Kerfing Plane

So I purchased the metal hardware to build a frame saw and kerfing plane from Bad Axe Tool Works. This was, for me, an intimidating project to build these tools using only hand tools. The plans I used are from Tom Fidgen's The Unplugged Workshop. The plane, in particular. Here's how that went.

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I started with a small slab of Koa. It’s a special plane, so I decided to use some of the special wood I had bought when I had lived in Hawaii. I printed out the plan for the plane body at actual size and traced it out. I placed the plane blade here so I could better visualize what I was doing.

Here’s what it looks like all penciled out.

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I cut out part of the body with a Carcase saw and my bow saw. Then came the scary part: carefully drilling out the holes for the special screws (forget the name of these) that would hold the blade in place.

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You have to drill two holes on each side so that these screws sit flush. Not easy to do with with a hand drill, I discovered.

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Here’s a View of cutting the inside handle hold with my bow saw.

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And then some heavy and tedious filing to get everything down to the lines and smoothed out.

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The threads in the plane body and the threads for the bolts are created with a thread cutter.

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And here is how the screws are made for the arms. I used walnut because it’s pretty easy to work with, relatively speaking.

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Rough cut for each wooden bolt. Then file them out to round them.

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The completed arms with the bolts. These fit into the plane body like so, using the threads I created.

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The most terrifying part of the plane build was cutting the kerf to fit the blade. It had to be perfect, so I created a jig to guide my saw and went really, really slow.

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So I created this fence for the plane and glued it up, then realized I had made a terrible mistake. It’s way too thick. It needs to rest against the blade, but this fence hits the plane body and was a total fail. Not sure how I got to this point, but there it is. So what to do?

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I could have started all over with the plane fence, but I decided to salvage it. So that’s why you see these interesting light colored things that look like joints that don’t joint anything. I installed a proper smaller fence arm. I tried to make the mistake look like a feature and not a bug. Here, you can see the blade is installed.

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A view of the final plane from the another angle.

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Here it is in action, cutting the kerf on a board that I’m going to resew with the frame saw. The wooden bolts lock the fence in place to get the desired line.

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And that kerf gives you a good line all around the board to help keep the frame saw cutting true.

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The result is resawed boards that are far better than I’d get than without using the Kerfing Plane.

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Troy Kitch @troykitch
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