Various bench planes (No.4)
Long No.7 plane
Useful videos to watch:
The plane blade must be sharp, or it will not work! Please see the tool page for sharpening.
Never rest the plane directly flat on the surface as this can damage the blade if accidentally placed on a metal object.
- The plane has a wide blade extending slightly below its base (or “sole”) - allowing it to shave a very thin layer off your material with each stroke. The foot helps even out imperfections in the surface of your material, and helps you get a smooth, flat finish
- Never put a plane flat on a surface in such a way that it’s resting on its blade - either lay it on its side, or prop up the front or back. This is to avoid accidentally placing it on a metal object and damaging the blade.
- Keep planes away from nails, screws, or anything else embedded in your material - hitting these will ruin the blade
- Never try to plane MDF (its abrasive) or secondhand wood (can have nails, staples and other dodgy stuff in) - these will ruin the blades pretty quick.
- A plane with a longer foot will help keep the surface flatter, whilst a shorter foot is more maneuverable and can be used on smaller pieces or to get into awkward corners. Use a standard No. 4 plane to start with and while developing proper technique, then move to using the smaller or larger ones as needed for the task at hand.
- Setting the blade:
- Screws on the back end of the blade can be used to push it further out underneath the foot, or pull it back in.
- Make sure the blade is even - that it extends the same amount on both ends!
- Exposing more blade will remove more material with each stroke, but be very hard to push, and risks damaging the plane, your material, or a person.
- Exposing less blade will take a thinner shaving of material with each stroke, and be far easier to push - especially on an initially rough surface
- You want the shaving to be thin enough to unroll and read this text through!
- How to use:
- Make sure your material is held in such a way that it can’t move in the direction of your planing strokes. Depending on the size of your piece, it may be impractical to stop it moving in any direction - so beware of lateral movement.
- Make sure that you have plenty of space beyond the end of your material into which the plane can move as you finish your stroke
- Set the blade so that is projecting the right amount - around 1 millimetre
- Place the toe of the plane (the part of the foot in front of the blade) flat on your material - the blade should not be touching your material
- Get yourself in a position where you can push the plane from behind with your elbow pointing out straight behind. You want to be pushing mainly forwards, with just enough pressure down to keep the plane firmly on your material
- Make sure you are “behind” the plane, not hunched over it from the side.
- Make firm strokes along the entire length of your material, keeping the sole of the plane perfectly flat against the material at all time.
- Make sure you keep the pressure even across the width of the blade - otherwise you’ll shave more material off one side than the other
- Planing takes practice!
Put the plane away in its slot on the rack.
eg. instruction manuals, tutorial videos etc.