Step-by-Step Guide to Tuning Handplanes
How to tune up a handplane to get perfect results.
Choose any type of plane—bench plane, rabbet plane, smoothing plane, or molding plane—and, while they may have different shapes or lengths (and other obvious differences), they share some basic elements. They all have a sole (flat or shaped); a chisel-like iron (also straight or shaped); a wedge or lever cap holding the iron in position; a throat (sometimes called a mouth); and a handle or some way to grip the tool comfortably and to control the cutting direction. Working in harmony, the parts add up to a tool that regulates the cutting depth and the cutting dynamics for you. The trade-off is that planes can be tricky to tune. Think of a plane as a kit, all the elements of which need to be tuned together for the best results.
I suspect that many woodworkers avoid planes because they don’t understand how to tune them or fear they…