Wood Plane

Image to the right shows nomenclature used in this outline. It shows a bevel up blade, but the ideas are the same for a bevel down blade (only the blade is flipped over before inserting into the plane).

Notes are also available on a different web page for Micro / Secondary Bevels.

Plane angle nomenclature


Values shown in the table below are for the Cutting Angle and the Relief Angle. As the Bed Angle is based on the plane body you are using, these are not shown. Additionally, the Front Bevel and Back Bevel can be easily determined from the Cutting Angle and the Relief Angle. To calculate these angles, use the following formulas :

Front Bevel = Cutting Angle - Bed Angle

Back Bevel = Bed Angle - Relief Angle


General Guidelines
Type Cutting Angle Relief Angle Notes
Bench Planes
    - General Purpose
    - Soft Woods
    - Low Angle

32°
27°
32°

--
--
10°
Cutting ange could be as low as 30°.

When working wood wider than the blade, crown the cutting edge or round the corners (or both). Using a 10° relief angle is especially useful for Low Angle and Bevel Down planes.
Blind Nailer n/a
n/a
You will need to consult someone far more experienced than I. Leonard Lee's book is a good place to start.
Block Planes
    - Bevel Down
    - General Purpose
    - Soft Woods
    - End Grain

35°
32°
27°
45°

10°
--
--
--
FYI : often, no cap iron is needed. Name comes from dressing of butcher blocks. Using a 10° relief angle is especially useful for Low Angle and Bevel Down planes.
Bullnose Planes 35°
--
Sharpen square across the front.
Jack Planes 35°
--
Jack Planes generally have a greater amount of camber on the blade. TM 9-867 Maintenance and Care of Hand Tools recommends that the end of the blade project 1/16" beyond the edge corners.
Jointer / Trying Planes 35°
--
Moulding Planes n/a
n/a
Lap the face of the cutter.

For re-sharpening or re-profiling the edge, you will need to consult someone far smarter than I.
Rabbet Planes 35°
--
Sharpen square across the front.
Scrub Planes 35°
--
Highly curve the cutting edge. Radius it no more than 2x the width, though it could go as small as 1x.
Shoulder Planes 35°
--
Sharpen square across the front.
Smoothing Planes 35°
--
Crown the cutting edge 1/32" to 1/16".
Spoke Shaves n/a
n/a
You will need to consult someone wiser than I. (Leonard Lee's The Complete Guide to Sharpening is a good place to start.)

Notes & Comments

Information regarding Grindstones

The shape of the grind used is a call best made by the tool's use, based on their own experience. Additional notes are available on separate web pages for: Grind Profiles, and Micro / Secondary Bevels.


Flattening the back is really critical for the overall sharpness. There is a good video about that below.


Relief Angle Notes :. A relief angle helps keep the force behind the cutting edge aligned with the movement of the plane (i.e., more in alignment with the surface of the wood than tangential to it). This is especially true for bevel down plane blades, and is also true for low angle planes.


Additional notes on Primary and Secondary Bevels is on the Chisel page.


More Information

Books & Papers

Videos & Presentations

Web Sites



Tormek is a copyrighted logo of Tormek AB. Its presentation on this site is used to help the user quickly understand when specific Tormek tools, jigs, or setting are being used. For specific information regarding Tormek AB, or its products, please refer to the www.Tormek.com.


About this site
Remember : The goal of sharpening is to produce sharp tools, and these tools can injure you if mishandled. Safety measures should be followed to protect yourself and those in your shop. Be sure to read and follow all instructions from the manufacturer, and and utilize proper safety equipment. Never consume alcohol or anything that could impair your judgement before sharpening tools, or using sharp tools. Comments can be sent via eMail to me at SharpeningHandbook@Gmail.com.