New Handle for my Plane

published on 2015-03-17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It’s come around again, that fine day where we go around pinching people if they’re not wearing green. Ostensibly, this is because… yay Irish people? Or something. All I see is another opportunity for college-aged kids to drink heavily (not that they particularly NEED a reason) and exercise good-spirited stereotyping. That said, I’m wearing my St Patrick’s day shirt:


To top that off, it’s the same one I’ve worn for the last…. 7 years? Something like that. Heh, I think I’ve only worn it 7 times, too :-)

ANY WAYZ! This post isn’t about St. Patrick’s Day, it’s about the new handle for my plane that I finished building last night. It’s the one on the left.

New handle with the old one in the background

It wasn’t too difficult, but I get a weird joy out of building tools or parts for tools. I mean, I’m building things which I’m going to use to build other things; at some point, it starts feeling like a feedback loop. Also, it feels good to make a tool (or, in this case, a part of a tool) which is customized to me, to how I’m going to be using it, and to how I grip it. The new one is a little bit thicker and a little less rounded which should make for less fatigue on my palm when I’m planing for a while.

Detail on the broken part

In the picture above, you can see where the old handle broke. When I got it, the handle was broken like this. At that time, I bought a nice chunk of walnut to make a new handle, but I chickened out, put the walnut aside, and just glued the hell out of the old handle. That stayed together for quite a while, several months. That is, until I had a temper tantrum with a particularly difficult piece of wood and I slammed the plane down a couple times; that broke the handle again.

Not long ago, I booked myself in an instructional workshop on how to use maintain your hand plane, and you can bring your own plane to get it tuned up. I’m pretty excited about the class; I found it at The Sawdust Shop in Santa Clara, and there seem to be a few interesting classes, not to mention available shop time for members. Maybe I’ll get a membership and do my resawing and bigger operations there! Because of the class, I needed to get my plane in working condition and decided to bite the bullet and make the new one. There were some interesting things I had to do, including drilling a hole through the handle the long way for the bolt that holds the handle on, but mostly it was simple and straightforward. And it’s soooo smooth and I think it looks great!

Lemme know what you think about my plane handle, St. Patrick’s Day, or anything else on your mind down in the comments. Until next time, cheers!


I mentioned I was going to the planing class; the instructer liked my plane and said I did a good job on the handle!