Made a plow plane

A while back I got an early plow plane.  It exhibits some characteristics of 18th century English plows, but it was unusable.  I wanted to be able to use that style of plow.  So I made one to fit my full set of Ohio Tool plow irons.

I started with some air-dried walnut that I got from a local farmer. He sells through one of the antique malls.  Split out the body (easier than sawing) and planed it flat and square.  I copied the layout from the example plow and drew it on the body.  A few minutes with a 1/2" center bit, a 3/8" shell bit and some chisels got me here:

After finishing off the body, I worked on the fence. I don't have any
pics in progress, but here is a shot of the arms and the still-square
fence in place on the body.

 I then molded the fence, copying the model.  The ovolo was carved with a paring gouge and then smoothed with a round plane.  The rabbets were cut with my Huntsman Late Moon fillister plane and smoothed with my LN shoulder plane.

I then started on the skate.  I didn't have any steel of the proper width, but I did have some nice copper plate.  One of my favorite things about woodworking is using non-traditional materials in traditional projects.  So I used it to make the skate and the washers for the arm rivets.  The skate was riveted in place using standard
rivets into the countersunk copper plate.  The heads were then filed flush and smooth with the plate. I left the rivet heads on the non-skate side, again copying the way the original was done.  Here is a shot after the finish was applied.

 The wedge was fit after the skate was in place, copying the finial from the existing plow.

My finish was 8 coats of linseed oil followed by 6 coats of blonde shellac.  This was rubbed out with amber paste wax, but I didn't use steel wool as I wanted the shine to stay high.  Here is a shot of the plane in use.  It works great!

I started this plane on Feb. 18th and rubbed out the final finish this afternoon.  So, 8 days start to finish.  Total time is about 25 hours. I've never been much of a toolmaker, but this will definitely not be my last plow.  I picked up a copy of Rosebrook's Wooden Plow book at an antique store today, and I'm thinking about working my way through it.  Now I just need to find enough irons to make it worth my while!


  1. Looks great Zach! You say you've never been much of a tool maker? I think you can safely retract that statement. I can't believe how quickly you did this also. It'd take me eight days to work up the nerve to drill my first hole in that block of walnut. Very inspiring!

  2. Beautiful work! How close is your depth stop to the skate? The plow I use has the same type of depth stop, however, it is too far from the skate to be useful for most cabinet work. Makes me think it was originally a joiners plow, perhaps for making entry doors.

  3. Jamie,
    Thank you for your kind words. I've made a few tools for myself, but the work that others do has always put me to shame. I'm finally happy with a tool that I've made, at least happy enough to show off a little. Never be intimidated to try something!

    The plane is designed to take an iron of 5/8" maximum width. So half of that is 5/16". I added a tiny bit for wiggle room (maybe a 1/16"). The depth stop is another 1/16 or so beyond that, so its about 7/16" or a 1/2" or so. I didn't measure, just used the original to lay it out. If the depth stop is too far, like on your plow, it would be tough to use on thinner stock, as you noted.