The 3 Basic Hand Planes You Should Start With

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Low-angle block and shoulder planes are excellent initial planes for a novice woodworker or DIYer because they clear up markings left by motorized tools, and if you wish to substitute certain powered machining processes with hand-plane work, start with a Number 5 jack plane or a Number 4 smoothing plane.

Hand Planes for Beginners

  • Low-Angle Block or Shoulder Plane
  • Number 5 Jack Plane
  • Number 4 Smoothing Plane

Low Angle Block Plane

Your initial purchases of the best hand plane should include a low-angle block plane and a shoulder plane, which should be your first two purchases. Both of these instruments assist you in fine-tuning the less-than-perfect cuts made by your power tools.

For example, a highly adjusted low-angle block plane can remove burn scars or fuzz from end grain that are left behind by saw blades in a few of strokes. Jointer scallops on edge grain are rapidly evened out with the plane, and shallow chamfers are completed in a short amount of time.

A shoulder plane’s open sides and body-width blade make it an excellent tool for cleaning up tenons and rabbets, as well as for making corners precisely square and straight.

Number 5 Jack Plane

When it came to deciding on a third must-have hand plane, we came to an agreement that we would disagree. We can make a compelling argument for the No. 5 jack aircraft, which is an excellent all-around plane.

While being shorter than a jointer plane and longer than a smoother, the jack plane is equally adept at edge and face flattening, making it an excellent first step into the realm of hand-powered stock preparation.

Number 4 Smoothing Plane

On the other hand, if you deal with figured wood and don’t want to risk the tear-out that may occur when using powered jointers and planers, you could find the shorter-bodied No. 4 smoothing plane very helpful.

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