Glossary - woodworking hand planes
The angled cutting edge of a hand plane iron.
Can also refer to the result achieved when chamfering the corner of a piece of wood - a 45-degree cut that takes the sharp edge off the corner.
Planes that have their irons fitted with the bevel facing down, towards the wood being planed, are know as "bevel-down" planes.
Planes that have their irons fitted with the bevel facing upwards, away from the wood being planed, are know as "bevel-up" planes.
A cambered hand plane iron is one with a curved cutting edge, preferred for some types of planing work such as when initially reducing the thickness of a piece of wood.
A narrow, angled edge made on the corner of a piece of wood, usually at 45 degrees, although the angle may vary. Most planes can cut chamfers, but it is often done with a small block plane.
A groove, or channel, that is cut across the grain of the wood. Dados are often made in the uprights of units for shelves to fit into. (See also Groove, below).
"Difficult" grain is where the grain of a length of wood changes direction repeatedly, making it difficult to plane without tear-out of the wood at one or more points.
Flattening is the levelling, or straightening, of a piece of wood, which is best done with a long plane such as a fore or a jointer.
Flattening also refers to two procedures that can be carried out on a plane's parts. These are the flattening - sometimes referred to as lapping - of the sole to ensure that it gives perfectly level results; and the flattening of the back of a plane's iron, to ensure it sits perfectly flat on the bed of the plane.
Cambered cutting edges have a gouging action which leaves a distinct pattern in the wood when it is reduced. The gouges can be planed away afterwards with a jack plane, or left for a decorative, olde worlde effect.
A groove is a channel cut into wood, usually when making a joint between two pieces. A groove is cut along the grain of the wood with a grooving or plough plane. (See also Dado, above).
The higher areas of the surface of a piece of wood that are the first to be planed off by a long plane such as a jointer. Shorter planes tend to follow any undulations in the wood, so are not as effective at removing high spots.
Honing is simply sharpening - in this case, the sharpening of a plane's iron.
Jointing is the cutting of a perfectly straight, perpendicular edge on a piece of wood, often prior to joining the edge to another perfectly straight one. Table tops are often made by joining several pieces in this way.
Lapping the sole of a plane or a plane iron is the process of ensuring it is flat by repeatedly rubbing the sole or the back of the iron across a piece of abrasive paper or a grit stone. If using abrasive paper, it should be stuck to a perfectly flat surface such as plate glass or a granite tile.
Levelling a piece of wood is the same as flattening it - taking off the high spots until the low spots are reached and the side or face of the piece is perfectly level.
Low-angle planes have their irons fixed at as little as 12 degrees to the sole of the plane. However, as the irons in these planes are bevel up, the angle of the bevel must be added to the angle of the iron to give the overall cutting angle, which is usually around 37 degrees.
The opposite of high spots (see above).
A rebate is a recess, or step, cut into the side and edge of a piece of wood. A range of rebate planes is available for cutting these shapes.
Planing away the waste from a piece of wood to make it the desired size.
Similar to reducing, this is planing a piece of wood to the desired size.
Usually the final planing of a piece of wood, smoothing puts a silky-smooth finish on the surface which is preferable to a sandpapered finish. Sandpaper tends to scratch and blur the grain.
Tear-out is where wood is torn from the surface being planed, rather than being cleanly cut. Causes include planing against the grain, a blunt cutting edge and setting the mouth of the plane too wide.
Tear-out, sometimes referred to as break-out, can also happen when planing end grain, at the end of the cutting stroke when the blade passes over the far edge of the wood. See, Avoiding tear-out for for details of how to prevent this.
Reducing the thickness of a piece of wood with a hand plane or an electrically-powered thicknesser.
The force with which a plane is pushed across the workpiece on the cutting stroke.
The planing of the edges, faces and ends of a piece of wood, making each face and edge perpendicular, or "true", with its neighbours.