View Full Version : Need advice on buying finger planes

Matt the Mead Maker
Mar-15-2008, 4:49pm
Hello all. #I'm putting together my tool collection for my first build (stew-mac F5). #I'm trying to figure out the terminology for finger planers. #Obviously, I need planers that will lend themselves for making an arch-top.

Internation Violin sells the following kinds of planes and I want to make sure I'm getting the right type:

1) arched sole
2) flat bottom
3) Rounded sole

I need the arched sole, right? #Thanks! The McRostie video refers to "convex finger planes" and I'm trying to figure out if that's what IV is selling for a much cheaper price than stew-mac.

Mar-15-2008, 5:37pm
arched = round = convex = what you want

You probably only want to get one small one to start. StewMac, IV and everyone else carries the IBEX brand, but IV also has other more highfalutin types.

Matt the Mead Maker
Mar-16-2008, 1:43am
arched = round = convex = what you want

You probably only want to get one small one to start. #StewMac, IV and everyone else carries the IBEX brand, but IV also has other more highfalutin types.
Thanks for the reply. So why does IV sell 10 mm bladed planes under different catalog numbers for both rounded sole (T17) and arched Sole (T170)? I mean, if they're the same thing, why not the same catalog number and same price?


That's where I'm confused.

Geoff B
Mar-16-2008, 2:53am
Apparently there are two makers, Ibex and whatever other "german made". If I were using those words to describe them, I'd call it arched if it is curved in one direction only, usually front-to-back. I'd call it rounded if it is curved front-to-back and side-to-side, or more commonly called convex (like the surface of a ball...)
HOWEVER, based on the results, it looks like they are both "convex" which would be curved like the surface of a ball. Silly marketing terminology.
I've got an idea for you, though... make them! there are many tutorials onlie, here is the one that got me started on it:Alan Dunwell Article (http://www.dunwellguitar.com/FingerPlanes/MyDesign.htm) you can make your own curvature to customize it out...:)

Mar-16-2008, 11:54am
IV's webiste can be a little confusing at times. If you do order anything from them, request the print catalog along with it. Things are better organized with more pictures and more items than online. I bought one of the small ones (10 mm i think) and then once I had used it on a couple instruments and felt I understood how it worked, I built a couple larger ones. I got the "replacement" ibex blades for them from iv.

Matt the Mead Maker
Mar-17-2008, 11:07am
Thanks for the advice, folks - that's a big help! I'll have to try making a finger plane down the line, too.

Matt the Mead Maker
Mar-24-2008, 11:27pm
Well, the IBEX finger planes came in the mail today. #One thing I think I've noticed from the MacRostie video is that the blade on his 10mm finger plane looks like it's been modifed. #Specifically, the outer corners on his blade look like they've been rounded so that the edge of the blade is not straight across. #It's more like this (

Am I imagining this difference? #That alteration looks like it would help in creating a recurve without continually cutting into the outer/higher side of the recurve itself. #Any thoughts on that (potentially incorrect) observation?

Michael Lewis
Mar-25-2008, 12:02am
Matt, the outer edges of the iron should be relieved sufficiently that they do not cut quite as deep as the center. If you received an iron that is flat across the cutting edge and the sole of the plane in rounded you have the wrong iron. Sometimes a new iron will have slightly less curve than the sole of the plane, causing it to leave grooves with the outer edges as you make a cut. This is where you get to develop your sharpening skills to remedy the situation.

Keep it sharp http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif

Matt the Mead Maker
Mar-25-2008, 12:26am
Michael - after reading your post and looking very closely, I think there might be a very, very slight arc to the blade but it's nothing compared to the MacRostie blade in that I've got very distinct corners on my blade. #While I don't have a camera good enough for close-ups, here are 2 pics of the MacRostie blade:



While those aren't stellar screenshots, you can see that the outer edges of the blade where the corners would be are distinctly curved. #Is that what everyone else's blades look like? #I don't want to bother International Violin if they've shipped me the right blade. #With my blade, you'd really have to look at it and kind of want to see an arc to it.

Mar-25-2008, 9:29am
It's hard to say without seeing yours, but Don's looks very different from mine. Mine has corners and the curve (on the smallest size iron at least) is pretty subtle. Either there's some funky lighting in those pics or Don reground his. I know that on mine if I set the blade too far out the bottom I do get big scratches from the corners. You can either just take lighter cuts or do as Don did.

Mar-25-2008, 3:26pm
The new IBEX planes will need a bit of work to get them really usable. You should reshape the blade slightly on the corners (don't need to do it as much as don has done in that above picture, but similarly), and I also curve the sole of the plane a bit more on a 120 grit diamond hone. The caps usually need flattening a bit too, so that chips don't get caught as much.

I'm gonna start making a couple of small planes tonight I think. I just can't see shelling out $45 for something I've got to re-work to get to function properly, but that's just me. I like my small Ibex, but I need a larger one, and those palm planes are expensive.

Peter LaMorte
Mar-25-2008, 4:24pm
How would you go about making a finger plan? Are there any plans for these or are you guys winging it.

Mar-25-2008, 4:49pm
Here (http://www.dunwellguitar.com/FingerPlanes/MyDesign.htm) are some wooden ones that are a bit crude, but will do the job.

Mar-25-2008, 8:52pm

I love the wooden planes. I am going to try my hand at it this weekend. Thanks for the link!! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-26-2008, 1:55pm
I don't think it took me a full hour to re-work the cap-iron as demonstrated on John Hamlett's webpage. I personally don't feel that put out by that level of tweaking to get a tool to work the way I like it. It makes it feel more like MY fingerplane if I've put some time into hot-rodding it. I haven't found it necessary to to regrind the sole or the iron, but I only use mine for light cuts and fine tuning tasks. If I want to remove more material I use a gouge. I think the small ones are a bargain at $45, most of my other carving tools cost about the same and get used less. The bigger ones are a different story of course.

Mar-26-2008, 2:17pm
Here's a link (http://www.hamlettinstruments.com/repair_detail.php?ID=9).

Mar-26-2008, 6:18pm
Here's one I made with the ibex 10mm for scale. I modeled mine more on the ibex than the traditional little box shape because I wanted more to grab on to.

Mar-29-2008, 5:02pm
Check out St. James Tool Company (http://www.stjamesbaytoolco.com/) Go to the "tools" tab and then the "luthiers tools" tab. You will not be disappointed. This guy really knows his stuff and the blades are thick and high grade steel.

Greg N

oldwave maker
Apr-07-2008, 9:37am
I try to incorporate palmrests into my wedges, to spread the hand wear and tear around. Smaller ones have irons made from old files

Matt the Mead Maker
Apr-07-2008, 12:50pm
Bill - I really like your design for the planes. That makes a lot of sense. Just out of curiousity, do you use one of these planes for carving an F5 recurve? If so, did you take the corners off the blade in order to avoid tearing into the "uphill" sides of the recurve?

I've found that using a 3/4" curved gouge and making a lot of shallow cuts is doing a great job with the recurve.