What is a chisel plane?

 
     
     
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What it's used for

 
 Chisel plane is good for accessing difficult to reach places 

Access to difficult corners

Accessibility is the keyword for the chisel plane - also known as the trimming plane.

 
     
 Chisel plane's simplicity of design; specialised planes; woodworking hand planes 

The position of its cutting edge right at the front and overall simplicity of design, means it can reach, for instance, into the internal corners of box-like wooden structures to trim away dried, excess glue or dried drips and runs between coats of paint.

 
     
 A chisel plane works like a woodworking chisel 

It works rather like a woodworking chisel, performing a number of similar roles, and this is where it gets its name.

 
     
 A chisel plane can get into corners that other planes can't reach 

Cleaning up stopped rebates

A chisel plane can be useful for cleaning into the corners of a stopped rebate – that is, a rebate that stops short of the full width or length of the wood – and for trimming proud wooden dowels, plugs and dovetail joints ("proud" meaning slightly sticking out).

 
     
 Wooden chisel plane 

In short, the chisel plane reaches the parts that other planes simply cannot reach. And it will never be replaced by a router!

 
     
   

Characteristics

 
 The sleek lines of a metal chisel plane; woodworking hand planes 

Low-profile

Metal chisel planes are usually low-profile - the iron is bedded at just 12 degrees to the sole.

 
     
 Wooden chisel plane; woodworking hand planes 

Higher angle of irons in wooden versions

The irons of wooden versions are bedded at a higher angle, because the wedge-shaped bed would easily be broken at its narrow end if was pitched at an acute angle.

 
     
 Chisel plane's design usually includes a handle 

Handles

The design usually includes a handle, which in the case of a metal plane can be a single knob at the rear, or in the case of a wooden plane, a shape for the hand forrmed on the stock.

 
     
 Lever cap fittings of a metal chisel plane; woodworking hand planes 

Lever cap

The blade is secured to the body with a lever cap held in place by a knob, or a knob and a screw. Metal versions often have a depth adjustment knob.

 
     
   

Number

 
 Stanley No 97 chisel plane; specialised plane; woodworking planes 

Stanley's contribution to the chisel plane market was the No. 97, which was made between 1905 and 1943 and described as a "cabinet maker's edge plane".

 

Some are available second-hand, although they are quite rare and so rather expensive. Alternatively, you can buy a new one based on this original design.

 
     
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