Using a Plane

Note: When the plane is in between being used, Paul recommends that you should keep it upright with the blade against the benchtop. Contrary to popular opinion, this way is not considered the norm as they often used to teach in schools to lay it on its side, this was thought to protect the blade from being placed upon other tools and damaging it. Paul has found that it is less likely to get damaged if the blade is not exposed, also as it is placed upright it is always ready to be used too.

When holding the plane, use your dominant hand to grip the back handle, with your index finger in line with the plane. Put your dominant foot back, transfer your weight from your back foot to your front as your push the plane along the length of the wood. Your stance is really important as it will allow you to use your body weight to push the plane forward. Make sure your stock is tightly secured in a vise when you push against the surface, so it will withstand the pressure. After each pass, turn the adjustment wheel clockwise until it touches the wood. Test this by taking shavings on the left and right side of the blade, move the lateral adjustment lever a tiny bit at a time until even shavings appear. Keep the front of the sole registered on the wood, slightly lift the heel on the return pull. If you are finding it too hard to push, ease the blade off a little (by turning the adjustment wheel counter clockwise) and take off smaller shavings, this will take slightly longer but requires less strength. When you hear the blade drop off the end of the wood, you know you are at the end of your stock. Make sure you don’t lift off the wood until the shaving has come away from the wood otherwise you will be left with what is called a ‘step down’. When planing the large face of the wood, start halfway and work from the left to the right, then drag the plane back to the end and do that second half from left to right.

HOLDING A PLANE GALLERY

  • Hand Position #1
  • Hand Position #1 (Sideview)
  • Hand Position #3
  • Hand Position #4

USING A PLANE GALLERY

  • Returning Plane to Start Position
  • Depth Adjustment Wheel
  • Adjustment Lever
  • Clogged Up Throat
  • Flattening a surface
  • Rounding an Edge
  • Planing End Grain
  • Chamfering an Edge
  • Trimming a Joint
  • Pulling the Plane

Further Reading

To read more on the plane, we recommend the following from Paul's blog:

Plane Questions Answered- Bent Plane Irons

Plane Questions- Another Answered

Setting Your Plane After Sharpening

2 Comments

  1. Alastair Burke on 17 May 2019 at 8:42 am

    Hi Paul

    Whenever I see your planing technique I notice that the body of the plane is at a slight angle with respects to the direction of movement forwards along the work piece. Is there a reason for doing this?

    Thanks in advance

    Alastair

    • Izzy Berger on 5 June 2019 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Alistair,

      Paul says:
      Yes, the reason mainly is that it is a comfortable body position, because your shoulders reaching down from your hands means it is much easier to direct the plane from the triangular position formed by the shoulders down to the hands holding the plane.

      Kind Regards,
      Izzy

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