Ploughing the way

My hand router plane seems to have been well received. I am glad because it is a solution to the real problem of owning a good router plane, which I consider to be an essential woodworking hand tool. I have a few posts in the pipeline that will help you along the way and the metal parts kit is coming together too. Add your name to the list (at the bottom of this page) if you are interested in our updating you as to its availability as we now have enough to warrant putting the kits together and we hope to be distributing them soon. If you do want to sign up for updates go here and scroll to the bottom to find the registration form that will inform us of your interest.

My now pensioned-off router planes will be archived but no doubt I will want to use them from time to time.

I have now used my new hand router planes since June on a more daily basis and especially since I brought it out of hiding. I cannot fault its functionality, weight-to-strength ratio in the hand and its simplicity, etc. I use three or four of my new types in quick succession or where I want to keep one to a fixed setting for the final pass. I have always done this because I have always owned 20 or more planes since the days of holding classes for that number of students. My concern in recent years has been the consistently rising costs that seemed on an ever-steepening climb month on month. New ones are generally prohibitive for those just starting out and those on a low budget, so something needed to be done. Also, since time immemorial, what we woodworkers have always enjoyed is customising an existing tool or making a tool that exemplified our crafting skills. We often want a tool to suit our more personal preferences and needs and this router plane offers that possibility perfectly. Already I see lignum vitae soles alongside purple heart sandwiched between maple, walnut and oak. Making any tool is always an adventure in the making but boy does this one tick all the boxes.

Some of you expressed concerns about not being able to sharpen the blade so that the cutting edge is perfectly paraplanar to the sole after sharpening. I showed how to achieve this with the now more common metal router planes with the vertical cutting iron strapped to the post with the adjuster to the top. My method works perfectly for settling what was a difficult issue to resolve on metal router planes on a consistent basis. On my new router plane, it’s even simpler and I will offer this solution very shortly.

My extra-long router plane is used for long sections of surfacing to tenon cheeks and recesses.

As some of you know, some 15 years ago I developed a router plane ‘sole extender’ to lengthen the sweep of the plane for surfacing tenon cheeks. You could flip the aluminum plate for left- and right-handed use but whereas it worked fine in achieving good results, metal soles tend to mar the wood surface in one way or another or both. Either they leave surface marring in the form of long indents in the wood or they discolour the wood with the colour of the metal used. I made one of my planes from the phenolic 15-ply plywood (above and below) and it works beautifully.

The wonderful thing about any of my router planes is the reduced cost which means you are more likely to be able to make several. I have indeed made a couple for under £4 and I will show you how I did that as soon as time permits. Above and below are the version I designed for longer, wider tenon making and then too routing out long and wider expanses for things such as inlays, reliefs to carvings and large and wide dadoes. The neat thing is this though, you can simply take the blade from one of the routers you make and install most of the components into the open-throated router to suit the different work. The double handles are designed for shifting hand positions according to preference and efficacy. You can use them individually or cup both in a single hand. It works great.

Here you see my hands spanning both the knobs at once

Some of you mentioned the open throat offering full sight to the cutting edge which of course it does. My reason for the closed throat opening is strength and registration together with the longevity it affords the plane. It’s not an either-or though. Again, cut the vee in one sole and transfer the cutter and metalwork from one plane to the other as needed. Whereas with the closed throat shavings can jam between the fore-edge of the plane sole and the rim of a stopped housing or dado, you soon automatically assume this and are aware enough to blow away the debris before this happens. It’s not really much of an issue and of course, we have had that with the early router planes for a century and more.

So, there we begin to see variations on the theme of my router plane. There are more on the way but next, I will tackle the sharpening issue that is exceptionally simple if you follow my method, which I have worked through to get it right even though it is almost as new to me as it is to you, almost!

62 thoughts on “Ploughing the way”

  1. Paul, I would like to call this plane a ” better mouse trap”. I think wood working tools should be hand powerd and hand made.
    Thank you for sharing you craft and skill with the world.

  2. Paul
    I was put off making this by the difficulty of finding tool steel in Belgium. However I think I could make one out an old chisel. Do you think so?

    1. I am going to make mine from 3/8 inch mortise chisel laying around. I got lucky it is square on all sides. Just have to finish up present project. Going to make from African Mahogany, should be suitable wood I think.

    1. Same here a parts kit would be great and the impulse buyer side of me (the one I hide when in Walmart and grocery stores) would probably buy anything from Paul if Paul is behind it.

  3. I clicked on the link above to get my name on the list for availability of the router plane hardware. I was able to see the form for a split second before being directed to the blog post about making the plane. I am in the US so that may have been a factor. My name and email are below. Please let me know when you offer the hardware for sale. I enjoy your instrutive videos. Thanks for posting them!

  4. Claudia Fletcher

    Hi Paul

    I would also love to be able to order a Router Plane hardware kit!
    When available nice project for the Woodworking club.
    Thank you

  5. Please let me know when I can order the router plane hardware kit as well as the dimensions for the extra wide router plane.

    Many thanks……

  6. Matt Evans-Koch

    Dear Paul and crew,
    I clicked on the Link above and it took me to the original post where I found my original request. However, I thought I would sign in here also to be sure got on the list for the router plane kits. This is an opportunity I do not want to miss. Thank you.

  7. I find it difficult to believe that I am hankering after the next blog or video Paul makes. I never thought that would be me.

    Btw I put my name down as interested in the router plane kit but I wonder if there is much more interest in Australia than just little old me? Anyway fantastic whether the kits end up affordable once converted into Australian pesos and shipping added on, or not.

  8. Been waiting for the announcement that you might be putting together a metal parts kit. Since I started watching your YouTube channel I thought the router was a fantastic tool as I have many power routers but bit of a faff to set up at times.
    I took the plunge and payed dearly on Ebay and purchased a lovely Record No 71 in mint condition complete in wooden box. Fantastic piece of kit but I would like to add a few more to my tool collection.
    You have came up with the perfect solution allowing use to create our own custom made routers, well done Paul.
    Could you please add me to the list for purchasing the hardware kit and inform me when it’s available.
    Eddie Woolfries

  9. Hello Paul, Could I please join the queue for your router plane kit. I realise that there are at least 5 million people in front of me, but I am very patient. Look forward to hearing from you.
    John Barton

  10. Philippe DUBOIS

    Good evening Paul,
    Good evening all,
    I live on the other side of the channel and I apologize for my broken English.
    I greatly admire your work and your presentations. It’s for me a very precious methodological source. I very much appreciate the calm and the clarity of your presentations, which are soothing.
    You can add me to the list of people interested in the router metal parts kit.
    Thank you in advance.
    Yours truly

  11. Hi Paul, may I dare suggest that the dearth and cost of antique router planes is because you own them all.😀. Regards Jim.

  12. Howdy all!
    Will you please add me to the list for purchasing the hardware kit and inform me when it’s available.

    Thank you ,

  13. Lonnie Funderburg

    It may be that I simply missed this portion of your presentation about your DIY hand router plane. Already, I see that very shortly I will want a diamond pointed cutter for my router plane. And, I’ll want a more narrow cutter, maybe 1/4″. Please cover these variations. Thank you for a fantastic DIY hand-made tool. I love it.

  14. Dear Mr. Sellers,
    I have had a 1/4 of a beech log in my workshop for 5 or 6 years waiting for a suitable project, then along comes your router plane.
    I have made all of the body from that to date, I am very fortunate in that I have both a metal and wood lathe (but not a lot of skill in using either). If at first you don’t succeed……
    I am having more fun than I thought possible. I will let you know when the workshop is covered in shavings (no more choking dust for me)



    1. Hello, Jose, My ultimate goal is equipping woodworkers to make their own, hence the videos and the kits. I will not be making any to sell, I am afraid time does not permit such a venture.

      1. IMHO, the greatest satisfaction one gets upon one’s first passes of one’s self-making of a such router plane made by oneself following this MasterClass into a bare recess is priceless. This is why I feel like I / one can not give enough thanks.

  15. After my first making of Paul Sellers’ Hand Router plane, and the second one on it’s well-deserved way, whilst awaiting patiently for the announcement about the metal-part kits’ availability, I am truly looking forward to learning of the method of sharpening the cutting blade paraplanar to the plane’s sole.

    Again, many thanks indeed for all the Team has been doing and giving to the World, from a South-Eastern European, balcony-based amateur woodworker!



  16. Hi Paul and Team

    Thanks a lot for sharing your router plane. Please let me know when the hardware kit is available .



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