Bench Planes

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 If you are a beginner, the following links from our beginner site, Common Woodworking, may be useful to you:

  • The Plane Guide – This is a general guide which covers what the tool is and the names of the parts
  • Buying a Plane – This guide recommends what to look for when buying a plane and the best place to buy from
  • Using a Plane – This guide shows you how to use your plane
  • Setting Up and Sharpening a Plane – This guide will show you the basics of setting up your plane for use and how to maintain and sharpen it
  • Bench Plane Set Up – This exercise shows you how to take your plane apart and put it back together again

Restoring a Bench Plane



Sharpening and Setting a Bench Plane


Setting your plane after sharpening

Suitable for beginners:

Setting Up and Sharpening a Plane

Buying Bench Planes and Irons

The posts below give details on what to look for when buying a Bailey bench plane second hand. That is our preference. We normally go for pre 70s planes as they were built to a higher standard and had wooden handles. The wooden handles are the way to tell, although it can be difficult to see from photos and a lot of the early plastic handle models work just fine. Other than that we don’t particularly pay attention to the changes that happened through the years:

Buying bench planes on eBay

Buying a Plane

Paul has tried several of the newer import Bailey pattern planes which are very affordable, some of which are great starter options.

There is more information on new planes and premium planes in the following articles:

Q&A on planes and saws

Improving plane-making standards

We feel that the Stanley irons that they still produce are up to scratch as replacements, so we still use them. We cannot guarantee good quality control, but we haven’t come across major issues.

Do you recommend bevel-up planes?

Here are a few blogs discussing plane choice and bevel-up planes:

Paul, Long plane? Bevel-up, bevel-down? Part I

Paul, Long plane? Bevel-up, bevel-down? Part II

Which plane–Bevel-up First or Bevel-down?

Will I enjoy planing more with a bevel-down plane?

Will bevel-up planes fix tear-out?

The Bevel-down Planes Will Readily Repair Bevel-up tear-out

Do you use high angle frogs?

On the frog in your throat

How do you sharpen bevel up planes?

You can sharpen them in the same manner as bevel down planes, with the macro camber.

Do you recommend thick irons?

Thick Irons – Beware the Unequal Yoke!

The Demands of Thick Irons

How do you prepare a wooden plane for use?

Why do some planes have corrugated soles?

Paul discusses corrugated soles in a couple of blog posts that can be found here:

Questions Answered -Corrugated-Soled Planes

Questions answered – On corrugated soles

Different Sizes/Models of Bench Plane

#3 8” long, 1 ¾” wide (203 x 44mm)

#4 9” long, 2” wide (229 x 51mm)

#4 ½ 10” long, 2 ⅜” wide (254 x 60mm)

#5 14” long, 2” wide (356 x 51mm)

#5 ½ 15” long, 2 ⅜” wide (381 x 60mm)

How do you replace plane handles?

We don’t currently have a video on how to make replacement handles or totes for planes. It is something that can be done. Have a look at our forums here to see some recommendations (requires a free subscription):

Replacing broken plane handles

Replacement handles are available to buy online from various places, depending on where you are situated, so that is an option.

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