Greene & Greene Set of Hand Planes Part 1

A while back I posted an article on a Smoothing plane I build using the Greene & Greene style.  About a week after I posted that article I ended up running across David Mathias on Twitter, David is the author of the Greene & Greene book I used for inspiration, Greene & Greene Furniture: Poems of Wood & Light.

After a few e-mails David asked that I send more pictures and I was very flattered when he said that he would like to write a post on his site based on my hand plane, (here is the link to the article on Davids blog, Unexpected Beauty).

When I built the first plane my intent was to complete a set to include a Block and Jointer to go along with the Smoother.  I actually cut the bodies for the two other planes the same time as the first but set them aside to see how the first worked out.

After starting back, I started on the Block plane first.  I kept the design pretty simple on this one, basically modeling the smoother without the back hand hold.  I wanted this plane to be smaller in the hand and just didn’t see the need for the hand hold.  In all honesty the block is not my favorite design as far as aesthetics are concerned but a small wooden block plane is always a must for me as I always keep one at arms length.

Next, I started on the Jointer plane.  I still wanted to go with the same overall look but had a few things in mind to make this plane stand out a little more.  I wanted a handle on the back but really struggled with the design I wanted.  Finally, I decided to go with a Wenge handle with the G&G curled foot carving.  I love carving but have to say that it is my weak point, but all in all think the handle turned out pretty good.

The picture shows the first rough cut of the handle.  I have since put a lot of work into cleaning it up and smoothing things out, but you get the general idea of what the final product will look like.

The biggest difference in how I built the Jointer plane as compared to the other two planes is how….or I should say when I attached the sole.  On the first two planes I attached the Wenge sole plates to the body and each of the side pieces before glueing the sides to the body.  By doing this I thought that I would be able to control the opening in the mouth better.

But the problem I had is that it any error in glueing the sides to the body causes the top edge of the Wenge not to line up, as you can see in the picture here.  By glueing the body and side up one the Jointer plane and then attaching the sole this problem went away and I was still able to control the throat of the plane to keep it nice and tight by under sizing the opening and then opening it up later using the iron as a reference.

In part two of this series I will be finishing up the planes and show the completed set together.

Keep woodworking!

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5 Responses to “Greene & Greene Set of Hand Planes Part 1”

  1. Chris Adkins
    July 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Thanks Kari, you are to kind. The planes have been really fun to build and design around the G&G theme. All three are finished now and I will post the completed set in the next few days.

    Wenge is a really hard and britle wood and not easy to carve. The biggest problem that I had was that the corners tended to chip off if I was not very careful. I know a lot of it is just practice on my part….but I could probably have choosen a softer wood first…

  2. Kari Hultman
    July 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Very cool planes, Chris! Carving in Wenge is not for the faint of heart. You should pat yourself on the back for doing such a nice job in a very difficult wood.

  3. Vic Hubbard
    July 4, 2011 at 6:46 am #

    Very nice, Chris. I really like the change to the addition of the sole plate last to keep it all in perfect alignment. I bet that block plane is gonna be a go to plane.

  4. High Rock Woodworking
    July 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Thanks Jeff. The planes are actually very comfortable to use. I finished the Smoother a while back and have used it several times.

    If you go back several post you will see a wormy Chestnut block plane that I built, that plane has become one of my favorite tools in the shop. There is nothing like the feel of wood against wood using these planes.

  5. Jeff Branch
    July 2, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    Those really are some handsome planes. Are they comfortable to use? Nice work.

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