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
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! =)