Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Pinie Wooden Scrub Plane

As I have to prepare some rough sawn stock for the drawers of my new bench, it came to my mind that a scrub plane would be helpful.

A wooden one would be great....

The scrub plane is used for the initial processing of roughly cut boards. It has a rounded blade for easier cutting through the rough grain. It is cutting thick but narrow shavings.
Due to the rounded blade the plane leaves tracks on the planed surface, which can be easily flattened with a couple of strokes by a jack plane.

There are different options out there to have a scrub plane. One method is to round over a spare blade of your jack plane. That is something I have done in the past. I have modified the blade of my old Kunz #5.
Worked well so far, although it was not an easy task to establish a curve to the blade without a grinder.
The downside of this method is the heavy weight of the plane. Roughing out the board is exhausting by itself. No need for additional effort.

During my investigation work regarding the wooden jack, I developed the idea to build a wooden plane by myself. And why not starting with a wooden scrub plane? It is a small project and you can't do it really wrong I think. There is no need for rocket precision. So it should be manageable. But as often I didn't found the time yet.
Then I remembered that I read a while ago about a plane manufacturer from Czech. Their name is Pinie and they are producing a lot of wooden tools. And guess what, they have got a wooden scrub plane.
A quick search at Amazon showed that they are sold there and the wooden scrub is about 20 Euro including shipping. So I decided to give it a try.
I ordered one and two days later Mr. postman brought me a packet.

Always exciting to open the ordered packet

 Inside off the packet I found this green box.

Aha....seen these kind of boxes somewhere 

The plane was packaged in foil. After removing it I could hold this tiny little helper in my hands.
Can't say in detail what I have expected, but the first disappointment came up. It feels a bit - hm - rough I would say.

Side elevation

From the side you can see that the body is made from two different species of wood. The manufacturer writes in his specifications that the body is made from Beech and the sole is made from Hornbeam.

View from the top

The mouth

You can see it has got a nice wide mouth and a fairly rounded blade.

View from the heel

If you look from the heel you can see the type number. The 1 is for the 1st plane in their production line and the 36 is the width of the blade, which is 36 mm. There is another one available with a 39 mm wide blade. I have chosen the smaller one, but more on this in a second.
In the picture you can already see the surfaces are all a bit rough. Not a big deal, a bit of sanding and it should be fine. But not nice for a new plane.

Comparison with an ECE plane

I have compared the Pinie plane with the second hand ECE plane I've bought a few weeks ago. Yeah, maybe not that fair. It is just to see were the differences are. Alone the connection between body and sole is very different. The handle is sitting well, but there are huge gaps. Don't know what this will mean in the future. Pretty often when I've got some second hand planes in my hands on the flea market these horns are loose.

Something is on the blade

After having a look at the body I have removed the blade. There is something on it and on the bevel of the blade too. I think that is clear coat. Hopefully they are not treating the blades with clear coat as an anti rust countermeasure.

On the mirror side too

The same for the mirror side. And I don't know if you can see it clearly on the pics. The cutting edge is far away from nice.
Anyway, I set the plane and tried to do some shavings without treating anything.

The first...."shavings"

Okay, I could remove some wood. But that for sure was not shaving. More kind of tearing.
So the blade has to touch the stones. That was pretty clear already.
But before I have done that, I've started a little experiment. With one of my last orders at "Feine Werkzeuge" I have ordered an ECE scrub plane blade. As mentioned above I have some plans to build a scrub plane by myself.
Unfortunately the ECE blade is 3 mm narrower then the Pinie one. Nevertheless I have inserted it into the plane body and set it.

ECE left, Pinie right

Surprise, surprise. The ECE blade is doing shavings just out of the box. Without doing anything to it.

Shavings compared

I think you can see that the shavings from the ECE plane leave a finer surface. And they are really shaved and not teared out.

With all this done I started sharpening the blade of the Pinie scrub plane. I have polished the backside first and at the same time I have removed the clear coat.
In the next step I have sharpened the bevel. That was not much work. So the blade is not bad, just a bit rough.

I have learned my lessons and so I've checked the sole for flatness. Guess what. It was not flat. A few swipes with a plane and it is flat now.
With these preparations done I started another try. And behold, the little scrub plane is hogging of material nicely.

Shavings after sharpening the blade

The light weight is to one's advantage. You can remove material very effort-saving. And so the rough surface of a deal is planed quickly.

Rough sawn deal

Starting to make narrow but thick shavings

One and a half minutes later

The Knowledge Of It

I've bought the Pinie plane for some reasons.
  • I wanted to find out how a scrub plane is working
  • Secondly I wanted to know if this will work for me
  • I didn't want to spent much money for these findings
  • I couldn't find one second hand for a reasonable price
  • And finally I wanted to have some construction details

Now I know that this kind of plane would ease my work a bit more. I like it so much, that it would have been a better idea to invest into a finer one. Nevertheless, the Pinie plane is working after some preparation. Maybe it is good enough for a plane which is only touching rough boards to remove the bulk of material first.
The plane is a good template for my own plane project. And who knows. The flea market season is young. Maybe I will find a good second hand model.
Would I recommend the Pinie planes? For sure it is not a recommendation for the inexperienced woodworkers. It is not working out of the box. That might bring some frustration. If you would like to have some fun, buy one of the well known manufacturers (like ECE or Ulmia).
For the experienced woodworkers it can make sense, if you would like to check if wooden planes are something for you and you can't find a good one second hand.
But be aware. You have to touch it.

That's all folks!
Stay tuned


  1. Strfan,

    The plane does look a little rough out of the box. As I think have found, for a scrub plane it doesn't matter that much if the iron is correctly shaped and sharp. All that said, I've a ECE scrub that has been in service for many years, the sole is rough now but it still does the job. If I had to sell my planes it would be one of the last to go.

    a wooden scrub is an almost perfect tool for its intended job.


    1. Hi Ken,
      I agree that for a scrub plane it doesn't matter that the iron is as perfect as for a smoother. But the iron was just tearing and not cutting. So I didn't shoot for perfectness but for a nice edge. And it was just a matter of three minutes or so.
      All in all I'm impressed how easy it is to prepare a board with a scrub and I won't like to miss it in the future.

  2. Ditto on what Ken said. Scrubs don't have to be pretty looking or the irons terribly sharp to work. Once thing I would do on the new scrub is round over the back where you put your thumb and forefinger. Those sharp edges look lethal.

    1. Hi Ralph,
      to refine the sharp edges of the rear handle is on my list.
      I wasn't shooting for a perfect edge, just wanted to describe that the blade wasn't working out of the box.

  3. Remove all that shiny plasticky coating on the blade first, then touch it up on the stones... or you will gum the stones.

    And concur also with Ken and Ralph :-)

    1. Hi Bob,
      thanks for the hint. Of course I haven't removed the coating on the stones. Just in the same working step.
      As mentioned above, I only wanted to improve the edge of the blade.

  4. Unser tschechischer Holzhobel hat leider nur wenige Monate gehalten, dann wurde das Hörnchen locker und ist schleßlich gebrochen. War wohl ein Montagshobel.

    1. Hallo Wolfram,
      Ich bin gespannt wie lange das Hörnchen hält. Im Moment würde ich sagen, das ist eine Sollbruchstelle. :-)


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