Introduction: Make Your Own (cheap and Easy) Hand Planer

About: My name is Suso Caamanho. I like doing all sorts of stuff related to musical instruments, woodworking, computer science, electronics... On my website you will find more information, projects, plans, photos...

I had been searching the market for new hand planes to my workshop. There are several brands and models but they're usually so expensive tools, so after a long research on the internet, I figured out how to recycle my old cutting discs from my circular saw and plywood remains.

I started the design in Cad software, It should be easy to build and assembly, besides comfortable and stable. That's why I chose hard plywood glued by layers and an ergonomic handle built in the body itself. So well-cared for it will last a lifetime. To build the blade I used an old disc from my circular saw. Cut it carefully using water to keep it tempered. You'll get a sustainable and efficient edge. Take in mind that even though this blade can work as well as a commercial one it won't be as hard, so you will have to sharp it more often. The blade is 60mm wide so you can use it in long boards. I have in mind to build a few models of different sizes for different jobs. 450mm, 350mm and other small ones in order to cover a lot of types of work.

What You'll Need:

• A little bite of Hard Plywood
• An Old Saw Blade
• Steel Pipe
• Woodworking Tools
• Spray Lacquer

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Step 1: Print Plans, Mark and Cut.

Once the plans are printed , check with a meter all measures are ok just to make sure they are in the right scale. Cut the frames taking care of the grid using a ruler, put them together by matching the grids using transparent tape.

Cut all the pieces using the cutting list. You can write a number on each piece to make the asembly easier. Remember to be carefull with the saw table. Needless to say, all the pieces must be cut at exact size and squaring.

Glue all the templates to the hard plywood using spray adhesive, you'll need a jig for the curved cuts, you can use the pieces you've already cut as a template for the new ones.

Step 2: Drill and Glue.

Drill the holes for the dowells to make the assembly faster, easier and acurate. Use a stop block again to make sure they all get exactly the same dimension.

Cut the pieces for the hole of the blade on exact angle, you better use a miter gauge and a stop block to made them all equal. Sand all the edges to remove all the little remaining wood fiber so we can get a perfect distribution of the glue and a better fit.

Apply the glue and get all the pieces together, put the dowells in place and cut them. Hold it all with clamps.

Step 3: Start Sanding...

Once the glue is dry and we can start sanding. Give the handle its final ergonomic shape to make it fit confortably in your hand, the more time you spend doing this the better the result will be.

It is so important at this step to leave the base where we will place the blade completly flat to avoid vibrations that could leave scratch marks when using the hand planer, with sandpaper glued to a wooden block, sand the base of the hand planer to leave it perfectly squared. If not, it won't work properly, you can draw some parallel marks with a pencil so you can know when the job is done. You can use a rasp to square the blade hole.

Step 4: Make the Blade

To make the blade you can recycle an old cutting disc from an circular saw. You can use a wood template of the same size to mark the disc before cutting. Use a pair of clamps to hold the disc firmly on a table. Don't forget to put on your gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and face, remember the grinder is a dangerous tool, you'll need to have some water near to cool the disc and keep it tempered. Sand it with the belt sander making sure it ramains squared, use the emery to achieve the right angle of the blade. Don't forget check the squaring and use water to keep it cold.

Sharp the blade using a two diferent grains (fine and coarse) sharpening stone and oil. Make sure all the surface is in contact with the stone in every moment, you'll knnow you're doing it right checking the reflections on the edge.It should takes at least 10 minutes each side.

Step 5: Build the Wedge

Glue four pieces of plywood to build the wedge, once it is dry, mark it and cut it on the band saw. Sand it on the using the sandpaper.

At this point, the varnish can already be applied. I used two coats of nitrocellulose spray lacquer.

Step 6: Assembly and Try It

Now we can cut the steel pipe, and we will be ready to finish the assembly and try it. To achieve a good set up, the wood chips thickness should be about 0,25mm.Take in mind that even though this blade can work as well as a comercial one it won't be as hard, so you will have to sharp it more often, enjoy it!

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