What is a fore plane?
What it's used for
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.
Fore planes are around 457mm (18") long with irons usually between 50mm (2") or 60mm (2 3/8") wide.
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.
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.
If used for jointing edges narrower than the iron, then a straight cutting edge is best.
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.