Making a Coffin Smoother Plane | Upcycling a generic woodworking hand plane

Making a Coffin Smoother Plane | Upcycling a generic woodworking hand plane

In this video, I take a cheap, generic hand plane I bought for a few cents at a local second-hand sale, and by re-using the iron and chip breaker, I am able to create a coffin-style plane out of a block of cherry I had laying around.

Rather than mortising out a single, large block of wood, I laminated two thinner pieces together from a longer piece. This facilitated the build process in a number of ways, but it also added other slight complications.

Please note that I am not an expert of planes, particularly wooden body planes. I really enjoy hand-tool woodworking and sharing my experiences, however. So, my hope is that if you want to build a traditional style coffin plane smoother (as opposed to the kind with a bar running through the body to resist the wedge), then this video can give you some ideas.

Some considerations and observations:
1. I recommend a harder wood than what I used, or laminating a harder sole onto it. I used cherry, and it works fine. I don’t, however, expect it to last too too long against really difficult woods.

2. I made sure to orient the grain so as, when planing forward, you are essentially “going with” the grain.

3. Start by making the plane oversize in terms of length. Then, clamp both pieces together and drill through them in 3-4 places in areas that will become waste. Then, insert dowels or screws. You can use these as locator pins so you can consistently and quickly put the halves together, especially when gluing.

4. Before cutting the abutment, make a wedge template like David W does when he makes planes. Use that template to create your wedge area/abutment. Check out this really detailed series here: https://youtu.be/QaaYobORdA0

5. I left some room for the front of the mouth, but I shouldn’t have. The result was a HUGE opening of the mouth. Make it almost nothing and create a small “wear” angle as discussed by Rex Kreuger in his video here, around minute 11:

Note, however, that the wear angle can interfere with shaving escapement. He says he had to remove the wear almost in its entirety. I’d say, leave a slight wear angle so you can open up the mouth just enough. Now, the reason I didn’t is simply because of 1) inexperience and 2) I had already finished making my own plane when Rex’s video came out. That video helped me understand the geometry of the mouth a lot better. In fact, while I was researching how to make a coffin plane, I was looking specifically for information on that secondary angle, and obviously I didn’t look hard enough.

6. After making the abutments, you need to taper them toward the front of the plane to allow the shavings to escape. Be careful, though, as you do not want to weaken that area where the wedge is secured in place (the abutment).

7. You can make your plane whatever shape you want, but the traditional coffin style is very much like an oval. It isn’t that rectangular at all. FYI.

Some more suggestions for channels to watch about plane making:

Young Je: https://youtu.be/JRT6_BcWbNU
This guy is awesome. You won’t regret it.

Somukun: https://youtu.be/TZ7zP4pajYo
This guy does a laminated style plane, and it is very well done!

I hope this has been a helpful and enjoyable build for you! Please do leave your comments to help others in the future!

If you have time, please visit my other social links and whatnot:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thehandtoolery/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheHandToolery
My Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHandToolery

All the best,
Andrew

48 Comments

  1. justin woods on October 12, 2022 at 1:26 am

    You don’t need to lubricate the wooden sole. That’s the one benefit from using wooden planes. The wooden sole acts like it’s own lubricant unlike metal planes you have to lubricate



  2. Brads Workbench on October 12, 2022 at 1:29 am

    Did u say that was rusty? Or were u talking about before u cleaned it?



  3. Andrei Charpentier Quesada on October 12, 2022 at 1:29 am

    Its impresionant how much you can communicate(speak). You spoke more in 10min than me in whole week.
    Great job i was considering make me various handplanes with this method of make the plane in two pieces and you finish of convice me



  4. sanderelo on October 12, 2022 at 1:30 am

    Cool!



  5. fletchro789 on October 12, 2022 at 1:30 am

    Great work! Thanks for showing your process! I think it was a great choice to just use clamps to keep your halves together until you were sure it worked!



  6. WOODY W on October 12, 2022 at 1:31 am

    Very nice….You are talented, & most of all a Gentleman….Thank You for this video



  7. Sean McGown on October 12, 2022 at 1:31 am

    That’s a heck of a job.



  8. steersman1803 on October 12, 2022 at 1:31 am

    You’re a fine woodworker anfd can be proud of that plane it will serve you well.The best plane i have in my collection is my wooden Emir brand coffin smoother . Does a real good job not only because it’s wood but has a really thick blade too.



  9. Dave Turnbull on October 12, 2022 at 1:31 am

    I’ve got somewhere in the region of 20 coffin smoothers that came from car boot sales (about £1 each). Most of the bodies are in a terrible state (splits etc) but the blades are ok. I think I’ll have to get some non-pine wood and have a go at one of these since you made it look so good.



  10. Jim Bo on October 12, 2022 at 1:33 am

    That plane will be improved enormously with an upgraded blade like a Hock or Veritas. However, the blade might be good enough if it is old.
    It’s worth padding the crutch between the blade and body where your index finger can get wedged when pushing. I have foam in one plane and a shaped wooden one in another.



  11. Daniel Attencio on October 12, 2022 at 1:34 am

    That was a collector plane worth probably $10,000 or more………….Just kidding. Nice project, keep up the good work.



  12. luiz claudio costa de carvalho carvalho on October 12, 2022 at 1:35 am

    pure talent, congratulations, I’ll continue to accompany you in Brazil



  13. Juliano Matsumoto on October 12, 2022 at 1:36 am

    Nice! There are no limits!



  14. Mark Gray on October 12, 2022 at 1:40 am

    beautiful job!



  15. James Harris on October 12, 2022 at 1:42 am

    BOILED LINSEED OIL WOULD HAVE MADE NICER FINISH BUT REALLY NICE PLANE I LIKE THEM WITH THE WEDGE MUCH BETTER THAN IT BEING HELD IN WITH A PIN



  16. Rocket Creations on October 12, 2022 at 1:42 am

    The original handplane was a Stanley Defiance series. Only really identifiable by the stained handles and iron/body with "made in USA" markings. I have one and its a nice little smoother with sentimental value.



  17. Bob1Mack on October 12, 2022 at 1:42 am

    Hand tool work sounds so much better!



  18. James T Kirk on October 12, 2022 at 1:42 am

    Would making the escapement less steep aid in the ejection? Also, Sharpening the chip breaker a bit steeper, ie: more curve will help as well. I realize you don’t have this plane anymore. Just asking.



  19. William Meszaros on October 12, 2022 at 1:43 am

    Good idea to make it in half Bill



  20. Bill Coughenour on October 12, 2022 at 1:45 am

    Great job, and awesome explanation step by step. I haven’t seen someone do a split cut out before glue up. Outstanding. I’ve been thinking of building my own scrapper and I’ll refer back to this video.



  21. Dr. Muto on October 12, 2022 at 1:46 am

    Very nice… now to never find this video again though I’ve favorited it because "how to make a wooden coffin style plane" means I want a wooden aircraft.



  22. Fernando Lobão em Oficna de Apto on October 12, 2022 at 1:46 am

    Parabéns, continuo acompanhando seus vídeos seguindo de um Like.



  23. Pablo Saez on October 12, 2022 at 1:47 am

    Muy bien explicado…….excelente.



  24. Chip Lane on October 12, 2022 at 1:48 am

    Wow! What a great build! I usually restore hand planes, but lately I have been bitten by the build-your-own plane bug. This was inspirational. Always love your videos. Thanks for sharing this.



  25. Yang Ji on October 12, 2022 at 1:49 am

    Great project. I think the glue up method is so much easier than cutting everything with chisels and floats. I would take your advice and make it 50 maybe 55 angle and a little shorter.
    Sounds like you were calling my name at 28:48. I know you were not.
    Another good channel on this topic is Stavros Gakos, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPWTutgaoHuQcovRSjyeFOA/videos



  26. Jimi Timbers on October 12, 2022 at 1:52 am

    Love it! Great job!! 😁🌲



  27. nllaeder on October 12, 2022 at 1:54 am

    Alfie Shine, homie.



  28. Ibrhem Ahmed on October 12, 2022 at 1:56 am

    Thank you very much
    what is matter do you put on the back block plane?



  29. James Lucas on October 12, 2022 at 1:58 am

    Pretty good job. Now consider the difficulty in chopping this out without it in two halves.
    Do not ever suggest a word to David W however. His camera work is 6 ft to the side. His suggestion is to listen don’t watch.
    I think your design is great. I like it far more than the Krenov. The planes open mouth allows it to be a good smoother or an even better scrub by changing the blade.
    Good luck. You seem to be doing fine.
    One question, is that a real Apron or a Sears Apron?



  30. A mesa com a Grim on October 12, 2022 at 1:59 am

    Cool



  31. Momir Zecevic on October 12, 2022 at 1:59 am

    Congratulations on your first one. It wont be last, trust me. They are pure joy to use and to make.



  32. Wood By Wright on October 12, 2022 at 2:00 am

    Sweetness!



  33. Genardus Faberus on October 12, 2022 at 2:00 am

    Great job!



  34. BARTLEY WESLEY on October 12, 2022 at 2:01 am

    Very nice! I’ve been thinking of doing something similar with parts from an old Craftsman smoother. I noticed your router plane, too — is that shopmade as well?



  35. Jeff Meer on October 12, 2022 at 2:01 am

    I’m sure I’ve seen inserts of very hard wood placed in front of the mouths of wooden planes to compensate for wear. The site was showing how wooden plane’s mouth’s became larger as the bottoms wore. This could address both your mouth size issue and the softness of the cherry, plus it would cross the glue seam just in front of the mouth. If memory serves, about an 8th to a quarter inch thick, by about an inch by the width of the plane. Sorry I don’t remember the site.



  36. Mike Bennett on October 12, 2022 at 2:01 am

    Nice job. If you get a thicker Hock blade, you can get rid of the chip breaker and move the blade edge closer to the front of the throat at the same time. It should give you better cross/end grain performance.



  37. rosangela lima on October 12, 2022 at 2:02 am

    Eu não sei o que essa caixa representa mais ela ficou muito bonitinha , fique com Deus



  38. R. Mercado on October 12, 2022 at 2:03 am

    Giving the plane away is a true blessing! Many more to come your way!



  39. ared18t on October 12, 2022 at 2:05 am

    Use a little metal hammer for adjusting the plane iron’s depth I’d say one that is cute in size the smaller Mass should make it easier to adjust



  40. Jeremey Weeks on October 12, 2022 at 2:05 am

    This is the first video of yours that I’ve watched–haven’t even finished it. I love your jig or whatever that you use with your plane! Going to steal that idea–I have a 606 plane that is so big for a lot of pieces but it would work well with your solution. Thanks!



  41. The Every Maker - Nick on October 12, 2022 at 2:10 am

    I’ve been seeing more and more people making their own planes. I think I’m going to have to cannibalize one of my junk planes and make one too. Yours came out extremely nice!



  42. Skooma Steve on October 12, 2022 at 2:11 am

    I love your stuff bro!! Thanks for the awesome content!!



  43. Mikhandmaker on October 12, 2022 at 2:13 am

    Nice build man! It works very well

    Congratulations!



  44. R. Mercado on October 12, 2022 at 2:13 am

    The process I thought was wonderful! Current time line: 23:38…



  45. Brennan Koechlin on October 12, 2022 at 2:13 am

    I believe the metal plane is a stanley defiance, I have one identical



  46. MC's Creations on October 12, 2022 at 2:14 am

    Beautiful work, Andrew! Nicely done! 😃
    I know it’s an old video, but… Well, I just watched it. 😊
    Anyway, stay safe there with your family! 🖖😊



  47. The Wood Yogi on October 12, 2022 at 2:19 am

    Great video 🙂 So much fun Andrew 🙂 I’ve also considered making a coffin smoother for a few years and this was really helpful. woodkiefer1 recently gave a glimpse of his wooden plane that has an adjustable mouth. Something that could be a great addition ॐ



  48. Yaşar Mevlütoğlu on October 12, 2022 at 2:20 am

    По русский называется Халтура,По Турецкий ,, Чакма,,