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.

 
     
   

Levelling

 
 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.

 
     
   

Smoothing

 
 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 
     
   

Chamfering

 
 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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