Hand Planes

Hand planes are the living link between woodworking hands and the wood they work on, bonding the craftsman to the craft. As well as power tools and hand tools from all the major brands such as Dewalt, Stanley, Bosch, Hitachi, Ryobi & more we also stock a range of decorating supplies (paints, woodfillers, oils & varnishes), fixings (such as rawbolts), accessories (drill bits, screwdriver bits, multi tool blades), workwear, storage (toolboxes, toolbags and cabinets), torches from LED Lenser and safety equipment.

The earliest known examples of the woodworking plane have been found in Pompeii although other Roman examples have been unearthed in Britain and Germany The Roman planes resemble modern planes in essential function, most having iron wrapping a wooden core top, bottom, front and rear and an iron blade secured with a wedge One example found in Cologne has a body made entirely of bronze without a wooden core.

Here is something interesting: last year I bought a book Working Wood 1 & 2: the Artisan Course with Paul Sellers and read it, also he has a lot of interesting videos on You Tube which are by all means, phenomenal, in his opinion, he’s using only ONE” plane a #4 Stanley vintage, I saw him this year at a woodworkers show in NJ, with ONE” plane (he has a lot of them, but swears by that #4).

The chief difference in action between a chisel and a plane in paring is this: the back of the chisel lies close down on the surface of the wood that is cut, and acts as a guide; whereas, in the plane, the cutter is elevated at an angle away from the surface of the wood, and only its cutting edge touches the wood, and it is held and guided mechanically by the plane mechanism.

Woden is not my inept misspelling of ‘wooden’, it’s the name of a Germanic neopagan god, but that’s by the by. The Woden plane is a decent plane that follows the Leonard Bailey patterns of construction, so, whereas Woden is the brand name, Leonard Bailey is the designer and the originator and I have always enjoyed using the Woden planes alongside my Stanleys and Records.

In that section of his book, DeCristoforo briefly outlines his convictions about the contribution of each of these portable power tools: the saber saw, the electric drill, the biscuit joiner, the thickness planer, the benchtop mortiser, the router, the electric sander, the dovetail jig, and the introduction and wide-spread use of carbide-tipped blades as the primary reasons why the hand plane is no longer a tool central to woodworking.

Block planes are characterized by the absence of a chipbreaker and the cutting iron bedded with the bevel up. The block plane is usually a smaller tool that can be held with one hand and is used for general purpose work such as taking down a knot in the wood, smoothing small pieces, chamfering edges, and making the end of a sawed board square and smooth.

This is confirmed by the number of consistent quality examples from this period with Woden factory parts. The damage is caused during the plane’s use, when the plane is pushed at the knob; the knob leans forward, putting stress at its leading portion, making it split. Finding a quality plane at a good price is not hard, once you know what you’re looking for. Metal or iron planes are made mostly of wood except the handles and knob which are typically made of Rosewood or Cocobolo or plastic.

Now and then you might stumble across a bench plane that has some cosmetic surgery, where the entire forward (of the mouth) portion of the main casting was broken off and subsequently welded back onto the rest of the plane. This frog adjusting screw was first offered on the Bed Rock series of planes, but soon found favor with frog adjusters everywhere and was added to the Bailey series starting around 1907. Around the one hour mark, when you reassemble the frog, you point out the step” between the frog edge and the back of the throat of the plane.

European makers such as Primus and E.C.E. never stopped making wooden planes either, although there seem to be fewer and fewer available in woodworking catalogs these days. The grooving plane which is used to cut grooves along the edge of a board for joining. Woodworking machinery that perform the same function as hand planes include the jointer and the thickness planer , also called a thicknesser. Whether it is rusty from disuse or as good as new, Paul shows what he does to get a plane working perfectly. This is being sold as spares or repairs as it has parts missing, Free postage is for UK only.

Time was, a hand plane was an indispensable tool, used to smooth, shape, and straighten just about every piece of wood in a house. On the underside of the plane, you can find the mouth, which is the opening in front of the blade, and often is adjustable on a block plane using the mouth adjustment knob on the top side of the plane. The No 7 Woden plane four pictures down is my longest bench plane in my collection of Woden planes.

These hand tools you write about gain a life of their own, making complicated jobs using machines look easy when using simple hand tools. It is also useful in preparing the surface of a very cross-grained piece of wood which cannot be planed without chipping. In fact, it’s quite possible to do all the typical bench plane chores with just one tool (more on that later).

I am just saying that you can take the extra effort to shape the sole to receive the whole frog if you wish so as to retain the frog for interchangeability using both the original metal-cast plane and your new wooden ones. The longer length of the jointer usually insures a truer-planed surface than is obtained with the fore plane which is shorter in length. Each and every woodworker, including the ‘lectrical toolers of the world, should have this plane.

Then, by turning the plane sole upward and glancing down it, the proper adjustments with the brass set-screw and lateral adjustment lever are made. Mouth – the mouth of the plans is the opening at the bottom of the sole down through which the plane iron extends. For a plane to be useful as a flattening and straightening tool, it is essential that the sole be perfectly flat. I’ve always used the term ‘iron’ to represent the chunk of metal you sharpen to make the plane a plane.

The other parts like the depth adjuster knob, the tote and knob mounting hardware, the lever cap screw can all be replaced if need be. Granted, it’s much easier when your plane has everything to begin with, but if you MUST have a particular plane that is missing parts, then replacements can be had pretty easily. Fore Plane: Between the Jack Plane and the Jointer Plane is a tool called the fore plane.

The planes had been made some 70 years, and used successfully for that same time, without the kidney-shaped hole so it seems that Stanley made the design change as a gimmick to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. The finger plane , which is used for smoothing very small pieces such as toy parts, very thin strips of wood, etc. It’s the scarcest plane of the entire Bailey series (those offered in the USofA), but it doesn’t hold the honor of being the most valuable – that honor belongs to the #1 I’ve seen faked examples of this plane so let’s be careful out there! Last week we finished up the video work on building this plane in the Jack plane size.

A scrub plane , which removes large amounts of wood quickly, is typically around 9 inches (230 mm) long, but narrower than a smoothing plane, has an iron with a curved cutting edge, and has a wider mouth opening to accommodate the ejection of thicker shavings/chips. In the 1870 catalog Stanley offered an impressive line of 28 different sizes and types, both cast iron and wood-bottomed. This damage is clearly visible by flipping the plane over and looking at the sole.

If you’re collecting this stuff, make sure it’s aluminum and not some iron plane in aluminum paint clothing – if the weight of the thing doesn’t clue you in, a magnet will. These low-angle planes slice through wood more easily, but may cause tear-out along the grain. A man who designed a plane from scratch and was able to patent his design because it was brand new.

This is a very timely post for me. I’ve just pulled apart a Stanley transitional plane I found at a flea market to clean up the metal parts. Instead of grinding the iron down, I added a thin shop made veneer to both sides of the plane body. When the final coat is dry, buff the surface of the plane with 4/0 steel wool and polish with a soft cloth. European makers such as Primus and E.C.E. never stopped making wooden planes either, although there seem to be fewer and fewer available in woodworking catalogs these days. In museums across the continent, a tool often found and seldom interpreted properly is the hand plane.