Clay, Application to Refinement


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Wheel Arch Plane

The wheel arch plane is a custom made plane using the profile from an accelerating curve. This enables the plane to be used on various size wheel arch openings.


Exploded view of a metal wheel arch plane.

The sketch shows a skeletal framework which allows for maximum clearance of clay when shaping the wheel arch opening profile.


The shape of the frame work also provides a comfortable grip and a very light tool.

Now that we have a mental picture of the tool, we will make the main body of the plane from 1/8" aluminum plate and the ends from 1/4" aluminum plate.

Detailed drawing of components needed for building a aluminum wheel arch plane.

Material List


    Aluminum plate    12"x 8"x 1/8"

    Aluminum plate    2"x 1 3/8"x 1/4"

    Aluminum plate    1 3/4"x 1 3/8"x 1/4"

    Steel plate              1 7/8"x 7/8"x 0.048" or

                                            18 gauge.

    Surform blade       10"x 1 5/8"

    Cap head screw    3/4"x 5/16"- 24


    Countersunk machine screws


                   8 off   6-32 x 1/2"       


The curve for the plane is selected by bending the Surform blade around an accelerating curve. This will give you an indication as to the final shape of the plane.

With the curve selected, mark-out the main profile as indicated by the sketch above. The skeletal shape is a personal choice but I have found that it provides a comfortable grip and clears clay with ease.

Next mark the position of the screws at either end, 3/8" from the top edge and 1/4" in from the ends with 1" and 1 1/4" centers for the holes.


With the one half now marked-out, cut out the profile on the bandsaw. Use this first profile as a template and mark-out the second side, rough cut the second side out on the bandsaw. With the two blanks cut out, clamp together and drill the two holes at either end with a 5/32" drill bit.


We can now screw the two blanks to a piece of 3/4" plywood with 3/4" No.6 screws. These holes will then be used in the final assembly of the plane.


With the bandsaw, final cut the blanks. File to the scribe lines or sand to the lines with a disc sander.

The outside profile should now be complete.


Photograph of parts for wheel arch plane.

Main body screwed together ready for cutting out.

As you can see from the photograph, the two blanks are screwed to the plywood and filed and sanded to the outside profile.


Set up the drill press with a 3/8" drill bit and drill holes around the inside of the plane profile. Make sure to drill the corner radii first as this reduces the amount of filing in those areas and keeps the corners clean.

Drill the rest of the holes as close together as possible, this will help in removing the main excess material.


                           Wheel arch plane 2


Body cut-outs predrilled to remove waste material.



Copyright © 2003 - 20 Steven Austin