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Home Made Router Plane Iron selection

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bp122

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Hi all

Just wondering , I want to make a Router plane. Nothing high tech or full of features, just something to reliably set the depth and cut in reference to the surface the sole of the plane is riding on.

I came across a really simple way of building the block while browsing pinterest. The concept is using a thick flat slab and a block, both squared and the block rests on the slab with a hole in it for the blade / iron and a thumb screw to fasten the blade t lock its depth. Anyway, the block isn't my issue, the blade / iron is.

The bloke who did it used a thick bent hex key and ground a flat on the bottom and the bevel on top.
My question to all of you who are good at identifying tool steels are:
1. Whether a hardened chrome-vanadium Hex key (17mm hex on ebay for a tenner) a good steel for a router iron (blade)?
2. Is it too soft (and dulls easy) or too hard (difficult to sharpen) - or just downright pig to work with?
3. Considering this blade will have to skim both along and across the grain, what should I watch out for?
4. Are there any alternatives?

The work pieces I intend to work on are Oak, Sapele and Beech mainly.

Has anyone done anything like this?

I have indeed looked for router plane irons being sold as spares on fleabay, but either they are very expensive or they don't look like they have a lot of meat left to grind a decent edge on them.
 

Steve Maskery

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Interesting that you should ask this. I'm in the same process. I've made a prototype using a chisel rather than an L-shaped blade. It's just scrap from the woodpile, but it works well. I'll post a pic after I've been down to the workshop.
I want Aldi to have their chisels again. I've worked out how I could make it to suit different widths, and, by using a cheap set like that, I could cut off the handles without wrecking something important.
 

bp122

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Steve Maskery":hs4vd2ur said:
Interesting that you should ask this. I'm in the same process. I've made a prototype using a chisel rather than an L-shaped blade. It's just scrap from the woodpile, but it works well. I'll post a pic after I've been down to the workshop.
I want Aldi to have their chisels again. I've worked out how I could make it to suit different widths, and, by using a cheap set like that, I could cut off the handles without wrecking something important.
Ah, that is interesting!

Did you make the chisel come at an incline or somehow made it so that the chisel is flat down?
If it is, as I suspect, the former, what would be the difference between what you have made and a chisel plane? other than the obvious control over depth of cut?
 

Steve Maskery

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Well perhaps it would be better called a chisel plane. I've set the bed at 36 degrees*, so, with a chisel honed at 30, there is a few degrees of clearance. There is no fine adjustment, but it is easy to set pretty accurately without. As I say, I'll post later.
S
*Plus, with my long arbor fitted, 36 is the max tilt at full depth before the arbor fouls the throat plate!
 

MikeG.

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That's a hag's tooth router plane Steve is describing. I have both, and find the hag's tooth variety ok for large work, but the L shaped type essential for smaller stuff. I've seen any number of youtube clips of people using Allen keys, but I happened to get 2 purpose made blades on Ebay for £12 some while back, and made a couple of decent router planes with them. Definitely my preferred tool of the two types.
 

bp122

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MikeG.":2989n5fu said:
That's a hag's tooth router plane Steve is describing. I have both, and find the hag's tooth variety ok for large work, but the L shaped type essential for smaller stuff. I've seen any number of youtube clips of people using Allen keys, but I happened to get 2 purpose made blades on Ebay for £12 some while back, and made a couple of decent router planes with them. Definitely my preferred tool of the two types.
Were they spares of a particular make / plane or DIY options?
 

MikeG.

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Not sure. They were certainly not a homemade thing, but I don't think there was a maker's name on them. One was the straight edged type, the other had a pointy "V" shape. That's the one I've kept.
 

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prototype.png


That chisel is 3/4". The base is about 300 x 150, a bit big perhaps, but as I say, it was all bits from the scrap bin, just as a prototype. Well worth doing, actually as I learned a lot about how to, and how not to make it. I have a nice piece of cherry from which to make the real thing.

My two small ones for comparison.

Hag's Tooth, I like that. I know it as an Old Woman's Tooth, but Hag is pithier.
 

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MikeG.

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My experience of my homemade hag's tooth router plane is that preventing sideways movement (rotation) of the blade is more important than you'd think. You generally use one corner of the blade, rather than advancing square-on, and this can have a tendency to swing the blade out of position if it isn't restrained from so doing. I'd certainly make mine differently if I were to do it again.
 

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MikeG.":ynyoi1dr said:
My experience of my homemade hag's tooth router plane is that prevent sideways movement (rotation) of the blade is more important than you'd think. You generally use one corner of the blade, rather than advancing square-on, and this can have a tendency to swing the blade out of position if it isn't restrained from so doing. I'd certainly make mine differently if I were to do it again.
I've thought about that. That chisel is a nice fit, and for narrower ones I have a Cunning Plan.
 

ED65

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Hope it's not to late for some feedback BP.

1. It's fine, or at least it can be — Allen keys vary loads as you'd expect. But even the softest of them should still be a tool steel, so at worst could be heat treated and tempered at home.

Do you not have any spare Allen keys lying about? I was spoiled for choice when I made mine, although I was going for a much smaller router plane it must be said.

2. In terms of hardness the best of them are just fine for this with no further treatment (as long as they're not softened during grinding). As for that grinding, wellll I wouldn't say it was the easiest grinder job I've had but I got there in the end! I was only using a 6mm key though, loads more metal to remove if you stick with the plan to use a 17mm one.

3. Just make it as sharp as you can and keep it that way. To avoid altering the geometry that you worked hard to get be very careful how you hone. Maintaining sharpness by stropping only as much as poss wouldn't be the worst idea.

I made my one somewhat based on this:



(Two notes: the reinforcing screws aren't required if you trust your glue joints; you don't need the threaded insert for the locking screw, you can thread the wood directly and still end up with a tool that lasts for years.)

On my 'prototype' I angled the block forwards (I believe it was by 7° but can't remember for sure) to increase clearance and reduce the amount of steel I needed to grind from the back. This is something I feel is well worth doing for both those reasons but I'd lower the angle quite a lot, to maybe only 2°.
 

bp122

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Orraloon":2vhqye4e said:
There are plenty on line so I picked a couple of easy ones.
https://s26462.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploa ... rPlane.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erJEKqVgkvg
Regards
John
This is awesome. Thanks. I'll look into this.

ED65":2vhqye4e said:
Hope it's not to late for some feedback BP.

1. It's fine, or at least it can be — Allen keys vary loads as you'd expect. But even the softest of them should still be a tool steel, so at worst could be heat treated and tempered at home.
I don't have a blow torch or anything of the sort, so I'll probably buy one from a better steel (I don't know what that would be)

ED65":2vhqye4e said:
Do you not have any spare Allen keys lying about? I was spoiled for choice when I made mine, although I was going for a much smaller router plane it must be said.
No, I need to get one really.

ED65":2vhqye4e said:
2. In terms of hardness the best of them are just fine for this with no further treatment (as long as they're not softened during grinding). As for that grinding, wellll I wouldn't say it was the easiest grinder job I've had but I got there in the end! I was only using a 6mm key though, loads more metal to remove if you stick with the plan to use a 17mm one.
Not sure of the size yet, but it will be on the larger side, I'm afraid.
Although it does make sense to prototype one from a smaller one and then scale up and make all the corrections later on.

ED65":2vhqye4e said:
3. Just make it as sharp as you can and keep it that way. To avoid altering the geometry that you worked hard to get be very careful how you hone. Maintaining sharpness by stropping only as much as poss wouldn't be the worst idea.

I made my one somewhat based on this:

I can't seem to see the image here

ED65":2vhqye4e said:
(Two notes: the reinforcing screws aren't required if you trust your glue joints; you don't need the threaded insert for the locking screw, you can thread the wood directly and still end up with a tool that lasts for years.)

On my 'prototype' I angled the block forwards (I believe it was by 7° but can't remember for sure) to increase clearance and reduce the amount of steel I needed to grind from the back. This is something I feel is well worth doing for both those reasons but I'd lower the angle quite a lot, to maybe only 2°.
Not intending to turn this into a sharpening thread, but what is the bevel angle for a router iron?
 

ED65

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bp122":36dpoeoj said:
I can't seem to see the image here
It's hosted on Imgur in case it's relevant. Direct link would be https://i.imgur.com/IA16C27.jpg

bp122":36dpoeoj said:
Not intending to turn this into a sharpening thread, but what is the bevel angle for a router iron?
Appears we're safe on that front, for the time being at least *woot*

I think either 25° or 30° would be the convention but don't sweat the exact angle as long as it's in this ballpark. A good methodology would be to grind and then hone at 25° and if the edge doesn't hold up as well as you'd like just go a little steeper on the next honing, creating a secondary bevel.
 
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