Smoothing planes are relatively short and wide and are ideal for smoothing the wood for final finishing – hence the name. Often the last planes used on a wood surface, they are capable of producing a finish that equals or surpasses that left by sandpaper. They also work well for trimming parts.
The No. 4 Smoothing Plane is arguably the most commonly used bench plane and a good starter plane for those new to woodworking. With a 2" wide blade, it is heavy enough to produce a smooth cut but not so heavy that it is tiring to use.
The No. 4-1⁄2 Smoothing Plane is slightly longer and wider. Its wider blade allows the user to plane a surface with fewer cuts, and its slightly greater heft helps keep the cut smooth.