For years I thoroughly enjoyed working wood with a variety of tools, especially hand planes. Over time I have become comfortable in their use but occasionally feel a need to be as accurate as possible, like planing a board edge perfectly straight and square for gluing up a wide panel.
One of the accessories out there to help achieve that end is a hand plane fence added to the side of a plane, aiding the plane for an accurate cut.
If you feel like me that you could use some guidance planing a board, make one up like mine. I know you’ll be happy with one when you feel a need to use one.
I started out by using a Stanley #5 Jack plane to work up a main profile for the fence. I removed the frog, iron and cap to make it easier to trace the plane’s edge.
Next, using a compass with a pencil lead installed I expanded the line approximately 3/8″ beyond the plane’s outline plus added another line extending 3/4″ beyond the bottom of the plane’s sole, indicated by the red line. The added area is for attaching the removable fence.
The picture below shows the completed fence. The fence itself is 1/2″ birch plywood x 1-1/4″ deep x 13-5/8″ long. Originally I was going to cut a “strip” of wood mounted along the top to register the plane but found that gluing 1/4″ x 1″ – “tabs” along the edge was much easier. I placed the plane in place then glued the tabs along the top edge of the plane. Once the tabs were dry I fitted the plane back in place then pushed the fence up against the sole of the plane, temporarily holding it in place with double sided carpet tape. I was then able to accurately drill and tap holes for the screws. The fence ultimately isn’t glued in place but just screwed, in case I decided to add a deeper fence alternative.
The rare earth magnets used to hold the fence to the body of the plane are 7/16″ diameter x 1/8″ deep and are strong enough to hold the fence securely.
I am pleased how it all worked out. The #5 snaps in place beautifully. The red circle indicates a notch cut to allow for the depth of the iron cutting edge. Other notches would be made along the fence to accommodate other planes (more on that below).
After playing around with the fence I found that the fence attaches securely with all of the planes shown.
A #4 attached…
Even my low angle block…
I added an “ergonomic” handle on the side of the fence to help guide the fence. A few passes along hard maple stock realized a dead square edge.
The handle, which I now call “the horn” is angled up, pointed inwards and raised up. I believe, after using it for a while keeps the fence square to the board face.
Another shot of the fence showing the horn.
Please let me know if you found this project informative for you. If you have any questions, leave a comment. Thanks!