If You Can’t Afford One, Build It

One of the great things about woodworking is that you can build a lot of what you need. I had been looking through catalogs for a while, making lists of what tools I needed in order of importance. One that always seemed to get bumped down the list as time went on was a router plane. To date, I hadn’t had a real need for one. So, it could wait.

Then, one night I was working on a project that required a bunch of dados. I wanted them to be as flat as possible, so just paring them by eye wasn’t good enough. Time and money wouldn’t allow an overnight order of a router plane. So, I was stuck. But then I remembered a video I saw from Paul Sellers. He took an old 1/2 chisel and a piece of 2×4 and turned it into a type of router plane that used to be called an Old Widow’s Tooth. Not a very complimentary name, but something quick and simple I could whip up. Well, simple is not a word I often apply to my work.

I eschewed the 2×4, and instead laminated a couple pieces of mahogany together, then cut and drum sanded the desired shape. The hole was bored with a 1/2 inch auger bit, using a bevel gauge to guide my hand. I chiseled the hole square, so the 1/2 chisel I planned to use would fit flat. Then, a wedge made of maple, also scraps lying around the shop.

The resulting OWT plane is shown below, along with a sample of a dado (in a 2×4, a much better use for it)

owt2 owt1

owt3 owt6



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