How to Hand Plane


The smoothing plane is used to plane wood so that it is suitable for building. This is called producing a straight edge. When preparing wood, a straight edge and a straight side, called a face edge and a face side, are required for a smooth board. Using a hand plane is difficult for amateur wood workers. Often, the hand plane takes away chunks that are too large and will not move along the wood smoothly if used improperly.

Step 1

Place the hand plane so that the cutting edge moves along the wood with the grain. If the hand plane jerks or takes off small shavings it is being moved against the grain.

Step 2

Hold the plane so that the left hand is on top of the front knob of the hand plane, with the right hand holding the back knob in a fist.

Step 3

Adjust the screws on the hand plane to adjust the cutting width. Loosen the screws to make the cut wider. Turn the brass knob behind the blade to adjust the cutting depth of the hand plane.

Step 4

Rub a small amount of candle wax on the bottom of the plane to aid the blade along the wood.

Step 5

Place the plane at the end of the piece of wood and push it firmly along the length of the board without lifting it up. Lift the plane at the end of the board and place it back at the starting point. Do not pull the plane backward along the wood since this will blunt the blade.

Step 6

Place the try square so that the metal component is along the face side or face edge. Run the try square along the wood to check that it is smooth. Run the hand plane along the wood until the face is smooth. Place a ruler along the wood to check the entire length of the wood. Look for gaps underneath the ruler.

Things You'll Need

  • Try square
  • Hand plane
  • Ruler


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Keywords: hand plane use, hand planing wood, wood work

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.