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How to Make a Hand Plane for Body Surfing


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1 – 235mm x 19mm x 300mm pine board – We had an offcut laying around, but any kind of wood will do, as long as it is wide enough and long enough for your desired shape. We chose 19mm thick material as it will provide enough float in the water
25mm width x 300mm length of rock climbing webbing for the hand strap – again this is what we had laying around. Alternatively a length of old seat belt, tie down strap on any other material that won’t stretch excessively will be fine
1 – neoprene beer cooler
2 – 6mm x 30mm stainless steel cup head bolts
2 – 6mm stainless steel cap nuts
2 – 6mm stainless steel spring washers
2 – 6mm stainless steel flat washers
Paint or stain

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Tools Required:

Safety glasses
Hearing protection
Worx 20V H3 Drill
Worx 20V WorxSaw
Worx 20V Sonicrafter
Pencil or pen
Drill bits
10mm socket and ratchet wrench
A4 paper and cardboard
Needle and thread
Paint brush

Step 1:

Design your desired shape for hand planing. We decided to go with a design roughly 270mm long x 190mm – just bigger than our hands. In order to ensure your design is exactly the same shape on both sides, draw half of the design first on paper. Cut out the half and trace it on a new piece of paper. Now flip the cut out over and trace the reverse side. Double check you are happy with the shape, and alter if need be.

Step 2:

Transfer the complete shape to cardboard. Cardboard will be easier to trace and transfer to your wood board, ensuring that your lines are straight for when it is time to start cutting out the hand plane shape.

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Step 3:

Neatly trace out the cardboard cut out on to your pine board. If using a pencil, apply adequate pressure while tracing to make the outline easier to see while cutting, as sawdust can make a faint outline hard to see while cutting.

Step 4:

Cut out your shape traced onto the pine board. Firstly clamp down the board to the edge of a steady surface. Make multiple cuts around the round edges, making sure to not cut on the inside of the pencil outline. We used the Worx 20V WorxSaw to cater to DIYers with limited access to power tools. The Worx Jigsaw can also be used to quickly cut out the shape of the hand plane.

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Step 5:

Now that you have a rough shape cut out, sand the edges flush with the pencil outlines. We used the Worx Sonicrafter with sanding head attachment. Once the shape is even on both sides, sand all edges until round and smooth – no one wants splinters while shredding in the water!

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Step 6:

Choose a top side for your hand and a bottom side for waves. On the bottom side sand the nose of the hand plane to introduce a taper. This will help prevent nose diving – keeping your hand plane on top of the water’s surface.

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Step 7:

Now it is time to find the perfect hand placement. Draw a centre line down the middle from nose to tail. Measure the width of your open hand where you plan to have the strap sit. Add 30mm or 40mm to this measurement to account for the fastener take up in later steps. Divide this total measurement by two, and draw a line square to the centre line, marking the end of this measurement with a cross. Repeat for opposite side of the centre line. Now your ready to drill holes for the hand strap bolts. We used the Worx H3 Drill and a ¼ inch drill bit. Take it slow with only light pressure while drilling to ensure a clean exit of the drill bit on the underside of the hand plane.

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Step 8:

Clamp down the length of climbing webbing on both sides, close to the end. Drill a hole in the climbing webbing using the Worx H3 Drill and a ¼ inch drill bit. Now insert the 6mm cup head bolts from the underside of the hand plane, passing through the hole of the climbing webbing. Place the stainless steel flat washer, spring washer and cap nut on the thread end. Tighten with a 10mm socket and ratchet wrench. Now place your hand on the hand plane and gauge where your hole needs to be drilled for the other end of the climbing webbing. The hand strap should be only slightly loose. Once the hole is drilled insert the other stainless steel cup head bolt through the remaining holes in the hand plane and climbing webbing. Place the remaining stainless steel flat washer, spring washer and cap nut. Tighten this side up snug with the socket and ratchet wrench. Trim the edges of climbing webbing and carefully burn the ends to prevent fraying. Now undo both stainless steel cap nuts and remove the webbing hand strap from the hand plane.

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Step 9:

Cut a neoprene beer cooler along the stitching, toss the round bottom section and open up the neoprene flat. Fold the neoprene length long ways and sew the long side using a sewing machine or by hand with needle and thread. Now feed the length of rock climbing webbing through the open ends.

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Step 10:

Time for paint. We had a little decking stain on hand, but linseed oil can also be used to seal the hand plane. Throw on a couple of coats on both sides and place in the sun to dry. Once dry, grab your hand plane and reinstal the hand webbing with neoprene sleeve. Tighten the stainless fasteners with the socket and ratchet wrench. It is now time to SHRED!



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