These “jack of all trades” owe their nickname to their general-purpose utility. Also called fore planes, Jack Planes often are used to flatten rough sock and bring it closer to final size. But they also can be useful for smoothing and jointing, depending on the size of the workpiece.
The No. 5 Jack Plane is 2-1⁄2" wide and 14" long, with a 2" wide blade. The No. 5-1⁄2 Jack Plane is 15" long and 3" wide, with a 2-3⁄8" wide blade and a bit more heft. The blade is set with the bevel facing down.
The Low Angle Jack Plane is a hybrid design that is lighter than a conventional bench plane, easier to set up and easier to push. There’s no chip breaker, and the hefty blade is set bevel-up at 12°, providing maximum support of the cutting edge and a low angle of attack for a shearing cut and less chatter on difficult grain. The mouth opening is easy to adjust.