Handplanes

Handplanes are the mascot of hand tool woodworking – its profile is instantly recognizable, harkening back to a day when the loudest noise in the woodshop was a hand-wielded hammer. But don’t let that image fool you. Every shop needs at least one handplane. We cover the gamut – from the simple block plane to the more complex joinery planes and moulding planes. Here you’ll find the resources to learn how to use the many species of handplane as well as the handplane essentials you need to know. Master handplane techniques and you will be well on your way to mastering woodworking.

ChipBreaker

Improve Hand Plane Performance

There was a time when nearly even adult male in the United States owned a Stanley #4 smooth plane. The one I have was passed down to me by my dad (a chemical engineer) who got it from his dad (a tool and die maker). When I was a kid, dad dragged the thing...

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Get a Groat in Your Throat

When it comes to pushing our handplanes, I think we are candy-bottomed wussies compared to the joiners of the 17th century. We are obsessed with how thin a shaving we can make. Early joiners, however, wanted to take the thickest, gnarliest shaving possible for the tool, the bench and his or her arms. For...

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A Jack Plane with a Rounded Sole

When preparing stock by hand, the most useful plane is probably the jack plane (sometimes called the fore plane among joiners). Its curved iron allows you to remove a remarkable amount of material with every stroke. I usually travel with a metal jack (an old Stanley No. 5) because it’s less intimidating in a...

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Veritas Shooting Plane

By Charles Bender page 16 Just as with all the planes Veritas produces, its shooting plane is sleek, well thought-out and ready to tackle the toughest jobs. With a weight of 7.7 pounds, the Veritas shooting plane gathers momentum quickly and slices through the end grain of even the most rock-hard exotics. But despite...

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A Router Accessory you Can’t Have – Yet

Last month, I spent a few days inlaying about 40 pieces of brass hardware that all required recesses of different depths. My small Lie-Nielsen router plane did most of the work, but by the end of the job I was a bit frustrated. Unlike its bigger brother, the small router plane doesn’t have a...

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2 ‘In the Field’ Fixes for Chipbreakers

Chipbreakers were invented in 1846 by the devil. Yes, they can eliminate tear-out when set .007” from the cutting edge of your smoothing plane. But otherwise, chipbreakers seem to cause more ulcers than they fix. I see a lot of mucked-up chipbreakers on students’ planes. And when you are in a two-day class, you...

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An Awesome Edge-jointing Jig

Teaching someone to cut dovetails is easy. Teaching them to joint an edge for glue-up with a handplane is something else. If you don’t believe me, consult Joseph Moxon, who wrote the first English-language book on woodworking. But yet it is counted a piece of good Wormanfhip in a Joyner, to have the Craft...

Is Your Handplane Tuned? Acacia melanoxylon Knows

One of the best things about getting older has been the fact that I can now do more woodworking tasks “by feel” than “by eye.” As my already-crappy eyesight has become dulled by middle age, I’ve found that my other senses – particularly my sense of touch – have become heightened. I cannot always...

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What the Deceased Say About Dragging Your Planes

Though dragging your plane backward on the return stroke can make your iron dull faster, not all the old books agree that you should avoid the practice. In fact, many of my books are silent on the issue. “Spons’ Mechanics’ Own Book,” a massive tome on woodworking and other trades, has nothing (at least...