Bench Plane Class Review


Hand Plane class Wrap-up

Sorry for the delay. It’s hard to remember that the class was over 1 week ago. Time flies. Anyway, the class went great (I think), although I completely forgot to take any pictures. Thanks to everyone who came! I hope it was worth your time and the price of admission. I know it was for Randy, because he won the drawing and left with the tuned, vintage Stanley plane shown above. I learned a lot about teaching and added a couple of things to my list to bring next class. I hope everyone picked up some useful tips on using and tuning hand planes. The class must have been ok, because the woodwork shop invited me back in July.

A couple of things from the class.

1 – You only pay for this class once, but you can attend as many times as it is offered. So everyone who attended May 6th can come back in July and impress new students with your hand plane skills.

2 – the woodwork shop now carries Stanley SW hand planes. I have not used one of these planes before, but was able to look over their smoother before the class. It looks and feels like a top shelf plane. Kudos to the shop for carrying such a premium tool. If you buy one you should not have to worry too much about tuning it (as you would a vintage Stanley).

3 – One “student” (sorry, I’m terrible with names) had a WoodRiver plane. If you are that student and you read this post, please email me. I noticed something about your blade that I meant to discuss with you.

4 – A question I did not have time to answer regarded oil stones versus water stones for sharpening. I use water stones and I can only speak from what I have read, since I have not used oil stones enough to count. Oil stones reportedly cut more slowly and some people have difficulty sharpening modern steels with them (note SOME not ALL). Oil stones certainly work and craftsmen have used them for 100’s (or 1,000’s) of years.

5 – Another question was “Why are low angle planes used bevel up?” My brain froze on this one that night. I just stood there – hmmm… On the way home I remembered why and was ashamed I didn’t realize it before. Low angle planes have the irons bedded in the body at around 12 deg (instead of 45 deg for Bailey type planes). So, for the leading edge of the blade to cut wood it would need to have a bevel angle of less than 12 deg, otherwise the back of the bevel would make contact with wood and not the business end. A blade with less than a 12 degree bevel would not stay sharp long, would chatter a lot, and I would not want to try to grind it! Draw it on a piece of paper and it will make sense.


Preview – at the request of at least one student the woodwork shop asked me to teach an “advanced hand plane class” in the next rotation of classes. That would be fantastic because we would not spend the whole time talking about sharpening (a favorite topic of mine). That time would be 100% spent using hand planes, which is more fun than sharpening them. More on that class later, but expect joinery planes (rabbet, plow, router, shoulder) and bench plane techniques.

Thanks for reading!

Bob Jones

2 thoughts on “Bench Plane Class Review

  1. Pingback: Recap of 2 fun hand plane events | The Christian Tool Cabinet

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