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What is a fore plane?

Shop for Woodworking Hand Planes

What it’s used for

Metal and wooden fore planes

Dual role

Sized midway between jack and jointer planes, the fore plane is designed to further ‘true’ (straighten) the wood’s surface after the scrub plane and jack plane have initially sized and levelled it.

It performs a dual role between sizing and truing up long edges or levelling wide boards.

Characteristics

Metal fore plane

Size

Fore planes are around 457mm (18″) long with irons usually between 50mm (2″) or 60mm (2 3/8″) wide.

Wooden jack and wooden fore plane

Levelling

The fore’s extra length compared with the jack plane enables it to pare (reduce in size in successive stages) the high spots while bridging the low spots, eventually delivering a level surface ready for the jointer or smoothing plane.

Crowned cutting edge is suitable for some fore plane work

Shape of the iron

You might need two irons for a fore plane.

A crowned – slightly cambered, or rounded – iron is best for fore planes used for flattening faces of wood that are wider than the iron. With the middle of the cutting edge projecting through the mouth, but the corners slightly retracted, overlapping strokes on larger pieces will not leave ugly tracks in the wood.

Straight cutting edge on hand plane iron If used for jointing edges narrower than the iron, then a straight cutting edge is best.

Number

Stanley Bailey fore plane No 606C with corrugated sole Stanley/Bailey model numbers for the fore plane include the No. 6 – the most popular type of fore used today – and the No. 606, of which there is also a version with a corrugated sole, the 606C. The grooves in the sole of a corrugated plane reduce friction on what are known as “sticky” wood surfaces.