Do you use hand planes?

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Richo B

Senior User
Which ones? Stanley #4, Bigelow #5, WoodRiver #5, modern Stanley smoother, Kobalt block plane and trim plane, Stanley rabbet, small router, Veritas large router,

How often? just about every time I do woodworking

For what usage? Reducing board width, jointing, making rabbets, cleaning out dadoes, finishing drawer grooves, belving/chamfering

In combination with which tools? chisels, hand saws

How many do you own? 9 (the ones mentioned)

How do you sharpen? Oil whetstone, leather strop, Smith diamond stone for smaller blades


Corporate Member
Stanley 5.
Craftsman 4 (old Stanley clone).
Sargent 307 block plane.

Use the 307 and 5 regularly. Hardly ever touch the #4.

I use them for planing stuff. ;)

I keep them sharp with diamond stones and a stropping block.


Corporate Member
Which ones?

I would have to go do inventory, but probably one of each kind, some two.

How often?

Every job I do.

For what usage?

Chamfering edges, fitting drawers, smoothing joints on a finished article, smoothing items with cross-grain, anything too small to run through the drum sander as a finish, flattening a large table top too wide to fit my drum sander. Picture below shows a table top finished with hand planes. Sometimes just for fun, look at the blog here :

In combination with which tools?

Table saw, jointer, planer, drum sander, after assembly to touch up.

How many do you own?

28. Some were originally purchased by my father in the 1930's

How do you sharpen?

For major sharpen, use a wet grinder for the main bevel, then two water stones for the micro bevel, first a 1,000 grit, followed by a 8,000 grit. Use a Lee sharpening jig on the stones.

For a minor sharpen, just dress the micro bevel with the 1,000 followed by the 8,000, takes a few minutes.


Charlie Buchanan

Corporate Member
My son asked me a while back "How many hand planes does it take to make furniture and at what point does it become a collection?" I have since tried to avoid expanding the collection beyond what I actually use. Here's the main things I do with handplanes.
1)Squaring lumber: Since I don't have a power jointer I use #5s to flatten one side of boards and one edge then use thickness planer to true up the other side and TS to rip to width.
2)Edge gluing: I TS edges to rough width and joint with #7 (both boards at same time bookwise) then put a little spring into the joint with a #4 before gluing up.
3)Smoothing: I handplane the show faces with #3, #4, or #4 1/2 in combination with #80 scraper as needed for working reversing grain. Inside faces get a quick hit with plane or scraper to remove planer marks.
4)Shooting endgrain: I use a LN62 on a shopmade shooting board. Also clean up dovetails with low angle block plane or the 62 depending on what fits.
5)Drawer adjustment: Handplane drawers to final fit with 62 or a smoother depending on how the grain cooperates.
6)Tenon fitting: Trim tenons cheeks with a LV left-hand skew block plane. Adjust shoulders with a #92 shoulder plane if needed but always finish with a chisel paring a little relief into the shoulder.
7)Rule joints: Cut them with rabbet plane to block out the fillets and remove most of stock on the hollow side and then finish with hollows and rounds.
8)Curved parts: Curved chair arms and curved backsplats get planed with a #13 compass plane. Best way to handle curved parts too wide for a spokeshave. I use flat as well as curved spokeshaves for shaping cabriole legs in combination with BS, files, rasps, and scrapers.

Sharpening is with synthetic water stones to 8000, then strop to polish on a flat board charged with green compound. If I have to repair a broken edge or unsquare edge I grind on white wheel to square things up and establish the bevel angle. I use an extra course diamond plate for flattening.
Most of the benchplane irons have been replaced with Hock irons and chipbreakers. I have one Veritas PM iron which is outstanding but the Hock irons will last my lifetime and I'm sticking with them. With exceptions of the LN62 and the LV skew block and an LN rabbet block plane all my planes are rehabbed Stanleys or KeenKutter single K series(made by Stanley).


New User
bench planes -flattening, truing an edge, surface prep, chamfers and bevels
router plane -joinery like dressing tenon cheeks, smoothing out dados
block plane - knocking down high spots, removing glue, chamfers and bevels
rabbet plane -rabbets, moldings and other edge work
hollows and rounds -mostly moldings
plow plane -grooves
filister -used to do rabbets but just prefer a wooden rabbet plane instead -less fussy, fence or depth gauge aren't really needed and never worked as intended

some are original blades some are updated

use as needed

sharpening -straight blades: dress on a grinder, WS to establish a consistent bevel, DMTs and leather to maintain and finish
curved blades (rounds and molding): dress with a dremel type tool, refine with dowel/sandpaper, strop to finish
curved blades (hollows and gouges): DMTs and strop. I probably struggle the most with these.
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