What are the parts of a wooden
hand plane?

 
     
     
 Shop for Woodworking Hand Planes 
     
     
 Diagram of a basic wooden hand plane 
   
 A wooden jack plane 

A wooden hand plane has a few features in common with metal planes, plus some features all of its own. Generally, wooden planes are much simpler in construction than metal ones.

 
     
   

Stock

 
 Stock or body of wooden hand plane 

The body of a wooden plane is usually referred to as the stock

 
     
   

Iron and wedge

 
 Blade fastened into plane with wooden wedge 

The iron is held in place by a wooden wedge.

 

Unlike most metal planes, wooden planes do not have adjustment mechanisms for setting the position of the iron – instead, the woodworker uses a hammer, or mallet, made specifically for this purpose.

 
     
 Brass and wooden hammer for plane iron adjustment 

Plane hammers often have a double head, with a brass side to adjust the position of the iron and a wooden side used to tighten the wedge.

 

Brass and wood, being softer than iron or steel, are less likely to damage the blade or the wedge. 

 
     
   

Adjustment

 
 Adjusting a wooden p;lane's blade with a hammer 

The iron is tapped with the brass side of the head to set the iron's depth and the alignment of the cutting edge across the width of the plane, which should be parallel with the sole, or bottom.

 
     
 Tapping the wedge of a wooden hand plane 

Tapping the top of the wedge with the wooden side of the hammer's head secures the iron firmly in the plane.

 

Further adjustment of the iron's depth can be made by tapping the rear of the stock to retract the iron (to make a shallower cut), or tapping the front of the stock to advance it (to make a deeper cut).

 
     
 Iron of a basic wooden hand plane 

In these basic planes, the iron is also usually simpler as it doesn't need the large slot necessary when a plane has more sophisticated adjustment mechanisms.

 
     
   

Strike button

 
 The strike button is a feature of some wooden hand planes 

Some wooden planes have a strike button – an area on the top of the stock, forward of the iron – which is hit with the hammer to adjust the blade upwards, or remove it altogether.

 

The button doesn't press in – it's just a solid area to hit, and works simply by sending a shock wave through the plane, sufficient to cause the wedge and blade to move upwards and so loosen.

 
     
   

Handles (or no handles!)

 
 Handle of a wooden hand plane 

Some wooden planes have quite distinct handles. . .

 
     
 Coffin shaped wooden hand plane with no handles 

. . .while others have no handles at all – just the wooden stock.

 
     
   

Exceptions

 
 Wooden plane with metal blade adjustment system 

There are plenty of exceptions to the basic design of wooden planes. For instance, some have a more sophisticated, metal adjustment system for the iron.

 
     
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