Making Your Own Block Plane

Woodworking Workshop
Making Your Own Block Plane

In this basic woodworking tutorial, David Picciuto of Make Something fashions a lovely block plane from (gasp) coconut palm. And he doesn’t care that the haters are gonna hate.

Regular YouTubers put up with a lot of crap. Every time you post something, you can expect a lot of carping, correcting, naysaying, and just plain mean-spirited commenting. It comes with the territory, but it can be wearying to the creative spirit. Periodically, that frustrations boils over into the videos, as makers jokingly anticipate and respond up front to the anticipated criticism.

In this video, Dave knows that some viewers are going to react to his use of an known difficult, splintery exotic wood and to the fact that he doesn’t use the official term for the plane’s blade (called an iron). I love his addressing the camera repeatedly, asking: “Can we just have some fun here? Is it cool if we just have some fun?…Even if we get the terminology wrong, even if this thing doesn’t work out, we’re just going to have some fun.” Sounds good to me!

YouTube player

The build is fairly straight-forward and a decent project for a woodshop newbie to tackle. And when you’re done, you end up with an everyday tool that will give you a little rush of self-satisfaction every time you reach for it. “I made that!”

The plane basically consists of a front and back piece, two sides, a dowel to hold it all together, and the blade… er iron. That’s about it. Once these pieces are cut and glued up, it’s just a question of shaping the plane so that it’s comfortable in your hand. Then it’s a matter of properly seating and wedging the iron. And you’re done.

In the end, even working with a difficult wood and kind of making it all up as he went along, the resulting tool is beautiful and it works like a charm. And all along, “we were just having fun.”

BTW: Note his use of adhesive-backed sandpaper, something Dave swears by and I really want to check out.

You can see a brief tutorial with more images and a full tools and materials list on Dave’s website.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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