What are plane kits and carpenter's kits?
There are two types of plane kit.
One type, sometimes called a plane set, comprises two or more hand planes, often supplied in a wooden box.
The other is a plane kit from which you can make your own plane – usually a wooden one, but some are infill planes with metal soles and sides and a wooden stock in the middle.
There are also what are known as carpenter's kits, or carpenter's woodworking sets, which comprise one or two planes and some other useful woodworking tools and aids.
Plane kit – several planes
This type of kit, or set, comprises a number of planes, from two upwards.
A typical two-plane set usually consists of a smoothing or jack plane and a block plane, which together cover a broad range of basic planing tasks.
See, and for more information about these planes.
Other sets feature several bench planes which can be used in sequence to plane a piece of wood to size, flatten it and smooth it.
Seefor more information about these.
Buying two or more planes as a kit has one major advantage: it's less expensive than buying the individual planes.
However, your choice of planes will be limited to what's in the kit, and if you already have some planes and simply want to add another, you should consider an individual plane.
Kits for making your own plane
These kits represent a half-way house between making your own plane from scratch and buying one that's ready to use.
To assemble them, you usually only need a drill for inserting the dowels (round pegs that hold some parts together), some glue and clamps.
The advantage of a kit from which you can make your own plane is that it should cost less than the equivalent plane that's supplied complete.
Making your own wooden plane from scratch might be daunting for an inexperienced woodworker, so a kit is a useful introduction.
Carpenter's kits or sets
Carpenter's kits are sets of tools – usually including two planes – that provide some of the essentials for working with wood, and a bag or box to carry them around in.
Where two planes are included, they are usually a smoothing plane and a block plane. If there's only one plane, it's often a smoother.
Seeand for details of each, and the jobs they can be used for.
In addition to the planes, the kits also often include a try square, a sliding bevel and a marking gauge. Some also include a spokeshave and a marking knife.
Try squares and sliding bevels
A try square is for marking out and checking 90-degree angles, or right-angles, and a sliding bevel is an adjustable gauge for setting and transferring any angle.
A marking gauge scribes, or cuts, a line with a sharp pin, using a straight edge on the workpiece as a reference point as the gauge is slid along the wood.
A – a little like a plane, but with a tiny body and sole from which two handles project sideways – for shaping and smoothing rounded wooden rods and shafts. It was originally mainly used for shaving spokes for wooden wheels, hence its name.is a cutting tool
A is useful for scribing a line to be followed by a hand saw or chisel.
The advantage of buying a carpenter's kit is that you get a plane and a range of marking and angle-setting aids for less than you would pay for the individual items.
However, if you already have a basic tool kit and are looking purely for a plane or two, then an individual plane, or a kit comprising only planes, could be the more economical option.