Woodworking: Making a wood corner-rounding plane

By CRAIG KUNCE

This tutorial shows how I made my own solid maple corner-rounding plane. I have a small corner-rounding plane that I use for smaller radii but I needed one to round a corner with a 1/4" radius.

So I set out to design and build my own corner-rounding plane. Again, I was making this up as I went along, so I kept an positive, open mind : )

This page follows my progress, step-by-step, through the following tasks:

  • Building and shaping the body
  • Cutting and shaping the iron mortise
  • Fitting the iron/blade ad its holding plate
  • Testing the plane

 

So here's a step by step record of my progress and process. Enjoy!

Making the body

I glued three pieces of hard maple together to form the plane's body. The body is 2 1/4"w x 2 1/4" h x 8" long.

I drilled the mortise out at 45 degrees with a forstner bit and drill press. I fine-tuned the opening with a jointer's mallet and a few sharp chisels. The bevel that will hold the blade is 45 degrees.

 

Next, I shaped the body and cut the grove for the work piece's corner edge. I also drilled holes for the 3/16 inch metal bar that will hold down the iron and iron lever.

Shaping the iron

I used a 1/8" x 1/2" x 4" M2 high speed steel blade. I had to grind the angle and sharpen the blade myself. After I ground the angle, I use a cylindrical grinding stone in my rotary tool to grind the 1/2 inch channel. I finished honing it with fine grit sand paper wrapped around a 1/2" dowel. The mirror edge came after I used 320, 800, 1500, and 2000 grit paper.

This M2 HHS is incredibly hard. I tried filing it and it would barely budge. I had to use my grinding wheel. I kept a large bowl of water close by to cool it every five—ten seconds. I knew if I heated it too much it would loose its temper and ability to hold a razor sharp edge.

Cutting the iron assembly

I cut the lever to hold down the iron from 3/4" weldable steel flat stock. After shaping it, rounding one end, and filing it to look nice, I drilled and threaded it to hold the set screw.

 

I threaded the hole with 1/4" 20 threads per inch tap.

Assembly

This plane was a bit simpler than the other two I made. It only has four main pieces.

 

This shows the two 45 degree cuts made in the base.

 

Test Cut

The first test cut. I rounded the corners of a 5/8" piece of red oak. I rocked the plane up a little (away from my body) to make the first few cuts shallower than the final depth. This helped to take a little bit off with each pass. I rocked the plane down (toward my body) a little more with each pass. It worked : ) I was impressed with the sharpness of the iron. The super fine grit sand paper really made a difference.

The final corner-rounding plane

I put three coats of wipe on poly directly on the wood. I sanded between coats with 320 grit sand paper.

 

 

 

I enjoy making these custom-fit and uniquely tailored hand planes. They fit my hands better than most planes I've tried to use. They are also quite larger that most I can buy new or antiques I see in stores or on ebay. They cut nicely too.

Give it a try. It's a fun project if you have a 2–3 free weekends.