Wooden Mallet For Plane Adjustments

I never use a metal hammer on a wooden plane; I use a small wooden mallet instead. Here's a simple one that you can make from any hardwood. (I used rosewood for this one.) The dimensions aren't critical, but I've found that this size works well for me. —Y.C.

Wooden Handplane With MalletWoodworking Mallet Plans

Now, pare the forward abutment shoulders using the sharpened plane iron. Insert the iron from the bottom of the plane and take a final, thin slice off of the shoulders. This assures that they will be in the same plane, and that they'll bear flat on the wedge.

After this, I do the final trimming of the throat perimeter and bevel the top corner at the heel of the plane. I flatten the sole by rubbing it on a sheet of sandpaper on a flat surface. Flatten the plane with the iron and wedge tapped in place, so that the plane is in its working tension. I don't apply finish to my planes.

Making the Wedge

For the wedge, use a soft wood such as alder or poplar to accommodate any slight unevenness in the fit. Make sure that the grain follows the ccntcrlinc of the wedge for strength. The back of the wedge—which sits against the plane iron—should be flat. The front section of the wedge that fits in the abutments should have a straight taper. The bevels on the wedge's top corners allow you to tap the iron sideways without hitting the wedge. The opening between the legs allows clearance for wood shavings.

I cut several wedges of slightly different thicknesses on the bandsaw, then pick the one with the best fit. To check the fit, I rub a soft pencil on the abutment shoulders, and then tap the wedge in place with the iron installed. Traces of graphite will show where wood still needs to be removed from the wedge.

While the wedge is in the plane, mark for its legs using the plane's checks as a guide. Then shape the legs and the bevel between them.

Adjusting the Plane

Adjust the plane by tapping it while holding it in your hand. I use a small wooden mallet. (Sec sidebar, above.)

To retract the blade, tap the plane body on its upper rear bevel. To lower it for a deeper cut, tap directly on the irons top edge or rap the toe of the plane sharply.

If the plane produces shavings that arc thicker on one side, lightly tap the iron toward the opposite side. If tapping the blade is not enough to fix the problem, you'll have to rcgrind your plane iron's edge to make up the difference. A

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