If in the previous article we presented the different types of woodworking hand plane, today we explain how to prepare it in an effective way. Whether it is a hand plane, or a metal plane, its use is very similar although its applications are very different.
A hand plane is actually much like a mortise or chisel tilted inside a wooden box. The edge of the blade that protruding from the base, get into the surface of the wood, lifting the chip above the brush. The wooden blocks in front and behind the blade press the surface, favouring a guided cut and a constant depth. Without these, the sheet would raise the wood following the grain and it would be very difficult to get a flat surface.
1.- Fixing the blade:
The wedge allows the blade to be firmly attached to the woodworking hand plane. It makes pressure on the blade and prevents it from vibrating while we are working. In addition, its shape is designed to facilitate the exit of the chips.
For well working, the wedge should be pointed. On the contrary, in the case that the wedge presents deformations or cracks, the best thing is to replace it with a new one.
Once placed, it will only be necessary to gently hit the wedge until it is firm. If you hit the wedge to hard, it can go too far, obstructing the cut. It is a precision tool and requires pampering.
2.- A good cutting angle:
The next step to prepare the woodworking hand plane is to find the correct position of the blade inside the box. We should know that a longer bevel will give a sharper cut angle, while a shorter bevel will require a larger angle.
Fortunately, there are certain tricks to determine the best degree of inclination. This inclination is marked mainly by the hardness of the wood that we have to work. For softwoods, the cut should be sharper because the strength of the wood is lower. In this case, the ideal is to be around the 25º. On the other hand, if the wood is hard, the blade requires more inclination to have more consistency in the cut, so it is best to place the blade at 35º. This will also prevent breaking the cutting edge or bending over the effort.
In summary, the blade of the hand plane is mounted more inclined for the softwoods, while for the hardwoods we need it right.
Tip: If you place the blade very tilted, you must sharpen it frequently. If the bevel of the blade is also defective, it will press the wood, preventing the cutting edge.
3.- Polishing with counter blade:
For projects that require a careful finish, the counter blade is an essential element. It is used on polishing planes as the counter blade forces the chip to bend forward, preventing it from splintering.
To use it correctly, the counter blade must be perfectly adjusted. If the distance is higher or lower, the chips would become clogged in the mouth of the plane. In addition, if the counter blade is placed far from the edge, it will have no effect, and the wood can be chipped in the same way as if we did not have a counter blade.
4.- Care of the woodworking hand plane:
As we have discussed, the woodworking hand plane may be the craftsmen best tool, but it requires attention and care. It is important to check that it is sharp before starting any work. In fact, it is highly recommended to test on another surface to check it.
When we stop working with the hand plane, we have to place it on the side, avoiding that the floor or any other surface damages it. Also, if we have finished our work, the best is to roll back the blade so that the cutting edge is preserved inside the box.
Finally, avoid using screwdrivers or other metal objects to remove the chips from the box of your woodworking hand plane. The suitable is to make use of some wooden toothpick, thus avoiding cracks in the box or breaking the blade edge.
And that’s all for today. We await your comment 😉
See you in the next post!
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