Tuesday, 2 May 2017

New Jack Plane for Handworks, 17 days to go!

It's been two years since I retired from plane making, after making 800 planes I'd had enough.
However I've decided to make a small batch of planes to take to Handworks.

With all the restrictions on exotic timbers I've used some lovely UK timbers. For these two it's brown oak and some highly rippled ash.

Although the basic outline of these jack planes is the same as my previous design the shaping is different, instead of rounding everything I've used compound curves which come to a tactile edge where they meet the sides. This is all hand work (appropriately), starting with a spoke shave followed by rasps and then finished with specially made curved sanding blocks. It's time consuming and hard work.
The result is very nice to hold and the gentle curves remind me of the shaping of chair seats which only need a moderate curve to be comfortable.

I made a few others using birds eye maple and some nicely figured oak (one in brown oak). These had a more curvaceous front than the first two.

The maple and oak is a more subtle blend than with the brown oak, not sure which I prefer.

The figured oak is rock hard as well as attractive.

Here's a good shot of the intersection of the two compound curves.

All the planes are stamped on the curved toe, which needed to be done with care.
I finished the oak and ash with four coats of hand rubbed melamine lacquer which was used to fill the pores of the open grained wood. This was then sanded smooth and five coats of Liberon finishing oil applied (one every two days) for a lustrous sheen.


  1. Those are beautiful. Kicking myself for missing Handworks (again!).

    1. Thank you. That's a shame it looks like a great show. All the best, David.

  2. Hi David,

    Great looking planes as always - may I ask how much of the plane do you oil? I learned from former students of the Inside Passage school, which is fairly true to Krenov's teachings and as such they mostly leave their planes raw off the bandsaw and without finish. I've taken to using linseed oil on mine, and avoiding the ramp/wedge/crosspin and sole... do you leave anything untouched ie the wedge or sole?

    Appreciate any advice you might have,

    1. Thank you. The rough sawn planes work just as well as the finished ones, I have one of Krenovs planes. I finish everything but the sole which just gets a waxing. The inside parts are sealed with melamine lacquer and waxed to encourage shaving exit, this also helps with removing glue squeeze out. All the best, David. ps Inside Passage school looks great.

  3. If this is what you produce after a couple of years out then I think you need to have a rest more often !!!

    Lovely work as usual David, I'm gonna have to make a plane or two one day.

    1. Thank you Simon. yes you must have a go, they are very satisfying easier than you may think. All the best, David.

  4. Hi David
    I love your work and have made some of your designs from F&C. One question - where do you get your rippled ash from? I've been to many sawmills and yards but can never find any.
    (If it's a closely guarded secret, I guess I'll have to keep hunting...)

    1. Hi Brendan, The rippled ash came from Tyler Hardwoods near Hungerford. They specialise in ash and usually have some rippled boards in stock. All the best, David.