A wood plane shapes and cuts wood using a sharp blade. Learn how to use and adjust your wood plane with the help of a woodworking professional in this free video.
Hi, I'm Dave Trull with The Trull Gallery, and I'm going to talk to you about how to use and adjust a wood plane. Adjustments on most wood planes are pretty much the same whether you're talking a block plane like this or your bench and jack planes, larger versions, the basic adjustments are all the same. If you look at our planes, there's really just a couple of different adjustments to make, depth of the cut or where the blade is and how far it protrudes from the bottom, the angle of the blade on the body and in some planes we can actually adjust the throat of the opening that the blade protrudes through the bottom. The first thing we want to do is with the adjustment here is we're going to loosen that and that's going to give us some play in our blade. It's going to loosen our frog up, this piece here and it's going to let us making some adjustments there. Most of your Western variety planes are going to have the style adjustment. The Japanese planes are a different creature. We could talk for days on those but we're going to talk about this style and the first thing we want to do is make an adjustment to our depth of cut and that's done with a wheel on the back and by turning that one way or the other will bring out our blade forward or back and will let us protrude further from the body or narrower, bring it down so it's not sticking out as far through the body. The next adjustment we can make is kind of a side to side or angle adjustment. On planes like this block plane, this lever in the back, it actually lets us adjust the angle here and what you're looking for generally speaking is to get your blade centered in the throat and straight. You generally want it straight. There are times you may want to have some angle on it but as a rule you want it to line up pretty straight in the blade, in the opening and once you've got it straight you can go ahead and snug it up a little. You don't want to get all the tension on it quite yet because you want to come down and take a quick look at the depth of your cut. You are going to make one last adjustment there and then you can go ahead and lock it down. Some planes like this particular style of block plane also allow you to open the throat and we can do that by loosening the lever in front and then you can just go ahead and lock that down. You won't see that on a lot of your planes, more your specialized or your higher end smaller planes like this. When you're using your planes you want to make sure your stock is clamped down nice and tight. If you're going to use some kind of a bench vice that works great. I'm just going to use some clamps here on our bench, lock it down, we'll make a few passes and one of the things you want to keep in mind, again whether you're using your block plane or your larger planes is your body position. You want to hold it. These guys, the little ones you can hold in one hand, the bigger ones you want to use two hands. Sometimes it works best with two hands and then it's an entire body movement. You want to lock your feet down and then move your hips and that's where you're going to get your nice smooth motion. Okay we're going to go ahead and make that first pass and basically get in a comfortable position and I like to set the plane at a bit of an angle on the stock like you can see here and maintaining some firm pressure we're just going to rock our body forward and make that first pass. But you can see this is what we're looking for, some nice curls, coming right off the top and if you'll notice I've got one hand kind of underneath supporting the base of my plane and that's actually kind of helping me balance it and keeping this nice right angle here. Okay, so real quickly, that's how to use and adjust a wood plane. I'm Dave Trull at The Trull Gallery, the Fine Art of Furniture Making.