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Glossary Index




One of the quality features of a plane is a stable base which will not twist or warp with age or use and which is accurately ground for flatness and squareness to the sides. In addition, finely machined seatings are required in order to eliminate movement and juddering (sometimes described as chatter) of the blade and a strong simple mechanism (usually lever cap) for a firm hold on the cutter assembly in
use, but with easy release for re-sharpening and replacement. The quality of the cutting iron is an essential feature, allowing it to be finely sharpened and honed and to hold a long-lasting cutting edge. The plane should have simple positive fine adjustment.

When honing, use as much of the surface of the stone as possible and do not allow the iron to "rock". A plane iron is generally set in the plane at 45° and the cutting edge ground at an angle of 25°. For use, the cutting edge should be honed to a 30° angle, but some craftsmen make the angle more oblique when planing very hard wood. After honing, a slight burr should appear on the back of the blade which can be removed by one or two very gentle strokes with the back of the iron across the stone.


A convex rounded shape, simply or decoratively cut on the edge of the work.

Block Planes

A small plane with a low pitched iron for working on end grain of timber.

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A round nosed special rebate plane for cleaning up stopped rebates and fine intricate trimming.


A flat shape cut along the working edge of timber, but not necessarily the full depth, usually at 45° to the board.

Chisel Planes

A plane with no front housing so that the blade projects and works the wood like a chisel.

Circular Planes

For convex or concave rounded shapes.

Cut Adjustment

This refers to the adjustment of the plane iron to increase or decrease the amount by which it protrudes from the base of the plane.

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A single iron complete with cap iron and screw.


A concave shape cut on the surface of a board.

Fore Planes

Approximately 18in long. This is somewhere between a jack plane and a jointer plane, performing the dual role of stock removal and tru-ing of long edges.


A rebate cut in the side of the workpiece which marries up with the "tongue" in a second board.

Jack Planes

Approximately 14in or 15in long. Generally for heavy stock removal when preparing sawn timber prior to final finishing.

Jointer Planes

Traditionally this was the longest plane of all and in the days of wooden planes could be anything up to 28in or more. Now amongst metal planes it is taken to be the same as a try plane.

Lateral Adjustment

A lateral adjustment lever is used to align the cutter blade edge parallel with the mouth (i.e. to level).

Mouth Adjustment

This refers to the facility in some planes to adjust the size of the mouth in order to provide more or less clearance.

Plough Planes

Used for grooving and rebating both with and across the grain of the timber, and for beading and tonguing.

Rabbet Planes

The traditional alternative name for a rebate plane (of French derivation).


An open sided groove along the edge of a board.

Rebate Planes

Used for forming rebates along the edges of boards.

Router Planes

For producing housings, grooves and key-ways.

Sash Housing

Used on sash window frames that house the windows.


The short side of any rebate.

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A cabinetmaker's plane for great accuracy and finishing joints, the blade extends the full width of the sole and is set at a low pitch for use when planing across the grain.

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The cutting iron on its own.

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9 1/2 - 10 1/4in long. Used for final finishing of cabinet and general joinery work.


Round spokeshaves are used for shaping concave work and flat for convex. Grey iron is the traditional material used for a spokeshave body but malleable iron is less rigid and brittle and therefore more resistant to fracture.

Stopped Housing

Where a groove is cut into a board but not along its full length or to the working edge across the grain.


The protruding edge on a board which precisely fits the groove on a second board.

Try Planes

This 22in plane is for tru-ing very long edges which are to be joined together.