How to Make a Shoulder Plane




About: Hey, This is Alpaca Studio.

Hello, how's everything going!

Today, I want to show you how I made this elegant shoulder plane. It's a 180mm* 65mm plane which has a 24mm wide blade. I use a piece of scrap padauk and beech to make the body of the plane. Here is the video of the building process.

The plan of making this shoulder plane can be found here on my website. If you like this project, you can find more of my works on my youtube channel. Ok, let's start the build.

Step 1: Material

I found this plane blade online for about $1.5 including shipping. This price surprised me when I saw it. So I ordered one at once. This blade is made of steel and it's kind of rough. The edge is sharpened by machine. But it definitely worth the price. The first thing I did when I got it is to sharpen the blade with the whetstone.

Then I grab a piece of scrap padauk. I want to use it as the bottom of the plane body. This is not only for an aesthetic reason, but paduak is also harder than beech which I will use for the plane body. This design makes the plane more durable. BTW, I really like the color contrast between these two wood.

I use my smoothing plane to smooth the wood for a better fitting. The width of the wood should be exactly the same as the blade which is 24mm here.

Step 2: Cut the Pattern

Just glue two pieces together is kind of boring. To make the design more elegant and interesting, I decide to cut a few grooves on the wood. This part is not a must.

I use my table saw to finish the task. Before gluing them up, I clean the joints. Then I glue them together.

Step 3: Cut of the Two Sides

The common way of making such kind is plane is carving from a single piece of wood. However, this step requires a lot of skills and consumes a large amount of time. So, here I decided to cut the plane into two part. Cut the whole with machines. Then glue them back.

The first thing you need to do is to cut off the two sides. Then you will need to find two pieces of wood the same thickness as the cutoff. We need to glue back these two pieces back later.

Step 4: Cut at 45 Degree Angle

Next, we need to cut it in the middle. The degree is not restricted here. I choose to use 45 degrees. It's hard to explain by words. But you will realize what happened here with the video and plan. Then you need to make another cut at 55 degrees. This creates a gap for the blade and the wedge.

Remember to drill a 25mm hole on the upper piece before glue one side back.

Step 5: Make the Wedge

Before inserting the wedge, I test the fitting of the blade. Just a little bit too wide. So I shape the body with a file.

The wedge is a 10-degree piece triangle wood. It's easy to make.

Step 6: Test Cutting

Now it's fully functioning and ready for some test. You can slightly adjust the plane until you are satisfied with the result.

Step 7: Glue the Other Side Back

It's hard to clean the gap when the side is put back. So the best way here is to put some wax on the surface. This will prevent the glue stick on the gap we made.

Step 8: Final Shaping

Now we can cut the extra material away.

I make a round corner on the top and also fillet the edge. This gives you better handling of the tool.

Step 9: Finish

Finally, I finished the tool with linseed oil. Now the shoulder plane is done. I really like how the color and grain turned out.

If you like this one please check some of my other projects on my youtube channel.
Appreciate it if you give me a thumb up on the video. If you have any question about the process, let me know in the comments. Have a good day!



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    24 days ago on Step 9

    I am one of those woodworkers that enjoys working almost exclusively with hand tools. I do have several power tools in my shop, but they are not often used. While I really love vintage hand tools (some of my collection date back to the 1800s), making my own tools is even better! So I really love your instructable on making this beautiful shoulder plane. It is a great design and a really cool looking tool. Thanks for sharing it will the world!