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What is a woodworking hand plane used for?

What is a woodworking hand
plane used for?

Shop for Woodworking Hand Planes
Planing the face of a piece of wood Woodworking hand planes are often categorised according to the jobs they are used for.

Reducing the size

Reducing size of piece of wood with scrub plane Some – including jack and scrub planes – are used for the initial trimming, or reduction, of stock (pieces of wood) to the desired size.


Making a perfectly straight edge with a jointer plane Others, such as fore and jointer planes, are for making perfectly level surfaces on the faces and edges of pieces of wood.


Using a smoothing plane Some – most often smoothing planes – are used later in the course of a woodworking project for smoothing and ‘polishing’ the surface of the wood.
Hand planes are for straightening, smoothing and removing


Cutting a chamfer with a block plane There are types, including the block plane, that can be used for chamfering wood – that is, planing the corner off a length of wood to give a bevelled edge.

Rebating, grooving, moulding…

Metal rebate plane, woodworking hand planes There are also specialised types of woodworking hand plane. These include:

  • Rebate and shoulder planes for, respectively, cutting and smoothing internal and external shapes (recesses and projections), often when making joints between two pieces of wood
  • Grooving planes for cutting narrow channels
Circular or compass plane, woodworking hand planes
  • Moulding planes for cutting decorative shapes along edges and strips
  • Compass, or circular, planes used for trimming and smoothing curved pieces of wood, including the inside and outside of full circles.

Who uses hand planes?

Planing with a woodworking hand plane Woodworking hand planes are used by joiners, carpenters, cabinet makers and DIYers.
Joiner with woodworking hand plane Joiners are woodworkers who make items from wood, for instance windows and doors. They usually work in a workshop.
Carpenter with woodworking hand plane A carpenter fits or installs the items that have been made. They usually use their planes on site, to get items like doors to fit properly.
Cabinet maker using a bench plane A cabinet maker specialises in fine joinery, which includes most types of wooden furniture.

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