Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 5
   May 2010
   Badger Plane

 Original Badger Plane
A phone call about a year ago resulted in what may very well be the most challenging commission of my career. I was asked to make an "inspired by" reproduction of a rather rare plane — a handled badger plane. The original plane was one of Ken Roberts' planes, making the request all the more special.

When it was handed to me I was warned that my brain would hurt once I started into it. I should add that if this were a comic book there would be a thought bubble with evil laughter in this frame. Boy, did my brain ever hurt!

Badger planes are generally considered to be Scottish in origin, and all the examples I have seen certainly looked and felt "Scottish". The most prominent aspect of a badger plane is the blade geometry. Not only is the blade skewed, it is also rotated 10 degrees. This was done so the blade could exit out of one corner of the plane, creating a rebate bench plane.

The inspiration plane had a few additional issues to overcome. The front bun had clearly been damaged at some point, so I would need to create a new one. The original plane had a cast body and was damaged in the area of blade exposure at the side. I made a quick checklist of things to keep and things to change.

To keep:
- the shape and feel of the handle
- the bed angle and rotation of the blade
- the rounded sidewalls and rounded rear infill above the sidewalls

To change:
- the sidewall profile to allow for more material where the blade was exposed at the side
- the height of the sidewall around the front bun, increasing it to allow it to be attached with cross pins instead of a screw (this is also a cast versus dovetailed issue)
- the size of the handle, increasing it slightly to accommodate a three-finger grip more comfortably
- construction of the plane such that the method would not be obvious (more on this later).
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