Plane etiquette

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 03-25-2013 07:31 PM 1514 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5139 posts in 3419 days

03-25-2013 07:31 PM

What is the correct etiquette for laying a plane down on a bench? Assuming the blade is exposed for planning, I was always told; the plane should rest on it’s side, never on it’s bottom to protect the edge of the blade. I always see planes sitting on their soles in pictures on this and other woodworking forums.

23 replies so far

View bandit571's profile


21538 posts in 2858 days

#1 posted 03-25-2013 07:33 PM

Dang it Ron, I had just answered this in the other thread….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3673 posts in 2427 days

#2 posted 03-25-2013 07:33 PM

I usually just prop up the front of the plane on a small piece of scrap wood, to keep the cutting edge off the bench. I find that better than retracting the blade and losing my setting.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3127 days

#3 posted 03-25-2013 07:37 PM

I just set mine down on the bench. I am careful not to slide them around to prevent scarring up the bench top. I do not like laying them on the sides at all which then exposes the blade to my working area. That is just asking for a cut on razor sharp blades. I also do not leave them on the bench for very long. When finished, they go right back in the plane till.

-- Mike

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3039 days

#4 posted 03-25-2013 07:39 PM

On its side.

View richardwootton's profile


1701 posts in 2130 days

#5 posted 03-25-2013 07:55 PM

I always just place them on their side unless I’m distracted, which comes pretty naturally for me, then I set them down on their sole.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 3055 days

#6 posted 03-25-2013 08:14 PM

There is nothing wrong with setting your plane down on its sole with the blade exposed as long as your setting it down on a wood surface such as your work bench. Setting it sole down on a wood surface will not cause any damage to the edge. I wouldn’t set it down on its sole on a metal table though.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Ben's profile


273 posts in 3889 days

#7 posted 03-25-2013 08:20 PM

I usually set it down on its side unless there are shaving about, and there usually are since I’m planing. Then I don’t mind as much because the shavings will help cushion the sole/blade.

-- Do something nice for somebody

View TerryDowning's profile


1102 posts in 2293 days

#8 posted 03-25-2013 08:20 PM

This is right up there with which sharpening method is best and which table saw to pick. Lots of opinions and little fact.

There are pros and cons either way. My suggestion, pick a method and stick with it. Personally I just try to be aware of what I’m setting my planes on period. Wood Only and never near the edge of your bench. I lost a very nice block plane when it got knocked off on to the floor (concrete) and the cast iron body broke. Respect the sharp thing protruding from the bottom.

-- - Terry

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15649 posts in 2794 days

#9 posted 03-25-2013 08:21 PM

Iron down on a wood bench, not a concern at all.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2285 days

#10 posted 03-25-2013 08:25 PM

I put mine down sole down over a tool tray gap, on it’s sole on wood, or on it’s side…

... All depending on my mood… ;^)

I sharpen my planes. I don’t really care how anyone else thinks I should handle my tools.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2650 days

#11 posted 03-25-2013 08:26 PM

Lots of opinions and little fact.

Then by all means enlighten us.

I have been setting down the plane blade down for years and have had no problem. I think the idea for setting it on it’s side came from the time where blades were softer. It is difficult to nick an A2 blade when setting on wood. Heck I once was not paying attention and shaved the top of one of my bronze bench dogs, nothing happened to the blade.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2285 days

#12 posted 03-25-2013 08:27 PM

I think the idea for setting it on it’s side came from the time where blades were softer.

I think it also came from shop class, where the teacher did all of the sharpening.

View TerryDowning's profile


1102 posts in 2293 days

#13 posted 03-25-2013 08:38 PM

That’s my point Jorge.

You say blade down some will say side every time. It’s all opinion and personal experience. I doubt there is a scientific study anywhere with a definitive answer.

Each user has to decide what is best for their purposes and circumstances. For safety sake (both yours and the tools) be aware of the razor sharp edge sticking out of the sole, and understand the potential power of gravity is all I’m saying. The block plane I lost was a Stanley 120 that belonged to and was used by my grandfather, not really replaceable. While I can find a 120 from the early 20th century, it would not have been handled by my grandfather. It was lost not because it was on its sole or side but due to negligence and inattention of the user putting it too close to edge of the bench. I think gravity and negligence have destroyed far more planes than setting it down on its sole or on its side.

-- - Terry

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2679 days

#14 posted 03-25-2013 08:42 PM

I’m not sure about laying it but I do know you do not kiss it till the second or third date…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View DaveSJ's profile


11 posts in 2068 days

#15 posted 03-25-2013 08:58 PM

I’m always careful of where I park my planes.. I keep a few 1/4” square x 6” long wood scraps on my bench to set the front end of my planes up so the blades are clear and safe from the bench surface. If I’m working away from the bench I make sure the lay the plane on its side.

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