Using a Plane safely

Summary: How to use a Plane to flatten, reduce the thickness of and smooth the surface of timber safely.

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Using a Smoothing plane or a Jack plane requires a little practice and some general knowlege of how to set the blades correctly to stop the plane just digging in the wood. A smoothing plane is used for general planing work when working on shorter pieces of wood and can be used to smooth a piece of work as cleanly as sandpaper. A Smoothing plane is lighter and smaller than a Jack plane which is heavier than a Smoothing plane. The Jack plane is used to plane long pieces of wood.

A decent quality wood plane is an essential carpentry tool for any avid diy woodworker or professional carpenter alike.

Using a smothing plane to get a very smooth finish

Using a smothing plane to get a very smooth finish

The key to using a plane of any kind, even a power plane, is to make sure your blade is as sharp as possible.

Jack planes are used for longer pieces of timber

Jack planes are used for longer pieces of timber

Other Types of Wood Planes

Other types of plane other than those mentioned above include:

  • Rebate plane:- A thin plane used for providing a rebate in timber.
  • Block plane:- Block planes come in different sizes with large block planes being used for removing a great deal of timber and smaller block planes being used just to chamfer off edges. Block planes are usually much lighter than other planes to allow them to be used for longer periods and even (in the case of the smaller block planes) with one hand.
  • Bullnosed plane:- The blade in a bullnose plane is set almost to the very front of the plane to allow surfaces to be smoothed into corners.
Power planes remove timber very quickly

Power planes remove timber very quickly

How to Use a Plane

To use a plane firstly make sure only a tiny section of the blade is sticking out of the underside and the blade is set square to the plane bottom. Also check the blade is tightened fully.

Clamp your work tightly in a woodworking vice and allow room to work. Put the plane flat on the surface of the timber and push in one stroke to the end of the timber. Do not lift the plane off the work until you have reached the end.

Rebate frame for joinery work

Rebate frame for joinery work

Remove the plane and place it back at the beginning. Do not drag the plane backwards over the work as it will blunt the blade.

Check your work regularly with a carpenters square.

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