Wood Plane

Image to the right shows nomenclature used in this outline. It shows a bevel up blade, but the ideas are the same for a bevel down blade (only the blade is flipped over before inserting into the plane).

Additional notes about Relief Angles and Secondary Bevel Angles are at the bottom of this page.

Plane angle nomenclature


Values shown in the table below are for the Cutting Angle and the Relief Angle. As the Bed Angle is based on the plane body you are using, these are not shown. Additionally, the Front Bevel and Back Bevel can be easily determined from the Cutting Angle and the Relief Angle. To calculate these angles, use the following formulas :

Front Bevel = Cutting Angle - Bed Angle

Back Bevel = Bed Angle - Relief Angle


General Guidelines
Type Cutting Angle Relief Angle Notes
Bench Planes
    - General Purpose
    - Soft Woods
    - Low Angle

32º
27º
32º

--
--
10º
Cutting ange could be as low as 30º.

When working wood wider than the blade, crown the cutting edge or round the corners (or both). Using a 10º relief angle is especially useful for Low Angle and Bevel Down planes.
Blind Nailer n/a
n/a
You will need to consult someone far more experienced than I. Leonard Lee's book is a good place to start.
Block Planes
    - Bevel Down
    - General Purpose
    - Soft Woods
    - End Grain

35º
32º
27º
45º

10º
--
--
--
FYI : often, no cap iron is needed. Name comes from dressing of butcher blocks. Using a 10º relief angle is especially useful for Low Angle and Bevel Down planes.
Bullnose Planes 35º
--
Sharpen square across the front.
Jack Planes 35º
--
Jointer / Trying Planes 35º
--
Moulding Planes n/a
n/a
Lap the face of the cutter.

For re-sharpening or re-profiling the edge, you will need to consult someone far smarter than I.
Rabbet Planes 35º
--
Sharpen square across the front.
Scrub Planes 35º
--
Highly curve the cutting edge. Radius it no more than 2x the width, though it could go as small as 1x.
Shoulder Planes 35º
--
Sharpen square across the front.
Smoothing Planes 35º
--
Crown the cutting edge 1/32 to 1/16 inches.
Spike Shaves n/a
n/a
You will need to consult someone wiser than I. Leonard Lee's book is a good place to start.


Notes & Comments
Information regarding Grindstones






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