[GUIDE] Bevel-Up vs Bevel-Down Planes | #1 Plane Guide

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The primary distinction between Bevel-Up and Bevel-Down hand planes is, as the name suggests, the orientation of the blade’s bevel in relation to the wood you are cutting, with a Bevel-Up plane’s bevel being up away from the wood and a Bevel-Down plane’s bevel being down facing the wood.

A hand plane is essential in a well-stocked wood shop for flattening and smoothing wide wood surfaces. However, choosing which ones to purchase may be difficult, particularly for a novice.

Choosing between a Bevel Up and Bevel Down Plane is one of the options.

Each style has its own set of benefits, drawbacks, and applications.

Continue reading as we discuss how a bevel works, why choose a Bevel-Up Plane, and why choose a Bevel-Down Plane.

Bevel-Up vs Bevel-Down Planes Image

Bevel-Up Hand Planes

A Bevel-up hand plane raises the bevel of the iron.

When compared to a bevel down plane, this results in a different cutting angle.

The bevel angle is 25 degrees, and the tool raises it by 12 degrees, and this produces a cutting angle of 37 degrees, which is 8 degrees less severe than a bevel-down hand plane.

Furthermore, a bevel-up hand plane lacks a chip breaker hence some users consider this to be a benefit over the bevel down plane since chip breakers tend to clog if not correctly adjusted.

Bevel-up hand planes are ideal for people who are just getting started in woodworking and do not yet have a big tool collection.

These planes perform well in a variety of circumstances, for example they feature a lower angle of attack, which makes smoothing end grain somewhat simpler than with a bevel-down hand plane.

Furthermore, on bevel-up hand planes, there is an included chip breaker so anyone who have had problems with blocked chip breakers in the past, this is a major plus.

The tool also features a lower center of gravity, giving the operator greater control.

Finally, since the bevel is up, honing may be used to adjust the cutting angle, and this is in contrast to bevel-down hand planes, which have a set cutting angle of 45 degrees.

When it comes to bevel up planes, there isn’t much to complain about, however, since they are a jack of all crafts, they have certain limitations.

When dealing with wide wood, the output is still regarded as beautiful and smooth as with bevel-down hand planes.

This is due in part to the plane’s reduced cutting angle, which allows it to excel at other jobs.

Furthermore, since the bevel directly influences the cutting characteristics, if an honing guide is not used and the bevel angle is accidentally altered, the hand plane will operate differently yet not to worry as this is an easily fixable problem with the proper tools and a little effort investment,

Pros

  • Jack of all trades
  • No chip breaker
  • Easy throat adjustments
  • Lower center of gravity
  • Adjustable cutting angle

Cons

  • Finish not as smooth
  • No chip breaker

Bevel-Down Hand Planes

The traditional style is a bevel down plane and they’ve been around for a long time and may be found in many woodworkers’ businesses.

This plane sets the irons’ bevel down and produces the cutting angle by positioning the irons in the tool and in most cases, the iron is placed at a 45-degree angle and giving this kind of iron is excellent for particular tasks and has a significant used market owing to its lifespan.

When it comes to achieving a clean finish, bevel-down hand planes reign supreme.

The better finish is made possible by the increased cutting angle and chip breaker and in addition, while operating down the grain, a bevel-down hand plane is considerably ahead of a bevel up plane, furthermore, the blade depth adjustment knob is easily accessible during planing.

Bevel-up hand planes need stopping and adjusting the blade to keep it maintained and flexible for continuous shaving and cutting.

When working with this kind of plane, three fingers are utilized, with the index finger extended.

Bevel-down hand planes are useful in a variety of applications, even if they lack the versatility of bevel up planes because the center of gravity is higher, the bevel-down hand planes can still give the best power for straight shaving wood and other materials.

Pros

  • Exceptional finish
  • Adjust blade depth while planing
  • Three finger grip

Cons

  • Not as adaptable
  • Higher center of gravity
  • Throat adjustments are difficult

A number of outside variables, including as the wood you work with, how you use the plane, and where you want to buy, should always be considered when determining what bevel position is ideal for you.

A mix of both is required for those wanting to create a fully equipped shop, and even novices will benefit tremendously from the flexibility of a bevel up plane and may easily begin their tool collection here.

However, if you’re searching for deals at flea markets and garage sales, bevel down is definitely your best option.

Before making any purchase, it is essential to consider what you want from your equipment and what your long-term objectives are. This will most likely help you decide which path to follow.


This ends our Bevel-Up vs Bevel-Down Planes Discussion.

With that, please always remember that you need a good set. And by ‘good’, a properly organized set of hand tools, including hand planes, will see you through the best projects. Nothing is impossible with dedication, practice, and patience, and better yet – choosing the right hand plane.

We want you to be sure of what you plan to get, please don’t hesitate to ask for advice. 

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