Apart from setting up planes as described in Wonkee’s various step-by-step guides, there are a few things you can do to keep your planes in excellent condition so that they give many years of service.
Keep them on their side
If you put a plane down when the iron is projecting, be sure to put it on its side. If you put it ‘sole down’, you can damage the cutting edge of the iron, particularly if you hadn’t realised there was something very hard on the bench such as another tool or a screw.
Keep rust at bay
If you have metal planes, rub a little light oil onto them if you’re putting them away for a while, to avoid any risk of rust and corrosion.
If you have a wooden plane, to preserve the wood and keep it looking like new, apply a thin coat of boiled linseed oil to the stock with a cloth or rag.
If you drop your plane
If you drop a plane, check it extensively for damage, including cracks. Repair, replace or resharpen accordingly.
Keep it clean
Keep your planes clean. In particular, check the frog and throat areas for any debris.
It’s good practice to retract the iron before putting a plane away. If the plane has an iron depth adjuster, turn it anti-clockwise until the iron’s cutting edge disappears inside the mouth. If there is no depth adjustment on the plane, loosen the lever cap or wedge and move the iron upwards by hand, re-tightening the cap or wedge afterwards.
With most wooden planes, a tap or two with a mallet on the rear of the stock will also retract the iron.
Storing your planes
If you have several planes, you could invest in a cabinet to keep them in, or perhaps even make your own.