Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Useful Hand Plane Jigs.

The course I'm taking at West Dean College this weekend is concentrating on the use of standard bench planes rather than the wooden ones I make, so I thought it would be good to make a couple of handy attachments. The first is this 'hot dog' which makes prolonged shooting board work much more comfortable, I know Alan Peters used to use something similar.
The handle is made of a solid piece of maple and the angled slot is cut with a hand saw and cleaned out with chisels for a tight fit. It buts up against the backside of the frog for extra stability.

The next jig is this 90 degree fence which is great for planing the edges of  boards dead flat and square for perfect edge jointing. If you want to seeing the principle in action see my You Tube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5rzsFcATlM
The conventional method, described by numerous teachers, uses the thumb and forefinger as a fence and involves checking all along the edge with a square and making various judicious adjustment until things are as close as you can get them to square and even. This is then repeated on the other board and if you are lucky all goes together well. This may be a good, if long winded, exercise in plane control but it's neither efficient nor that accurate. A side fence will ensure a perfect fit as well as yielding a board which is flat and requires very little clean up. 

My fence is shaped to fit a Stanley no6, but after making I found it also fits the other Stanley bench planes as well (Bedrocks excluded). It is made with 18mm multi ply with an 18mm straight piece on the bottom and a shaped 6mm piece glued to the top edge. Three strong 20mm magnets hold it firm.

Here's the plane set up ready for use (right handed) and it does a very nice job.
Below you can see it against the Veritas version (with an added fence), this has a tendency to move under sideways pressure which is not good. The version they make for their jointing plane is screwed on which is much better, although you have to buy the plane as well! The extra length of mine makes it easier to use and the more powerful and more numerous magnets hold things rock solid.

Edge jointing from the plane using this method gives you a perfect joint with maximum strength and no visible glue lines. This is one jig well worth making!


  1. Hopefully some new additions to your tools for sale page ;)

  2. Hello David, do you use a straight honed blade or a cambered blade with the fence?

    1. Hi Mark,
      I use a finely cambered blade which may sound wrong but it means the outer two edges of the boards touch first so that when a little pressure is applied it guarantees no glue lines.
      The fence would work just as well with a straight blade but that is just my way.
      All the best, David.

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