11 Hand Plane Tips that Will Transform Your Woodworking!

11 Hand Plane Tips that Will Transform Your Woodworking!

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Hand Planes are a big part of every Woodworker’s journey. In the beginning you use them because you don’t have all the big tools you acquire along the way. As you grow your skills they can become a real joy to use because they solve so many problems that power tools would take a long time to set up to accomplish. A lot of tasks can actually be completed faster with a hand plane but many people give them up before the get proficient in using them. Today I wanted to share my best 11 tips that will transform your woodworking and set you up for success.

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Why Hand Planes Matter 0:00
Sharpness Above all Else 1:00
Set Up – Chipbreaker, Lateral and Depth Adjustment 1:58
Lateral Adjustment on a Bevel Up Plane 5:36
Adjustable Mouths 7:25
Angle of Attack 8:44
Adjusting Depth by Sight 9:16
Going with the Grain 9:51
The 2nd Most Important Tip – Wax 10:48
How to Use a Hand Plane Like a Boss 11:41
Where do you put the pressure? 12:24
How to avoid a hump in the middle 12:50
Skewing the Plane 14:16
What Hand Plane Should You Use/Buy? 15:02
Wrap Up 17:28
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  1. Walk About on June 14, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    Nice collection of Lie-Neilson hand planes!

  2. Tw on June 14, 2023 at 12:51 pm

    No the lever cap is not designed loosen any screws

  3. Dave Link on June 14, 2023 at 12:52 pm

    I just started with planes, because i got 4 old planes when I cleaned out my in-laws house, the best one is a Firestone supreme and I restored it, but I have a lot of trouble getting them set right, I think mostly because I don’t know how, or if something is not right with them,any how I love your videos, I’ll keep trying and watching, thanks for helping!!!

  4. David Rodes on June 14, 2023 at 12:53 pm

    The precision of JKM saying nicker made me snicker lol

  5. homskillet on June 14, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    I feel stupid for asking, but the biggest issue I have is identifying situations where I should even be reaching for my planes. Every few months I get the urge to start using them more, but I just end up using them on scrap boards and checking my understanding of sharpening and adjustment. I struggle to understand how they can fit into my workflow on real projects.

  6. robohippy on June 14, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    Good video. What I have looked for is a ‘Beginner’s exercises’ video for the hand planes. With the sharpening jigs, and so many sharpening videos, that is the easy part. You just touched on how to remove a crown in your board. Still needed would be how to remove a concave board edge. You get the edge straight but it isn’t square, so how do you square it up? Do you adjust the blade to take more off the high side? Or? Rex did a good one on flattening a board, but that could be expanded. How to remove or fix a concave or convex surface, how to fix a crowned board. Maybe also how to know when the board you selected needs to be cut into short pieces, or ripped down the middle. I figure that in order to learn how to use these planes, you need to take a number of boards and plane them down to just shavings……

  7. R Swearing on June 14, 2023 at 12:56 pm

    JKM leaning HARD into the "ck" in knicker.

    Well done, my dude.

  8. Hand Tool Builds on June 14, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    The biggest difference in my woodworking came when I learned to sharpen properly, and sharpen often. I feel like that’s 90% of it.

  9. velcroman11 on June 14, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    #12. DON’T put the plane down on the work surface resting the blade of the plane on the work surface. “London to a brick” when you next pick up the plane you will, drag the blade along the work surface.

  10. William Crosby on June 14, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    New to hand planes–Rob Cossman videos are baffling to me–this was excellent. Thanks, Jonathan.

  11. darren macmartin on June 14, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks Jonathan! Quick question: do you camber the blades used with the Lie Nielsen 62 or 164?

  12. Jay Albrecht on June 14, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    You forgot one of the bigger ones, practice practice practice. However, don’t buy some cheap lumber from your big box store to practice on. Find a nice good clean piece of pine and practice on that. Make mistakes on it, go to deep and see how it reacts, go off slightly and see how you might make a twist on the top of the board and then correct it. Any woodworking store usually has a bunch of cheap scrap pieces you can practice on.

  13. Jim Rosson on June 14, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    Great video lots of great information for beginners thanks for sharing

  14. Trinity Too on June 14, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    Rob Cosman sells his custom made wax that comes in a stick, so you just scribble a curly line on the sole as the sole starts to stick.

  15. Bradley Tuckwell on June 14, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    Always a pleasure to watch thanks for the great tips and by the way my router plane I bought from you is such a joy to use it’s quality plus

  16. murphymb on June 14, 2023 at 1:11 pm

    Low angle planes with bevel up are cutting within a few degrees of a bevel down. A 20 degree low angle bed, add the angle of the blade grind 25-30, do the math. A 12 degree bed, 25 degree bevel, add secondary bevel, then maybe tertiary bevel, you’re around 40 degree cut. Is that enough difference to make a difference? Bevel down doesn’t matter much as long as the grind does not exceed bed angle, it’s 45 degrees. I’ve never heard a scrub plane called a Fore plane, typically a #6 plane (Stanley reference size) is a Fore plane. Maybe you Eastern folk just have different terminology. I do like my low angle block planes, mostly for the comfort of the tool in hand not because the angle of cut is better (because it really isn’t).

  17. Mortimer Sugarloaf on June 14, 2023 at 1:11 pm

    The hump is from how, when, and where you’re putting force into the plane. The fix is super easy. It’s all about preventing yourself from putting the hump into the board in the first place.

    At the beginning of the stroke, make sure all of of downward force is applied only to the front end. Your back hand should put absolutely no downward force into the tote at this point, only forward momentum. The tote should feel totally loose in your hand. Your front hand is really doing all the driving at this point. Sometimes I won’t even bother to squeeze the tote, instead just providing forward movement with only the web of my thumb. As you push forward, begin to add downward pressure only after the tote is fully supported by the board. These steps prevent forming the ramp up into a hump on the leading end of the board.

    In the middle of the board, even out the downward pressure between both hands, and keep only enough downward pressure to maintain control of the plane. The weight of the plane itself really provides all the downward pressure needed for the blade to work.

    As you approach the end of the board, gradually remove all downward pressure from the knob or toe, and keep only enough downward pressure on the tote to keep driving straight, maintaining the back half of the plane as your primary registration surface. I’ll often remove my front hand from the front of the plane entirely before I reach the end of the board. That step prevents forming the far end of the hump by keeping the front of the plane from diving off. You can actually see this nose diving behavior in some of the shots in this video before you address the hump issue. If your front hand dips at the end of the stroke, you know you’re applying too much pressure at the last 5 or 6 inches of the board. Break the habit, and you’ll notice you have to fix a lot fewer humps.

    The whole fluid motion should almost feel like you’re attempting to plane a very shallow concave surface, taking a scoop out of the board. Your muscles might feel that way, but in the end you’ll find you have a flat board.

  18. Kris Ingmanson on June 14, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    "This is REALLY important. You want to be at least 1/32 away from the edge so you can set it between 1/64th and 1/32nd." Umm, so should it be more (at least) or less (between 1/64th and 1/32nd) away from the edge of the blade?

  19. Jonathan Katz-Moses on June 14, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    *Support what we do* at KMTools.com
    Get the *Katz-Moses Brass Chisel Mallet* with Non Marking Replaceable Faces https://shop.kmtools.com/brasschiselmallet
    *The Most Comprehensive Sharpening Test Ever Done* https://youtu.be/GBjiEmN5HzA

  20. Intrepidus on June 14, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    "Can’t afford a jointer so you get a big long plane like this"

    <holds up a $700 hand plane>


    Yeah, I know you can get a quality jointer plane for less than that. It just made me chuckle.

  21. Tom Manseau on June 14, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    Been using hand planes for a few years now and still learned some new tips. Thank you

  22. MC's Creations on June 14, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    Amazing tips, Jonathan! Thanks a bunch! 😃
    Stay safe there with your family! 🖖😊

  23. Joe Giotta on June 14, 2023 at 1:17 pm

    You have great content, sir. I’m confused though. You obviously watch and know about Paul Sellers. But then you say you can’t use a #4 one-handed. It was at that point I realized, you are a silly-person.

  24. Larry Ohara on June 14, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    The lever cap was never designed to remove the chip breaker screw…that’s why you see so many broken lever caps!…but it is your tool you can do as you please .

  25. Adam Cone on June 14, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    I’m trying to figure out how to set up and use an old Millers Falls #56B. Any tips? The mouth is adjustable, but the blade still sits pretty far back from the mouth at the furthest back setting.

  26. John Tailing on June 14, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    Just learned more in twenty minutes watching this, than I did in two years with my carpentry teacher at school, , , , great vid 👍

  27. tim cassidy on June 14, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    my first hand plane was a #4 Stanly, just picked up a small (yet unidentified) hand plane from a market. It was rusted and I’m restoring it, and your advice for setup is amazing. Thank you

  28. Eric Gilbert on June 14, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    why did he spell out nicker like a spelling bee? still 10/10 video content and helpfulness and expertise

  29. Darin on June 14, 2023 at 1:22 pm


  30. Mark P on June 14, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    Great info. thanks for sharing!

  31. Paul Martin on June 14, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    "All the accuracy of a blind guy at a urinal" ? Never heard that before now! Seriously though, good tips for using a plane, thanks

  32. Mehrdad Samavati on June 14, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Hey Jonathan, nice video. To tackle the rust problem I have used CMT blade cleaning solution on all of my hand plane. Basically, you put a bit on and leave it to dry. It has anti-corrosion agent that will help rust prevention. Obviously, there are other products out there but I found this very easy to use.

  33. Marius Hegli on June 14, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    I have nothing to say really, but I appreciate your content, and wish to help with the yt-algorithms.

  34. david lynn on June 14, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Great video, thanks for the tips. When sharpening does it matter if you push the blade away from you or pull it back to you on the stone and does it differ with the kind of stone you use?

  35. joe m on June 14, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    Where and who told you the lever cap is designed to loosen the cap screw? I personally would never use it for that but to each his own

  36. Walter Rider on June 14, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    thank you

  37. George Beckingham on June 14, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    Great video. I’m pretty new to woodworking, and I only have a couple of planes: a #5 and a block plane, both Stanleys. I picked an ambitious first project that involves surfacing a bunch of 6×4 rough timbers. I’m still removing material; not focusing on flatness yet, but I have started angling my #5 across the width of the face to keep it relatively even. A 14" plane angling across a 6" face still keeps most of the sole on the surface.

    One thing I never thought to do (but I will next time I head down to my basement) is camber my blade slightly at the edges. Right now I get distinct edges on each stroke. But on the whole, thanks to the tips here and on the Canadian woodworking forums, my project is going quite smoothly.

  38. Jorge Mendez on June 14, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    Great tips! I always learn something from your videos, and I love your products. It’s been a while since you’ve done a build video though…… just saying 😅

  39. Pierre-Olivier Gosselin on June 14, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    Try the rust eraser lee valley sale them rob cosmon too. It’s like the magic eraser but for rust. The perfect thing for surface rust on the shop !

  40. Woodnote Studio on June 14, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    Great tips. Just started a new project and used a hand plane to flatten a board I had to resaw. It came out great and these tips were very helpful.

  41. Douglas Brown on June 14, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    " A blind guy at a urinal," priceless.

  42. Mario Gonzalez on June 14, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    Don’t sweat the lever cap hate, man. As far as I’m concerned, it’s your tool. Pick your teeth with it, if you so desire. Great tips!

  43. goodie7415 on June 14, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    A mini seminar! Thanks JKM.

  44. WoodcraftBySuman on June 14, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    Using the lever cap to unscrew the chip breaker is a glass shattering moment for me. Did not know that. I’ve always used a flat head 😂

  45. Jacob Schweitzer on June 14, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Easily the most complicated tool in the shop. You mention all the plane numbers but nothing about what that means.

  46. Tim Doyon on June 14, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    I gotta tell you, I’ve always kept my planes razor sharp. I didn’t think it could get any better. But, not long ago I bought your “scary sharp” system and oh my gawd! 😮 Now I know what you mean when you say your planes have to be razor sharp. I just spent an entire evening resharpening ever plane blade and chisel I have. Thanks for putting out such a great product, (and especially at such a reasonable price). By the way, I got your no deflection stop block at the same time, and it is absolutely perfecto! Tighten both knobs and the thing doesn’t move at all. It is way better than blue name brand stops I own. They have now been moved to my junk drawer. Anywho… thanks again and take care Jonathan! ☮️

  47. jen tom on June 14, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    I am a beginner to woodwork, the main test I have with this bundle https://www.youtube.com/post/UgkxTNB_zFBSnTo_O1PqfVUwgi7ityw0JlKt is that I think that its hard to settle on a choice of the plan and outline to use as there are a large portion of them there. Nonetheless, I like the simple stride to step directions laid out there.

  48. Miles McGrew Woodworking on June 14, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    I find a stick of pure Bee’s Wax to be arguably the cheapest, longest lasting, and least residue leaving lubricant for the bottom of the plane.

  49. Anthony Mohammed on June 14, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    Great info user friendly love the red and black stack-on im the background 325 lb weight capacity be safe sir

  50. theeddorian on June 14, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    About pressure on a bench plane, you hold the front of the plane down on the wood with the knob. But as the knob passes the far end of the wood, you are no longer pressing down on a plane. So sole is now a lever and your knob hand is pivoting the front down, and the back up, with the far edge of the wood acting as a fulcrum. So it works to ease off on the knob and shift a little weight to the tote.