The Case for Bevel-up Planes


A craftsman makes the argument that bevel-up planes are easier to tune for end grain and difficult woods.
By Lonnie Bird
Pages: 44-48

From the August 2009 issue #177
Buy this issue now

I can clearly remember my first experience with bench planes. I was in high school shop class and while I was leveling a joint with coarse sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block, the instructor stepped up and leveled the joint in seemingly an instant with a bench plane. And the surface created by the plane was smooth; it didn’t have the deep ugly scratches that remained from the coarse abrasive. I was so impressed with the speed and precision that I immediately went out and purchased a No. 4 bench plane for use in my shop at home.

But like many woodworkers I quickly became disappointed when I tried to put it to use. Admittedly, I didn’t understand the complexities of tuning and using a plane. However, later on, after I learned to flatten the sole, sharpen, tune and use the plane, it still created occasional tear-out. A few years later woodworking tool retailers began offering thicker blades and heavy chipbreakers. So I purchased these aftermarket parts for my plane to soup it up. Its performance improved a little more, but the results still left something to be desired, especially when I used the plane on wood with even a hint of wild figure. Fortunately, today there are better options.


From the August 2009 issue #177
Buy this issue now