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Make a Plane from a Kit: Brese Small Smoother - beginnings

comments (2) June 15th, 2009 in blogs

Regards_from_Perth Derek Cohen, member
thumbs up 6 users recommend

About a year ago Ron Brese offered a couple of his small smoothers in kit form. I jumped at the opportunity since I had long admired the model for this plane, Karl Holtey’s 11-S.

The Holtey 11-S

Ron’s version offered pre-assembled metal work, and essentially all one had to do was fit the infill. This little smoother is 6 ½” long with a 1 ½” wide 7/32” thick blade. Construction is metal-to-metal with screws. At the time of the offer, the basic model was all brass, and later this became brass sides on a steel sole.

Ron and I discussed possibilities and we reached agreement on a rather unique combination. He would prepare for me an all-steel construction with a 60° bed. I planned to use Ebony for infill.

Now time has gone by and I have used every excuse in the book why I have not got my act together and built the kit. I mean how hard is it to fit infill! I have done this a couple of times before, so it is not exactly an unknown phenomenon. I think there were three kits on offer. Jameel Abraham got his done pretty damn quick, and oh my, what a beautiful job he did ..

Well I won’t repeat the excuses. I have finally got around to the kit … well, partially. I only have the one piece of Ebony that is the correct size, and I don’t want to screw it up. So I decided to infill the smoother with a practice piece of Jarrah to work out the kinks. I thought that I would even stain it as close to Ebony as possible to get an idea of how it will look.

So this I did today. And there are a multitude of pictures to amuse or bore you with. A veritable picture show of infilling a plane using a mix of power and hand tools. So for you Ron …

First I must say that Ron has done an amazing job in machining this kit. Every angle was spot-on.

OK, so the first thing to do is cut the infill to size on a tablesaw and plane it to fit. Then cut one side at 60° and the other at 20°. I won’t bore you with that. The result is here …

Make sure that the angles are spot-on .. square to the mouth ..

Now mark off the dimensions of the infill …

The next bit is only for the experienced or the nutters. I am comfortable using a disk sander for grinding, and used it here for shaping the curves at the ends. First bandsawed, then sanded. Gets it done quickly.

Leave it slightly oversize ..

Holtey shapes the top surface of his infills flat. I think that Ron does as well. I had in mind something a little different. I just could not imagine flat being comfortable, so I decided to shape in a little round to the top. Quite subltle – you might miss it unless looking ..

Shaping was easier with a block plane.

Once this was done I could position the infills for screws. I needed to hold the infills in the correct position to finish the shaping.

So back to the disk sander to finish the ends ..

Here is the infill marked for chamfering. The ends of the plane need to be rounded for handling.

And back to the disk sander .. (y’all need one of these boys and girls) ..

The result ..

Now soften the lower edge with sandpaper - not the top edge. This is needed to maintain the profile.

Now it is time to round the sides. What I did was to chamfer the top of the plane with a file, making it flow into the infill.

OK, once this is done a little sanding to 240 grit completed the work, and we were ready for staining the Jarrah. I removed the infills and gave them several coats of black stain. The Jarrah is very hard and the stain does not soak in that deeply or completely. The effect is to darken the Jarrah, removing the red tinge. I like the result. Mmm… if the Ebony does not work out I can always use these.

After the stain dried I added a couple of coats of buffing oil. This helped darken the wood slightly. Lastly I buffed on a little Shellawax, which is a hard shellac and wax mixture.

So here it the assembled plane .. of course, the metal work has yet to be finished, but it is now easier to see how it might look .

And of course I honed the blade and took a few shavings. Well, it is not perfect – lots of tuning (mouth is too tight). Also, Ron I am not sure if the front infill if correct at 20°. There is not much room for clearing shavings and they bunch up.

Regards from Perth


posted in: blogs, workshop, tool, tool chest

Comments (2)

shakychisel shakychisel writes: Derek, As with Ed P., a very enjoyable read... I've only ever made a small shoulder plane,but this sort of project has the ole onkaparigas itching!

Good stuff!

Posted: 10:50 pm on June 26th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: This post was an absolute pleasure to browse through, Derek.

Many thanks,


Posted: 9:06 pm on June 24th

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