Tongue Plane

I have been needing a Tongue and Groove Plane Set.  Not needing as in really wanting one.  Needing as in there is no other good way to do what I need to do.  Small changes in life require different tooling.

My car got hit.  The insurance company insists there is no such thing as loss of value when a car gets hit.  Even though they have  to pay for that loss in other states, Texas is all about rugged individualism.  In other words Texas protects the insurance companies instead of citizens.   In our “proving” there was a loss of value we decided to look at what a car company would give for our car as a trade in.  In doing so, we evaluated the cost of keeping our old car and the repairs that would now increase vs having a car payment.  We decided to get a Prius.  Better gas mileage, less impact on the climate,  but now my trailer is useless, and I can’t pick up a sheet of plywood anymore.  I can however manage a few boards.  To do the same thing with boards as I do with plywood, I need a tongue and groove plane set.

If the insurance company, call them Anole Insurance, had done the right thing, I would be able to squeak out enough to get a lovely Lie Nielsen T & G plane.  I probably would have, it is a sweet, sweet tool.   Sadly however I will have to make my own tool.  🙂

Needing a blade that was not spoken for, and needing it pretty quickly, I went and looked for something to make a blade out of quick.  A spade bit can be a really good quick bit, but I saw something that also had some other nifty parts, and the price was right, so I looked real close at the $10 plane from Harbor Freight.    I bought two of them.  They don’t have an adjustable mouth, but for a tongue plane I don’t need and adjustable mouth.

So the first thing I did was to alter the blades.  One blade I put  a 1/6″ gap in and ground a HSS blank to the same width.  The other blade has a 1/4″ gap with the matching HSS blank.   The HSS blanks are going to be the blades for the grooving plane.


To mount a guide on the side of the plane I drilled and threaded a hole for a bolt to go in.


Note that the bolt is in the wrong side of the plane.  The fence needs to be near the notch in the blade.

Here it is with the fence properly installed.


Here is a nice rough piece of cedar for testing the plane.


First a light pass just to establish lines.


I shaved the far end before shaving the near end.  This seems to work better.

Then I started taking decent shavings.


Cute little plane does a pretty decent job, all I need now is a matching plane for grooves.


I will need to open the mouth up a bit more to stop it from clogging up on the last passes.

I plan to make another since I prefer plane blades that I adjust with a hammer to planes with adjusting knobs.  But for a screw adjusted plane, this is pretty sweet.




3 comments to Tongue Plane

  • Bryan

    Just bought a couple of these, nice planes. I am just starting a collection of planes, mostly rebuidling them. I have the best way to clean off rust, place in nonconductive tub, put piece if scrap iron on plus lead, connect plane to negative. Use a solution of bicarbonate of soda for the electrolyte. It will plate steel and resolve pits, then wax on painted parts and paint others!

    My question, how did you cut the blades on the planes?

  • Bob Strawn

    I modified a cut-off saw to have a clamp that was quite secure. Then I used the cut off saw to cut a groove in the clamp. Since the groove lines up exactly it is easy to line up a cut and exactly take the line when cutting.


  • Wyatt

    This is ingenious.

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