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Thread: What Size Finger Planes are your favorite?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    Default What Size Finger Planes are your favorite?

    I have never used finger planes before. Always used chisels.. There are so many I looking at some in the 35-50 mm range. What do you advise? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I have several of the Ibex planes from Stew-Mac and find the 30-36 mm body, 10-12 mm blade width to be most useful. I will add that finger planes are pretty easy to make, both in flat and curved soles. If there is any interest in these, I can draw up some plans and instructions for making them.
    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  3. #3
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    I only use my little plane to shape bracing ... and the other day it got lost somewhere in the workshop, after searching for it for two days I gave up and ordered a new one to replace it..it arrived today and guess what the original one turned up...Now I’ve got two
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    Last edited by Timbuck; 02-06-2020 at 03:18 AM.
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  4. #4
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    I find one of these very useful, and seems to keep an edge forever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtwXYOqT6Kc

  5. #5
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    Aug 2019
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    I'd be interested in seeing plans. I was intending to make some finger planes pretty soon anyway, and having some tested dimensions to start from would be great.

  6. #6
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    I use a cheap Stanley finger plane I picked up in the hardware store years ago on sale for $5.99 USD. It's ugly, cheap and utilitarian, but does the job perfectly. The finger or what I call a thumb plane is a simple device (technically called a trimming plane), so why spend the money for all that brass and do-da's? Some people get an immense pleasure from the tools themselves and I get that, but sometimes I think they get so hung up on the tools themselves that they forget to actually use them. Planes seem to attract an especial fetish for some reason. I have a dear friend and luthier of incredible talent, but he has this thing for planes. At one time he actually went to Japan to learn how make the irons (blades) from a Japanese master. If planes are your thing, fine, but if you just want a cheap tool that does the job buy a Stanley 12-101 Small Trimming Plane.

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  7. #7
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    I normally recommend these and I know kobalt have the same one. Unfortunately it looks like supercheap are discontinuing them
    https://www.supercheapauto.com.au/p/...ni/321712.html
    Easy to take an angle grinder to these to make them shorter if needed at this price almost cheaper than making your own.
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  8. #8
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    May 2018
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    Kekaha, Kauai
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    As about one half of the instruments I have built have been carved top and backs, convex soled finger planes are a necessary tool for graduating the thickness and the smaller ones do work very well in shaping braces. But as I stated before, they are easy and cheap to make. I have made many of them and they seem to work as well as the expensive cast bronze ones. The secret to keeping the cost down is making your own blades. As it happens, I made custom knives before I started building instruments. If you have a reciprocal saw (Sawzall) and some old used saw blades you can make them at no cost, and even if you have to purchase a couple of Sawzall blades, you can make the finger plane blades for less than 1 dollar apiece, which is considerably cheaper than the $25 per blade for the Ibex planes. I have taken some pics of me making a blade and will post a link to them shortly. I think the process will be fairly self explanatory but I will offer a couple of pointers then.
    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  9. #9
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    OK, here are the pics showing the basic steps in making a finger plane blade. The Sawzall blades shown are 7” long and 3/4” deep. The blade dimensions are 1 1/2” X 5/8”. I use a Dremel tool with a cutoff disk to score a section of the saw blade about 1 1/2” long. You only have to score it about halfway through and then break it off. I then use my belt sander to shape the blade. Here is the trick, the blade has been hardened and tempered to cut wood, you have to be extremely careful when shaping and sharpening the blade not to overheat the steel. If any part of it suddenly turns blue while you are grinding it, you have detempered the steel. This is especially important when beveling the cutting edge as it only takes a split second too long against the grinding wheel to overheat things. Have a spray bottle of water handy and keep the blade wet. After shaping and grinding the initial cutting edge, use a diamond sharpening tool on the cutting edge.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/qUizd1J2YPr23S2y9

    Let me know if you have any questions.
    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  10. #10
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    Wales, UK
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    Brad - what a brilliant idea.

    Lee Valley Tools insert planes. Great little finger planes with super edge holding blade.
    Last edited by Pete Howlett; 02-06-2020 at 09:39 PM.

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