Router Plane Catch-up

It’s been about 18 months since I became truly troubled at sending people out to spend hundreds of pounds on a single tool. Just how could I get the price down after sending people to eBay to buy up all the stock available? The prices rocked up ten to fifteen times within a year simply because until that time this important tool had been altogether abandoned. When I introduced it for perfecting tenon cheeks in addition to mere dadoes it transformed hand-tool woodworking for so many who seemed always to misalign their saws on tenons. Today, everyone assumes that the router plane is a normal method but until a few short years ago no one ever used a router plane for this task. Because of the increased prices of secondhand and then the lack of availability of new versions, I pulled together my own version and made my prototypes followed by the production model — I will never go back to any of the all-metal versions again. I said it back then and I will say it again, this is the best router plane in the world. What’s even better is that any and all woodworkers can make their own in an afternoon’s work.

When we first released the router plane kit we felt we couldn’t promote it because we were still in the early days of sourcing the stock. We now have good stocks ready for shipping out which you can purchase here. In my videos, I show you how to make the blade and the retainer bar but with the kit, there is no metalwork needed.

In my view, every woodworker should own one of these simply because they can make the bulk of the plane from their own wood and any combination of woods they choose. I have used mainly beech because I have it in stock but oak, ash, cherry and many more will make a wonderful lifetime router plane for everyone to add to their assembly of tools to enjoy their woodworking with. For me, the router plane is a non-negotiable tool. I wish I had progressed this when I wrote my book Essential Woodworking Hand Tools but I am planning a downloadable addendum to slip into the book soon.

You can indeed place your order here and look forward to some updates or upgrades for you to add a depth stop and then alternative versions too right here on my blog. I will keep you posted!


    1. Thanka, Paul, for your honesty in discussing the rise in router plane popularity and the discommoding commercial response of price upticking. i will order your kit.

  1. Really enjoyed making and using the router plane from the kit.
    My only issue was I used ash and I had problems inserting the threaded rods with a drill and had to resort to using two locked nuts as the ash was so hard.

    Look forward to the upgrades!

  2. Not sure where you got 18 months from, I’noticed the price skyrocketing after your the few videos you used them on, several years ago. The prices of Bailey planes and decent older chisels seemed to follow the same trend as you re-popularized these tools; it’s really quite amazing how much of an impact you have made on the resurgence of hand wood working. I made myself a very stripped down poor man’s router plane in an hour or so after seeing one of those early videos. All it took was a small scrap of Baltic birch and an Allen key. It’s been an indispensable part of my minimal plane collection (consisting of one each Footprint 4 -1/2, Stanley 220, and Stanley 80.

  3. Will the update/upgrade you mention involve the release of a new kit that includes these changes?
    Will the current kit be obsolete?

    1. No. These are just some optional DIY elements for do it yourselfers. Small things but far from essential. I am always adding on new bits to things `nd then making new types. The kit is already quite perfect and perfected.

  4. I’m still have a problem finding the knobs. I live in a rural area of upstate NY and everything has to
    be shipped, which is not cheap. Usually cost more that the knobs ! I decided to take a piece of a walnut slab and make some knobs. Is going but slowly.
    If you have a source please send me a link.


    1. Paul has a video on making a plane’s front knob by hand, no turning. In case you haven’t watched it, it is really great.

      … I use pine a lot. I have made the poor man’s rebate plane in pine. it is still going strong after some 6 years of use.

  5. Dear Paul,

    I really appreciate you coming up with your own router plane. I’ve already constructed two of them out of a discarded square mahogany hand rail from our home’s remodelling.
    I modified your design to include a depth stop that I built out of a 6mm adjustment ring and an M4 thumb screw. It functions flawlessly. The thumb screws I discovered at a nearby home improvement store are identical in design to the adjustment screws included in your router plane kit, and they are long enough to avoid getting in the way of the height adjustment screw even when installed backwards.

    1. Thomas,

      Can I ask, what you refer to when you say 6mm adjustment ring? Can you describe it, or does it go by another name? I can’t think what that is, and when I type that in, Google returns wedding rings!


  6. Currently in the middle of building mine with one of the kits. I’m using osage orange which is pretty remarkable stuff to work with. I am trying to make my own knobs out of walnut, and made the first pair too short…so I will have to redo those.

    Also if you buy one of the kits be really careful with the bolts for the handles. There’s not too much room for error. I got a little careless and drove them in too deep and the point broke through the bottom. Shouldn’t affect the performance of the tool…but it was a moment of chagrin on my part.

    This has been one of the most fun projects to do though! Can’t wait to actually use it!

    1. I know this isn’t the place. I have learned most of my woodworking from you Paul. I don’t know anyone to ask and I can’t find the answer in your book. How do I stop tear out with my router plane? I am using it on cherry, wherever the grain is not straight it pulls out a chunk. I have a 71 with the 1/2″ bottom board. The angle on the cutter is the original and it is really sharp.

      1. A router plane can only take fine shavings without tear-out.
        I take the bulk out of a dado with a chisel.
        Looking at Paul’s video one can see him retracting the router iron when he feels there is too much setting and he is making multiple passes.

        1. Found on this site under “knowledge base”:
          How do I avoid tear-out when using the router?
          You do have to make sure there is no micro bevel on the underside/free angle of the blade. Make sure to work your way down incrementally, very gradually, and take grain direction into consideration.

          1. read “general user considerations” on

  7. I read that info and checked, rechecked, re-everythinged everything. I did take most of the wood out with a chisel, there was…maybe a 1/16th left to remove. I used a scraper around the knots, this was literally in random places around the recess. I even tried a new Spear point blade(bit?) but that left wavy undulations. I imagine this is hard to diagnose this way, I am just frustrated bc this piece is for my Dad and I’m trying hard. Thank you Sylvain.

    1. Jim,

      Were you getting tear out with the chisel? It seems strange that if you’ve tried different blades that you’d be getting tear out with a router plane only. Is the board on the 71 definitely parallel to the sole, and flat? I’m just thinking that it might be changing the angle of attack, although I can’t imagine it would be pronounced. Do you get tear out on all woods, or is it just this particular piece? Have you got an offcut of that piece that you could test on? Have you tried it without the board screwed to the bottom of the router? I’m clutching at straws really, as there isn’t much can go wrong with a router!

  8. 1/16″ is too big to be taken in a single pass with a plane (except maybe a scrub) and certainly with a router plane. When near the desired depth, use it like a smoothing plane: with no more than paper-thin shavings at each pass.

    Verify that the cutting edge is parallel with the sole (the wooden sole if you have one installed).
    The method is shown on Paul’s video “how to sharpen a router plane”. the fine adjustment starts at about 9′.

  9. I don’t believe that Paul’s the sole cause of the popularity growth in hand routers, no matters what he says. Over the past few years nearly every woodworking YouTube channel has shown them. I think Paul let his mind get away this time.
    PS: I was one of the people to put in a request for Paul’s kit. it was a joy to build it with my own modifications. it’s brought the greatest joy in using it. 😍

      1. Thank you Sylvain. All too often I see how mere opinion replaces fact. The fact was that ten years ago hardly anyone was using a hand router plane on youtube and they were selling for ten pounds on eBay at that time. I know because I equipped my schools with them and bought them easily for under £20. I started to show what was my technique alone for refining joinery (they were hitherto completely unknown for) having used the techniques in my hands-on classes for the previous decades and subsequently online too and people adopted it with relish. That was when the prices started to shoot up, tripling and quadrupling in a single year. Since then many non-gurus and gurus alike have adopted the systems I alone developed; my mortise guides came along in tandem too, and now all have become standard practice. I continue to assert my right to my work and rightly so. In a new world where misquotes say everyone is supposedly “entitled to their opinion” things can be said that does not match reality. Everyone is entitled to their opinion is only a half quote of what was actually quoted. And because it is not the whole quote I think it best to add the missing part, which would make it read more truthfully and practically as follows: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as it is based on fact.” Opinions may be well and good, and in free-speech democracies, we might all feel good about that, but what if someone says, for instance, “Paul Sellers is an utter liar.” when he actually didn’t lie in any way?

  10. Anyone, would mesquite make a good router base since it a very stable and hard wood? I live in Texas where mesquite is often thought a weed or BBQ wood rather than a wood for fine woodworking.

    1. The only issue might be that it is very brittle and can leave colour on the wood being worked. That said, I would definitely enjoy a mesquite version and do not think either of my raisings of concern would stop me.

  11. Watched your video on the router plane. Enjoyed it especially as you detailed every step.
    Liked your jig for clamping the knobs used as handles. Watching you find the center to drill the two knobs for the handles brought up an idea I had while performing similar tasks.
    I was using large diameter dowel for impromptu sanding drums. I was holding them in a piece of baltic birch ply with a 25 mm hole. I realized after my first failed attempt at drill dead center that had I drawn a square with diagonals drawn in that I could locate the center and then center the 25mm hole, then clamp the dowel in the hole and drill exact center.
    So, on your jig, before drilling the hole, draw a square, draw in the diagonals, then drill your hole using the intersection of the diagonals to locate center.

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