How to set up a wooden block plane

 
     
     
 Shop for Woodworking Hand Planes 
     
     
 Traditional wooden block plane 

Setting up a traditional wooden block plane is essentially the same procedure as setting up a wooden bench plane.

 

See How to set up a wooden bench planefor a step-by-step guide.

 

However, there are two differences that need to be borne in mind...

 
     
   

Shape of cutting edge

 
 Iron for wooden block plane; woodworking hand plane 

The cutting edge of a block plane's iron is usually honed straight, rather than the cambered, or slightly rounded, shape of many bench plane irons.

 
     
 Sharpening a hand plane iron 

So, when sharpening a block plane iron, don't apply pressure to the sides of the iron (as described in How to flatten and sharpen bench plane irons) to achieve a camber.

 

Instead, keep even pressure on the bevel across its width to make the cutting edge straight.

 
     
   

Clearance angle

 
 The pitch of a block plane iron 

Another difference is that the bevel-down iron in a wooden block plane may be secured (pitched) at a lower angle than irons in the traditional wooden bench plane.

 

While the irons in standard bench planes are pitched at 45 degrees, wooden block plane irons are often pitched lower, usually at around 35 degrees, which is better for planing end grain.

 
     
 Pitch and clearance angles of bench and block planes 

This means that the clearance angle of the iron (the angle between the bevel and the workpiece) will be reduced if the iron is bevelled as if for a standard bench plane.

 

To maintain a clearance angle of around 15 degrees, the angle of the bevel may need to be more acute to give adequate clearance.

 
     
 Bevel on block plane iron 

Without this clearance, wood fibres that spring back up immediately after the cutting edge has passed through the wood will tend to lift the iron, so that the cutting edge takes a thinner shaving or no longer cuts the wood at all.

 

Check that the bevel angle is correct for the pitch of your iron or you may find the plane skids in use.

 
     
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