How to Use Replaceable-Blade and Block Planes

Replaceable-Blade Planes

These are designed mainly for people who do not have the facilities for shar­pening blades or who simply prefer the convenience of replaceable blades. A replaceable-blade plane can do any job a bench plane can do and it can do some others as well. It is usually slightly longer than a smoothing plane and narrower.

The blade is the full width of the plane, which means that the plane can be used to plane right up to an edge – cleaning up the shoulder of a tenon, for example. A guide fence is often supplied, so that the plane can be used for rebating. The models made by different manufacturers vary slightly, but typically the blade is held in by a clamp which functions in a similar way to the cap iron on a bench plane. A knurled knob provides control of the shaving thickness by adjusting the blade protrusion from the sole, and the plane also has some form of blade-tilting control.

Blade and Block Planes

One major advantage of replaceable-blade planes is the number of different types of blade which can be used. Besides the standard straight blade, there are curved blades which can be used for planing timber wider than the blade – the curve prevents digging in at the blade edges. There are also special-purpose blades which have been ground to a more obtuse angle so that the blade tends to scrape rather than shave the material being planed. This sort of blade

is particularly useful on harder materials such as plastic laminate (or possibly chipboard) and has a much longer life than a standard plane blade. Replaceable blades can be resharpened if required but a special holder is needed to grip the blade.

Using a replaceablc-blade plane re­quires much the same techniques as a bench plane.

Block plane

This is smaller and narrower than a bench plane and is particularly useful for smaller work and for trimming the end grain. The facilities offered by different designs vary but all block planes differ from bench planes in two ways:

  • the blade is held, bevel uppermost, at 30 degrees to the sole plate

Blade and Block Planes

  • there is no cap iron. This is not neces­sary when planing end grain. Some planes have a knurled screw to hold the blade in position. With these, setting the shaving thickness and blade tilt is a mat­ter of trial and error. The better block planes have separate adjustments for both and often have an adjustable slot in the sole plate for the blade. This can be used to produce a similar effect to the cap iron on a bench plane.

The plane is usually held with one hand for chamfering or planing with the grain, and with two hands when trimming end grain.

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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