I'm having some technique issues with my block plane

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Forum topic by parttimer posted 09-28-2011 11:28 PM 1206 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2717 days

09-28-2011 11:28 PM

I have recently started using a block plane to finish end grain on my past few projects. It’s a cheap block plane, a modern “stanley” purchased a couple months ago from a hardware store. The problem that I’m having with it is when I plane the end of the board down, it’s slanted. It almost looks like it was cut with a miter. I’ve tried to reposition how I stand over the piece and how much pressure I put on the piece. This has happened several times now and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Has anyone else had this problem? Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.

7 replies so far

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3828 days

#1 posted 09-28-2011 11:43 PM

Can’t quite envision what you mean when you say slanted – do you mean that you are making one long edge shorter than the other, or making one long face shorter than the other?

Some general pointers

- make sure your blade is well sharpened for end grain
- take a thin shaving, not much pressure, let the tool do the work
- soften the end grain with some alcohol if it is a denser wood (or if you are struggling)
- skew the blade for at least the first cuts
- the edge closest to the beginning of your stroke is the hardest to cut efficiently, so without care it will end up higher
- the edge closest to the end of the stroke is vulnerable to tear out, you can chamfer the edges to avoid this or use some sacrificial material to support it.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3383 days

#2 posted 09-29-2011 12:06 AM

The tips above are good ones, but I would add that you might want to consider a low angle block plane to your arsenal. Another option would be to make yourself a bench hook out of some scrap plywood and hardwood. This could serve as a makeshift shooting board and will help keep the plane square to the wood.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View cellophane's profile


42 posts in 2533 days

#3 posted 09-29-2011 06:23 PM

I’d second the low-angle plane idea. Woodcraft sells the new Stanley – but it will need a suprising amount of tuning (at least mine did) but it cuts well once tuned. You could also search on eBay for an older 60-1/2.

Also check to see if your blade is square to the plane body and hence the piece you are working on. If it doesn’t have a latteral adjuster it can be frustrating to set the blade but it is doable.

For tear out – you can use a chisel or knife to slice the wood at the end – if it does tear it will break at the cut line and not run down your piece.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3074 days

#4 posted 09-29-2011 11:44 PM

Like Arminius, i also wonder what you mean. I am a noob, so I can only hope this will be helpful: IS THE EDGE OF THE BLADE PARALLEL TO THE SOLE?

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2592 days

#5 posted 09-29-2011 11:59 PM

IS THE EDGE OF THE BLADE PARALLEL TO THE SOLE?, it means a lot of plane have lateral adjustments. You can move the blade from one side to the other. If the blade hits on one side first, it will cause it to cut more on one side, thus a possible slant.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2801 days

#6 posted 09-30-2011 01:26 PM

Yes, your blade is not straight in the plane as worse, you assume it is cutting square. As you plane, every cut that is just a little deeper on one side will very quickly create the edge that you state – ever 1000th of an inch is increased with each pass. After 2 passes on scrap, check your planed edge with an engineer’s square, adjust the blade the other way, make 2 passes, check again. If it comes out straight put the blade 1/2 way between this setting and the previous or learn to compensate as you go.

What really matters is that when planing something absolutely square, you need to check and adjust what you are doing – alot. Once you figure out the dynamics, you will be fine.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2592 days

#7 posted 09-30-2011 01:39 PM

And I should have noted, on plane that don’t have a lateral adjustment, you can either push it back and forth with your hand (hard to control) or tap it with a hammer. If you have one, use a brass or hardwood hammer so it will not peen the blade. A regular hammer will work, just use care, then follow David’s instructions.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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