As with metal block planes, there are many different versions of the wooden block plane. They range from a very simple, though elegant, design, to ones with the added features such as a thumbwheel or nut to fasten the wedge.
Some wooden block planes also have iron adjustment mechanisms, which can make the job of setting up the plane easier.The iron adjustment knob sometimes doubles as a palm rest for the hand.
We can’t cover every variation of wooden block plane here (finding them all would be a major problem!), but have focused on a basic plane – which is what many advocates of wooden planes like best.Any mechanisms for adjustments to the blade or mouth will be broadly similar to those used in metal block planes.
The stock is the body of the the plane to which all other parts are attached. It needs to be strong – made of very hard wood – to withstand stress during use.
The bottom of the plane – the flat part that glides over the wood as the pane is used – is called the sole. The stock and the sole are normally made from the same piece of wood, but sometimes the sole is made of wood that is even harder than the stock.
The toe is the front end of the stock and sole.
This is the rear of the plane’s stock and sole.
The throat is the wedge-shaped space above the mouth through which the shaving, or chip, rises as the plane is pushed across the wood.
The iron is the all-important cutting part which, for a block plane, is usually sharpened straight across its width, rather than being rounded, or cambered.As block planes are usually used for planing relatively narrow edges, the blade generally straddles the edge so there is little danger of the two corners of the iron digging in to leave tracks in the workpiece.
The wedge is the piece of wood that is – wait for it! – wedge-shaped, and tapped with a mallet into the space between the iron and the wedge bar or stops to hold the iron in place.
Wedge clamp, wedge bar or wedge stops
The wedge fits behind a bar, clamp or pin that goes across the throat – the space above the mouth. As the wedge is tapped down into the throat with a mallet, it tightens up on the iron beneath, holding it firmly in place.
Sometimes, the fastening device for the wedge is a pair of stops cut into the inner cheeks of the plane.
The mouth of a wooden block plane is normally not adjustable, so is usually a compromise between being open for thicker shavings and narrow for thinner ones.
Like some wooden scrub and bench planes, wooden block planes may have a strike button on the top of the stock, between the throat area and the toe. Striking the button with a hammer or mallet is a means of loosening the wedge without damaging the stock.