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By Oskar Sedell
Hi all,

I have a 60 mm wide double iron, and I´m about to make myself a 24'' Try Plane. Sadly, my biggest dry beech billet is just barely wide enough, and I´m not sure if it will be wide enough after cleaning up the sawn sides.

Plane maker Steve Voigt builds his bench planes with a finished width of 5/8'' wider than the iron. Is this the lower limit, or could one get away with less than this?

I would be interested in what the case is for old wooden bench planes. Since I don´t have a "reference library" of wooden planes, maybe some of you could contribute measures of your planes? Either iron width (at the mouth) and total width, or the abutment wall thickness (the thickness of the wood left and right of the iron).

best regards from Germany,

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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
This is a 28" jointer in Jarrah I built several years ago. It is a single 2 1/4" tapered iron (roughly the same width as yours). The abutments are about 1/2". The plane has held up very well.



This one I built about 10 years ago, also in Jarrah. It is 27" long, styling influenced by HNT Gordon, Hock single parallel iron 2" wide bedded at 60 degrees. Similar abutments. It also held up well. It was sold a few years ago.



Regards from Perth

By dzj
My 600mm rauhbank is 81mm wide (outside measure), the blade is 59mm and has about 2-3mm room for lateral adjustment.
By Cheshirechappie
Data from two 22" wooden try planes;

Firstly, one by D. Kimberley and Sons.

Iron (I Sorby) 63mm wide (2 1/2")
Mouth 64mm wide (2 17/32")
Stock 83mm wide (3 1/4")

Second, an un-named example.

Iron (S.Tyzack and Sons "Zyto") 63mm wide (2 1/2")
Mouth 65.5mm wide (2 19/32")
Stock 83mm (3 1/4")

So, from these two examples, abutment width is 8.75mm on each side at it's minimum.
By sunnybob
I might just be stirring up another "sharpening thread" here, but why does a large plane have to be of one piece?
Why cant it be laminated?

I have the middle section (housing the wedge and iron) and also the handle from a 100 year old Edward Preston plane, but the body was riddled with woodworm. I'm thinking of laminating some beech together to remake the plane.
Will this be drummed out of the plane purists guild? never to be respected?
Will it be laughed at as it grows up? Will people whisper behind its back?
By Cheshirechappie
Bob, in this day and age of Really Good Glues there's no reason at all why a plane stock can't be laminated, and many from Charles Hayward to James Krenov have suggested as much in print. My suspicion is that the 'old time' makers of the 18th and 19th century didn't trust their glue enough in the often damp workshop conditions of the time, and thus played safe with a quartered billet and single-piece construction; they did glue their handles in, though!
By sunnybob
I know the handles were glued because when I first got this plane the handle was falling out. I reglued it, but then realised the woodworm was still very active, so just cut up the rest of it and burned it.

The parts are sitting forlornly on my plane cabinet, waiting patiently for me to get interested enough to make another one.
I think its just moved up into second place on my round too it list.
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By ED65
Oskar, some more measurements for you in case they're useful. These are both 17" planes give or take a 1/4".

The longer plane in this photo
iron 54mm
mouth 58mm
body 75mm

Emir plane
iron 58mm
mouth 61mm
body 76mm
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By ED65
Bob, it's very very common to build planes by glueing up these days. But it has been a viable option for quite some time, and if memory plans for planes either made from a body in two halves or with glued-on cheeks show up in woodworking books published prior to WW1.

Planes can be built up successfully even with PVA despite what some think. While we know for sure that PVAs can creep this is under heavy, sustained loading and I'm not sure there's enough strain created within a plane for that to actually occur (there have been many planes built using PVA glues so there's not a little evidence in support). But irrespective of this if one wanted to guard against any potential for creep it's not rocket science to peg or screw the sides on.
By sunnybob
My dilemma is that I have the middle section of a 22" x4" beech wood plane. Its not a matter of "sides" its a matter of "front and back".
I think I would need some dowels to ensure the pieces didnt slide around under use.
By Oskar Sedell
Thanks to all of you for contributing the measures! Going to carefully true up my blank to see what final dimension I end up with. If someone has more examples, I would be very grateful if these could be added to the thread!

I wish you all a nice weekend and happy woodworking.

By D_W
Oskar, I have several dozen old planes. They are generally 3/4 ths of an inch wider than the iron. Some slightly larger. I haven't gone less than 3/4ths wider than the iron, so can't comment on the critical point. I can say this, though, no matter how dry the wood, my planes have always shrunk a little more after making and so have old ones (that are) out of use.

I would preserve as much of the billet width as you can, because you can always remove a little after finishing the plane if cosmetics require that.
By Oskar Sedell
Thanks David.

I have no choice but to preserve as much of the billet as possible. I will not get a full 5/8 plus the iron in width.

I´m with you on the shrinking, this is the case for my planes as well. Easy to fix though when it happens.

I guess I´ll give it a shot. If it does not work out (too much flex, too weak etc.) I will for sure post about it .