How To Setup a Handplane (The Correct Method)

How To Setup a Handplane (The Correct Method)

In this video, you’ll learn how to setup a handplane to produce thin, consistent, clean shavings. Be aware that this video assumes prior knowledge of sharpening, so be sure to watch my sharpening tutorial first.

๐Ÿ‘‰How To Sharpen a Plane Blade

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๐Ÿ˜ค Getting Impatient? Skip to the good stuff below: โฌ‡๏ธ
00:00 Intro
00:37 What You’ll Learn
01:14 Handplane Anatomy
03:19 Disassembling The Blade
04:08 Reassembling The Blade
06:02 Setting the Chipbreaker
07:47 Low Angle Plane
08:18 Assembly
10:19 Setting the Lateral Adjuster
14:00 Testing the Blade Angle
15:00 Setting the Depth of Cut
18:03 Backlash Explained
21:00 Outro

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๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธ WHO AM I?:
My name is Matt Estlea, I’m a 25 year old Woodworker from Basingstoke in England and my aim is to make your woodworking less s***.

I come from 5 years tuition at Rycotewood Furniture Centre with a further 1 year working as an Artist in Residence at the Sylva Foundation, which is where I began growing my business. I then returned to Rycotewood to teach Evening Classes for 2 Years, while also teaching City and Guilds Furniture Making for 3 years. They were some long 12 hour days!

In September, 2021. I resigned from teaching at the school to focus on my own business.


I like to have a laugh and my videos are quite fast paced BUT you will learn a lot, I assure you.

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  1. Texas Paul on July 24, 2023 at 3:01 pm

    Outstanding video. As a person new to woodworking this was clear, easy to understand and didn’t make my eyes glaze over. Thank you.

  2. Jason Halvorsen on July 24, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you, I’m a new woodworker and have a collection of hand planes from my grandfather. This has been the most informative video I’ve seen yet to help me get my grandfathers tools back to making shavings.

  3. Marlin Studio on July 24, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you. great explanation. I know where I have been going so wrong over the years. I assume an electric handplane does not have backlash?

  4. Michael Morais on July 24, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    Yes that’s what it’s like to get old. Be prepared.

  5. A Aljabri on July 24, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    16:45 very important point

  6. HoustonSam61 on July 24, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks Matt for a fantastic piece of instruction. Learning from you that I was striving to set the chip breaker too close to the iron’s sharp edge, and learning that I can’t decrease depth of cut by simply backing the wheel due to backlash, have solved a couple of very frustrating problems. You have some excellent content on these sorts of fundamentals.

  7. Jack on July 24, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    there are dozens of explanations of planes on youtube. this is the clearest I’ve seen

  8. Doug Thomson on July 24, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    Chuckle, cheeky young man! Iโ€™m 73 and Iโ€™ve learned so damned much from you, young Matt! Brilliant!

  9. Volkmar Sieh on July 24, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    Best woodworking tutorials on Youtube! Thank you Matt!

  10. Larry Goldsmith on July 24, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you for an excellent and informative video – WELL DONE! I am now a subscriber to your channel! I just inherited a SARGENT 414 Jack Plane and, having little to no experience with these tools, decided to seek some info from YouTube. I’d already taken it apart for a good cleaning and realized the blade was pretty hashed up. I first watched your video on sharpening then this excellent presentation on setting up the plane. I feel much more confident in moving forward with the sharpening, assembly and use of the very nice hand plane.. Keep up the amazing work – Thanks from Northern California, USA ๐Ÿ™‚ — Larry

  11. Diana Hopkins on July 24, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Thank the food goddess I found this YouTube teaching me how to set up a handplane. I have been reading lotsa articles and watching so many videos. It was starting to feel like a damn Secret Society of knowledge. But you just laid it out nice and clear not leaving out the critical information to stumble over on my own. BACKLASH!! Thank you for explaining BACKLASH and why you have to bring the blade back in …and then patiently, slowly bring the blade back out. My despondancy is snapped!

  12. SLIM'S BOXING COMMENTARIES on July 24, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    So I have a #3 & 4 and a block plane.. I’m still getting used to the sharpening and the idea of the shape being sharpened on the blade but it’s not very easy for newbies but I am sticking with it Matt. Thanks to great videos like this. It’s eye opening and very helpful. I understand backlash. I built my own CNC machine and backlash was a bastard, excuse the language but it broke my heart for ages mate..
    These videos are very useful mate.. SALUTE TO U MY BRO.

  13. Kuato on July 24, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    Whenever I get frustrated hand planing (not sharp, not setup properly, etc), I always come back to these videos to remind myself how to do it properly

  14. EdgeRowing on July 24, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    MASSIVELY helpful – and so clearly presented – thank you!

  15. Jeff S on July 24, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Great job.

  16. Luc Toulouse on July 24, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    thanks again for the correct set-up. Cheers from Canada

  17. David Balmforth on July 24, 2023 at 3:21 pm

    Great videos, learned a lot – at age 77 1/2!!! Thanks Matt.

  18. BobGP1 on July 24, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    11 min sounds like a loo time nightmare ๐Ÿ˜‚

  19. Jim Paulson on July 24, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    Matt, this and your vid on sharpening an iron were the best ones on that I have seen.great presentation! Just one question, how far back from the mouth should the frog be set?

  20. Tony Sansom on July 24, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    In my woodworking journey, I’m looking to learn how to use a plane. It seemed to me that it was a bit of an art form but the way you explained everything made perfect sense – backlash is no doubt something I would have fallen foul of had I not watched this tutorial. If all your videos are as clear and logical as this, I’m subscribing for sure!

  21. tafuworks on July 24, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    Don’t worry, when you get old with declining eyesight, there’s a great invention called glasses. I use them all the time๐Ÿค“

  22. Barry Foot on July 24, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    Very helpful video ๐Ÿ‘ I watched quite a few before yours and none of them were much good ๐Ÿ‘Ž

  23. Steven Cuellar Art on July 24, 2023 at 3:27 pm

    Best explanation Iโ€™ve seen so far on how to use a hand plane. ๐Ÿ™

  24. Jon on July 24, 2023 at 3:28 pm

    Brilliant teacher! Love this vid

  25. Jack Dunphy on July 24, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    I’ve watched dozens and dozens of plane use / set up vids over the last 3 years and I have NEVER even heard of backlash! Not from Rob "Mr Perfectionist" Cosman, not from Paul "I wish he was my uncle" Sellers, not from Stumpy "My nerdy cousin who knows everything" Nubs, not from J Katz-M, nor Bob Rozaieski, nor the rest. Not heard of it, not seen how to avoid the problems that come from it (nor seen any of those guys use their hand planes in a way that avoids it). Genuinely, thank you, Matt.

  26. Meg on July 24, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to explain backlash so clearly. I’ve only recently started woodworking so this is really helpful. And as barking as it may sound, the penny just dropped about why fixing tension on my sewing machine only works when I use the equivalent of out-in-out on the machine’s tension wheel…

  27. Raymond on July 24, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    Absolutely top notch instruction video. Planes have always been a dark art to me, but this given me confidence to sharpen and set up.

  28. Dave CGS on July 24, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    Magnificent. One of the best tutorials on planers I have ever watched. Incredible.

  29. April Degele on July 24, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    I’ve been working in a woodshop with very experienced folks for nearly 7 years. I have NEVER heard of "backlash". I got frustrated with my results and even the guy who managed the shop for 30 years didn’t have an answer other than to tell me to retract or extend the blade. I love hand work. I love card scrapers and hand planes. There’s something cathartic and meditative about being so connected to the wood.
    I’ve learned more in the last 20 minutes than I have in the last 7 years, and now that I’m a supervisor, I know more about planes than anyone else in the shop. THANK YOU!
    Aside as a female woodworker… sure you’ve heard this more than once … your eyes … DUDE!
    Off to watch the sharpening video as our couple of dozen planes in the shop haven’t been sharpened for at least the last 7 years.

  30. Niklas Elgeryd on July 24, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks matt! love how u always explain your "rules" not just state them. This video made me understand all my planes in a completely new way! This quality teaching is golden and keeps me constantly watching your stuff.

  31. Vince Schuman on July 24, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    great lesson, thanks

  32. Scorpian Spirit on July 24, 2023 at 3:35 pm

    Brilliant young man ! Well presented and easy to understand your concise instructions. The part on backlash was especially informative. Two thumbs up from this old guy (who used to be young) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  33. Tim Broos on July 24, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks for making videos Matt! They have helped me immensely.

  34. Steve Greig on July 24, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    Very useful! I bought a second hand plane about 25 years ago and have used it quite a lot. I could advance the blade but in order to retract it I always had to (or thought I had to) loosen off the cap lever and then retract it by pulling the blade back with my hand. Now I have watched your video, especially the backlash bit, I have realized that I can retract the blade without loosening the cap lever so long as I take into account the backlash and keep on turning the adjuster quite a lot before it engages with the blade to pull it back. I think it may have more backlash than a new one as it is worn. Thanks!

  35. Forest Weston on July 24, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    Outstanding presentation! And yes, you are correct, getting old is terrifying. Enjoy your sharp vision. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ‘๏ธ

  36. That Guy on July 24, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks for this. I have a few planes but never understood how to use them or set them up. Now I do

  37. Michael McLaughlin on July 24, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    Another great tutorial thanks Matt

  38. Kenneth Holmes on July 24, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    Beautiful Job. Very good info. Appreciate your video content.

  39. Andy Jame on July 24, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    The first half of the book is everything about wood: types, tools, finishes, setting up shop etc. The second half is all about doing projects for inside and outside of the home. The color pictures are helpful. After reading a dozen of these types of books, this is probably the best overall (layout, color photos, plans). Only detraction is that many of the projects use a table saw/router/planer, which are usually expensive and take up space, so the plans are less friendly to newcomers and the budget conscious. But I know I can use a drill, circular saw or a jigsaw to make the projects.

  40. Jen Hart on July 24, 2023 at 3:46 pm

    Brilliant video, thank you.

  41. Ironmanderton on July 24, 2023 at 3:46 pm

    Have you got a video on setting a palm plane…?

  42. Tomรกลก Bezouลกka on July 24, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    exactly what i needed. thanks for the thorough explanation!

  43. Miguel Aragon on July 24, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    Very, very useful thanks

  44. Tribes Tribes on July 24, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    Why in hell does he have that thing on the head? Is the temperature under the zero point?

  45. shape it on July 24, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    Matt, Thank you very much. When you explained "backlash" that was my ah ha moment. Excellent presentation skill and great sense of humor.

  46. Bruce W. Sims on July 24, 2023 at 3:53 pm

    What a fabulous, informative video!! I am refurbishing my late father’s two planes and found your video-s "must-see". Question: Now that I have the smaller plane cleaned up, what do you recommend to curtail rust? My tools are kept in an un-heated garage and corrosion is a constant problem. I’ve used motor oil, 3-in1 oil and WD-40 so far. None seems to help with rust and ALL attract dirt and dust. Thoughts?

  47. Gadget's Gear on July 24, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    I have a very old plane and I disassembled to clean. I took the yoke out and didnโ€™t mark the position. I didnโ€™t see that covered in your wonderful presentation. Looks like the yoke can be moved front to back. Not sure where to position it. Iโ€™m assuming the blade should lay flat on the yoke and the sole.

  48. Antonio Garcia ALgarra on July 24, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    Perfect ! No workshops in Osaka? ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. Dickran Marsupial Music on July 24, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    Set up is two words.

  50. Maciej T85 on July 24, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    Man…. So much information, this is the guide I’ve been looking for.