We are pleased to now offer tapered plane irons to those who wish to build a wooden bench plane. Input for these iron designs came from two contemporary plane makers: Steve Voigt of Voigt Planes, and Darryl Gent, who is on Instagram. These two makers shared their experience and insights about irons, and, in particular, double iron plane making.
These irons are made of O-1 tool steel, and have the same 1/2° taper as the molding plane irons we use in molding planes. We start with 3/16″ thick stock for all sizes of these irons, with the finished thickness at the cutting edge slightly less than that. The tang end is approximately 1/8″ thick, depending on which size, as they all have different lengths.
There is the option of a cap iron slot for those wishing to make a double ironed plane. Slots are all 7/16″ with with a hole at the tang end that is 3/4″ in diameter for the cap screw head to slip through. Overall slot length is 3 1/4″.
We have added another tapered iron option; the 1 3/4″ size in an unhardened state. These are meant for those who wish to make a profiled plane, such as a panel raising plane, and need to do extensive shaping of the cutting edge. There is also no bevel on these irons. Heat treating will need to be done by the user.
These irons have been heat treated to a hardness of 60-62 Rc, and given a cryogenic treatment (-300° F). The cryogenic treatment is meant to reduce internal stresses and improve the wear resistance of the cutting edge.
Currently we are offering three sizes as follows:
- Smoothing plane, 1 3/4″ wide by 7″ long.
- Jack plane, 2″ wide by 7 1/4″ long.
- Jointer Plane, 2 1/2″ wide by 8 1/8″ long.
These irons have not been flattened or sharpened. They do have a 30° bevel, and the heat treat process was professionally done by a vendor who specializes in blades.
Warping has been in our experience minimal. The cost of the material and the manufacturing processes of these irons is fairly high, and in an effort to offer them as reasonably priced as possible, we chose to not do any final sharpening. Also, the customer may want a camber or a radius on their iron, so it makes sense to leave them in this state.
Prices range from $64 for a smoothing iron with no slot to $79 for the jointer iron with a slot.