5 Mistakes Beginners Make with Block Planes

When teaching beginners, one of the most common phrases I hear is: “I can't get (insert tool name) to work. What is wrong?"

They hand me the tool and the fun begins.

Although block drawings are very simple manual drawings, there are some important points about them that are rarely discussed in the literature.

These are the five most common problems in students learning to use a block plan!

1. Too tight

Many modern aircraft have a rotating wheel that locks the lever cover to the body of the tool. Most students have this crank to the point where they can crush a titanium nut. This not only makes it difficult to use the tool, it can also deform the sole. I have seen block planes that have a bulge behind the muzzle due to a very tight spinning wheel.

So how tight should it be? Looser than you think. It's a balance - you should be able to adjust the iron easily and the iron should not move during normal brushing operations. With my block plan, I spin the wheel about three hours after I feel resistance. So relax, Francis.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about Why not to use a Block Plane

Source: Paul Sellers

2. Back of Mouth Problem Part 1

After a dozen hard knocks, I think it's a good idea to clean the dust from the pocket between the iron and the body of the tool. I have seen many aircraft where this area is so dusty that the plane cannot cut consistently (technically they violated the opening angle of the tool, but I want to talk about the opening angle as much as I have talked about politics, religion and boils infected).

To clean the dust, I run my fingernail down the back of my throat, avoiding the sharp edge.

3. Problem with the back of the mouth, part 2

The other problem with the locking planes occurs after five or six sharpens. With a block plane, it is the flat back of the iron that receives the most abuse (experts call this the “wear bevel”). After several sharpening, the wear chamfer becomes pronounced and the tip on the back of the tool cannot be polished.

The result: short cutting edge life and poor surface finish.

The solution: fine-tune your block planes with the ruler trick, which illuminates the wear bevel. Problem solved.

4. A dented sole

No matter how sharp the iron is, the wood will look like junk if the sole has dents. Block flats take a lot of abuse, so it's common to see the edge of the sole deform when hitting other tools on the bench.

A small dent in the sole can ruin the entire side of the shell with just a few strokes. Therefore, I regularly check the sole when I fly. Anything that looks like a ding is filed or (in severe cases) filed with a fine needle file.

5. Airplane trails

If you use the block plane to produce end surfaces, you must bend the corners of the plate into the body of the plane. This means that you need to bend the iron or round the corners.

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