Learning Curves

A cambered cutting edge is essential for fine finishing cuts with a hand plane – and it has many other surprising uses.
By David Charlesworth
Pages: 53-59

From the August 2005 issue #149
Buy this issue now

Plane blades that are sharpened straight and square are essential in all shoulder and rabbet planes, and they have other applications such as when shooting an edge with a bench plane. However, I have a very strong preference for using cambered edges in most of my bench planes, most of the time.

There are two powerful arguments for using a slightly curved blade. The first has to do with perfecting the square edges of your work. Let us suppose that you are preparing the edge joints for a tabletop and your powered jointer’s fence was a few degrees off square and that you wish to correct the errors of squareness in the edge of your timber.

I have no magic built-in spirit level, which would allow me to plane a perfectly square edge with a straight blade in my plane, and I have no idea how this could be done. The curved blade is a sophisticated device, which allows us to take three different kinds of shavings without having to adjust the lateral-adjustment lever at all.

From the August 2005 issue #149
Buy this issue now