Jointers & Planers

17 Types of Wood Planes That Make Woodworking Easy

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Jacky C

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You can trace the history of most woodworking tools to ancient times. Archeologists have found different types of wood planes in Roman excavations, further suggesting that ancient people participated in woodwork.

However, since then, the design of a wood plane has mostly stayed the same, as it remains a solid block with a steel blade and a chamfered edge. The only difference it has with most hand planes today is that they have a metallic body instead of wood. Let’s go through our article as we explore the making of different types of wood planes and their uses.

1. Bench Plane

A bench plane

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The most common hand planes are the bench planes; they are popular yet hard to find. They are primarily used on workbenches and represent a broad category instead of a single piece of equipment. Bench planes perform general functions such as smoothing, sizing, flattening, tapering, and many more.

2. Dovetail Plane

Dovetail planes have a close resemblance to plow planes. They are specifically used to cut sliding dovetails and make accurate tapered cuts. It is hard to find dovetail planes in the market since few manufacturers have them in their catalogs.

A dovetail plane

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The only difference it has with plow planes is the design. Dovetail planes have a square fence and a beveled fence on their main body. They have four cutters that help in cutting sliding dovetails easily.

3. Jointer Plane

Jointer planes are among the more extensive and extended members of the hand plane family. The most extended jointer plane measures about 600mm in length and is the heaviest. You can use this plane to trim the boards’ sides before joining them.

A jointer plane

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Since it has a long sole, you can also use it in smoothies surfaces and leveling the troughs and peaks of wood before you join them. Its smoothing abilities help the wood achieve a finer joint. However, it has a lot of uses, so click here to know what a jointer does.

4. Block Plane

Block planes are the minor type of planes that measure 150mm in length. You can hold them using one hand, and they are often used in trimming end grain. However, you can also use them to create fine finishing cuts. Their blades are on the lower level, and their cutting bevels face upwards.

A block plane

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The cuts are always shallow due to the angle they cut through. You may need to work on the end grain to get a fine, smooth finish. Other wood planes that resemble black planes include pocket, trimming, and apron planes.

5. Smoothing Plane

The last step of flattening wood is smoothing it; previously, woodworkers would use sandpaper, but that was a lot of work. And effort. Nowadays, you can use a smoothing plane to accomplish the task in minutes. Also, other rough sandpaper materials can Marr the wood surface while smoothing, thus damaging it.

A smoothing plane

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Smoothing planes usually are about 175mm making them the shortest in the plane family. They are categorized under bench planes since they are used in finishing the woodwork. You can either use it to flatten or smoothen a wooden surface since it is sharpened on its flat surfaces.

6. Jack Plane

A Jack Plane

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Jack planes are the jacks of all trades as they are versatile or universal. They are the beginning of all plane collections and can smoothen almost any type of wood. Jack planes are used to smoothen boards and have a general purpose in all woodworking practices.

It has a length of 350mm, which is longer than other smoothing planes and heavier. If you are serious about woodworking, you can explore the 9 best jack planes or learn how to make a jack plane and save some cash.

7. Shoulder Plane

Shoulder Plane | 3-in-1 Woodworking Tool

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Shoulder planes have blades that extend over the plane’s width to provide a broader cutting edge. You can use these planes to cut rebates or rabbets. Professional woodworkers use these planes to trim and cut wood at its corners. It is possible to do so since the plane is flat-sided. These planes are easier to work with since they are available in different sizes and can suit any woodwork you are doing.

8. Bullnose Plane

Bullnose planes are shorter versions of shoulder planes. You can use a bullnose pane to add finishing touches to tenons and other woodwork that require fine work. Some bullnose planes have removable fronts that enable you to convert them into chisel planes.

The Bullnose Plane

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These models allow you to work comfortably through the corners. Bullnosepplanes have blades that are wider than their bodies to prevent the body from binding against the wall of the rabbet. When you use these plans, you get straight, square cuts.

9. Plow Plane

Plow planes resemble router planes since they are used on long groves and dadoes. The only difference they have is that plow planes cut grooves and dadoes in two pieces instead of cleaning them.

A plow plane in use

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For instance, they are commonly used for fitting drawers bottoms to drawers. They have adjustable fences that use the edge o the workpiece as a reference to the parallel cut. Plow planes often have a set of blades in different sizes to enable you to get in grooves of different depths and widths of wood.

10. Router Plane

At a closer angle, a router plane may resemble something between a spokeshave and a hand plane. However, router planes clean out shallow grooves, mortises, and dodoes. It may come with a fence to help you achieve straight work and allow you to cut in two positions of its blade.

Router plane

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It has a board position that features the blade within the plane body and the second position, which is the blade on the exposed front. The second position is the best for cutting through corners.

11. Fore Plane

The Fore Plane

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A fore plane measures 460mm in length and can flatten boards. Its length prevents it from following the troughs and peaks of uneven boards. However, it is the best for the ring over the troughs and shaves of peaks. They are primarily used for squaring stock before edge jointing processes.

12. Chisel Plane

A chisel plane

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Chisel planes are uniquely designed since they don’t have a sole in front of the blade. It is hard to use a chisel lane due to its design; it becomes hard to control the blade from diving since the plane needs a sole. Many woodworkers do not use chisel places, but you can use them to remove glue, trim dovetails, and plugs, or tight wood places.

13. Rabbet Plane

Rabbet planes are also known as rebate planes and have the same characteristics as other hand planes. They’re called rabbet planes since they are used to create rabbets in vast planks of wood. They are closely similar to shoulder planes but differ in blade structure.

 Rabbet Plane left and right, Side Rabbet  Plane left and right

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Rabbet planes’ blades extend over the entire width of the lane’s body, allowing you to cut t using the flat side of the workpiece. A significant difference is its fence that allows a perfect cut parallel to the edge of the workpiece. It also has a depth stop that prevents you from exceeding the depth of the cut.

14. Compass Plane

Most professional woodworkers would benefit from the compass plane in the plane collection since a compass plane produces well-curved wood. A compass plane is sometimes called a circular plane since its main job is to work on convex and concave curves. In ancient times, there were only two wooden compass planes, one for the concave and the other for convex curves.

Vintage Stanley No. 113 Compass Plane

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Nowadays, there are modern cast iron planes with flexible soles to enable you to use a single tool for both curves. Compass planes curve things like round top tables, curved cabinets, window sills, and arched door steps.

15. Combination Multi-Plane

A combination plane is different from other lanes since it can perform more than one task. They have a design that includes a central handle, depth gauge, cutter clump, two bar arms, a middle section, and a handle with a fence.

Crop person using a combination plane

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The middle section has a slot with interchangeable blades whereby you can choose from the blades depending on your goal. These planes also act as regular bench planes, rabbet planes, or molding planes when you adjust them correctly.

16. Wooden Molding Plane

Wooden molding planes

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Molding planes are used to cave 3D shapes and structures on wood surfaces. You can get molding planes, as wooden planes are hard to find since manufacturers are not producing them anymore. You can use molding planes to do furniture crafting, door molding, or include other fine details in your woodwork.

17. Japanese Planes

The Japanese plane might be the right pick if you fancy wooden planes. It is different from other planes since it has a wooden body that holds a harp iron blade at an angle. Its working blade is different from other planes; with it, you pull the blade towards use instead of pushing it away.

Japanese Plane

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Due to the movement, you get a finer cut, and you don’t tire quickly. Another perk is that its wooden body is less likely to cause damage to your workpiece as compared to using iron-bodied planes.


Mastering the type of wood plane is as essential as mastering the art of woodworking. Only through the types of wood planes can you understand what to use to achieve a particular design or finishing.

As you have seen in our article, there are many types of wood planes, each with its specific use. If you are interested in woodworking, you must identify a specific design before starting your practice. In every stage of your learning, you may need a different wood plane, so be keen on the steps. If you don’t have all these wood planes at your disposal, you can find out whether you can rent woodworking tools, and rent them.

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