A few weeks ago I ordered a 1.75″ wide by 4.5″ long hock plane blade and cap iron set as well as plans to build the hand plane. Link to purchase You can also purchase a kit with wooden parts pre cut. This is especially handy if you don’t have some of the tools necessary to build this project as it reduces the requirements down to just clamps, and a few other hand tools.
When My blade set came I was amazed with the quality. The blade itself is thick at 3/16″ and because of this chatter will pretty much be a non-issue.
In addition to the thickness, the quality of machining and materials of this blade are better than any other I’ve ever used. The A2 steel should stay sharp for long periods of time resulting in less time spent sharpening.
I picked up a 3″x3″x12″ piece of hard maple at my local woodcraft for $12 and some 1/4″ and 1/2″ oak dowell at my local home depot.
Step 1: Squaring up lumber
The turning block of hard maple i picked up was pretty far out of square so first I jointed two sides, then thickness planed the opposite sides until the piece was 100% square which I verified with my precision square
Step 2: Cutting the sides off
Next I cut the sides off of the block using my bandsaw. I have a pretty large bandsaw and a resaw king blade which makes this pretty easy and leaves a good surface. If you don’t have access to a decent bandsaw I would recommend buying the plane kit rather than just the blade/cap iron.
Next cut the other side off using the same method
Now that both sides are cut off I went ahead and jointed the surfaces that will be glued up. The bandsaw leaves a pretty nice surfaces but you want these to be perfectly straight since they will be glued up
Step 3: Plane center section to desired thickness. First I joint one side of the newly created inside section and then thickness plane it until it is the correct thickness called for by the plan. This will be slightly larger than the width of the blade so that there is a little room to adjust the blade form side to side
Whenever you mill wood you want to make sure you have a freshly jointed side facing down when going through the planer that way you know maintain square sides on your wood.
Step 4: Cut angled surfaces on center section
Now take the center section and mark off your angled cuts as the plan calls for. Make sure to take the time and double check that your chopsaw is making square cuts before doing this. A hand plane is a precision tool and you want to try and eliminate as much room for error as you can. Basically you don’t want the blade meeting the surface with the edge not perpendicular to the surface its cutting.
You’ll have two sides to cut at two different angles. Generally the blade will rest on a 45 deg angle and the front side will be on a higher angle but this will depend on the plan you’re using
Step 5: Cut slot for cap iron screw
The cap iron screw needs a channel to sit in so that the blade can still sit flat on the back angled surface. To do this I used a 3/4″ router bit I ordered in from Eagle America and my router table.
It is important to make a center line to make sure that you get the slot in the right spot and then use a stop block on your router fence so that the slot stops before the bottom of the plane see plans for where the slot needs to stop.
Step 6: Test fit before glue up
This is a very important step, you want to make sure that everything fits together well before you glue it up and its too late. Check that the slot you cut for the cap iron screw is deep enough that the blade will stick out of the bottom of the plane enough because this will be very difficult to change after the glue up. Also you will want to set the blade so that it runs into the front edge 1/16″ above the bottom of the plane. (I will upload an illustration of this later to clarify)
After this put some clamps on the assembly, put some light force on the clamps and using a mallet get the assembly aligned properly.
I used a piece of glass as my perfectly flat reference surface to make sure that everything was lined up on the bottom and front edges of the plane. One everything is aligned correctly increase the clamp pressure until it is tight enough that the parts will not move.
Step 7: Drill dowell holes to keep alignment
Next Drill out holes for 4 dowells on each side of the assembly near the outside edges (these will be cut off later but keep the parts in alignment during glue up)
Step 8: Glue up assembly
Before applying glue mark lines where the center portion is open for the blade assembly. You will use these lines to show you where not to apply glue (you don’t want any glue int he center portion of the assembly where the blade will go.
I put a thin layer of glue on both sides of the plane except for the center portion where the blade assembly will go as you can see above. After this line up the dowel holes, install the dowels to align the parts and clamp the whole assembly up.
After the glue has fully dried use a chisel or flush cut saw to trim the dowels
Step 9: Drill the hole for the blade assembly dowel
The blade assembly is held in place by a wedge that is place between a 1/2″ dowel and the blade assembly
Once the dowel is in place, make a wedge according to the plans and then finish out the plane. This includes taking a few light passes at the jointer until the blade has a large enough mouth clearance for shavings to pass through and then cutting the excess length and dowel sections off of the plane and get it ready for use.
Conclusion: This plane kit was a lot of fun, took only an afternoon to complete and quite frankly performs as well many of my very expensive planes. The Hock blade really drives this kit to the same performance that many extremely expensive planes will provide. I would recommend this project to anyone looking to build their own plane, looking for a cost effective means of owning a high performance plane, or well…tool nerds like me.
If you’ve never used this style plane I suggest watching the build video on Hock’s site here. Not only does it show how to setup and use this style of plane but also how to build the kit in video format. If you’ve noticed my plane is very square and not rounded like most krenov style planes. I will be shaping my plane to complete it but am going to think it over a little bit before I make a decision how to shape it.