Pat’s Wooden Jointer Plane

Its been said that US Military servicemen bring one of two things back from a tour of duty in Germany: a clock or a wife. When I returned from my tour 20 years ago, I brought something else, a couple of wooden hand planes. When they were given to me, I thought that they were only a bit better than the toys that were given to me for Christmas when I was a child. After learning how to use these things, however, I had to kick myself for ever comparing them to a toy. First of all, wooden hand planes, although not used exclusively in German wood shops, are still very popular and can cost you about as much as an above average American made steel plane. Second, my Ulmia jack plane smooths as well as my Wood River #4. Third, and most important to me, wooden hand planes are fairly easy to make. Let me explain.

About a month or so ago I decided to build a workbench. This was before TWW announced the Roubo Guild build, so I had already chosen a different design. Flattening a 26 X 7 bench top required a good jointer plane that could possibly run me $400 or more, and I?d end up using it only once in a while. I started looking around online and ran across some German wooden jointers and thought about how well my jack and shoulder worked. Unfortunately, I couldn?t find one of those for less than $200. Not being one to give up easily, I decided to make one for myself. I am so happy with the results that I decided to write this article to encourage my fellow woodworkers to investigate making their own planes.

This 22 1/2″ long beauty is comprised of an Oak body, Walnut sole, tote and wedge, Maple cross pin, and a bit of Cherry. All of the wood came from my scrap bin, and I pulled the blade out of an antique plane I bought a couple of years ago (not recommended due to the work involved in making the blade usable). The whole project took roughly 3 days, and I was able to flatten the bottom side of my new bench-top before I even applied the oil finish. Although I made this plane using my other two German planes as examples, the Popular Mechanics? article ?How To Build 3 Basic Hand Planes? was a good jumping off point for techniques and dimensions.

While sourcing blades to be referenced in this write-up, I was able to speak directly to Mr. Hock of Hock Tools. Since they sell some pretty nice wooden plane kits, he knew exactly what would be needed for this particular project. If you plan to make one of these for yourself, my suggestion is that you visit the Hock Tools website before you start making any cuts.


  1. Jay January 12, 2012

    What is the carriage bolt for at the front?

    • Pat January 12, 2012

      It acts as a “strike plate/button” which is used to adjust the iron.

      • MattIsBuffalo June 5, 2014

        Stumbled upon this when looking to build a hand plane, can you explain (if you’re still around) how you would use the carriage bolt to adjust the iron? I am very new to wooden planes.

        • Pat November 25, 2014

          Tapping on this strike plate prevents denting the plane body. Many european style planes have them.

        • Pat November 25, 2014

          It prevents denting the plane body when tapping. Many european style planes have them.

  2. josh January 12, 2012

    Wow, nice tool and to be able to talk to Mr Hock himself im jealous!

  3. Mike E January 12, 2012

    Very nice work. I’m fairly new to woodworking, and havent really used a hand plane. What is the durability of wooden plane? How would these hold up after extensive use?

    • Pat January 12, 2012

      The wooden plane I pulled the iron out of was around 100 yrs old and has some life left in it. The nice thing about being made of wood is that if it does get trashed, its easily replaced.

  4. Bill Akins January 12, 2012

    Beautiful plane Pat. I made my first plane last fall. A few of us Atlanta wood workers get together for breakfast, wood talk and fellowship monthly and we meet tomorrow. If interested:
    Bring that plane, we like to do some show and tell.

  5. Ole Madsen, Denmark January 12, 2012

    Hi, a good wooden plane can last for generations. I have inhereted several, among them one similar to your long jointer.
    It has been made by my grandfather who was born around 1885. So it was probably made around 1900. Unfortunately the block is hollow, skewed by changing humidity but could easily be planed.
    I would like to add, that planes in Scandinavia and Germany as well are traditionally made of beech wood.
    As a professional boatbuilder I have learned to make planes myself. It is recomendable to glue the block together from 2 halves side by side and reinforce the glueing by pegs drilled through the block as in Your picture. In that way You can cut the chiphole instead of having to ake id with a chisel.

  6. John Fitz January 13, 2012

    Very nice work!! Are those dowels all the way through, or are the sides/body screwed together underneath?

    The cherry insert is a nice touch. Any reason other than appearance?

  7. Pat January 13, 2012

    No screws. The sides are beveled at the top and were a bit too thin around the blade “well” for my comfort level so I fortified that area with the cherry. Long story short, the cherry fixes a screw-up.

    • John Fitz January 13, 2012

      NIce recovery!

  8. S.Wellington January 13, 2012

    NICE! piece of work. I like the length! I bet it shaves ‘um just right! Thanks Pat!

  9. Claude Stewart January 14, 2012

    I love it.

  10. Very well done. I talked with Mr Hock briefly at WIA in October. Very down to earth guy, and extremely knowledgeable. His plane blades he sells are excellent as well.

  11. Duane Kriebel January 21, 2012

    Ron Hock is a member on Google+ and the woodworkers circle there is great.

    Great work on the plane.

  12. Richard February 5, 2012

    Nice plane, I have spent a fortune on my clifton 5 and a half and have a very cheap block plane once I finish college, I hope to get back to my work shop and build some wooden planes. I am training to be a woodwork teacher and think these sort of projects are really good for students learning and appreciation for tools. Haven’t used a wooden plane since I was on a 3 month apprenticeship (slave labour to learn from him) and setting them just right needs some practice and can be frustrating for a newby. thnks for the post.

  13. Robert Wilmoth December 31, 2013

    I am hoping you can help me on a related “Plane” Search. I have an old Plane. It has been passed down through the family. It MAYBE from around 1900 or earlier. So far, what i have found on my own suggests that time period. There are no markings on the body-wooden part, but there are some VERY faint markings on the blade. They are so faint that I do not think they will show up in a picture. The words are in the shape of an upside down U and then there are two lines of letters directly underneath the U.. I can only make out SOME of the letter in the U. What i have looks like “Sohmissmills” or “Schmissmills” so,” Schmissmills&Hu____” I can diffinetly make out the” & ” . There are no spaces between the letters, as I have indicated. The beginning of the two lines under the upside down U …the first one starts with “Wa _____” the rest is unreadable, The line directly under that starts “Ga____?” I do not KNOW how many spaces are after the letters that I can read. My family for several generations came from Tennessee. Before that from NC and VA. Great Great Grand father John Robert Wilmoth born 1792 NC, died 1866 Tn. his son My Great Grand Father, John Lafayette Wilmoth born 1852 I am not sure if this was TN or still NC at his birth. Only the Borderlines changed, not the actual location. John Lafayette Wilmoth died 1924 Tn. His son, My Grandfather, John Curtis Wilmoth Born 1890 Tn. died much too young 1918 Tn. I can send you a picture if that will help? I can tell you that the handle is carved to look like a hand saw handle. If there is any other information that I can supply, Please let me know. My grandma always said that they liked ordering through the mail order catalogs, like Sears and Roebuck. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. We have tried for hours on line to find more info but because I can’t read it all, we have not found anything specific enough to help, except for that fact that. Sohm and Schm are very common names..

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