Which Hand Plane Should I Buy?

Hand Plane

Quite the important question this is. As with all things power tools, it is important to purchase the right ones based on your skills, budget, and many more factors. So, which hand plane should you buy? There are many types of hand plane woodworking Tools available, and making the right choice would be best. For this reason, I will walk you through a few considerations and the most popular hand plane types to make the choosing process easier. 

A hand plane is a woodworking tool that’s powered by the user, and its purpose is to remove thin wood layers from workpieces to give them the desired designs and shapes. 

While the design of a hand plane hasn’t transformed much since its inception, a functional hand plane will always be an important tool for all woodworkers and DIYers. I use a hand plane often for all types of jobs, including making furniture, shaping rough timber, and so on. 

Here is how to decide which hand plane you should buy:

Factors To Consider When Choosing the Right Hand Plane 

If you are a serious woodworker, then you must have a hand plane. However, if you are new, then this article will be plenty useful and guide you to the most suitable hand plane. 

Prevalently, all hand planes aren’t equal; some work excellently from the beginning, while others aren’t so user-friendly unless you have the proper tools and skills to use them. With that in mind, let’s delve into the factors you need to consider:


Typically known as the “plane iron”, the hand plane’s blade can be the difference between chipped and properly shaped workpieces. So, first, consider the thickness of the blade before making a purchase. 

Most of the time, you will get incredibly good results when you have a hand plane with a thick blade, as opposed to a thin one. This is due to the unrivaled chatter resistance it delivers, thanks to the vibration and motion of the blade during use. 

Usually, thin blades vibrate a lot more than their thick counterparts as they cut through lumber, resulting in a coarse and uneven surface. On the other hand, thick blades fend off chatter, leading to a smoother, more even surface. 

Low-priced hand planers feature blades of 80 to 90 thousandth of an inch, while the more expensive options are equipped with a blade of approximately 100-thousandth or more. While the difference is trivial, it creates all the difference in terms of results. 

Also, consider the quality of the blade. Top-quality hand planes have O1 steel blades, a solid grade you can sharpen as much as you’d like and use for a long time. Most high-end hand planes will point out the steel grade on the label, though some don’t. 

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The most suitable way to assess the blade is by sharpening it and then seeing how it works. A reliable blade will serve you for long and deliver quality results. 

Entire Blade Support 

The performance of your hand plane will also be altered by a section known as the frog. This is an angled steel section that’s fixed to the plane using a bolt to offer the blade firmness. 

Poor-quality hand planes will feature somewhat flat frogs, while top-quality options will sport a flat true frog that holds the blade across its complete surface area. 

You can check the quality of the frog by detaching it and applying 3-in-1 oil over the bearing surface, and using it against fine-grit sandpaper on an even surface such as your workbench or table saw bed. A reliable frog will deliver excellent results, while poor-quality ones will deliver sub-standard results. 

Flat Sole 

The last feature I recommend you consider is the sole. The bottom part of a plane is referred to as the sole, and its flatness signifies quality. An entirely even, smooth sole allows the hand plane to slice through the wood in a level way, resulting in lengthy, uniform, and smooth shavings. 

You can evaluate the flatness of the sole similar to how you checked the frog’s flatness; using fine sandpaper, flat surface, and oil. If you confirm that it’s adequately flat, then you’re good to go! If it’s not entirely flat, it requires some improvement, and I wouldn’t recommend purchasing it. 

A quality plane is also made of high-quality ductile iron, as it is more robust than cast iron. 

Types of Hand Planes Woodworking Tool

As pointed out, hand planes come in different types. Here are the most common ones:

Bench Plane

A bench plane is a must-have for a carpenter. They come in three types, each serving a different purpose. Here they are:

Jack or Fore Plane 

This is the hand plane you should use first. It usually has 12-to-20-inch length. Its purpose is to decrease the size of the stock. 


Once you’re done with the jack plane, you will take the jointer and use it to straighten the surface. It usually sports a 22-inch length. 

Smoothing Plane 

This is the tool you will use to finish your work. When it comes to size, a smoothing plane is normally 10 inches or less. 

Scrub Planes 

These planes are extremely lightweight and generally utilized to quickly remove particles from wood. You should only use this type of plane on smaller workpieces or to do minor tasks. 

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Block Plane 

This one works almost like the block plane. A block plane is flexible and built to decrease stock. This hand plane will be useful for tasks that you can’t do on your workbench. Plus, block planes facilitate one-hand use. 

Shoulder Plane 

This type of plane is used to cut nooks that connect two sections of the layers of wood. Moreover, they are versatile inclusions and allow you to make complete width cuts with long blades. Lastly, these tools are ideal for making accurate cuts on a corner. 

Rabbet Planes 

Rabbet planes come in handy when you need to cut through wood fibers before the edge to make neat cuts over the wood’s grain. 

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Take Care of Your Hand Plane! 

Like all other woodworking tools, you have to remember to properly take care of your hand plane. There are several ways to do this, including using your hand plane for the right task. Considering the different hand plane types, with each serving a different purpose, it’s important to use it for its purpose. 

Next, I recommend learning how to use your hand plane. While hand planes are generally difficult to use, you should go through the entire learning curve before you begin using them for your projects. 

Also, be cautious, not to cut yourself or ruin your workpiece with the hand plane. Now that you know what to look for in a hand plane, you’re good to go and find the right one.

Best of luck! 

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