Make Your Own (cheap and Easy) Hand Planer




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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    39 Discussions


    I was just wanting to search for a "DIY Hand Planer" yesterday, And this reminded me. I don't have all of those tools, But I really want to make one!

    Also, What was the tool that you used in the first picture of Step #6? It that a Vise?

    1 reply

    yes! its a Vise, used in luthier works. It is very useful and versatile!


    2 years ago

    Where do you get the pattern for this plane?

    1 reply

    I too think this is an awesome project and great design.

    Using an old sawblade for a planer knife looks like a great idea, and certainly will work. But I have my doubts that it is a good choice in the long run. The quality of the steel of a circular saw blade body can't be compared with the quality of a real tool-grade steel used for knives and I can't believe that this budget solution will be able to hold a cutting edge anywhere near as long as the real thing.

    I'd suggest to find a knife from an old hand planer from a car boot sale or the like and adjust the design to fit this knife. That way you may end with a really good tool rather than a tool that looks like a good tool.

    Furthermore, I'd recommend to use a proper hardwood sole because plywood for a sole is too soft and will pretty quickly wear down. This wear will get really bad because the different hardness of the ply layers. A 6 mm thick peace of beechwood, or any other hardwood that is not grainy would do. The best choice for this purpose would be boxwood, but that can be hard to come by. Fruit tree like plum, cherry or pear would be a good choice too. Adding a sole could be done without major changes to the overall design but would be a substantial improvement.

    3 replies

    thanks gungajin and Paoson for your advice & preferences on knives. I'm a total noob, here.

    Hi gungajin,

    thanks for your comment. As I said on the video, It'll be needed to sharp it more often as a good knife but I've been using this recycled discs for years (Leitz) and they do the job. About the wood, I know there are better solutions but they are not as cheap as hard plywood or as easy to find. After trying a few combinations I think it is a nice solution for the price. Even with the good ones you need to flat the sole once in a while, but once you know how to do it, it is not a big deal. Anyway, thanks again for comment

    truly awesome long in general, did it take you to perfect the circular saw blade conversion? That was the besT part..thumbs up all the way bud

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    Very nice. I especially like that you reused an old circular saw blade.

    1 reply

    On Facebook there's a group called "I love woodworking," and there's a video that shows people having a contest on who can get the thinnest sheet of wood/paper. I think you'd enjoy it.

    1 reply