Converting A Stanley #78 In To A Chisel Plane

Topics Covered
1. How This All Started
2. Conversion Process
3. Chisel Plane Usage
4. Final Thoughts

How This All Started
I have two Stanley #78 Rabbet Planes. One has all its parts, but the other one is missing its depth stop and fence. That’s it, the one missing parts, in the Photo below.

I have been wanting a Chisel Plane for some time now. And I have read of people modifying the front end of a #78 to turn it in to a Chisel Plane. So I have decided to do likewise.

Conversion Process
The following covers the conversion process:

Step 1 —The Photo below shows me using my 6″ combination square and pencil, to mark
where I plan to cut. If you look closely, the pencil line drawn is between the
Combination Square and the pencil.

Step 2 — Started out using a Dremel to cut along the pencil line shown in the
Photo above. But that was slow going, so I switched to a DeWalt 4-1/2″ Angle
Grinder. The Angle Grinder with a cut-off wheel installed made cutting thru the
steel much easier. Used my Leg Vise to clamp the Stanley #78 in place, while
cutting with the Angle Grinder.

Step 3 — I next used my 1″ Belt Sander and file, to smooth the sharp edges left by the
Angle Grinder. The #78, 1″ Belt Sander, and file are shown in the Photo below.

Pictured below is the completed conversion from a #78 to a Chisel Plane.

Chisel Plane Usage
Regarding using a Chisel Plane, here’s what you need to know:

  • Do not extend the blade below the bottom of the plane sole. See the following Sketch.

The Sketch above shows the Chisel Plane being used to remove glue squeeze out, from the surface of the wood shown.

  • Placing the Chisel Plane on a flat surface, such as melamine coated particle board, works well for positioning the tip of the blade coplanar with the bottom of the plane’s sole. This is shown in the following Photo.

  • If the blade extends below the bottom of the sole (of the plane), the blade will dig into the wood surface. This is a disadvantage associated with no sole support in front of the blade. An analogy that comes to mind is applying only the brake on the front wheel of a bike. Result, bike flips over. And for the Chisel Plane, the blade digs into the wood in an uncontrolled manner.
  • Used mainly for removing glue squeeze out on wood.
  • I have also used to remove self-adhesive labels from wood.

Final Thoughts
Some one once told me that to an engineer, the world is a place filled with under optimized toys. Not sure whether that is a blessing or a curse. But I believe it explains this Post and some of my other Posts.

True, possible uses for the Chisel Plane are limited. But it was just something I wanted to make. You know how that goes, right.

Look forward to using it to remove glue squeeze out.


If you enjoyed this post, I would be very grateful if you would share it by email with a friend, or on Google+, and/or Facebook. While I am being needy, would you give me a “Like” on my Facebook page (Woodworking with AJO)? My Facebook page “Like” button is on the right side of this page, or you can click on the link shown below for my Facebook page. Thanks a bunch.

Woodworking with AJO | Facebook

Until Next Time, Take Care