What Is A Plough / Plow Plane? What Is A Plough / Plow Plane? Used For?

what is a plough plane?
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stanley plough plane

A Plough Plane, also spelt as Plow Plane, is a woodwork plane used for cutting and cleaning grooves.

A plough plane has a depth stop and an adjustable moveable fence, which is supported on and slides along usually two arms.

A plough plane usually comes with a selection of different width plough / grooving cutters for working different width grooves.

Plough plane is the UK way of spelling this type of plane.

Plow plane is the North America way of spelling this type of plane.

From what I have observed, other regions of the world spell this tool using one or the other of the above spellings, quite possibly depending on what literature has been read and likely historically where the tool was first bought.

Plough planes / plow planes were historically made in two different main types:

wooden plough plane

1. Wooden Plough Planes / Plow Planes

Wooden plough / plow planes have been around since about the early 1700's, made by established manufacturers all the way up to about the 1940's/1950's.

There are two main types of wooden plough plane:

The wooden plough planes used to have up to an 8-piece plough plane cutter set.

These planes are beautiful to handle and have a good solid 250+ year history of grooving work.

If looking to buy an old wooden plough plane, be aware there can be a lot of aged problems potentially with these types of planes and from experience very commonly are, I would say it is defintely worth considering paying the extra for one of these from a reputable dealer / source.

See the above wooden plough plane review pages to see some of the problems you would be prudent to be aware of.

Old Wooden Plough Plane / Plow Plane Manufacturers

  • Atkins
  • Buck
  • Green (Iohn)
  • Greenslade
  • Griffiths
  • Marples
  • Mathieson
  • Varvil

record plough plane

2. Iron Plough Planes / Plow Planes

Iron plough / plow planes have been around since about the 1880's and they are still made today.

Iron plough planes typically have 1 - 9 plough / grooving cutters.

Iron plough / plow planes are heavily based upon the wooden plough / plow plane core designs.

Plough planes / plow planes are the smaller brother of the Combination Plane and the Multi-Plane

The iron plough plane knocked the wooden plough plane pretty much completely from its perch by the 1940's-1950's in terms of new sales, there was however a huge abundance of secondhand wooden plough / plow planes at this time, and even today they remain available in fairly large numbers.

Old Iron Plough Plane / Plow Plane Manufacturers

New Iron Plough Plane / Plow Plane Manufacturers


(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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