View Full Version : Old Wooden Hand Plane

Tom Bomer
03-01-2003, 12:36 AM
I bought an old wooden coffin smoother made by Ohio Tool at the turn of the century. I assume the owner flatened the bottom over the years since the gap between the blade and the front edge of the mouth was at least 1/4". Also, the blade had been sharpened down pretty good. I still see lots of use in it and have resharpened the blade and flattened the sole. It trims wood like a charm. The only problem I have is I want to use it as a smoother. I would like to close the gap but I have a few questions before I attempt it.

1. What type of wood is best and what direction should the grain be? (The plane is beech I think but I'm not sure. Could it be another hard wood?)

2. What is a good distance from the blade to the front of the mouth? I don't want to under estimate.

Anyone have any experiance repairing old wood planes?



Tom Bomer
03-02-2003, 10:55 AM
I also placed this question on www.traditionaltools.com and received some good responses if anyone is interested.



03-02-2003, 8:23 PM
I sat in on a seminar by Graham Blackburn on tuning wooden handplanes. It made me want to go get some wooden planes ;) . He sure made it look easy to take some nice wispy shavings against the grain with his coffin smoother.
His coffin smoother was beech, but his patch was another very hard wood (it was a dark exotic, maybe ebony?). He showed using another plane to smooth the bottom of his wooden planes. He specifically mentioned that the type of wood didn't matter as long as it was hard.
As for the opening size to leave, he said it depended very much on your intended purpose for the plane. Thinner shavings = thinner mouth. He said you want the opening wide enough so the shaving will go through without getting interfered with, but thin enough to keep from being able to fold back into the opening.
I think the recommendations given on getting his book are well founded. Try to see one of his seminars if he comes with the woodworking show near you.

Chris Knight
03-03-2003, 1:24 PM
If this plane is working for you and you still need to do that sort of work, leave it alone. Old wooden smoothers are practically given away, even on Ebay. Buy a couple of those and practice your modifications on them.