Graphical Construction Glossary >> Tools. >> Hand Tools >> Block Plane

Block Plane
A small hand plane with a low cutting blade angle mainly used for planing end grain and miter joints

A Stanley block plane
A Stanley block plane
Photo thanks to Wikimedia Commons, User: Jim Thomas

One of the smallest of planes and used with one hand mostly, The front knob can be used for steadying the plane when doing precise work. These planes are optimised for cutting end grain but not to the extent that they can't do anything else.

They are very handy for dozens of odd jobs. Mine gets a fair amount of use adding the final touches to miter joints when I am fixing trim carpentry architraves etc. It is also very handy for adding chamfers or rounding off edges.

While there are planes that have ultra low angles and there are really expensive ones that must surely be a dream to use, I have managed my whole career with a Stanley like the one here. I guess it depends on where you are using it and the type of work that you do.

If you are a beginner get a cheaper Record and don't blame the tool if you get less than average results. You will get used to It and it will produce great work for you. Do not fall into the trap of buying the absolute best thinking that your work will improve.

Your work WILL improve with practise and as you get a feel for the tool. As with all cutting tools but it is very important with the humble block-plane "the be all and end all is sharp tools"

A cross section through a plane
A cross section through a plane
Source: William Noyes: Handwork in Wood (New York City 1910).

Section of Block-Plane.

  1. Plane-iron. (cutter) Note! because of the low angle that these planes cut at, the plane iron is used with the bevel down which is opposite to every other plane. Also note that there is no separate cap iron.
  2. Clamp or lever cup takes the place of a cap iron
  3. Cap-screw, is the most important adjustment, it has to be tight to prevent blade chatter.
  4. Adjusting lever.
  5. Adjusting nut
  6. Lateral adjustment.
  7. Bottom or sole.
  8. Mouth (piece) the opening in the sole.
  9. Eccentric plate

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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