Professionals and Amateurs Together



What planes would you suggest as a minimum for basic woodworking? – Allen Everett


Al Breed replies: Even if you will do virtually no handwork, I think a low angle block plane is a must for cleaning up joints and other small smoothing tasks. If you want to plane off machine marks before sanding with fine (400 grit) paper, a #5 or higher (I use a #7) steel bench plane is useful. Close up the throat by moving the frog towards the front of the plane and these planes will plane anything without tearing.

Specialty planes are too numerous to list them all, but I use a skew low angle block plane to fit tenons, a router plane to back out around carving and a shooting plane to do mitres and square off small pieces, such as clock parts.

Doing reproduction work as I do, moulding planes, rabbet and plow planes and wooden coffin smoothers also come in handy.

The hand plane is the most difficult hand tool to get to work perfectly. Find a good article on tuning planes and follow it. A lot of emphasis has been put on flattening the sole, but I have to admit to never having done it to any of my steel planes.

Marty Milkovits replies: At the very minimum, #5 Jack plane, block plane, low angle block plane, shoulder plane, card scraper, and #80 Stanley scraper.

Tags: Hand Planes, Tools