Advice from a Wood Store in Franklin County, MA: How to Properly Use a Hand Plane

Even if you are not into woodworking, it’s likely you have heard the term “hand plane” somewhere. A hand plane is a common tool used in woodworking projects that requires muscle power and elbow grease to push the cutting blade bit over a wood surface. As a manually powered tool, you may be wondering why, with today’s technology, it’s not easier to use an electric powered machine. As is the case with handsaws, some wood cuts and shaping are still best done by hand to assure accuracy. Plus, it gives the operator the feeling of satisfaction.

If you are new to using this tool, don’t worry—here’s some helpful advice from a wood store in Franklin County, MA about how to properly use a hand plane.

Gripping your hand plane

How you grip the hand plane is important. Not held properly, your woodworking project will take a long time to complete and may not even turn out how you meant it to. Start by using your right hand to grip the rear handle of the plane. This allows you to apply downward pressure that is created by your body and legs.

Your left hand grip will vary depending on whether you are planing a face or an edge. When working a wide board, for example, you’ll press down on the top of the front knob with your palm and secure two fingers under the knob. Grip the plane that way to apply the right amount of downward pressure and pull when making cuts. Both hand and finger positions leave you in control of the amount of tension needed for each push.

Your stance and motion

A woodworker’s stance is just as important as how they grip the plane. This is because the plane gets its power from your feet, so it’s critical that you’ve got traction under foot and you keep your feet a comfortable width apart from each other. While cutting, your weight should shift from your rear foot forward, like a rolling motion over your ankles.

The woodworking stance and motion relies heavily on the power and strength of the lower body to move the plane where it needs to go—but don’t push the plane across the wood any further than your feet will allow you to. In other words, don’t continue cutting if your feet need to travel or you have to walk the plane; otherwise your cut may not be smooth and look hurried. Stop and reposition your stance before continuing.

Master woodworking highlights the small details that are made using skill and proper technique, such as learning how to properly use a hand plane for woodworking, which takes a bit of practice and patience. Luckily, you can visit your local wood store in Franklin County, MA for wood pieces, whether you’re still practicing or are an advanced woodworker.

Visit us at Forest Products Associates today and let one of our experts know what type of wood you need for your next project, or ask for recommendations if you are new to woodworking.