View Full Version : small planes

chuck in ny
12-31-2015, 03:28 PM

hope the pic loaded. went into harbor freight today and got this made in india set for $10. plus tax.
i wanted something to shave braces with although a gouge or chisel with a good edge would do as well.
as shown, 2 3/4" planes with 1/2" blades, trimming plane, scraper plane, and bullnose plane. the trimming plane is quite interesting. on closer inspection the blade, which is ground square, is set into the body at a few degrees of skew.
as these tools are nice but not completely necessary i wanted to keep the cost down but never imagined it would be done to this ridiculous degree.

12-31-2015, 07:11 PM
Very random but I spot a set of grados on your desk.

chuck in ny
12-31-2015, 09:54 PM
happy new year. indeed they are.
the desk top is interesting. i went through a 500'/600' pile of 4/4 ash and pulled out the odd colored and phase boards and set them aside to odd uses. out of the whole pile there were enough yellow phase boards to make one 20" x 54" desk slab. in its humble way the desk is a piece of unobtanium, white ash with natural yellow color. walk into a woodworking shop and ask for the same. you will be greeted by clarity and understanding. i specialize in doing woodwork that few or nobody in the world would produce. it's the essence of custom work as those here will easily relate. i hope to do the same with ukulele building in that spirit, unadorned, common appalachian hardwood, unexpected and unusual.
anyone can have a sears roebuck existence. in the woodworking field there really isn't much call for unique work as the vast majority of clients go with the crowd and want what their neighbors have. you want here and now and wake up, that's what you have.

edit. speaking of custom work, a hoffmann ebony/red spruce ukulele? jeezzzz... that's enough to shut anyone up.

12-31-2015, 10:42 PM
I've seen a lot of these plane sets on auction sites. It'll be interesting to see how they perform for the cost. A little review would be welcome once you've had chance to use them. Thanks.

Michael N.
01-01-2016, 04:00 AM
I have the one on the far left. It works perfectly fine if you get the blade truly sharp. I relieved the edges on all sides of the plane so that it doesn't leave marks on the soundboard.

01-01-2016, 04:15 AM
edit. speaking of custom work, a hoffmann ebony/red spruce ukulele? jeezzzz... that's enough to shut anyone up.


Not sure I'd say that as there are many fine luthiers out there but this one keeps me happy for sure.

chuck in ny
01-01-2016, 04:42 AM

Not sure I'd say that as there are many fine luthiers out there but this one keeps me happy for sure.

answer the phone, it's the renaissance calling.

chuck in ny
01-01-2016, 06:17 AM
I've seen a lot of these plane sets on auction sites. It'll be interesting to see how they perform for the cost. A little review would be welcome once you've had chance to use them. Thanks.


i will do exactly that. the workmanship on these planes is surprising intricate. i just noticed a tensioning screw on the rear of the scraper plane. there's a lot of work there for the money and these had to have been an unfortunate excess job lot that are being unloaded. even at india prices someone is losing money on each set.
it goes without saying that they will need the mild tune up before use, flattening the bottom with a piece of sandpaper placed on the table saw, blade carefully sharpened and honed. the blades are just under 1/16" at .060 which would be an issue if they were doing anything but ultra light munching. the quality of the steel and temper seems just fine. they have an acceptable ring tone. a lot of kids coming up in the trades have none of the old lore and look at you like you are a freak when you test the temper of trowels and pry bars and automotive wrenches, hit them with another piece of steel and let them ring while they are in the air. there's nothing but poor technique that should stop you from shaving wood.

01-01-2016, 09:49 AM
I also purchased a set of these, on a whim. It took a lot of work to get them functional, the soles very nowhere near flat.

You get what you pay for I guess. Also not sure how good the steel is, seemed very soft when I was sharpening the blades.


chuck in ny
01-01-2016, 06:13 PM
checking the soles on mine it is as you say, needing attention. you would expect this with the laminated construction. i gave the blade on the trim plane a hone, as you say, a bit soft but not egregiously so. the tool should be up to shaving spruce.
the intriguing tool in the set is the scraper plane which begs to be used on hardwood and is going to need constant attention to the blade. it should be fine for light use, perhaps glue removal. i am way too much of a machine process woodworker to go at a soundboard with a scraper plane, even a larger and better quality one. air sanders do a lot of duty in my shop. at the point of violin building you would reconsider the paradigm.

01-02-2016, 03:35 AM
I use a lot of power/air tools as well. I use the planes for braces and they seem to hold up OK. I've not used the scraper plane yet, but the chisel plane is very handy.

chuck in ny
01-02-2016, 03:18 PM
mini review on the trimming plane. it took a minute or two to flatten the sole with a piece of 180 grit on the table saw. i had done half a job honing the blade on water stones and had a small burr on the blade back which i took off on the buffer with brown compound. the sharpness was not amazing but adequate with the blade being able to catch the thumbnail. it is a fiddly tool to use with not enough weight to bear down adequately. it's not fair to make any observations really because the blade needs more attention first as to sharpness, and then it should be skew ground to the approximate 3* angle it exits the sole at. as it is now the corner of the blade peeks out on the right hand side and you have to go at the work searching for the exact spot on the blade. for more $ they might have ground the blade in south asia. i think it will shape up to be a useful incidental tool. i have the same hopes for the bull nose and the scraper which should have their brilliant cameo moments. they are cute and they will be useful but i would spend the normal sums for a lie-nielsen and other such planes, and will probably do most shaping freehand with a japanese gouge or straight chisel.

Red Cliff
01-03-2016, 01:06 AM
I got some mini planes by Stephen Boone a while back and they are just perfect for shaving braces. I don't think he makes them any more, but he does have some videos on how he makes them if anyone fancies making their own:


01-06-2016, 02:09 PM
Shop built mini-plane for brace shaping

I bought the 3-piece set from the cheap tool store and was disappointed trying to use them for brace shaping, so I made my own. If you like making your own tools, this is good one that works better than “store bought”. It uses a blunt style hobby knife disposable blade in a glued up three layer hard wood holder made from scraps and a fabricated metal “cap iron”. I used pieces sawn from an old oak raised panel cabinet door and a tiny 1/8 inch thick brass scrap filed to size and drilled/taped with a 6-32 machine screw. The pivot can be a cut 16 penny nail. It never needs sharpening, just replace the blade. It’s very sharp and takes very little push force to quickly shave the soft wood braces and tone bars. The sides can be filed narrower at the base to get closer to the sound board if you want. Attached are photos.

Bruce Crook
Mooresville, Indiana USA87106

Gary Gill
01-06-2016, 11:14 PM
Looks good Bruce.

Michael N.
01-07-2016, 02:38 AM
Here's my version of one of these planes. It's heavily chamfered on both sides, which allows the blade to get that bit closer to the corners of any bracing. Everything else is slightly rounded to avoid edges marking the soundboard. It works as well as any other plane of it's type including the flat Ibex that I also own. Then again there's not a lot to go wrong, after all it's just a holder for a blade and it's not as though it's being asked to finish plane swirly crotch veneers.

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g193/mignal/04fcbbde-4f6e-47f2-8190-27001741ec70_zpsfou1a1ao.jpg (http://s56.photobucket.com/user/mignal/media/04fcbbde-4f6e-47f2-8190-27001741ec70_zpsfou1a1ao.jpg.html)