Making a radius bottom plane

I follow Paul Sellers’ online woodworking class and wanted to make the bench stool project. One aspect of the design is a carved seat that is made using a gouge and a radius-bottom plane. The plane is itself a project on the class, so I set about making one.

The plane is made from a couple of scrap blanks of oak and pine I had laying around. The blade is from a block plane I don’t like.

Sellers’ online project goes into making a blade from some stock steel with heat treatment and all, but I just went with the block plane blade to get going.

In the photo the pine on the left forms the bed for the plane blade. It is angled at 45 degrees. The pine on the right forms the toe of the plane. It is angled for the main part at 60 degrees. Near the blade is the part called the mouth of the plane. Here, the pine was cut to match the angle of the plane blade and a wedge.

The oak sides are cut to accept the plane blade and a wedge. You can see one 45 degree line I cut. The next step is to place the plane blade and a wedge along this line and mark another line off the top of the wedge. Then you chisel out a dado in between the lines. I forgot to take a photo of this process unfortunately.

radius-plane-1

The dadoes in the oak sides of the plane can be see here. I glued up the plane parts and left it overnight.

radius-plane-2

Out of its clamps and with a wedge and blade installed, this takes on the form of a plane. Ugly but it works as a kind of smoothing plane.

radius-plane-3

The next step in the process is to put a radius on the plane along its length and from side-to-side. This was done partly on the band saw, but mostly by filing, chiseling and hacking away until it was curved.

Also the sides and ends of the plane were shaped to allow for a more comfortable grip.

I also reshaped the wedge. You can see the lines drawn on it that show what gets cut out of it. Near the mouth of the plane the wedge has its middle section removed. The next section toward the top is angled.

I let the blade protrude through the body of the plane and traced a curve on it to match the curve of the base of the plane. This curve was cut into the plane blade on a grinder, then filed and sharpened up.

radius-plane-4

All together making test shavings.

radius-plane-5

radius-plane-6

I gave the plane a coat of stain. In hindsight I wish I left it alone. The color evens out but the two-tone was kind of cool. I don’t think I hurt the resale value though.

radius-plane-9

With every new tool I get or make, I start looking around for things to use it on. So, when I did some work repairing the patio and needed some curved wood the plane was pressed into service.

This is some 2×4 that need an inside curve cut into it. I cut the shape roughly with a band-saw and tweaked it to shape with my new plane.

radius-plane-10

So, this little plane has earned its place!

   radius-plane-8

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