Tiny Teeth Tame Tear-out


A toothed blade in your handplane magically eliminates ugly tearing.
By Deneb Puchalski
Pages: 46-49

From the October 2009 issue #178
Buy this issue now

The recent renaissance of low-angle, bevel-up planes reintroduces us to a little-known plane blade: the toothed or grooving blade. There is written documentation from the early 19th century that this type of blade was used to flatten stock that had difficult grain. I am not sure why it fell out of general practice, but most people to whom I show this blade and working technique have never seen it before.

My first exposure to it came about four years ago, when Thomas Lie-Nielsen handed me a blade and told me to try it out. I was blown away by what it enabled me to do in woods that had previously been a struggle to work with.

A toothed blade gives you the ability to take very heavy shavings and remove a great deal of material quickly with little risk of tear-out. Slots in the back of the blade create “teeth” at the cutting edge when a bevel is ground on the blade.

The fact that the entire edge does not engage the wood continuously is what allows the toothed blade to succeed in situations where the wood is likely to tear out – such as when you are working against the grain, in highly figured material or in wood with an interlocking grain structure. The small chisel points, or teeth, do not cause the same lifting and tearing that a full-width blade does. The blade is also effective in very hard wood that will often resist an aggressive cut.


From the October 2009 issue #178
Buy this issue now