The best Smoothing Plane How To Use and Setup

The best Smoothing Plane How To Use and Setup

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The smoothing plane is the most detailed and fine setting plane. learning how to set it up can teach you everything you need to know to set up any other plane on the workbench. it is a foundation skill for hand tool woodworking. this will trim the most difficult and curly of hardwood and leave a glassy smooth surface. Also, we will be looking at how to setup a smoothing plane and what to look for when you get a smoothing plane.

How to set up a smoothing palne old video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG-DULSw6Zk
what all the hand planes are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QYDC72yAsg
Low andgle Vs Bevel down hand planes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X65OLedIbyk

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50 Comments

  1. Seth Galitzer on June 9, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    I’m taking Spring Break off next week. Will definitely be spending some quality time with my plane. Thanks for all the tips on this topic lately!



  2. Keith Chamberlain on June 9, 2022 at 8:43 pm

    I have a no.3 Clifton (UK), a no.4 Dictum (Germany) and a no.62 from Axminster. These are all quality planes. I also have an older no.4 Stanley that does all the rough work. Works for me.
    I won’t buy chinese tools.



  3. Alexis Sacks on June 9, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you for the great video. Do you know the grits of your sharpening stones?



  4. Paul Dixon on June 9, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    mmmmm buttery.



  5. whomadethatsaltysoup on June 9, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge of this topic. I’ve always used a block plane, but have left my very old Stanley No 4 rusting in the garage for years. I suppose I just had such a hard time with understanding how to set it up and use it correctly.
    Your simple tutorial has made it much more accessible, and I’ll be out there tomorrow having a go at cleaning it up and getting some skinny shavings.



  6. Megan Goudey on June 9, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Great video. I love my number 3.



  7. Paul lindhag on June 9, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    When smoothing the face of a board, how do you avoid leaving "tracks" from the corners of the blade?



  8. Ibrahim Rammal on June 9, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    My absolute fav plane video ever. And man you’re funny haha



  9. Neil Vernon on June 9, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    Great information! Other videos do not stress the importance of the mouth opening. Made a huge difference for me. Keep the videos coming.



  10. Ragnar-The-Viking on June 9, 2022 at 8:51 pm

    Outstanding my friend!



  11. Brian Prusa on June 9, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    You’re so smooth.



  12. Katz Hunter on June 9, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    I’m afraid I’ve been a barbarian and have resorted to using sandpaper instead of my smoothing plane, Stanley no: 4. Whenever I move the chip breaker as close as possible to the iron’s edge, the shavings just keep jamming in between both elements even if it seems that there is no perceived gap! 😐😭



  13. budman123052 on June 9, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    Great info, very useful!!



  14. FreeSoftware on June 9, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    10:28 Hmm.. melting on the tongue! Buttery shavings for dinner.



  15. Arthur Soria on June 9, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    I’m scratching my head to try to understand why you don’t have 10 times more subscribers because your videos are always great. Maybe wearing a cool signature hat would help.



  16. FirstName LastName on June 9, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks, I needed this.
    I just came from a video where a dude was comparing a Veritas, a Stanley, and a Harbour Freight plane. Which is fine, but he was comparing how good the planes were by how large a shaving they could take, and several times, with the blade protruding _much_ too far, he proceeds to slam the blade right into the end of the piece of wood. I mean he really horsed the poor plane into it. You could hear the _THUNK_ as the blade just slams into about 1/4" of end grain.
    It was literally painful to watch.
    I needed to watch something smoothing after that..



  17. Nal Retrac on June 9, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    I’m curious why you compared the low angle plane having a 25 degree bevel (37 degrees total), rather than a larger bevel angle, against the #4 bailey design plane?



  18. RaizT1 on June 9, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    With a low angle plane like that Stanley, you can eliminate the tearout, you just have to get a different angle blade.



  19. Stephen Ellis on June 9, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    I definitely lean towards the No. 3 as my smoother. I don’t man handle it like my No. 4, so it allows me to be gentle with the smoothing. It also has such a small iron that lets work that area of tear out or just touch up an area smaller than a playing card.



  20. B. Eophan Robson on June 9, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    I enjoyed your video. I was just wondering if you have an opinion on smoothing plane frog angles. Is there really an advantage to a 50 or 55 degree frog? Thanks



  21. Shannon Smiley on June 9, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    Where can you find a good planner? Lowe’s and home Depot just don’t cut it.



  22. J Wydłubak on June 9, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    Wooden vs metal planes video, please? Is it possible/practical to "patch" somehow a mount of a wooden plane when it becomes to wide?



  23. Noach Miller on June 9, 2022 at 9:06 pm

    I learned a lot from this video. Thanks man!



  24. murphymb on June 9, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    I think you missed a very important part of the iron setup. A slight camber off the straight line of the blade, where each corner is just slightly honed "upwards" to eliminate the edge line that will occur on smoothing a large surface. Paul Sellers, who has been setting these up for more years than you’ve been alive, has a very nice tutorial that covers setting up a plane. He goes into a bit more detail on the exterior of the plane as well. You make excellent points and your chipbreaker points are spot on.



  25. OG Timbercraft on June 9, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    🧡💯😎👍👍



  26. I Had A Bad Day on June 9, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Great tutorial, always great to here your take on all things hand tool. Hope that wonderful family you’ve been blessed with are doing well!!! Thanks, Joe



  27. MrBAchompBAchomp on June 9, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    James you make me want to paint all my planes blue!!! Idk why I love the added character and how it Pops, so cool



  28. Dwain Lambrigger on June 9, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Mr. James Wright, thanks for this excellent video. I have a three and a four and generally use the four. I do have one thought. I see a lot of planes that get set, then they are run across the edge of a board. I’m not sure how much of a difference it would make, but I’d love to seen these newly fettled planes run across the full face grain of a board. Thanks again for your video. You inspire me to keep using the old hand tools!



  29. Rico on June 9, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    I’m with you!! Love the planing curls!! 👍👍👍😎🇨🇱



  30. Robert Harrington on June 9, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    If you were lihited to two planes, what would they be>



  31. Howard Johannssen on June 9, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    Well done, video was very helpful.



  32. dkruitz on June 9, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    Found out my blade is too far out from the breaker, will have to go and experiment! Thanks!



  33. Sean Patterson on June 9, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    When you strop your soothing blade so often, what is your procedure for verifying your setup once the blade is returned to the plane? Isn’t there a great of variability, having removed the blade and made some MINOR adjustments? Thanks for your help.



  34. Murray Potts on June 9, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    James great video disappointed that you poo poo bevel up planes for smoothing I use Veritas bevel up planes exclusively I keep a few different angled blades and get very good results even in Western Australian hardwoods which are notoriously difficult. For general application I use 40 degrees for smoothing I go to 50 degrees. For softer woods I use 30 degrees The 40 degrees is sold as a 38 and the 30 is sold as 25 degrees. I use a Robert sorby pro edge and drilled extra hole to acomodate 40 & 50 degress. I also have a veritas scraper plane which is fantastic.
    Updated after watching this and some other videos. Then playing with throat gap set at 1/32 then trying on bad piece of tuart. Great results👍 I do like the look of the veritas custom plane though. I can see a number 4 being addded to my collection.



  35. Matthew Ezell on June 9, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    2:12 Shameless plug. Lol. Great video and, as always, very informative.



  36. ramingr on June 9, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    These things are ADDICTIVE!
    I have a 3, a 4, a 4 1/2, a 5, a 5 1/2, a 7, a 78, a 45, a couple block planes and a scrub. I still intend to add to the ‘collection’ (quotes because I work them, not stare at them), so I DO have a problem 🙂
    Thanks James for countless great videos. You have affected me a lot, as numerous other woodworking enthusiasts, I’m sure!
    All the best to you and your loved ones



  37. KeepFit Daddyuk on June 9, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    Thank You Sir! Learnt so much!.



  38. Ashley Walker on June 9, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    Which plane would you suggest for someone’s first hand plane?



  39. Gwyn Buckley on June 9, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    I’ve set up my smoothing plane as you have suggested. I have also backed off the corners of the blade, yet I still get small ridges on my wood after using it. Any idea why?



  40. Double Dare Fan on June 9, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    This was still a bit too rough.



  41. Kimmons Hand Tools on June 9, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    I totally agree with the statement, “once you get the smoothing plane done right, every other plane in the shop suddenly makes sense.” So true. I’ve only been woodworking seriously for a few months and ive been in serious constant pursuit of a true smoother. I finally hit the jackpot this weekend. It took a very good and solid plane to start with and a fair amount or tweaking and machining on top of that. Now my perspective shifted. It has been a journey getting a dialed in smoothing plane in my shop. Long journey with many disappointments along the way but it finally happened.



  42. Tiny Woodshop on June 9, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Do you paint your planes blue? I have a two record planes that are blue and was wondering if that makes them a good or bad plane



  43. kyl3dr on June 9, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    Should the blade have square corners or rounded corners?



  44. Jonathan Beitler on June 9, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    How about the best angle for a smoothing plane? 45, 50 or 55 degrees?



  45. bighand69 on June 9, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    You can joint with a number 4 when doing it on smaller boards. It is just easier to get longer sections to joint when using a long jointer plane.
    A number 4 is perfect for making wood square for joints. You could easily make up drawers with a number 4 or even use it to make cabinets.
    If you are trying to do a table top so that you can joint the runs you are going to need a larger plane so that you do not do too much work.



  46. Michael Olsen on June 9, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    As always James a wonderful video.

    Two brief comments. First it felt as if you were a bit rushed. Not sure how much you practice your speaking, but I find that about 3 aloud "read-throughs" (preferably taped when possible) help me to dramatically reduce that feeling for my audience. Usually, I am also able to refine my speaking to be both clearer and more concise. Of course I also realize that much of your tempo comes from your strong and contagious enthusiasm, and I would never want you to lose an ounce of that.

    My second comment is a small clarification about plane parts. The "chip breaker" is not actually a separate part, but a special section of a part. The part itself is known as the Cap Iron. So called because it is placed on top of the Iron (blade) in a traditional bevel down western plane. The chip breaker is the region of the Cap Iron that is closest to the cutting edge of the Iron AND which bends the freshly cut fibers causing them to break and therefore curl. Stanley traditionally uses a small humped region. Other manufacturers eliminate the hump but include a bevel which serves the same purpose.

    While this action does effectively reduce taring, it was initially introduced to simply push the shavings out of the way of the users hands. The Cap Iron was introduced so that thinner irons could be used. A thinner iron was both less expensive to produce and much faster to sharpen and maintain than the thick irons of older wooden block and wedge style planes. Adding the use of steal instead of iron meant that thinner irons (blades) could also be made many times sharper. However all of this came at a cost. The thinner iron would often vibrate/chatter in use. So a second piece of thin spring steal – the Cap Iron – was added to provide the rigidity needed at the cutting edge. The first ones were actually flat. The hump was later added to improve the reinforcement of the cutting edge and had the advantage of causing the curling which both cleared the shavings and further reduced tare out.

    It should be noted that traditional eastern planes do not make curls and do not use cap irons, so they also lack chip breakers.



  47. robin alexander on June 9, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    Like your work.👻



  48. Paul Harries on June 9, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    While I enjoy your videos, I feel I must disagree with you over bevel-up planes. I have a Lie Nielsen 62 1/2, and use a blade honed at a 40 degree secondary bevel. I rarely have any problem with tearout. I also have three other blades for it at various angles.



  49. Jeff Kerr on June 9, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    Good Video James.



  50. Grandadz Forge on June 9, 2022 at 9:41 pm

    Is a Wood River #4 decent quality?