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Plane Tool
Plane Tool

You must push the plane with firm, decisive movements in order to cut through the wood. If not, the plane’s blade may catch in the wood and prevent the plane from moving. Effective hand plane usage depends on a number of factors such as a solidly secured work material, a sharp plane blade, pushing the plane in the right direction, and firm, decisive movements. Because planes have the tendency to slip, stay safe by always pushing the plane away from you and never placing fingers in front of the plane. Traditional wooden planes need tapered irons, which can be made from bar stock, and then grinding or milling the taper.

wooden hand planes

I have built four planes in various woods based on Finck’s recommendations. I use them often and enjoy working with them; I know that it has been said often but there really is something special about the feel of a wooden plane taken a clean wooden hand planes shaving on a piece of wood. I visited Hans Emmerich in his factory in Remscheid two weeks ago. He opened the factory for me quite late in the evening and gave me a tour and also gave me a block plane as a present for coming from so far away.

How To Use A Hand Plane

Next was the “try” plane, a 12”-18” plane with a slightly curved blade used to flatten and smooth out the planing marks left by the fore plane. Finally, a small smoothing plane with an almost straight blade was used to smooth the surface of the wood. Transitional hand planes are a cross between a wooden handplane and a metal handplane. You may think that they were the evolutionary link between wooden bench planes and metal bench planes, but they were actually released after the initial metal bench planes. From what I understand, it was to appeal to people who liked the adjustability of metal planes, but missed the wooden soles and bodies of the all-wooden bench planes.

  • Small hand planes often come with only a single knob for controlling the plane, and some all-wood hand planes feature just a block of wood the user grasps while sliding the plane along the wood.
  • The earliest known examples of Roman woodworking planes were found in excavations of Pompeii, Italy.
  • The circular or compass plane, which utilizes an adjustment system to control the flex on a steel sheet sole and create a uniform curve.
  • Hi Matt, I haven’t tried the modern Stanley block planes yet, but I have tried their low angle jack plane, and liked it.
  • Most significantly, though, short planes follow the waves and dips in the wood, essentially transmitting the same waves and dips back to the wood.

The original Bailey designs were further evolved and added to by Justus Traut and others at Stanley Rule & Level. The Bailey and Bedrock designs became the basis for most modern metal hand plane designs manufactured today. The Bailey design is still manufactured by Stanley Works. A hand plane is a manual tool ranging from about 6 inches to 14 inches long and about 2 inches wide. With handles on top and flat on the bottom, this device contains a razor-sharp blade held at a precise angle at the bottom, or shoe, of the plane. When the plane is pushed forward, the blade cuts off a very thin shaving of the work material.


See how the plane has such a wide open mouth to allow rough wood shavings to exit? This is great news for woodworkers who are on a budget, because I don’t recommend that they spend a lot of money on a jack plane. Spending hundreds of dollars on a jack plane just doesn’t make sense to me, no matter how big someone’s budget is. Transitional handplanes are a lot more affordable than all-metal handplanes…usually under $25 if you shop at the right places. Sometimes I find transitional planes challenging to get tuned up to the level required for a smoothing plane or jointer plane, but the risk of trying them out is low because the price is so low. And they work wonderfully as a jack plane, because Jack planes are used for rough work, and don’t need to be highly tuned.

wooden hand planes

The oil of your hands will create a nice patina over time. If you do this, make sure not to wax the wedge and the pin, because you don’t want them to slip out of position during use. Fortunately a couple of good tool manufacturers have come out with nice block planes. WoodRiver made a replica of the Stanley No. 65 low angle block plane , which runs about $125 .

The Bed Rock planes get their name from the solid and smooth machined casting that the frog sits on, which leads to less chance of vibration while handplaning a board. In my opinion this is the most important feature of the plane. The last plane to touch the wood is a shorter hand plane called a smoothing plane. It’s job is mainly for finishing the surface of the wood. A highly-tuned smoothing plane with a tight mouth can give a sheared surface that’s superior to what sanding can do. I love the whole experience from sharpening a blade to letting the hand plane fly through wood creating super-thin shavings.

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