Shop made Idiosyncratic Wooden Scrub Plane

June/July 2013

The second plane I decided to build was a scrub plane. Actually I built it alongside the Petite Wooden Smoother as described in exhaustive detail in the post with the same name, but finished off it’s wee cousin first and then moved back to the pugnacious old-timer.

This was the only piece of beech I could find at the time.


I decided to use ysterhout for the sole of this plane. In future I plan to try to cut these 8 mm “veneer” on my band saw, but in this particular case I had to plane it down with the thicknesser and lost heaps of wood, electricity and time in the process. Since this wasteful experience I have managed to rehabilitate the mentioned bandsaw, so my wish should be possible in future. You can see how I am cutting the actual sole from the strip of ysterhout.


In the first picture you can see both of the initial planes prior to lamination. In the second picture you can appreciate the grain orientation of the scrub plane.


I did not take any pictures of the lamination process of the scrub plane but it looked similar to how I did the smoother in the picture below.



The clamps exerted some serious pressure, which is what one wants in this particular instance.


Then I used a handplane to square up the sides relative to the sole.



In the next picture you can appreciate the grain orientation. In the second picture the square that guides this process is evident.



Here you can see the beautiful shavings taken by my rehabilitated Stanley Jack Plane.



My newly rehabilitated Bandsaw did a stirling job of cutting the sides off this plane blank. Please note that I deliberately chose to have the ysterhout at the top to prevent blow-out.



The result an absolute joy.



I then removed the saw marks with a hand plane.



In order to reduce the centre section to the correct width I used the thicknesser. I aimed for 3 mm wider than the blade. This blade is a replacement blade for the Lie-Nielsen scrub plane at 1½” wide with a 3″ radius to take a mega chunk of timber with every pass.



Below You can see how I glued another piece on to the centre section in order to produce the handle. I decided to used my own adaptation of a saw handle for this plane.



I used one of the saw handle templates from the TGIAG (Two guys in a garage) website as a starting point to shape the handle of this plane. I can really recommend this website if you are looking for a saw handle templates. They have heaps which are downloadable for free in pdf format. I decided to tweak the S Biggins backsaw handle into a scrub plane handle. In the pictures below you can follow the process.



I then traced the outlines on to the plane blank and elaborated a few extra curves to get it to the top of the ramp. Next step was to take to it with the drill press after marking out the exact location and size of the holes that would form the curves that are too tight to navigate with the bandsaw.



The central hole was removed with a jigsaw …



… and the rest with the bandsaw. At this stage I took quite a bit of time to come up with a idea and method to shape the sides to fit in with the handle design.



In the end I came up with this idea. I traced the outlines of the centre piece on to one of the sides, drew a type of halo following the handle lines in some parts and taking it’s own route in others. I removed the waste with the bandsaw and then used it as a template to trace it onto the other side.



In the pictures below you can get an initial idea of what I was aiming for.



The arduous task of rounding and smoothing out the rough sawn curves were completed using hand tools predominantly.



I marked out guiding lines with a pencil using my fingers as a fence. The idea was to cut these before glueing the plane together as it would be difficult to access the area next to the handle once glued. I used a small Lie-Nielsen block plane to cut the chamfers.



The rest of the curves were smoothed out with a variety of files.



Once all of this was done I used my Bandsaw Mitre-sled to cut the ramp. You can find an entire post on how I have built the sled on this website.



The curve cut into the toe section was designed that way to allow more space for the accumulation of heavy shavings as this is a scrub plane that does not require a tight mouth.



I used the off-cut wedge to support the ysterhout fibers of the ramp in order to prevent blowout, as you can see below. I then planed it flat and square with a freshly sharpened Lie-Nielsen no. 4½ Smoother. The result is clear from the pictures.



To ensure it is absolutely perfect I used the setup with two different grids of 3M adhesive-backed sandpaper on float glass. It is worth while to take a bit of time to get this surface perfect as it is the most important part of the whole project in terms of the functionality of the plane. If it is off by a few thousands of an inch, the blade is likely to chatter with a vengeance.



In these pictures you can see the setup I use to mark out the positions of the toe and heel sections relative to each other and the sides. As this is a scrub plane that will eventually have a fairly wide throat. I positioned the heel section, marked it’s position, clamped it in place, got the blade in position, slid it down all the way to the guide, slid the toe section to gently touch it and marked it in that position. The throat will be opened up further at a later stage.



As I explained in my post on the Petite Wooden Smoothing Plane, I use dimensions/measurements from an article entitled “Wood planes made easy” by David Finck in Fine Woodworking Magazine to mark out the location of the cross-pin. Once you have drilled one, you can get the other into the exact place by clamping the plane together and using the first hole as a guide to drill the second on a drill press. Also note the small panel pins I use to ensure that I can fit the plane back to exactly the same alignment after drilling the second cross-pin hole and the compulsory dry fit.



From this scrub plane I used my Lie-Nielsen carcass saw to cut the cross-pin made of Assegaai for it’s renowned elasticity, flexibility and stability. I rounded the ends with a file.



The compulsory dry fit.



The glue-up.



Fresh out of the clamps, with quite a bit of finishing left to do.



I used my Lie-Nielsen no. 4½ Smoother (not pictured) to flatten the sole initially. The final flattening would take place once the cap iron/chip-breaker combination is made and holding the blade tight against the ramp.



I found this piece of scrap angle iron with which I planed to make the cap iron/chip breaker combination. The stainless steel thumb screw was also a discovery amongst all my carefully hoarded jewels (which is frequently being referred to as junk by others).



To start with I epoxied a short piece of stainless steel threaded rod to the thumbscrew, because I do not know how to weld stainless steel.



I then attacked the steel with my grinder.



It took more than an hour of elbow grease to cut the 45° bevel using the grinder and various grids of wet-and-dry sandpaper on glass together with a honing guide.



The slight indentation you see is where the cross-pin would get into contact with the iron cap. In the pictures below you can see the hole for the thumbscrew being drilled and tapped.



The final touches were done on a 1000 grid Ohishi waterstone using the so called “ruler trick” made famous by David Charlesworth. This is to ensure that the back of the cap iron/chip breaker combination sits absolutely flat on the blade.



As this is a scrub plane I opened up the throat/mouth generously.



In these pictures you can see how once again I drew the guiding lines for shaping the nose of the plane on the sole to prevent blowout of the ysterhout fibers when chewing the waste away with the bandsaw.



Prior to cutting away the above curve I drilled out an area as shown using a Forstner bit. This is a unique (as far as I am aware as I have not see any other planes looking like this during my extensive internet research) design feature aimed at getting the best of both worlds in terms of having the big flat area at the front of the plane to press down and hold, yet have a nice grip to lift the plane during the back stroke. I find that with a longer and therefore heavier plane like this it is definitely a bonus to be able to curl your fingers into the nicely rounded slot. An added benefit as you will see later is that it adds some je ne sais quoi to the appearance of the plane.


Here you can see what I was aiming for.


I then extended the chamfer of the top edge of the sides to joint up round the actual nose of the plane using a file.


After some TLC it is starting to look quite sexy.


Here are heaps of photos from umpteen different angles with the cap iron/chip breaker and thumb screw in place.




Finally, (just to show off) a few photos posing on a beautiful Rhodesian Teak log.



4/9/2013 – In the picture below you can see it with it’s Fore Plane cousin at the Finishing Spa.



Another step closer to finished. Now it only needs a coat of liquid wax tomorrow night.





I finally got round to cover the steel parts (lever and lever screw) with wood. I used a small piece of Kaapse Swarthout that fell off when I turned something else for the lever screw and Tamboti for the lever. Both bits of wood were epoxied to the steel.


I really think it adds some je ne sais quoi to my favourite shop made plane’s appearance.


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