How to Use a Hand Plane | Ask This Old House

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185 comments

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing. I’m from The Netherlands and had never seen this block plane before. I found out that it’s an Axminster Rider Deluxe Block Plane. There are different sizes: https://www.axminstertools.com/us/hand-tools/planes-spokeshaves-scrapers/block-planes?manufacturer=7726. Here’s an interesting article about the differences between the standard and deluxe models: https://knowledge.axminstertools.com/rider-block-planes-explained/

  1. So the thing that I don’t understand is that the blade is supposed to stick out below the planing surface right? But if the board is flat or near flat, won’t it just dig in and scar up the flat surface?

  2. Five years this is still relevant. All these “experts” using a machine to teach beginners how to plane. Thank you for this video

  3. This video is packed with soooo much information and talent! I have one problem though – where do you get a tape measure with 64th of an inch?

  4. That pretty much taught me everything I wanted to know about plane tools before I go out and buy one, plus some great tips to use in practice, including the subtleties of how to properly sharpen the blade. Thanks!

    1. Looks like a Lie-Nielsen No. 60-1/2 Adjustable Mouth Block Plane. About $165. Closest thing you’ll find on Amazon would be something like the Woodstock D3831, at around $90, and would likely require some fine-tuning to match a Lie-Nielsen right out of the box.

    1. It looks to be a a 2nd floor, however it is most likey a tv set on a 1st floor, that would make the most sense.

  5. What great rapport between host and expert. No one talking over each other, and with positive acknowledgement of advice given. Refreshing to see.

  6. This is a Western hand plane.
    But Japanese hand plane. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04EKQs04B4k

  7. Would this be a good tool to flatten a desktop that’s already been glued? And finished with polyurethane. Finish looks bad lots of cracks and I think it’s the hills and valleys of the grain. Yes I understand I would need to re-stain and finish. Or perhaps a belt sander? Any help would be appreciated thank you

  8. Would this be a good tool to flatten a desktop that’s already been glued? And finished with polyurethane. Finish looks bad lots of cracks and I think it’s the hills and valleys of the grain. Yes I understand I would need to re-stain and finish. Or perhaps a belt saner? Any help would be appreciated thank you

    1. Depends on the exact problem. If the desktop has any kind of twist, bow or cup (or similar issues) to it, a hand plane would definitely work well to flatten that quickly; the problem with the finish may have occurred from the first coat of finish raising the grain, which wasn’t then sanded down prior to successive coats, but I have no way of knowing <_<

  9. Im looking into buying wood working plans. Let me know if you guys like or know anything about these plans. woodworkingplans.home.blog

    1. @dmacmakes water stones have been used in Eastern cultures for hundreds and hundreds of years, so yeah, they were around. Oil stones were the go to sharpening stones in this country for our fathers and grandfathers. I’m sure they’d be jealous of the diamond stones we have today. I say have some of each type because modern is good but so is knowing the lineage of where it comes from.

    2. I think it’s an oil stone, my dad used to use them in the old days. I’m not sure they had wet/water stones back then.

    3. It depends on the grit and how much you have to remove. If you remove a lot & it’s coarse, a light oil is best, because it suspend the metal particles, which you want to remove before they clog the stone.

      If the stone is exceedingly fine, such as the Japanese one that I treasure after buying it 50 years ago in Japantown, San Francisco, then you may want to use water and keep a cloth nearby to wipe it every few strokes.

      Learn what grit is appropriate for which stage of sharpening; always go from coarse to finer, and be sure to respect the initial angle the maker put on the blade! When you get better at this you can learn to hollow grind the secondary bevel, but you need the right equipment and learn to use an extremely light, even pressure, or you’ll damage yr wetstone, even undo any good you did in the initial sharpening!

  10. Very useful. Clear dialogue. I find our American friends increasingly difficult to understand. Are you Canadian, by any chance?

  11. This is like phd level shit here.

    I ran my own residential crews, worked on coal plants and nuclear plants.

    This guys teaches me everything that makes me seem like a god damn genius.

  12. Would I be correct in saying that if the blade goes all the way from side to side that it’s ok to use “against the grain”?

    1. That depends entirely on what you’re using it for, how it’s set up, how sharp the iron is and what finish you want on the work piece. You can use a shoulder plane like the one he showed to clean up the cheeks (as well as the shoulders) on a tenon, but you need to make sure you’re using a sharp iron or you’ll risk a lot of blowout (although that won’t matter quite as much on part of your tenon as it would somewhere else that actually shows); it also helps to skew the plane (hold it at an angle so you’re effectively cutting at, say, 60 degrees to the grain rather than 90). Scrub planes, which are generally modified smoothing planes or other bench planes, are frequently used against the grain when flattening boards, because the primary goal is to hog off a lot of material quickly, rather than leave the surface smooth and ready for finish; that’s for the other planes. It does help to chamfer the back edge of the piece when planing across the grain, though.

  13. This is funny! As a hand tool wood working NOVICE, I can tell you that the plane sharpening instructions here are garbage. Check out Paul sellers sharpening tutorial

    1. Greyghost680 you admit your a novice. And then you have the cheek to say this is garbage. If it sharpens. It must work

  14. Fucking christ, I can’t deal with the dumbing down that the younger guy does for the lowest common denominator who watches this show. The actual knowledge is great, but do you really need to reiterate everything the old guy says just to make sure the audience understands? These shitty cookie-cutter personalities make TV trash, even when the actual content is worth watching.

  15. A couple of them looked like Buck Brothers. They are cheap but if you sharpen and true them they are awesome

  16. 1. Hone the blade razor sharp. 2. Use a low angle block plane for end grain. 3. For the tops of old doors wet the end grain first and let it soak in. Wet wood cuts easier. 4. What Tommy refers to as grain is actually the annular rings. 5. Check the depth of cut first with a scrap of wood first one one side of the blade then on the other side to make sure it cuts evenly across the entire width of the blade. Use the lateral adjustment to even it out.

  17. love these windows, tons of nice little tips… sadly we didn’t learn much in school from woodshop and we only had like 2 semesters of it back in the days (80’s – 90’s) don’t even now if they carry those classes anymore at public schools over here

  18. Tom Silva’s a great teacher and his enthusiasm for the trades is endless. Its not just homeowners and weekend warriors watching these videos.

    1. As long as the blade is sharp, the wood is dry, and you don’t mind some hard physical labor, definitely!

    1. Eddie Julian its totally pathetic to see these self proclaimed gurus make asses out of themselves with nonsense sharpening tutorials like this. I laughed so hard when he took the burr off with continuous circles . no fine stone, no stroping, no back flattening and polishing, no mention of microbevels on bevel up planes. In addition, oil!!! Wtf???

  19. I would have liked it if he had told use how much of the blade should stick out the bottom and that you should hold the plane at a slight angle.

  20. I find I get the best results with the block plane when I hold the plane at about 30 degrees from parallel with the board I’m planing like Tommy did at one point with the bench plane. Sometimes you need to create a edge that is “not” straight as when you are scribing to a uneven surface. Turning the plane effectively shortens the length of the planes “foot” and allows you to create a concave that is much harder or impossible when the plane is held parallel.

  21. Block planes get their name from butchers shops. They were designed to resurface wooden butcher blocks. Block plane. Nice block plane by the way. 👍

    1. Interesting. When I worked as a sous chef when I was in college, we had block planes to resurface cutting boards after they get all cut up by knives. It’s a problem cause blood and guts get down in the gashes and becomes impossible to clean.

  22. Plate down is okay, just don’t move it around on that surface, and less chance of nicking your finger or knuckle on the exposed blade.

    1. It’s fine to put it sole down on your bench as long as there’s nothing underneath the plane. That laying your plane on its side thing is old schoolteacher saying for young kids so they don’t damage the blade on other tools.

    2. its fine on wood, of course it cuts wood, on top of other tools or a metal bench…no no unless the blade is retracted.

    3. they also don’t put their plane with the plate down… put it on an angle so there is room underneath the blade

    4. That’s an old saying teachers told their students in school. Craftsmen don’t put their planes on the side as it exposes the iron to been nicked or cutting yourself.

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