Building Unconventional Try Plane,
Inspired by Three Centuries
of British Plane Making
The classic 22” beech try
plane has not altered in form much since the middle of the 18th century.
Having recently finished making a version of an early 18th century jack plane, I
decided it might be nice to make a try plane to partner it.
Rather than sticking to the tried and tested formula I have set out to address
some of the issues I had with the design, and drawing inspiration from a number
of planes in my own collection, endeavored to come up with a fresh approach to
this planes build.
I also made the decision to make two planes this time as the design is
I’m left handed, and thinking that it would be nice for everyone to be able to
experience using the plane, I made a pair. This also gave me the chance to
experiment with some slight design differences to see what worked best. One
plane was made with air dried English beech, while the other is European steamed
beech. One plane also has a parallel iron while the other is tapered.
The heart of any plane is its iron, and after experimenting over the years with
all sorts of steel, my favoured choice is still a good old fashioned high carbon
Sheffield laminated iron.
It would have been nice to have used a modern manufactured blade built to the
same specifications, but alas they are not available. Fortunately here in
Britain, vintage irons are still available by the bucket load. I also decided to
use blades with a back iron as I consider this the easiest way of dealing with
tear out on a wooden plane build.