What is a Block Wood Plane and Why Do You Need One

The block wood plane is a small, versatile hand plane that can be used with one hand. Although the block plane is often used to shape and smooth the end grain of wood, its compact size makes it portable and perfect for use in tight spaces.

Construction Of A Block Plane
A block plane is designed like most other hand planes: it has a body with a flat sole and an opening for the blade, an adjustable blade called an iron, and cap which holds the blade and forms the handgrip.

Where the block plane differs, is in the orientation of the blade. A block plane's blade sits at a much lower angle than other planes. The block plane's bedding angle-the angle the blade is held in the tool-is 20-degrees, which is much shallower than the typical 45-degree angle most other planes use. The shallow angle allows the block plane to be smaller and to be very effective at cutting end grain sections of wood.

The Versatile Block Plane
The block plane has a number of uses around the shop and home. Some of the uses for a block plane include:

  • Removing mill marks. Machine-milled lumber often has wavy imperfections left by the milling process. A block plane is perfect for removing these marks and leaving a smooth finish.
  • Applying a bevel. As a fast, quiet alternative to routing, a block plane can be used to create a beveled edge on the edges of work pieces. Marking parallel pencil lines on the edges of each side of the bevel will help insure an accurate cut.
  • Fitting parts. A finely adjusted block plane can remove material one razor thin shaving at a time, making it perfect for customizing the fit of parts and cabinet doors. Marking and removing high spots can be done in place with this handy tool.
  • Trimming joints. A sharp block plane can be used to remove the excess wood protruding from dovetail or finger joints. The design of this tool makes it the perfect choice to carefully trim these end grain pieces.
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