Using Hand Planes

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Clarence posted 01-20-2010 07:50 PM 1121 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Clarence's profile


125 posts in 2530 days

01-20-2010 07:50 PM

I have several old Stanley planes, including a No. 5, a couple or three Bailey No. 4’s and a few block planes. I would like to be using these tools, and I am in the process of cleaning them up after many years of neglect. I haven’t really worried much about sharpening them yet because I first need to learn how to set up and use the things.

Can anyone recommend a web site, video or book that will explain the mechanical inter-relationships of all the levers, knobs, screws and channels that are involved in getting the blade in the proper position to plane wood?
It may be intuitive to some people, but I can’t for the life of me get everything lined up the way it’s supposed to be. (After all, I’m a guy who can’t seem to even produce a straight edge on a board with my new jointer—-that’s why I’m breaking out the hand planes!s)

Also, can anyone tell me how to remove the wood knob and handle—-is a special tool required after you unscew the brass slot-head screw on top?


-- Getting old is a good thing, but being old kinda stinks.

10 replies so far

View SKFrog16's profile


661 posts in 2624 days

#1 posted 01-20-2010 08:04 PM

Start with this Video at you tube.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View rwyoung's profile


385 posts in 2896 days

#2 posted 01-20-2010 08:07 PM

Garett Hack’s handplane book is pretty good. So is Chris Schwarz’s book. There are also a handful of videos out there. Try to rent a few before you buy them. There are a few free videos from Woodsmith Store seminars at that cover handplanes. Browse through the past podcasts to find them.

As far as web sites, they are legion. Right off the top of my head I can’t think of one that is particularly better than any other. Lots of people have blogged about restoring handplanes. I suppose a good place to start finding some of the better blogs would be to start with Chris Schwarz’s blog over at Popular Woodworking’s web site and then browse his blog roll.

Good luck.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5300 posts in 3136 days

#3 posted 01-20-2010 08:10 PM

”...don’t pet the sweaty things.” LOL! I like your tag line!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View JimmyNate's profile


124 posts in 2774 days

#4 posted 01-20-2010 08:26 PM

I found the videos at helpful.

The Handplane Book was good in some ways but not as detailed as I’d have liked. Definately worth a trip to the library though.

Sharpening should come first in my opinion. I mean, if it’s sharp, you’ll get results in a larger range of tuning than you will if it’s dull. It should be easier to figure out how to get them tuned if you get a nice perpendicular bevel established. (EDIT: by perpendicular, I don’t mean the angle of the bevel, I mean the cutting edge has to be square to the sides so that it will line up parallel to the front of the throat.)

I use the Scary sharp method…granite tile, sandpaper, water or oil and a bevel guide…Purplev had a blog of it here or you can google it. I’ve found this to be a fairly inexpensive, idiot-proof method for sharpening.

I’m still a novice at getting planes tuned up, but my order goes like this:

position the chipbreaker a few mm behind the edge of the blade
loosen the frog and scoot it up so that the throat will be nice and tight…this may take a few tries to get,but I like the blade to be about 1 mm behind and 1 mm below the throat to start off.
I’ll adjust from there to get the shaving I want for that plane.

It seems like adjusting the frog is only necessary when you first get a plane. Once I have gotten mine set, I haven’t had to move them yet.

This looks like a pretty thorough write up of all you might need to do to get a plane tuned up:

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

View Clarence's profile


125 posts in 2530 days

#5 posted 01-20-2010 10:34 PM

Thanks, guys. Jimmy, the Randy Maxey podcast at Woodsmith was especially helpful.

-- Getting old is a good thing, but being old kinda stinks.

View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3521 days

#6 posted 01-20-2010 10:51 PM

I would highly recommend Chris Schwarz’s new Handplane Basics DVD. He very clearly shows how to sharpen and set-up bench planes.

Oh, and once you remove the brass screw the knobs should come off without any tool.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View TheDane's profile


4939 posts in 3087 days

#7 posted 01-20-2010 10:52 PM

On every Stanley plane I have ever seen, the brass screws in the knob and tote are what hold them onto the plane’s body.

All you should have to do is (carefully) unscrew them. You can order parts kits with replacement screws, etc. for these old planes from a number of sources. I got mine from Highland Woodworking (

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3521 days

#8 posted 01-20-2010 11:44 PM

Stanley also has replacement hardware for planes.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View SteveMI's profile


949 posts in 2718 days

#9 posted 01-21-2010 12:00 AM

Clarence – you can increase the 28.3 percent just by reducing the confidence. Kind of like politics.


View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3521 days

#10 posted 01-21-2010 12:35 AM

Not by adding decimal places to your statistics? e.g. 28.34476123

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics