Handplanes: The Long and Short of Flat


Primary handplane principle states that lengthy planes are for
straightening wooden and brief planes are for smoothing it. The
planes within the center can do both job or be arrange for
roughing out the work.

However all planes do some straightening of the work, and most
planes do some smoothing, too. So this straightforward rule of thumb is
truly a bit extra complicated in observe. In spite of everything, some very
good woodworkers have a tendency to make use of one airplane completely. Paul
Sellers favors his No. four. David Charlesworth is keen on his No.
5-1/2. And the late Alan Peters did most planing duties along with his
No. 7.

Right here’s my try to clarify the size of planes in as few
phrases as potential: A handplane can simply and reliably flatten
a floor that’s about twice the size of its sole. As soon as your
work is greater than twice so long as your sole, a superb deal extra
talent is concerned.

So sure, you may true a 48”-long edge with a block airplane. However it
is youngster’s play to do it with a No. eight.

This rule of thumb additionally helps novices select a superb first
airplane. In case you do small-scale work, a block airplane or a No. three
could be all you ever want. However for those who construct furnishings on the
scale of Megan Fitzpatrick, your work might be simpler with a
longer airplane.

If you’re struggling to get a floor lifeless flat, decide up a
longer airplane. If you’re struggling to get its floor
fully planed in as few strokes as potential (flatness be
danged), decide up a smaller airplane.

And know that as you get higher with handplanes, you’ll normally
select the sharpest one.

— Christopher Schwarz

Whereas my e-book “Handplane
” is not in print, you may nonetheless buy a
pdf of the e-book, which is stuffed with details and observations
about this iconic instrument. Test it out right here at

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: