Looking for an ergonomic hand plane suggestion for larger hands.

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Forum topic by Richard posted 06-25-2010 08:01 PM 2358 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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394 posts in 3150 days

06-25-2010 08:01 PM

I am looking for a hand plane that fits good in my large hands. I am drawn to these smaller planes because they are able to slice into the wood so efficiently, but I get cramps in my hand after using them. The larger two handed planes are easier to use, but sometimes they are overkill for my smaller projects. I am sure someone out there has had the same problem and you found a good solution, in a particular brand or model. I need a plane for general stock removal. Thanks

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

8 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3677 days

#1 posted 06-25-2010 08:14 PM

each hand plane has a dedicated purpose.

for general stock removal you’re talking about either a scrub plane, or a #5 jack plane – both are 2 handed medium sized planes.

single handed planes are block plane, and are for end grain, edge treatment, and small area fine work not for hogging off material.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3404 days

#2 posted 06-25-2010 09:23 PM

It’d be best to get your hands on a couple. Different brands and even different eras of the same brand can have a very different feel. You might find that a 4-1/2 or 5-1/2 or equivalent work well for you. I’ve got a Record 04-1/2 and an 05-1/2 and find that the extra width of both feels better in hand than my regular 04 or 05. Millers Falls makes a model “10” that’s a 4-1/2 equivalent….I also like the way my older model 14 (#5) feels, but YMMV.

Here’s a look at the handle of my 04-1/2:

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3027 days

#3 posted 06-25-2010 09:25 PM

I’ll second the 5-1/2. That and the scrub are the only metal bench planes that I kept. (well, other than the cute No. 2C .)

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View swirt's profile


2786 posts in 3001 days

#4 posted 06-25-2010 09:29 PM

My hands are not large so this may not apply, but often I find that when my hands hurt, it is because I am unconsciously gripping much tighter than I need to be. I find this true in both sawing and hand planing. In both cases I should be gripping the tote like I am holding a small live bird. When my hands hurt, it is telling me the bird’s eyes are popping out from the death grip.

Making your own plane might be a nice option for getting the grip as large as you need it.

-- Galootish log blog,

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3135 days

#5 posted 06-25-2010 09:57 PM

If you are getting cramps, you might get a blood test to check out your potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc.
Any time I get low on these essential elements my hands give me fits. Rand

View marcfromny's profile


45 posts in 3388 days

#6 posted 06-28-2010 01:47 AM

You could also custom make your own handles to fit your hands. I made a handle out of cocobolo for a stanley the way I wanted it, its my favorite.

View Lalaland's profile


44 posts in 4007 days

#7 posted 06-28-2010 05:24 AM

Have you thought of HNT Gordon planes? Or even Japanese planes? Might be worth a try.

View velo_tom's profile


123 posts in 3045 days

#8 posted 06-28-2010 12:14 PM

I have some planes, saws too, that either had handles that were too small or just uncomfortable for extended use. I’ve reshaped them with various combinations of spokeshave, chisel, rasp, and sandpaper till they became a natural fit. Just remove wood from where ever you feel pressure when you have a normal working grip on it.

I mainly use wooden planes and the traditional continental style of them would likely fit most any size hand. ECE makes some with a very durable base made out of lignum-vitae. They also have more economical models if you wanted to try one before committing to the price of their top line. For high quality planes they are still pretty economical compared to some other brands.

If you don’t mind adjusting with a hammer there are many wooden planes that don’t have totes to grab but you hold across the body of the plane. This style is quite comfortable to use. You can also build your own. The Hock plane kit can be built in a day and makes a quite excellent plane.

-- There's no such thing as mistakes, just design changes.

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