Smoothing Plane – What is it and how is it used – First Hand Tool

Smoothing Plane – What is it and how is it used – First Hand Tool

A smoothing Plane is often what most people think of when they want to get into hand planes, but is that the right choice and what makes a good Smoothing plane? This is a Hand tool that really should be mastered, but you first need to learn how to set it up. how does all of its parts affect the cut. From the Sole to the Iron and Lever cap what do you need to know.

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48 Comments

  1. Cactus! workshop on June 30, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    Very interesting as always!! I still have a question. What do the numbers mean? do they have to do with blade length in inches or something like that? πŸ™‚



  2. KJB Temzy on June 30, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    Very good



  3. Josh Millar on June 30, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    Great explanation! Helps me out a lot!



  4. Rick L. Orchids on June 30, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    ……nice show James, I agree, I have many planes, and I choose one based on the wood species, grain, and size of piece……..#3-5 are probably my go to for most large pieces unless, real rough, small block plane stays in pouch pocket….use it all day. ….A new sole on that coffin plane would make it one of your favorites tools again….maybe brass. Great show….



  5. pjculbertson55 on June 30, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    Great video and understandable explanation of the characteristics of a smoothing plane. All things aside, many people, me included, tend to have a favorite plane and it is the one they reach for without thinking. For me, it’s a Stanley 4 made in the late 1890’s. I believe that you can get comfortable with just about any 3-5 plane and make it do what you need if you understand how to sharpen well.



  6. Opa's Workshop on June 30, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    great video James . very informative as usual. you do know your stuff.



  7. ceedub 62 on June 30, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    As my Grandfather use to say, it is one thing to have the tools, It is another to know how to use them. I have been learning so much from your channel, Thank you for these videos they are very informative and you explain things in a way that is easy to understand.Β  Blessings to you and your family.



  8. Blog das Madeiras on June 30, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    Hi there from Portugal,
    As Always great info about planes πŸ˜€
    Obrigado(Thanks)



  9. Joe Truck 12 on June 30, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    What are your thoughts of high angle frogs for the smoothing plane? In particular a 50 degree high angle on a no 4.



  10. ChicoMillion on June 30, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    "Firsthand" haha, I love the double meaning



  11. Sunil Kambrath on June 30, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    Very clear and to the point. There are many videos out there, but I found this one to be the best for a beginner.



  12. hizo64HH on June 30, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    This is my favorite channel on YouTube, hands down. Although I have to note that my 3.5 yo daughter hates the intro music lol.



  13. Jason J. Ayala P. on June 30, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    If there wasn’t any tear out with the plane you use to flatten, it would be smooth, right? It seems that a smoothing plane should be called "anti-tear out plane", size not having to do with tear out. I don’t understand the advantage of riding the valleys and bumps, smoothing wood that not entirely flat. Wouldn’t you want to stay the same size (for flatness), set it up for tear out (smoothness) and give it enough passes to get both smooth and fix your flatness? . Maybe if you’re going to keep one plane set up for smoothness for any sized board, a smaller 3 or 4 is more comfortable? What am I missing?



  14. JAC Built Woodworks on June 30, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    I have a 4 and a 4 1/2, I don’t know which one I should turn into a scrub plane, what would be your suggestion. What would be the use for the other plane if I used the 4 as a smoothing plane?



  15. Andrei IR on June 30, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    "The smaller the mouth, the better" – just like in marriage, in sex etc.



  16. Genardus Faberus on June 30, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    Hi, I really liked the video, it was very educative, got the answers for some questions I got quite some time. Thank you



  17. Terry Usher on June 30, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    Thumb’s up. Good informative video.



  18. Robert Brunston on June 30, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks



  19. Dustin Hern on June 30, 2022 at 9:48 pm

    Here I was thinking that a smoothing plane was just a plane with camber in the blade…



  20. Karson Bys on June 30, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    Is it normal that I’m 15 have no training/teacher and can setup a smoothing plane just fine?



  21. Donny Carter on June 30, 2022 at 9:50 pm

    Whew, that was a ton of info! I’m gonna have to watch a few more times!



  22. Brian Burke on June 30, 2022 at 9:50 pm

    Any plans to make a video on ways to set these up properly? Nice work on this video.



  23. D. on June 30, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    Thanks for the vid, James! Great one again and I do see progress in terms of the filming quality, for example the different perspectives. Keep on working on that too πŸ™‚

    I read and saw people suggesting a low angle jack plane (i.e. a No. 62 Lie-Nielsen) with a slightly rounded iron for smoothing. If you’d only wanted to get a few planes, may it be because you’re on a budget or whatever else, would you recommend that choice? The idea behind getting a low angle jack plane was that it can be used for several aspects if you purchase different irons for it (toothed iron for taking more material, steeper angle iron for difficult grain and so on).

    For me it’s mostly a question of budget, as – like I commented once before – it’s fairly impossible to get your hand on old metal planes that would be worth restoring.



  24. Atypical Paul on June 30, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    Could I use a fore plane as a smoothing plane? I ask because I found a large fore plane that I love. I have a very large slab of would to smooth and so I’d like to use a larger plane than the smaller standard smoothing plane



  25. Jim Dockrell on June 30, 2022 at 9:54 pm

    It must be that time of year. I just did a #4 restoration video a couple of weeks ago. Looking forward to seeing more on yours. I always enjoy your videos. Great job!



  26. Neal Konneker on June 30, 2022 at 9:55 pm

    I’m still confused. You say the smoothing plane can follow the peaks and valley, but that just implies one did an inadequate job with the joiner plane. If one sets up a joiner plane with a small mouth and sharp flat blade can it be used as a smoothing plane? Does a smoothing plane smooth better because the small size concentrates the downward force on a smaller area enabling burnishing? Other than that I don’t understand why a small plane would smooth any better than a larger plane set up the same way.



  27. Bruce Brachman on June 30, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Dumb question: How do you store your planes? Iron retracted? On a soft surface or a hard surface. There is practically no info available on how to store them. I have heard that if you store them improperly, the structure of the plane may be affected. Old wood worker’s wives’ tale?



  28. Thom spillane on June 30, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Great information can’t wait for the set up video



  29. frenstcht on June 30, 2022 at 10:01 pm

    Finally today, for the first time, I got something approaching good out of my smoother — an ECE. But the iron, while not cambered to the eye, left a scalloped pattern that I could feel, and see at the right angle with sunlight. Also, there were streaks that were visible at the right angle as well.
    C’est la guerre.
    On the plus side, the thirty-six-dollar 3k/8k water stone I got off Amazon seems to be a winner. I honed by hand — also a first — and didn’t have any nicks visible on the timber.
    So, I’m not sure where sharpening leaves off and technique begins. I’ll re-profile the iron if I have to, but I’d like to avoid it if possible.
    Anyway, thanks for the vid!



  30. Mike Higgins on June 30, 2022 at 10:05 pm

    I used to think that shaving hair was a good test of sharpness but I shave my head and face every day, today was day nine for my razor blade and I can tell you that it is not very sharp. However, it still gave me a pretty close shave. Not the most pleasant experience but still a decent end result. The moral of the story is that a blade doesn’t have to be very sharp to shave hair. And then there’s the weirdness of having big patches of hair missing from your arms πŸ™‚



  31. Doc Darkness on June 30, 2022 at 10:05 pm

    Ok that was awesome: Thanks so much for sharing the reasoning behind a smoothing plane it is truly eye opening . I kinda had a bit of clue but know I have no excuse.
    loved the tip on slightly rounding the edge of the blade as I had an issue with the blade leaving marks where the blade dug in although I "covered " with some strenuous sanding LOL.
    Really looking forward to the set up video if it’s anywhere near as informative then they joy of a hand plane shall be mine πŸ˜‰



  32. Daniel Solowiej on June 30, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    You blow my mind Sir. You did a race and clear explanation of all ! I learned a lot with your point of view in this analysis, and I agree, minor of the number 5, all can be. You make me think in put an adjuster of the mouth in a wood plane πŸ™‚ Thank you



  33. Howard Johannssen on June 30, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    Lots of good advise & tips in a short time. Thank you for your clear talk.



  34. RS 686 on June 30, 2022 at 10:11 pm

    Great info! Thank you



  35. Аleksey on June 30, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    Manual plane an important tool in the manufacture of furniture. Good video. Like!



  36. John Burkitt on June 30, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    Good stuff james



  37. Arnold Espenberg on June 30, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    now I truly understand what a smoothing plane is. they are just like all mthe other planes, but with a little deferent set up. thanks for the info,



  38. Willem Kossen on June 30, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    Nice. I really need to have a go at setting my nr4 up. I use wooden planes mostly.

    Question: ribbed soles??

    Wooden planes need a bit more attention imo..



  39. TJ'S WOODWORKING SHOP on June 30, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    Awesome bro very nice to know my friend πŸ™‚



  40. Kostas Annikas Deftereos on June 30, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    thanks for the lesson my friend !



  41. Heartland Makes & Outdoors on June 30, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    i never thought about a plane burnishing the wood to help smooth it, being a leather worker, i totally get the burnishing aspect of smoothing. Another nicely done video sir, you do a great job teaching us stuff. I wil say there is a ton of information in your videos. i have watched most of these numerous times and will pick up something new each time i watch one of your videos, and yes i watch both commercials first, i know it helps πŸ™‚
    Thanks again for taking the time to share this with us, i appreciate you and i hope you have a blessed week sir.
    dale



  42. Trev Sutton on June 30, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks James , great video,. It’s one of those questions some of us never ask because we think that we should already know!!… Now I do ! πŸ‘πŸ‘ keep up the good work. Trev



  43. Luis pereira on June 30, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    hi from spain, congrats for this video and from your chanel, i found it very interestin, i get here for the video you did with mat cremona. i like hand tools and i am starting in the wordl of planes, i found your video very useful, and im looking forward for the next about setting them. thanks and sorry for my english.



  44. robin alexander on June 30, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    Hi James, don’t be afraid of doing a long video. I like to see craftsmanship in real time and I bet many other do to. If a video was 40 min real time and had merit, no problem. I like how other woodworkers do thing and solve problems. Opinions matter. Cheers from Tasmania



  45. Shawn Scott on June 30, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    Great vid. Looking forward to the setup video.



  46. Jon Miller on June 30, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    I love the look of hand tools and a FitBit. πŸ™‚



  47. xl on June 30, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    the hair test is kinda of arbitrary though.



  48. Willie Sims on June 30, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    James by no means am I any kind of expert but isn’t A2 steel air hardened or have I misunderstood something?