How to Set a Jack Plane

Written by jonah morrissey
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A jack plane is a hand tool used in woodworking to create a smooth flat surface on a piece of wood. It can be used to correct twists and bows in wood. In order to use a hand plane, you will need to assemble it and adjust it so that it will plane the wood correctly. The goal is to have the plane shave off a thin, even shaving of wood with each pass you make across the surface of the board.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Jack plane
  • Screwdriver
  • Steel ruler

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  1. 1

    Lay the frog of the plane inside the body of the plane so that it rests on the top side of the sole. The frog is the adjustment part of the plane that holds the blade and cap iron that covers the blade. The sole is the metal plate at the bottom of the plane.

  2. 2

    Tighten the screws in the frog with a screwdriver so they hold it in place but are loose enough to make adjustments.

  3. 3

    Place the cap iron on the top side of the blade. Leave a 1/16-inch overhang at the cutting edge of the blade. Slide the blade and cap iron over the centre screw on the frog. The blade will slide through the opening in the sole of the plane. Slide the lever on the cap iron over to lock it in place.

  4. 4

    Adjust the screws in the back end of the plane behind the handle until the blade is parallel to the mouth opening in the sole. Turn the depth adjustment knob on the back end of the plane so that the blade just barely projects above the surface of the sole.

  5. 5

    Unlock the cap lever, remove the blade and cap iron and completely tighten the frog screws with a screwdriver. Replace the blade and cap iron and lock the cap lever back in place to complete the set-up.

Tips and warnings

  • Store your plane in a safe place where it won't get bumped or banged around to prevent having to adjust the set-up of the plane frequently.
  • Use caution when handling the blade.

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