Koster woodworking planes

Metal planes

I have made a number of dovetailed infill planes and a series of violin maker's planes. I make all parts myself, the iron (including heat treatment), knobs, et cetera. The bench planes are inspired by the Stanley-Bailey pattern and are similar in size. They are, however, true infill planes.

Bench planes: smoothers and a jointer

#6 bench plane Front knob.

I made this small jointer in 2015. Overall it measures 48 cm making it just a bit longer than a Stanley Baily No 6. The sole is stainless steel and it has brass sides. The infills are ebony. I finished the infills with shellac which I polished to a high gloss. This is a pretty hefty plane weighing 4.5 kg.

The iron is 60 mm wide and is made of D2 (a.k.a. 1.2379) steel. The iron is snecked to make it easier to adjust the depth of cut. Gently tapping the iron is a very direct way of making small adjustments and I like it a lot. I didn't want to make an adjuster: I tried it in the past and just wasn't satisfied with the results. Perhaps, I will try to make a good Norris-type adjuster some time in the future, but I would have to improve my metal-lathe skills first.

In this video I discuss some of the design features of this plane and show how it works:

Two small smoothers

#1 and #2 smoothers #1 and #2 smoothers

Next up are to small smoothing planes, a #1 and a #2 size. They features brass sides (4 mm thick), a mild steel sole (3 mm) and rosewood infills. The front knob can be unscrewed. Overall length is 135 mm, resp. 175 mm, which is similar in size to the Stanley #1 and #2, but significantly shorter than Lie-Nielsen's #2. The irons are 2.5 mm thick high carbon steel (O1= hardened to 60-62 Rockwell C. The cap iron can be removed from the plane as it is attached to the sides by two stepped spring loaded pins.

#1 and #2 with Stanley #4

Just to show how small these planes are, I have included a Stanley #4 in one of the pictures. I am planning on making a series of these smoothers and am currently designing a #3, gathering materials, et cetera. I have already found a very nice piece of Mexican rosewood for the infills.

In progress: No. 1 smoother

I have made a little time lapse showing the progress on the #1 sized smoother. Unfortunately, I got this idea after having done at least half of the work. The differences between some steps may appear small, but every step took me a few hours.

Mitre planes

mitre plane mitre plane parts

Because I use of lot of wood that is difficult to plane, I had long wanted to make a bevel-up plane as it offers flexibility regards cutting angles. The iron is bedded at a 15 degrees angle. Originally, I wanted to make two irons for this plane, with different sharpening angles (25 and 45 degrees) but I have deceided to make two of these planes instead.

This mitre plane is 25 cm long and has a 50 mm wide iron (O1, 4 mm thick). The infill is olive wood, which is sliky smooth and pleasant to the touch. The infills, the iron, and the brass sides make this a hefty plane, weighing 1.7 kg.

Violin maker's planes

four violin maker's planes violin maker's plane parts

These tiny planes were made a few years ago. I don't think I'll ever finish that violin, but these planes have proven very useful on many occasions. The smallest one is 25 mm and its sole is curved in both directions. The next smallest one measures 30 mm and has a straight sole. The largest ones are 49 mm long, one being straight and the other one curved in both directions. Construction is really simple: The sides are riveted onto two brass inserts that form the body.

tiny plane

Quenching steel

I use either O1 or D2 tool steel to make the irons for my planes. This video shows the process of quenching them after heating them to 820-840C in a kiln. Next (not shown) the steel is tempered in another oven (I use a simple dedicated kitchen oven) at 220C. My dad shares his thoughts on the whole process in Dutch.