Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fun With Raised Door Panel Planes At Woodworking In America

So I am gearing up to be at the Woodworking In America Show in a couple of weeks. It has been a funny back and forth game. Am I going, am I not? I rented a booth about six months ago and then canceled it when I realized with all the work I had on my plate there was no way I would have time to prepare what I wanted to present, which was planes.

Well wouldn't you know it, Peter Galbert calls me and has space in his double booth for me if I want to use it. OK, I say, I will go if you twist my arm. If he only knew I was secretly planning on showing up, be a party crasher, and hang out in his booth uninvited. I knew he would be too embarrassed to tell me to go home. OK, maybe that is not true, but I obviously have wanted to go this year and looks like I will.

So I won't have all the planes ready that I want to show off. In fact, I will probably only have two sets of planes for sale since I am so ill prepared but if you have wanted to try out some traditional 18th century style planes then here is your chance. I will have some moulding planes (hollows, rounds, custom profiles) and bench planes on hand.

With that said I wanted to show off a plane for making raised door panels. It features a skewed blade for making really smooth cross grain cuts without splintering. I was inspired to make this plane after seeing it in use on The Woodwright's Shop with Roy Underhill episode 3209 of the 2012-13 season. Go to the 21:30 minute mark and you will see his in use. I think he says this is circa 1830 plane that he is using.

On the fly, I threw together two videos of the plane making the long grain and the cross grain cuts. I didn't plan this video so, as you can see, I didn't make the cross grain cuts first as you actually do in making a real door panel but this gives you an idea of how it looks in action. I am cutting this in walnut so you can imagine how nice this will cut everything else. Hope you like them!

Long grain cut.

Cross grain cut.


  1. Your planes look amazing. I love the diamond strike button. Very 18th century traditional. Will you be making bench planes for sale and if so, when might they be available on-line? I really hope you continue to pursue plane making. There is a definite need for traditional wooden bench planes.

    1. Jamie,

      I have to be careful, as I am really good at taking on too much work. I am close to start promoting my planes and taking orders on a more full-time basis. I think WIA will get the ball rolling without taking off uncontrollably so that I can gage the amount of interest and how much I will be dedicating to this art. I currently make chairs and do design work full time but this I feel will continue to expand more than it already is in the back ground now.

  2. I have got to get to the show now, the plane looks superb. The smooth end grain cut on the walnut was excellent.
    As soon as I complete my 1/2 set of hollows and rounds I would like to try and make this.

  3. Doug,

    I plan to put up a bench plane plan as soon as I have it together. I suggest making one with a straight iron first as a starter. The skewed blade adds more than double the complexity to making these. You will need to have some special made floats to produce the skewed abutment faces and other areas where the bed and abutment walls meet. The angles all change slightly at different points depending on were you are shaping inside the wedge mortise. Oh and the wedge is more difficult to make as you would expect.

  4. Caleb,
    Good advice, I'm really not experienced enough yet to handle the skewed blade.
    Your short video teasers just got me excited, I'll take a step back and breathe deep!

    1. Doug,

      Oh my goodness! Have you seen the Popular Woodworking Magazine cover? How to make a raised panel plane! What a coincidence. I had to buy it. My plane is quite different and the approach to the construction process is different for a number or reasons but you should check it out if you want to give it a try or wait on me and I will post some plans of my own based on my plane.

      So weird.

    2. Caleb,
      I haven't received that issue yet. I'll see if the digital on line version is available?

  5. Your cross grain work with the panel raiser is awesome. Great plane. I always have massive breakage on the far edge of the board. I usually cut cross grain first, then long grain to clean up the carnage. Maybe I need one of your planes!

    1. Yeah the panel raiser is really fun to use. I recommend doing the cross grain first. I threw together these on the fly and did them out of order.

  6. Caleb,

    Do you have plans for the panel raising plane as you do with the others you have? I'd be interested in making one. Thank you and great work!


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