Hand Plane Basics

Planes are used to shape, flatten, reduce the thickness, and impart a smooth surface to a rough piece of lumber. When a wood piece is large a shape planer can produce a flat inclined surface.  Bench planes have cutting iron bedded with the bevel facing down and attached to a chip-breaker. Block planes don't have a chip-breaker, and the cutting iron bedded with the bevel is up. The block plane general;y a smaller and can be held with only a single hand.  The block pane is used for general purpose taks, smoothing piece, removing a knot in the board surface, or for making sawed board's end square.


Hand Planes

Hand planes have become a healthy obsession for many of us. While some prefer to seek out antiques and restore them to perfect working order, and others, who specialize in reproduction furniture, will go all out to get a hold of period planes, to permit them to follow along the same path as the old period masters.  For all of us in this category, we owe a big debt of gratitude to Lie-Nielsen. Here's a guy who has taken many planes from the past, and reproduced them, only he made them better.  This is due in part to the increased technology available today, but more, a result of the company's commitment to perfection.  Recently featured in Fine Woodworking Magazine, his tool line has expanding into other areas as well. One thing that has remained the constant, is the quality built into the entire line.


Planes


Planes are used to level off wood and for finishing prior to sanding, painting and sealing. A range of planes have been developed and they each have a different, but specific, use. When working with planes remember it is best to work with the grain as this allows for easier use.  Basically all planes are alike in that they have a sharp-edged metal blade held securely in some form of holder.  Like saws, they are made in different sizes and forms to meet the requirements of various woodworking operations.  The bed of a plane is a metal casting to which the knob, handle, and other working parts of a plane are attached.  It includes the toe (front end), the heel (back end), the mouth (through which the cutting edge of the plane iron projects), and the plane bottom, or sole.


Hand Planes


There are many different styles of hand planes some made of steel, others made from wood. Most are meant to smooth the surface, there are some with blades designed to cut profiles but with the advent of the router these are less common.  There short length makes them ideal for trouble spots where a board may have grain that changes direction and has to be planed in different directions along its length. These planes cut a very fine shaving giving less chance of tear-out.


Choosing and Using Hand Wood Planes


Hand wood planes are used to smooth, shape and straighten wood. Although power tools have replaced many of the functions of wood planes, most craftsman still have several of these versatile tools in their arsenal.  Hand wood planes are very specialized in their design. Before choosing wood planes, you should have a good idea how you'll be using your tools.


Choosing and Using Hand Planes


Time was, a hand plane was an indispensable tool, used to smooth, shape, and straighten just about every piece of wood in a house. The typical carpenter lugged around a whole chestful of planes, each with its own special function. Today, power tools — routers, jointers, belt sanders, and power planers — do the same tasks much faster, relegating many old planes to the shelves of collectors.  There aren't as many types as there once were, but the hand plane is far from extinct. Because it can pare off just a thin slice of wood, no tool is better for shaving the edge of a sticking door, chamfering the corner of a board, or straightening one that is twisted or warped. That's why most carpenters still pack a hand plane or two in their toolboxes.


Keeping Your Plane Like New


The trouble with hand planes is that, in using them, they invariably get dirty. The consolation is, keeping them looking like new is pretty straightforward. Remove any rust preventative this with a rag dampened with mineral spirits. Clean all machined surfaces, including the area under the nose and the toe itself, as applicable to your plane. Other plane manufacturers may ship their planes with lacquer on the blade, sole and cheeks. If this is the case with your plane, you should take it off. 
We recommend that you initially, then periodically, apply a light coat of paste wax to seal out moisture and prevent rusting; this also has the added bonus of acting as a lubricant for smoother planing. Wipe off any wood dust from the surfaces that you will be waxing, apply a light wax coating, let dry, then buff with a clean soft cloth. At the same time, the solvents in the wax will remove any harmful oils left from your fingers that can lead to corrosion. This is especially important with planes that are gripped on the machined surfaces, such as block planes and shoulder planes.


How to use a Hand Plane


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