my templates. Print the templates at actual size on Legal 8.5"x14" paper.

Step 2: Cut the Two Sides and Drill the Holes.

Attach the side templates to your board and cut them out. Drill the holes for the airplane windows and the blade pin. I used 1/4" maple for the sides.

Step 3: Make the Middle of the Fuselage.

I borrowed a 1.5" wide blade from an old hand plane, so I cut two pieces of 3/4" mahogany and glued them together to make the middle part of the fuselage. You will want this piece to be the same width as the blade. Cut this middle piece along the 45 deg and 60 deg lines, and save the wedge cutout for later.

Note: You don't have to use a real blade. You can make a fake blade out of a thin piece of wood to turn it into a toy plane for kids.

Step 4: Assemble the Fuselage.

Use mineral spirits to remove the paper templates from the pieces and wipe off any spray adhesive residue. Glue the sides and the middle together lining them up carefully. Use a thin layer of glue to avoid it squeezing into the windows and making a mess. Once the fuselage is dry, you can glue in the 1/2" dowel blade pin and sand it even with the sides. It's much easier to sand this assembly now before putting the wings on.

Step 5: Cut and Attach the Wings.

I cut one each of the large and small wings from the 3/4" mahogany board, then re-sawed them in half to make two of each wing size. They ended up being about 3/8" thick. I set my sander table to a slight angle and sanded the edge so that the wing would be glued onto the fuselage at a slightly upward angle. Glue the wings on making sure they are symmetrical.

Tip! Attach the wing templates to the board so that the edge that will be glued to the plane is on the side of the board. This long grain will provide a stronger glue joint, than the end grain.

Step 6: Apply a Finish.

Clean up any glue squeeze out with a chisel and sand all surfaces smooth. Apply your finish of choice. I sprayed my plane with clear gloss lacquer to maintain the wood's natural color.

Step 7: Cut the Wedge and Install the Blade.

Cut the wedge that will hold in the blade. I used the cut-out piece from the middle fuselage part. It was small, so I taped it to a larger piece to make it safer to cut on the bandsaw. The wedge needs to be thick enough to squeeze between the pin and the blade, but not bottom out. Apply some finish to the wedge piece too. Tap it in with a hammer.

Note! You do not have to use a real blade. I also made a fake wooden blade from a thin piece of wood so that kids of all ages can safely handle the plane and check it out.

Step 8: Make Some Shavings!

If you used a real blade, try to make some shavings from a thin piece of soft wood like pine. I was able to make some nice shavings with mine. It worked just as well as the old plane I borrowed the blade from. If you make one of these, please send me a picture because I would love to see it. I hope these instructions were helpful. Like most DIY projects, you will most like just have to "wing it"! :o)