What Is A Plane? What Is A Hand Plane?

what is a hand plane
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A plane, also referred to as a hand plane, is a woodwork hand tool used for shaving wood, in most cases the purpose is for smoothing wood, working towards smoothing wood, trimming wood or forming a shape such as a groove, rebate or mould.

In its very simplest form a plane is a block of wood with a chisel / blade firmly in position through a hole.

The simple hand plane has existed for thousands of years in some form including evidence from Ancient Egyptian times.

I believe the first evidence of commercial planes (or at least in UK) began in Britain in the late 1600's in the form of wooden moulding planes.

From the late 1600's to the late 1800's the wooden plane grew in popularity. With time and demand, different types of planes evolved mainly in the form of different moulds (different shaped soles) see the 'old wooden planes' page.

During this time, millions of wooden planes were made, as such wooden planes crop up very regularly, certainly in the UK.

The wooden plane began its evolution into the metal plane design in the 1800's going through various forms before the Stanley planes became the mainstream popular designs in the late 1800's.

The Stanley plane designs became the dominant designs through the 1900's and continue to this day.

Some of the most famous old iron plane makes include: Edward Preston, Record and Stanley.

There are many forms of old metal planes including:

Many of the old planes have of recent times been sought after due to their quality, collectability and for some of them because there was no new manufacturing of such a tool. Some hand tool manufacturers caught on to this and have been making their versions of the old planes.

Some of the most famous new plane makes include: Clifton, Kunz, Lie-Nielsen, Stanley and Veritas.


(i) This review/article may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith, any such information should not be solely relied upon and seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices for the good health of your tool and property.
(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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