One of my COVID-19 lockdown efforts was to teach you how to make a plane handle without any machines. The video is out on YouTube here.

My system is a knock your socks of way to a guaranteed quality outcome with just a few hand tools and an afternoon or so at the bench. You will love making this one for sure!


  1. Austin on 23 July 2020 at 3:15 pm

    This is great. Thank you, Paul.

    Any plans for a saw handle video? I have one of those mass-machines handles only suitable for hanging the saw.

    • Joe Tilson on 29 July 2020 at 5:55 pm

      I use some mass produced saw handles(totes) for drawer pulls, and cabinet handles. My darling wife found them at a yard sale for very little money. I will never use them up, as there were around fifty of them along with some saw blades for the Ulmos saw with a D handle and angle plates built on them.

  2. JulioT on 23 July 2020 at 4:15 pm

    I’ve watched it in WWMC and it’s fantastic. One of my “black beasts” in making a tote was how to proceed if you cannot be sure of the angle when drilling the rod hole. I know hot to do it now.
    Thank you very much, Paaul.

  3. Bill H on 24 July 2020 at 12:34 pm

    This was a particularly fun video for me as it brought back many good memories. Back in the mid 70’s, I worked for Stanley Tools and would occasionally be assigned one of the processes in making the plane handles, which was running the shaper that profiled the top of the handle. I must have processed thousands of these plane handles through that machine.

    This was a such treat to see one made entirely by hand and in a way to guarantee precision of the hole for the shaft.

  4. Steve P on 24 July 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Any certain woods you would suggest using? Or ones you would stay away from? I am on the West Coast USA so don’t have access to yew or other stuff they may have across the pond. Thanks!

    • Bob on 24 July 2020 at 2:48 pm

      Steve P, try to find some Pacific Yew. It is good wood and works nicely.

    • Rex Hansen on 26 July 2020 at 2:07 pm

      How about using some California Claro of Bastogne Walnut.

  5. Jerry B. on 24 July 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Steve P, I made one last year from a scrap of Koa I bought in Hawaii a few years ago. Best looking plane I own.

    • Steve P on 24 July 2020 at 8:41 pm

      Koa would be nice, but its the second most expensive wood at my local lumberyard after gaboon ebony! That handle would cost me $100

  6. Brian the golfer on 24 July 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Reminds me of one of my favourite jokes. This guy was working away in his shed when his friend called by. His friend asked him what he was making. He said “ a portable “. The friend said “ a portable what?” He said “ not sure yet. I‘m just making the handle!”.

  7. Jeff D on 25 July 2020 at 2:44 pm

    I can’t handle what an awesome project this is. It gripped my imagination how to take hold of this project and grab it by the horns. I could’t wrap my hands around some tropical wood for it. It is a challenge to come to grips with.

  8. JohnM on 27 July 2020 at 11:34 am

    I support the request for a saw handle video. I had to replace a plastic handle on an otherwise good saw. To solve the problem of how to cut the slot for a very odd shaped rear to the blade I laminated the handle from 2 pieces of ply with a spacer of thick Veneer cut to the shape of the rear of the handle. The lamination worked ok to produce the slot. Shaping the handle was quite difficult and is not that comfortable. The handle was too thick for off the shelf blade securing screws / nuts to be used ( and they cost more than the saw is worth !) I ended up using the mushroom head furniture fastenings with a piece of metric studding to join the two together. Works very well and low cost.

    • JohnM on 27 July 2020 at 1:35 pm

      Just a couple of clarifications – the veneer was chosen to be about the same thickness as the saw blade, another good use for my vernier calipers.

      The mushroom head connector nuts go by a variety of titles things like ‘Sleeve Nut or furniture connector nuts, they are semi flush and are tightened with a pair of Allen keys. measure the diameter of the fixing holes in your saw blade and buy nuts with a screw size this size or smaller. They need to be shorter than the thickness of the ply used so may require reduction in length before fitting.

  9. John Cadd on 27 July 2020 at 8:39 pm

    The plane handles often had an annoying way of moving or twitching sideways between the handle and base. I fitted a few with two nuts under the handle in that empty space . Each plane got two nuts screwed and glued side by side to eliminate the little jiggly feeling . Similar to some very professional woodwork videos where a state of the art workbench will not keep still when planing .
    Today I got a brand new frog for my old Number 4 plane . Very happy with that . No slackness anywhere . My handle or tote has a groove for my thumb . I used to get a corn on my thumb . So don`t forget the groove .

Leave a Comment

  • steve on Plane Knob Without a LatheHello Paul, I noticed you used yew for the handles. We have a very old apple tree that has to be removed and I am thinking of drying some of it. Is it any good for tool handles ?
  • Steve P on Plane Knob Without a LatheThat is quite impressive! I feel that if I tried it, mine would be all oval and oblong and look more like the end of Gandelf’s staff. Maybe I’ll give it a try for the challenge.
  • Paul Sellers on Town BuildingsActually, you just did advertise, but kindly so and with kind reason. I have heard and considered these and may one day try them out. Pinpricks are nothing bothersome to me and so,…
  • Chris Perry on Town BuildingsHi Paul, from one diabetic to the other I've just moved away from pin pricking to test my blood. Have a look at the Freestyle Libre system. I don't advertise, I don't work for them…
  • David Laurie on Town BuildingsYou're an idiot, and a bigotted old fool, to boot... It's Nasty minded piece old codgers like you two that cause inter-generational friction..
  • Paul Sellers on Rethinking the Future from Past ExperienceI understand the comparison but, no, it's actually nothing like it. The back bevel on the cutting iron would actually be a front bevel when in the plane and this alters the present…
  • Charles Jordan on Town BuildingsPaul, I truly am amazed at your skills and knowledge as a master woodworker. Your gift for teaching I equally admire. I respect you as a person. You are very "comfortable" to watch…