CHAPTER 1, LESSON 1 of 4
GOAL: To understand the basic anatomy of a hand plane and to introduce the functions of this versatile tool.
What if you were offered a new woodworking tool that was capable of accuracy within a thousandth of an inch? Not only that, while most tools have only one function, this amazing cordless device would handle three important tasks:
By now you probably realize that we're talking about an ordinary hand plane.
It would bring any piece of wood to
- It would remove twists and other
- It could prepare a surface for finishing.
|Using a plane is a whole body experience. This will be further explained in Chapter 2, Lesson 3.
Before machines, woodworkers relied on special-purpose planes for almost everything. Today we can turn to jointers, thickness planers, shapers, and routers for the hard work of flattening, dimensioning, and shaping. We still rely on the plane to remove machine marks and to bring parts into perfect alignment, in .001-inch steps. The plane remains the only tool we have that can reliably deliver this degree of accuracy. It's a bonus that it can flatten a surface of almost any size, such as your workbench, and in most situations it also will create the best surface for finishing.
It is easily argued that the hand plane has a greater range of capabilities than any other single hand or machine tool.
To use a bench plane successfully, you must have two things right before you start. The blade must be sharp, and the plane must be set up correctly. Properly fettled is the term that describes a plane ready to be used. The good news is that there are few old planes that can't be put in fine fettle. The bad news is that new planes sometimes need fettling as much as the old ones.