Whether you’re a beginner woodworker crafting a few wood pieces for a DIY project or seasoned professional making furniture for a living for years, there is no way that you haven’t heard of jack planes or haven’t used them in your woodworking career because they’re such essentials and no woodworker’s kit is complete without them. In fact, they’re often the first-hand planes to get as soon as you start doing a project.
Although the planes have been there for years, the science and technology evolution has caused a lot of transformation into these little yet essential woodworking hand tools; so do the jack planes, leading to several varieties having different specs and configurations that you can avail of.
One jack plane that works well for a particular task may not work for a slightly different job. You may be able to pay a few dollars for a jack plane, but that unit may not feel comfortable. So, you will want to spend your money on quality, reliability, and comfortability.
We’ve researched the market deeply, analyzed tens of products, and narrowed down the list to only 9 jack planes. These jack planers would surely help you enjoy your woodworking and boost your learning and efficiency with time while working on different projects in a variety of settings.
Let’s see what the best Jack Planes on the market are.
- 9 Best Jack Planes For Wood - 2021
- 1. Bench Plane No.5 - Iron Jack Plane
- 2. Stanley 12-137 No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane
- 3. AmazonBasics No.4 Smoothing Bench Hand Plane
- 4. Grizzly Industrial H7566 - 14" Smoothing Plane
- 5. GreatNeck C4 Bench-Jack Plane
- 6. Stanley 12-404 No.4 Adjustable Bench Plane
- 7. WoodRiver No.5 ½ Jack Plane
- 8. Taytools 469607 Jack Smoothing Bench Plane
- 9. WoodRiver #62 Low Angle Jack Plane
- Factors to Consider While Buying a Jack Plane - The Ultimate Guide
- Frequently Asked Question about Jack Planes
9 Best Jack Planes For Wood - 2021
1. Bench Plane No.5 - Iron Jack Plane
If you want to smoothen a coarse wooden piece, this is just the right tool to have in your kit. If you do both DIY and professional woodworking projects extensively, this is one of the perfect jack planes that would work on various wooden surfaces.
One best thing about this purchase is, it comes with two 2-inch high carbon steel blades, one mounted and one spare. So, just if one is not working or needs sharpening, you can start working with the other. This comes in handy, especially if you want to save some time.
It is 14 inches long and 2 inches wide and made with a quality iron body that weighs only 5.76 pounds. The base is smooth to work with, and the wood made handle and knob are comfortable to hold even for long hours and look attractive with a high gloss finish.
You can get the perfect required look with this since it’s easy to adjust with a traditional solid brass cutter-adjustment knob. Although it’s lightweight, it’s durable body tends to serve you for years to come.
However, most buyers have complained that it may require some sharpening or modifications to make it worth working. But for the price, you can’t complain much.
2. Stanley 12-137 No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane
If you want a brandable low-angle jack plane, then you wouldn’t go wrong with this Stanely jack plane, one of Stanley’s best tool and industry famous jack plane among woodworkers and craftsmen. It’s the right combination of a robust frog case and a strong base offering accuracy and quality. It’s a quality jack plane that is worth each penny.
It comes with a slightly thicker 3/16″ blade that is made of A2 steel. The edges remain good while reducing the chatter.
The bed angle is 12 degrees, whereas the blade’s cutting angle is 25 degrees, so both collectively give 37 degrees for attack for flattening the boards and end grain. The lateral patented adjustment lock feature keeps the blade in position across the width, so you get even shaving. Moreover, the mount adjustment allows you to do the work and get the required finish.
Designed from premium-quality iron, it’s a durable tool but a little heavy with 6.36 pounds weight. The cherry wood handle at the rear and the knob at the front end offer comfort. Whereas the aluminum path holds the handle tightly so that it doesn’t bother you during work. As a bonus, the product has a limited lifetime warranty.
3. AmazonBasics No.4 Smoothing Bench Hand Plane
If you’re a beginner who’s learning to use hand planes and want to have a basic yet quality bench hand plane, then this plane got you covered. It’s also a good option for occasional use yet precise work.
Its noticeable features include an alloy blade for perfect cutting, a wooden handle for good grip, and a smooth iron base that offers strength and durability. To perform well in your professional projects, it has all the adjustable gears that allow you to make precise adjustments to get the desired output. So, for the price, it’s an unbeatable excellent starter option.
4. Grizzly Industrial H7566 - 14" Smoothing Plane
If you want a perfectly finished wooden piece, then this smoothing plane is probably the right pick. It’s both lightweight and durable. It helps to cut the wood precisely, so you get the fine finished product. It can be used for different tasks such as flattening and smoothening glued up panels. However, it might have a hard time with tough woods.
The handle is attached in a good position that this plane feels nice in your hand without causing any excess pressure while working. You can work with it for hours without any slips. However, you’ll need to sharpen the blade before you could start working with it; that much work is probably required with any other hand plane as well.
So, if you can’t afford an expensive smoothing plane, you can rely on this.
5. GreatNeck C4 Bench-Jack Plane
It’s labeled as “Amazon’s Choice” currently. It’s one of the pocket-friendly jack planes on the market. The low price doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for professional use. It’s equally useful for both DIY and professional projects. It can also be used as a shooting plane with its 9 x 2.5 inches sole.
The hardened and tempered 2-inch wide blade holds the edges and sharpness even on the hard wooden surface. It is accurately machined, polished, durable, comfortable, and easy to use. Although it has all the adjustments gear, making adjustments can be tricky, especially for the beginners who have started working with planes lately.
6. Stanley 12-404 No.4 Adjustable Bench Plane
Another plane from Stanley. It’s a 9 ¾ inch long bench plane with a 2-inch blade or cutter. The base comprises quality gray cast iron, whereas the blade is hardened steel that keeps its precision-ground cutter edge for a long. The knife comes fairly sharped, but you may want to razor-sharp it depending on what you want to do.
The handle and knob are not wooden, but quality polymer and attached comfortably to hold for extended use without fatigue. The nice polish finish makes them feel smooth and pleasant to hold. And the plane’s overall epoxy coating saves it from luster that increases protection.
One important thing to mention is, it doesn’t have a chip breaker. So, make sure it’s suitable for the task that you’re going to do with this. However, it’s a great tool to do your bench-top projects with efficiency. It’s a very great product at an outstanding price for beginners to take deeper smooth cuts or use for fine work.
7. WoodRiver No.5 ½ Jack Plane
Woodcraft is one of the industry-leading suppliers of woodworking tools and gears such as planes, saws, router, power and hand tools, and much more. And this woodriver no.5 ½ jack plane is one of their fine productions.
Although it’s one of the expensive jack planes on the market, it’s made to a higher quality than you might expect. Everything, the sides, the edges, and the bottom is flat with a perfect 90 angle to the sides. It’s 2 ⅜ inches wide blade is well polished and holds good edges.
It’s a versatile jack plane with perfect size measuring 2 ⅞ inches wide x 14 15/16 inches long and weight that makes it useful for most anything from flattening boards to squaring edges in a shooting board.
The handles are also great, and it’s super easy to adjust. Moreover, the yoke-style adjuster keeps your hand in place on the rear handle. It’s a quality made tool that not only shaves perfectly but is also a joy to work with either for shaving or flattening your stock.
8. Taytools 469607 Jack Smoothing Bench Plane
This is another quality jack plane that’s as good as most other expensive premium jack planes, but it’s cheaper. The body and frog are constructed from durable ductile iron, so expect it to stay in your kit for a good time. However, the handle and knob are manufactured from Sapele wood with premium quality oil and hand-rubbed finish that feel wonderful in hand.
The cutter or blade is made from hardened and tempered steel measuring 0.120″ thick and 2″ wide. The blade and frog adjustment work really well. The overall dimensions are 14-¼ inches long and 2 ½ inches wide, with 5.45 pounds weight. The sole is grounded precisely to 0.003″ across the length. The sole is dead flat across the shoulders. It produces smooth and consistent shaving.
There is nothing terrible about this plane, but the cap is made cheaply compared to the rest of the tool. Moreover, it may or may not require a bit of machining, sanding, sharpening, and flattening before use. Overall, it’s a great functional plane that also looks good and feels comfortable.
9. WoodRiver #62 Low Angle Jack Plane
The last jack plane on our list is the Woodriver No.62 low angle jack plane. It’s patterned after the famous Stanley No. 62 low angle jack plane. The body is made from heavy ductile iron, whereas the cutter is a high-carbon steel blade.
The blade is very specialized and has grooves milled in the bottom that fit into the piece attached to the adjuster knob. The Bavel is on the top side, without a chip breaker. The total attack angle is 37 degrees (12 bed-angle and 25 blade-angle), just like any typical low angle jack plane.
It has an adjustable toe plate with a fair bit of support surface underneath it instead of moving the frog. The edges feel really nice and smooth and are square to the flat sole.
Factors to Consider While Buying a Jack Plane - The Ultimate Guide
Having a list of the best jack planes is still not enough. You can’t and shouldn’t buy any random jack plane. However, there are some essential factors that you should consider before whipping your credit card for the final purchase.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
1. Metal or Wooden body
The blade’s angle you choose decides pretty much everything about what and how you can cut. One angle that’s perfect for one task may not be right enough for doing anything else. So, it’s very important to consider this factor before you buy any jack plane.
The general rule of thumb is the blades forming a lower angle are perfect for cutting end grain. In other words, they slice through the woods rather than scrape. And they are also suitable for doing detailed work on various types of wooden surfaces. The commonly ideal angle of attack is 45 degrees to the wood surface.
2. Blade Thickness
There is a direct relation between the blade thickness and its rigidity. If the blade you’re using is thin, it can easily bend or flex when you put force on it while trying to craft a perfect piece. This will indeed affect your performance, and you will probably not be able to get the desired results.
So, always opt for a blade that’s thick enough to bear all the pressure and cutting while keeping its edge, so you could work effortlessly and efficiently with it.
3. Blade Adjustment Setting
Blade adjustment is another key factor in your plane. You should be able to make precise adjustments, both depth and lateral to your blade, quickly and easily to get the perfect output.
4. Adjustable Mouth
If you’re supposed to do so many things with your jack plane, you may want to have a plane with an adjustment mouth. Where a fine mouth helps you fight tear out and take fine cuts, and a wider mouth enables you to take medium and rough cuts for stock preparation.
5. Lever Cap
The lever cap should be of the same size as the blade. Because if it’s narrow, it’s really easy to leave the lever cap cocked at some angle, or you’ll have to align it super carefully every time you set up the plane.
6. Handle holding
If you can’t hold your plane comfortably, you will not be able to perform well. So, make sure that the jack plane you’re hoping to buy has a long and straight handle to easily fit your fingers. Moreover, it should have a smooth finish that feels nice in your hand.
Frequently Asked Question about Jack Planes
What is the use of a jack plane?
Although jack planes are known as “jack of all trades” because they’re the most versatile of all the bench planes and probably can do any task you throw at them, the primary use of a jack plane is to smoothen the wooden surface and make it ready for further operation. In other words, the No. 5, 5 ¼, and 5 ½ are jack planes and are used to even out the rough wooden surfaces for stock preparation.
What is a low angle jack plane?
A low angle jack plane is a plane that makes a bevel up low angle of mostly 37 degrees to the wood. The bed angle is often 12 degrees, and the typical cutting angle is 25 degrees. So, the total attack angle is 37 degrees, which is less than the standard 45 degrees angle.
Low angle jack planes are used for initial smoothening, shooting miters, edges, and rough and tough end grains as a shooting plane and even as a jointer plane in some cases. In a nutshell, a low angle jack plane is a versatile hand tool with multiple uses enabling woodworkers to do a lot. It can be a smoothing plane. It can help you joint pieces such as slabs or larger pieces that you can’t joint on your collector. You can use it as a shooting plane to shoot the end of your pieces as well.
What is the difference between a jack plane and a bench plane?
Any plane that’s used on the bench is called a bench plane. Jack planes are not different from bench planes; instead, they’re essentially a type of them. So, in simple words, bench planes are parents, whereas jack planes are children.
Bench planes come in different sizes from No.1 (about inch 5) to all the way up to No.8 (inch 24), where the No. 5, 5 ¼, and 5 ½ are jack planes with 12 inches to 17 inches long sole or bottom.
What is the best jack plane?
There is no one perfect jack plane for all. The best jack plane depends on the wooden surface, the type of work you do, and your personal requirements. However, the overall best jack plane could be one that offers excellent performance, build quality, and reliability, such as the Stanley Sweetheart No. 62 jack plane.
How do you set up a jack plane?
So, when it comes to hand planes, the jack planes are often the ones you might want to buy, whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional. This is because they are versatile and fit quite a range of tasks, from shaving down the rough corner and sides of a door to smoothing the wavy board’s surface. In a nutshell, they have been there for years and will always be a necessity for woodworkers.