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How to Use a Bench Plane

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Watch this short tutorial on using a bench plane to even a surface.

This information can be used as preparation to gain expertise in woodworking.

Discover more woodworking tools and the techniques to use them by watching the rest of the series.

Using a bench plane for the first time? Help is at hand! This step-by-step video will take you through everything you need to know to use a bench plane safely and effectively in your woodworking projects to smooth and flatten your timber.

Music - Gilles B

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In this video you will learn how to use a bench plane.

Planes are used to smooth and flatten the thickness of timber.

Most bench planes have their blade fixed at a 45° angle.

The angle can be increased for harder timber.

Watch the video How to Adjust a Bench Plane.

The main parts of the plane are the body, the blade, the rear handle and the knob.

Ensure that the blade is razor sharp.

The blade should not project too much as it can damage the wood.

You should be able to feel it as you run your finger across the slit at the bottom of the plane, around half to 1 mm.

If you are right-handed, hold the handle with your right hand and the knob with your left hand.

If your hand is too big for the handle, stretch your index finger forward against the double iron.

The left hand creates stability by applying force against the back of the knob.

Clamp a piece of wood in a vice.

Remember to plane with the grain.

If the plane doesn't remove any shaving, adjust the wheel in front of the handle.

Turn it clockwise to further project the blade and get thicker shavings.

When you start, apply more weight to the front of the plane than the back, then transfer the weight as you complete the stroke.

Make sure you reduce the weight toward the end otherwise you will dip and damage the workpiece.

Take the weight off the plane and lift it when you come back.

Dragging it back over the wood dulls the cutter iron.

When you plane across the grain the wood fibres tend to break away instead of getting sliced.

Don't plane across the grain.

Plane using both hands.

If you take off the hand on the knob, the plane skids and doesn't shave off any wood.

Don't plane with one hand.

Paint and other finishes can rapidly dull plane blades.

Use a scraper to remove paint or finish before planing.

You have now learnt how to use a plane.


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