showing the sole of a hand plane


Woodworker's Journal shows you the key features to look for when shopping for a new hand plane.


Rob Johnstone: Nothing says woodworking like hand planes. They're truly iconic. While the legacy of hand planes is well established, the truth is, you can still use a hand plane to do quality woodworking as well today as you could a hundred years ago. Hi, I'm Rob Johnstone from Woodworker's Journal. You know, even though hand planes are awesome woodworking tools, there are plenty of woodworkers who have had frustrating and less than stellar results when they've grabbed on and tried to use it.

Now there might be a couple of reasons for that. One is they may not have set them up properly or they may have had a plane that was of such poor quality that you really couldn't set it up properly. If you're going to get started in using hand tools like hand planes, you need to have quality tools. For example, let's start with the body of the plane. Well, this casting is made out of high-quality cast iron, then it's machined extremely accurately. For example, the bottom, it's critical to have a flat bottom on a good bench plane. The sole on this plane is guaranteed to be flat within 2/1000 to 4/1000 of an inch.

Let's look at the rest of the components of this tool. First, the cap, you can see that it's a nice brass casting, highly polished, well-machined, good quality. Chip breaker, solid steel. Then the iron, hardened carbon steel, a full eighth of an inch thick. It's going to really keep an edge. Finally, the tote and the handle are made out of high-quality hardwood. They're not only beautiful, but they'll last for years and years. This whole tool is one that you'll pass onto your family.

What all of that means is, when you take the time to properly set up your tool; to sharpen the iron, to set the blade projection that you can be confident that you'll have good results. As I've advanced in my woodworking, I find that I reached for hand planes more and more often. I love the results that I get and they make my time in the shop more enjoyable. If you're interested in learning a thing or two about hand planes, get yourself a good quality one, like one of these Bench Dog ones, learn a couple of things about how to use it and set it up, and I'm confident that you'll be happy with the results that you get. I'm Rob Johnstone from Woodworker's Journal. Keep on making sawdust.