11 Different Types of Hand Planes And Their Uses (With Pictures)

Before the invention of electricity and power tools, timberworks and carpentry were utterly dependent upon hand tools. Using a saw or chisel to cut a wood piece would have left a rough and uneven surface.

Hand planes were used to smooth the surface and straighten the edges. Even today, artisans prefer using hand planes for getting specific and controlled design work. There are different carpentry planes, each providing different cuts and finishing results.

Some may be good for straightening the edges, others for lump removal or smoothing the rough grains. In this article, I will talk about different types of hand planes and their uses.

The List of Different Types of Hand Planes

Types of Hand Planes

Scrub Planes

You can easily remove large wood chunks from the timber surface and get a smooth and glossy finish. A scrub plane would be your best bet if you think about thickness reduction or removing any extra uneven lumps.

Though scrub planes have a thick blade and large mouth opening, their base and overall size are relatively small. You can get a 4 to 6 inches radius deep cut with a scrub plane. These planes are generally used for diagonal strokes along with the timber piece. You can use Scrub Planes for shaping and smoothing the extra-wide wood piece.

Jack plane

It’s a large plane 10 to 16 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. It is equipped with a 2-inch wide blade. The jack plane’s blade is installed, keeping a slight convex that helps the tool go through various materials effortlessly.

Moreover, you can adjust the blade angle if you need a more satisfactory result. A jack plane can effortlessly provide rapid cuts and remove much more stocks than any other plane.

The Jointer Plane

With a jointer plane, you can quickly straighten the verges of wooden planks. The length of a jointer plane is quite long, almost 22 to 24 inches. This peculiar name is because this plane will prepare the edges of the wood piece for jointing.

Smoothing Plane

The Smoothing plane has dimensions of 5 to 10 inches long. It is smaller than other bench planes, and you can quickly smooth rough surfaces, remove unwanted marks, and do other minor finishing works.

In addition, it gives a very slight cut, almost 0.045 mm or less, which is best for smoothing. And To get the best results, try it on a flat surface.

The Japanese Plane (Kanna)

Instead of pushing the plane, you will have to pull it towards you. Japanese planes are usually made of hardwood, such as oak. A thick blade is attached to the body. There isn’t any screw or knob to adjust the blade. So, you will have to tap it with a hammer gently. The pulling action is less fatiguing and provides a precise and clean finish. You can be tension-free as the Japanese plane is famous for preserving the wooden surface and giving efficient results.

Block Planes

It’s a 140 to a 150-mm-long plane. You can efficiently operate it with one hand. A block plane will give you fine finished cuts, and you can trim the grainy edges of a wooden piece. With a block plane, you can get an upwards cut in slope and edges.

Fore Planes

A 450 mm long plane is best known for flattening wooden boards. With a fore plane, you can easily shave peaks of a timber plank without ruining the grooves. This plane is generally used for levelling and squaring the rough wood surface before final polishing.

Shoulder Planes

The shoulder plane has a pretty wide blade attached to its body. It almost reaches the full width of the plane. The advantage of such a wide blade is the amplified range of cuts. You can cut rebates and trim shoulders and edges effortlessly and effectively with a shoulder plane.

Bullnose Planes

You can call it a shoulder plane but with shorter dimensions. It’s mostly used for getting the finished cut or other small-scale, more delicate work. The blade on a bullnose plane is also very wide as the shoulder plane; one great thing about bullnose planes is that you can remove the plane’s front, and it will act as a chisel.

Plow Planes

With a plow plane, you can cut long grooves into wooden pieces. You will get a set of changeable blades with a plow plane, and each blade will provide specific dimensions and desired grooving results.

Router Planes

You can easily clean out shallow grooves and mortises with a router plane. You can cut the blade exposed at the front or inside the body with a router blade.

You can easily cut around the corners and hard to reach places with this plane.

Also Read: An In Depth Guide about Rabbet Plane for Woodworking.

The Body Part of a Hand Plane

To understand the difference among various planes properly, you must have an overall idea about the body structure of a plane. Let’s start with the mouth. It is located on the plane’s base, which gives an opening for the blade to reach out.

A metallic blade is attached to the body for smoothing the rough surface and lumps. There is a lever that secures the blade top. There are two knobs on the plane. One of the knobs is for blade depth adjustment, and another knob is for giving an extra grip while working.

Moreover, the blade is screwed and firmly attached to the plane’s body for better stability and to provide a uniform cut across the workpiece. A lever is anchored to the base to adjust the distance in the mouth. A frog holds the blade in place and gives extra stability and efficiency to the mechanism.

Ultimate Hand Plane Guide

Final words

After reading the article, I hope you have an in-depth idea of the types of hand planes and their uses.

Using a hand plane will be the only option if you don’t have access to power grinding tools. It might be a bit fatiguing and time-consuming, but you can control the strike power and get an elegant finish.

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