This may be a stupid question, although I hope not: what's the best way to
store hand/block planes?
I've a few asstd. ones I've always kept stored on their sides on a shelf.
Many years ago, at school, they were stored upright which always seemed
wrong to me. Wouldn't that be more likely to result in dulled/damaged
blades? The reason I ask is 'cos I friend of mine (a fellow woodworker with
quite a few more years experience than I) borrowed my "workshop" and put
them back upright.
When I asked him about it, he said it made no difference, that on a properly
adjusted plane the heel protects the blade.
I don't know, I'm not a plane afficiando and rarely use them. I prefer
spokeshaves, even for scribing in, because they're so much more versatile!
And I have more problems controlling the "roll" planes, but Ssssh! Don't
spread that around. ;]
Still, it seems to me that on a properly adjusted blade the heel should be
/flush/ with the blade and if it should be carelessly put down on a vagrant
nail or whatever it could easily be damaged. Am I wrong? What's the
Not that it makes any difference to me... I'll probably persevere with my
way anyway; it's become force of habit. [shrug]
I lay my planes (all 3, soon to be more--yeah!) right side up on a piece
of rust preventative paper that came with one of the planes. The sit in
a cabinet, on a shelf that's head high. I find it awkward to grab them
if they are laying on their sides. I carefully place them, and have
found zero issues with dullness. If they were to sit in a drawer, I'd
not place them right side up--things slide around.
Andy McArdle wrote:
I lay them on the side on the bench.
My storage shelf near the bench has a wooden strip that allows planes to
be stored upright, with the blade not touching anything. My planes that
are in a drawer are stored in plane socks, right side up, with the
On Thu, 16 Jun 2005 00:42:13 +1000, "Andy McArdle"
You're never going to get agreement on that one...
I never store block planes on their side. They're too narrow, they fall
over. Instead I store them sole down, racking in rows on shelves along
with my wooden moulders. To avoid resting the plane on its iron, simply
fasten a thin strip of wood down across the shelf as a sole-rest.
When I use the plane, I put the iron on the timber and press downwards.
I'm unconvinced by this "never rest a plane on its iron" dogma -
especially for resting it on soft timber. Random benches with possible
hardware on them are obviously different.
Oh, I know that. I was wondering what other peoples views and the
rationales behind them were, though.
Strewth, I can't believe I hadn't thought of that! Two replies out of three
so far have mentioned it! It's too obvious. [sigh]
Methinks I'll fasten some strips for just that purpose tomorrow, although I
doubt I'll start storing 'em upright. Ingrained habit and all that. Still,
it'll make me feel happier for cases when others put 'em back upright.
The only time I use a plane is when the surface is too wide for a spokeshave
and I want a level surface which, fortunately for me, is rarely. I don't
mind resting the plane "on the job" as it were; if that damages the blade
then I'm doing something a damned sight worse than just mishandling the
Unfortunately, shelf-space is at a premium here (drawers aren't feasible)
and just above eye-level so it's hard to be sure that there's not small
pieces of hardware where they shouldn't be. Hence my concern.
I leave mine right side up. I figure that
1) The planes are going to be fine on the bench, it's the bench that may
get cut up
2) If I knock the plane with something (like a clamp, or my hand), I'd
rather have it hit the side of the plane than the blade.
3) If I can free up enough space right on the surface of the bench (i.e. no
screws, metal, or wood I'd like to protect), it's probably time to clean my
bench. This is the case more often than I'd like. :)
For storing them (as opposed to putting it down while I move something
around), I intend to build a bit of a case that will hang on my slot-board
wall, and will allow the planes to remain in a mostly vertical position.
Leaving a little unsupported area in the middle, so the blades won't
actually be resting on anything. Right now, my planes are stored on my
workbench, which bugs me, but not enough to do something about it.
BTW, as far as your buddy's explanation that the heel of a properly adjusted
plane protects the blade, I'd disagree. I may be wrong on this, but the
sole of my plane is as flat as I can make it. This means that the only
point on the underside of the plane that sticks out is the blade itself.
It's not like a powered jointer, where there are two co-planar surfaces,
with the infeed table lower than the outfeed.
As an alternate view, some that use Japanese planes suggest planing
some of the wood on the sole, so the sole touches the wood in 4
Right before the iron (I think)
Right after the iron
This is done to reduce friction. I think some do this for joiner
planes. I think they even sell a plane to use on the sole of wooden
But in that case, the blade is still not protected. I retract the
blade during storage.
Sending unsolicited commercial e-mail to this account incurs a fee of
$500 per message, and acknowledges the legality of this contract.
Possibly. Mainly though it's done to allow the plane to be controlled.
A Japanese plane is pulled, and the way you weight the two ends of the
plane is _crucial_ to its correct operation. By shifting your weight
between the two ends of the plane, in conjunction with this slightly
hollowed sole, you can control the cut. You can't do this on a Western
plane that you're pushing - you don't have your body positioned right to
allow enough control.
You can tell if you're doing it right by _listening_ to how a Japanese
plane sounds when it cuts.
I'll look into these... it sounds as though they'll be more "intuitive" in
use for me. It's for similar reasons I prefer spokeshaves; by pulling I
have better control over all 3 axis of rotation and listening to the cut
provides feedback. It almost becomes an extension of my arm, whereas a
plane is just another inanimate lump in my hands. [sigh]
The same applies to saws. Two of my most treasured items are an old
japanese flush-saw and their version of a tenon saw. Both are pulled rather
pushed and I use them for all my fine & accurate cuts. My western saws
(more antiques... inherited from my gramps) tend to be used for the rougher
work (eg. framing, ripping) where accuracy is not an issue.
'Tis a pity that the japanese tools cost so much more than their western
equivalents, here in Australia anyway, else they'd be way up on my wish
It's for the same re
On Thu, 16 Jun 2005 17:05:59 +1000, "Andy McArdle"
I'm not sure they do - the Japanese tools I buy here in the UK are
comparably priced to Western tools _of_similar_quality_. Japanese
chisels cost more, saws cost less, planes cost less.
How about Chinese pull planes (even more spokeshave like) ? You have
HNT Gordon making good Chinese-style planes at reasonable UK prices, and
they're based in Australia so they shoudl be even cheaper for you.
If you're interested in Japanese tools, I thoroughly recommed reading
Toshio Odate's book.
I've just done a bit of research into local suppliers and have to admit that
the prices have dropped way down compared to what they were the last time I
seriously went shopping a few years ago. The chisels are still some 200%+
more expensive, but the pull saws are now marketing at roughly the same
It's more difficult to compare the prices for planes as they're too
different, having completely different blade angles, etc.
But comparing by sizes, a 14" Hira-Kanna (roughly a #5 jack) is still
roughly double the cost of a HNT, Irwin or Veritas #5, although only half
the price of a Lie-Nielson or Clifton. I'm not sure which "level of
quality" to compare it to, not having one to take for a test scrape.
I hadn't realised there was such a beast, it's something I hadn't thought
about. Just had a look at the site and a nice Ironwood smoothing plane w/TS
blade is priced at AUS$187. That's about... 80 pound UK isn't it?
Methinks I'll do just that; I'm fairly sure that one of my dovetailing
chisels is a Toshio Odate. I wonder if it's the same bloke?
I can't say that I'm interested in Japanese tools per se, but if I come
across a new (to me) hand-tool that's easier to use for a particular job
than one I've been using for years, well... that's what budgets are for.
On Fri, 17 Jun 2005 00:34:04 +1000, "Andy McArdle"
Probably. He's not a toolmaker, but he's well enough known that he might
have put his name to a "signature range". He also has a book on shoji
making (his original apprenticed trade) and that needs all manner of
fine joinery, with specialist chisels to match.
Pull saws - I wouldn't be without. From the azerbiki (curved belly, good
for stopped cuts) to my huge anahiki rip saw (half the thickness of my
Western rip saws, so less effort)
I also like weird chisels, particularly the wedge-shaped dovetail corner
cleaners, and the sideways cutting mortice-bottom cleaners.
As to planes, then a lot depends on what timber I'm working. I work ash
and beech with Stanleys, mahogany and figured oak with my Norris. For
the lighter timbers though; lime, cypress and cedar, I find the Japanese
planes more approppriate.
He is. I googled for the book and ended up on a page linking the two. Now
I have to buy the book just to complete the set. <G>
Agreed wholeheartedly. I've a dozuki(?) I use for dovetailing/fine trim and
a kugihiki for flush cuts. I'd be lost without 'em. Hopefully a nice
curved kataba for plunge cutting will find its' way into my toolbox. I
/think/ I've got the names right?
That's what my Toshio Odate chisel is like. Perfect for 6mm dovetails.
I rarely need to use any timber apart from redgums, here in Oz "heritage"
furniture is becoming popular again and fortunately for me it's my favourite
wood. The grain tends to be rather irregular though, which is partly why I
have trouble with planes. After hitting the HNT Gordon site I'm seriously
considering placing an order... with the 60deg blade angles it seems to me
that Terry Gordon has designed his planes around Aussie hardwoods and that's
why they're so popular elsewhere for highly figured grains, etc.
Thanks for pointing me at him! :)
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