How to use a Block Plane

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Small Block Plane and Wood with shavingsA block plane is one of the most basic tools used in woodworking and it is versatile enough to perform many different types of cutting and shaping, and most of them are small enough to where you can fit them in your tool pouch. You can easily use these tools with one hand and it is important to learn how to properly utilize the block plane if you are not already familiar with it.

Adjusting the blade
You can adjust the blade of a block plane by backing off the height-adjusting screw until the blade goes all the way under the sole of the bottom of the plane. You will then want to slowly raise up the blade as you look directly across the sole until you can barely see the blade coming up. Make sure that you adjust the blade side to side until it is able to cut edges parallel to the bottom of the plane. Always be sure to keep a sharpened blade in your plane; this tool is great for producing fine shavings, but only if it is sharp enough.

Go with the grain
You will want to hold the plan at a slight angle to the wood use the plane with the grain of the wood whenever you are able to. Going against the grain with your blade can result in splintering or tearing the wood. As a woodworker you will always need to be aware of the direction the grain is going in so you can go with it if at all possible. Also, make a conscious effort to store your plane in a dry place and fully retract the blade when it is not in use.

Installing the blade
It is important that you install the blade in your block plane so that the bevel always faces up. Start by removing the cap by sliding the lever or loosening the screw that holds it in place and taking it off to get to the blade. Next you will want to lift the blade out. If your blade has been installed properly, the level on the blade will always face up and away from the sole.

Bestselling block plane

Keeping your blades sharp
Any good woodworker knows that a block plane is only as effective as the blades inside, so you will therefore need to make sure that yours are razor sharp. Use 220-320 and 600-frit silicon waterproof sandpaper for fine sharpening. When you are preparing to sharpen your blades, make sure to spray a light coating of spray adhesive on the backs of the sheets of sandpaper and let them dry before sticking them to a pane of glass. Go to the hardware store and purchase a honing guide if you don’t already have one so you can hold the blade firmly in place at a constant angle as you roll it back and forth across the paper. Sharpening blades doesn’t require much skill, just some patience.

By taking the time to learn how to use a block plane properly, you will be able to make just about all of your woodworking projects a lot easier and better-looking. A block plane is an extremely simple yet essential woodworking tool, and it is one that you should definitely know how to use.

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