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Boatbuilding Tools: Planes

May 3, 2022 in Uncategorized


All planes are designed to scrape off a smooth strip of wood in one way or another, but the problem with all but one kind of plane is that you can plane to a butted edge if necessary.

Planes also come in different sizes from 1 to 8, using the “Stanley” numbering system. Stanley was an early maker of planes. The smallest plane is a 1 and the largest an 8. The number 4 or 5 is a common choice. The blade is 2” wide.

There is the jack plane, dado plane, jointer plane, rabbet plane, shoulder plane and bull nose plane in addition to a flat piece of steel used by hand to smooth an area.  The jack plane is a general-purpose woodworking bench plane, used for dressing timber down to size to prepare it for truing or edge jointing.  It is usually the first plane used on rough stock.

The dado plane is used to make a 1/4″ dado (groove) across or with the grain. The rabbet plane is used to smooth a rabbet, which is a recess cut into the edge to be used when putting together two pieces of wood at right angles. The bull nose plane can fit into tight areas. The unique feature of this plane is that its front section can be removed so that the cutting edge can go right up to an edge.

John explained that the buckhorn scraper plane is designed to take fine shavings off a board, to take the smallest amount of wood off where there may be a defect.  Who would think that there are so many different kinds and varieties of tools all intended for essentially the same purpose: to smooth wood!

By Tim Du Vernet

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