This versatile hand tool should be every woodworker’s first plane purchase.
As a “professional woodworker” I often get asked what’s the best bang-for-the-buck tool by people getting into this craft. My response is always to ask if they have a good quality block plane. I know, it’s not the big, awesome aircraft carrier-like jointer plane. Nor is it the smoothing plane that makes sexy, fluffy shavings. But when it comes down to it, I feel like you get the most mileage out of a block plane, so that’s where I suggest you start.
Before we get into why I feel like a block plane is the most versatile plane in your shop, let’s talk about the physical traits of a block plane. In general terms, a block plane is a small plane (less than 7” long) that has a low blade angle, and the cutter is bevel-up.