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Thread: Router Plane Project

  1. #1

    Router Plane Project

    On a lark, I started to build the router plane in the latest Woodsmith issue. It seems the recommended Lee Valley blades are a semi major expense for a little project that may or may not pan out really well for my usage. I am enough of a cheapskate to wonder about splurging on a $90+ set of blades that doesn't even include the spear point one for a tool that I am not sure how much I will use. It may be that I'll find that it was the best $100 I ever spent, but then again...

    Where I am wondering what my options are is with blade mounting types. There seem to be other blades available, but often the orientation of the square shaft is oriented 45 degrees differently. There are also some that don't have square shafts.

    There is the possibility of making a few blades from old allen wrenches to try out the concept. It would seem require a different and most likely incompatible mounting setup.

    Are there other sources for blades with the same square shaft orientation as the Lee Valley ones that I might consider?

    Maybe the answer is to commit to the Lee Valley configuration and buy one blade, perhaps one that isn't in the set so i can buy the set later without duplication. I know that we used a smaller probably pointier spear point a lot when I attended an inlay a class/demo. I could buy just the spear point, but wonder how useful it is as a general use blade.

    Thoughts or suggestions?
    Last edited by Pete Staehling; 11-08-2019 at 9:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
    Posts
    111
    My opinion, which is worth exactly what you're paying for it:

    The LV router plane blades are very good, and the basic set is a good start to build around if you do (or plan to do) a lot of cleaning out the bottom of grooves/dadoes, or the sides of tenons. If you then find that you need/want something more specific for inlay, the LV blades that you initially purchase work very well as templates if you want to make something more specific to your needs as a one off, say a spear point or perhaps a skew point, or even a carving configuration like a gouge or veining tool. Only problem is that once you discover how useful it can be, and you start experimenting - you get strange looks when you pick up 5-10 allen keys of the same size for blanks.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Flamone LaChaud View Post
    you get strange looks when you pick up 5-10 allen keys of the same size for blanks.
    Habitat and pawn shops usually have boxes of Allen wrenches.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    2,363
    I built my own router plane and use the Veritas blades. I found the square shaft shape easy to keep straight in the plane. I did buy a couple different ones and am very happy with the plane.

    onmqcql.jpg

  5. #5
    Thanks for the replies I went ahead and ordered the hardware suggested in the Woodsmith article, so I guess I am going with the square shaft blades oriented like the Veritas ones. I don't imagine hex key ones or others will work well in that square fixture.

    I better get busy shopping for at least one blade to give it a test drive before committing $100 to the full set of blades since my McMaster Carr order should arrive pretty soon and I have the body of the plane prepped and completion shouldn't take too long.

    Edit: I just ordered the 1/2" straight Veritas blade from LV. I figure I can live with that for a bit to see how the plane works out and will decide what i need after that.
    Last edited by Pete Staehling; 11-09-2019 at 10:28 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Shorewood, WI
    Posts
    750
    I have found the straight blades more useful in my work than the spear points. Although the spear is better at getting into corners, the point is a bit lower than the rest of the edge, complicating my major use of a router plane: levelling the bottom of a dado or groove. The edge of a straight bit is all at one level.

    So I agree with your choice of blade. A narrower blade is also useful, but you don't need a lot of them.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Schwabacher View Post
    So I agree with your choice of blade. A narrower blade is also useful, but you don't need a lot of them.
    Good, thanks. I'll use it a bit and then decide if I just need one or two narrow blades or a full set. The expense of the set may be overkill for me. I almost ordered the 1/2" and a 1/4" and probably should have just done that. Most likely I won't want enough sizes to justify the $100 set. I didn't want to buy any sizes that were in the set, just in case I do decide to spring for it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    1,752
    Never thought of making this myself. I do have a LV router plane and use it. But on more than one occasion I wanted to use it to a stopped dado where the front of the tool prevented me due to hitting up against an adjacent piece.

    But now thinking I could make my own version of the body where the cutting tip extended out from the forward most point on the holder... This would allow me to cleanup some grooves all the way to the adjacent piece.

    I use the LV blades (obviously), with the most often used ones are the straight blades - these can cut on the edge of the blade as well as the bottom, so if I want to scrape a bit off the side of a dado it is possible to do (dont know if intended to work that way, but I do use them that way...)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Beckett View Post
    Never thought of making this myself. I do have a LV router plane and use it. But on more than one occasion I wanted to use it to a stopped dado where the front of the tool prevented me due to hitting up against an adjacent piece.

    But now thinking I could make my own version of the body where the cutting tip extended out from the forward most point on the holder... This would allow me to cleanup some grooves all the way to the adjacent piece.
    Yes that sounds very possible.

    Just a thought... I think with one from the Woodsmith plan you might be able to just put the blade in facing the other way to make that cut. It looks like it might stick out just past the edge of the body. I think the knurled knob might block your view of the blade, but a setscrew could be used instead in that mode of operation. I might give it a try to see if the blade is well enough supported in that orientation. I'd think it would be.

    It looks like with the Veritas router plane a reversed blade would stick out more, but it might be worth a try. With a little effort to keep the base flat on the work I bet it would work. You might want to give it a try.

  10. #10
    My parts from McMaster Carr came yesterday and I have the plane pretty much completed. I am waiting for a 1/2" blade to arrive from Lee Valley (due today). I am excited to try it. I'll report more when it arrives.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Staehling View Post
    My parts from McMaster Carr came yesterday and I have the plane pretty much completed. I am waiting for a 1/2" blade to arrive from Lee Valley (due today). I am excited to try it. I'll report more when it arrives.
    I am very disappointed that the square tubing that I ordered from McMaster Carr isn't a good fit for the blade. I ordered the part numbers specified in the Woodsmith article without giving it any thought and realize now that it will require a good bit of file work to get the 3/8" shaft to fit in the square tubing. I would have much rather either bought tubing that was a good fit or done the filing before assembly. To make maters worse the file I have that seems like the right one for the job has seen better days.

  12. #12
    The finished plane is nice and works well. As I said the filing was a pain and I'd rather find some tubing that fit the blade better with no filing or at least less filing. That or maybe use some alternate method of blade mounting. If doing it over I'd at least do the filing in a vise before mounting the tubing in the plane. I'd also have a better file(s) on hand.

    BTW, I did find that it was fine to leave it a pretty tight as it loosened up a lot settled in with a little use.

    I wonder if using a little angle iron rather than a square tube would work just as well since the screw holds the shaft of the blade against two sides of the tube any way. It would make fitting a lot easier.

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