How To Use Block Planes

How To Use Block Planes

Learn how to use a block plane for fine carpentry. Learn which type to buy, how to adjust it and when to use a block plane.

How to use a block plane. As you can see here, I've different varieties of plane on the bench, but these two on the front are called block planes. The cheaper versions tend to have no adjustable mouth.

When I'm doing fine cut cabinetry, I have this bit here that I can move up and down, called an adjustable mouth. What that basically does, it dictates the template of the blade. So by moving that in, and closing this gap here, I'll get a finer cut.

On the cheaper versions, you can't do this. Although they're very good, when cleaning in laminates and fine hardwoods, I would tend to use this one. This one I would use mainly out on site, for architraves, for bits and pieces, cleaning in my mitres and skirtings, etc.

But in the shop, we always use the one with the adjustable mouth. When I'm shooting in walnut or oak doors, I wouldn't get an electric planer out and shoot the side of them. Although these only take off up to 1 mm, up to 5 mm, sometimes the blade can distort and you get a ripple on the side of the door.

When using a block plane, I can just take off fine pieces, very slowly. If I need to take out more wood, in more hit, I'll take out a bigger plane. They're mainly used for finishing, and mainly used for fine carpentry, but are extremely useful around the home.

If I was going to buy any plane, it would be a block plane. Because I could shoot in doors, I could shoot in architraves and I could do small trimmings with it, extremely useful around the home. Okay, so now we're going to show you how to use it.

The idea of a block plane is this area here of whatever model you have is big and bulbous and that fits in the palm of your hand. The rest of your hand wraps round with mainly your finger on the top knob here. On the back here, you have the adjustment nut and basically this dictates whether the blade comes in, or the blade comes out.

When setting up the plane, eye the plane through, and adjust the nut. On the back of the plane, you have and adjusting lever here which tilts the blade left and right. When eyeing it through, you should see the same amount of blade all the way through.

Once I've adjusted it, I can take as much as I want off. I've only got a fine cut here and as you can see I'm just going to take a small ariss off the side of the wood. As you can see, I'm getting very fine shavings.

If I want a deeper cut, I wind the back nut and the blade will come out a bit further, enabling me to cut it deeper. I can always use this on the flat, which again will give me a bigger roll, but I mainly use this, as I say, for fine carpentry, just for trimming, etc. That's how you use a block plane. .