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One such tool is the block plane. Most block planes have blades at lower angles than normal, with a bevel facing upward. When you put it in the palm and run it, you cut off the end grains of your workpiece or can smooth it out.
With so many other planes on the market, it’s often hard to find the best block planes for the job. Picking one out of hundreds is challenging, but there is some help for you!
Today, you learn about the best products so that you can find the perfect tool on the market today. Whether you want something with a classic design or one that is fully adjustable to prevent tear-out and handle various wood thickness needs, this list is for you!
11 Best Block Planes for Experts and Beginners
The Great Neck brand has been around for over a century, so you know it maintains superior quality while keeping the price reasonable. A great example of that impressive combination comes from its LSO Block Plane.
This block plane makes it easier for you to get a smooth finish on your projects. You can get rid of the face grain texture or fix the end grains. It even removes machine marks to ensure an elegant appearance for your wooden pieces.
You get a compact tool that’s only 6 inches long to fit in your palm. Plus, you’re sure to enjoy the contoured shape, making it easier to grip. That means you can tackle finishing jobs easily with effortless strokes across your piece with this mini adjustable block plane.
Overall, this is a great tool with a die-cast body and a hardened and tempered blade. The cutting angle is 1 inch wide, and there’s an adjustable throat to change the cutting depth and handle all of your projects. Plus, the blades are made of steel, so they don’t rust.
Flat soles are crucial, and you get that with the die-cast body. Tackle end grains and coarse cuts in a compact size!
Stanley Tools has been around for over 150 years, and it focuses on reliability and accuracy from its products. Therefore, you’re sure to enjoy its range of hand planes, like the Stanley 12-220. This one offers a full-mouth adjustment. You can also adjust the thickness of your shavings and get a better depth of cut. That means you can use it for many different projects and get the right effect.
Even with the adaptable features, this block plane maintains accuracy with the cast-iron base and precision ground sides. You get a 21-degree resting angle, which is suitable for cross-grain planing. Overall, the gray base features an epoxy coating to protect the machine. At the same time, you get a finger rest with this block plane, so your hands don’t cramp or strain while you operate the blade.
With so many features to like and the heavier body, you’re sure to enjoy the block planes from Stanley!
The Kakuri Corporation is in Japan, and it’s been providing the best woodworking tools for craftsmen since the 1940s. Because it manufactures the tools in-house, it delivers Japanese planes with better quality. One of the popular options is the Japanese plane.
You’re sure to appreciate the heavier body of this wood block plane, which is made using oak. Therefore, it’s more resistant to wear and tear. Plus, it’s less susceptible to warping and water damage. There’s also a beautiful wood grain texture you’re sure to enjoy.
With that, the blade is made using high-carbon steel. That means it’s durable and safe, but it’s also an environmentally-friendly block plane. Overall, it’s ideal for the present situation where people are worried about the environment. Unlike decades ago, you want to be as green as you can!
The blade features a razor-sharp edge. It doesn’t dull quickly, but the wooden block plane could lose its sharpness after a while. You may restore it with a whetstone to continue using it.
WoodRiver is a popular woodworking tool brand that comes from WoodCraft Supply. You get a standard angle block plane that’s been built with a classic design.
Overall, the brand took inspiration from various styles to come up with its wooden block planes. However, it’s been improved with the stronger base, which is frog cast. That removes the weak points you see from different models and improves the bed angle of the blade.
This block plane has a wooden body with a high-carbon steel blade. With that, you get a 25-degree blade angle. Still, it has a fully-adjustable mouth, so you can change it to make fine cuts or handle a bigger wood thickness.
The mouth adjustment on this product ensures a smooth operation. With that, you can fine-tune it for your work to create thin and coarse shavings. While it’s a bit more expensive, it’s worth the price because of the premium features. Overall, it could be the best block plane for your money.
You’re sure to like the Stanley 12-247 plane. It’s more affordable compared to the other Stanley block plane talked about earlier. Still, the lower price doesn’t mean reduced quality standards!
The gray base is made of cast iron, and you get polished shafting and precision ground sides to achieve flawless and straight surfaces on your wood piece.
With that, the cast-iron base features a durable epoxy coating. Overall, you get long-lasting protection for your block plane without having to do anything else.
The cutter rests at a 21-degree angle, so it’s ideal for cross-grain needs. There should be no trouble using the Stanley 12-247 plane because there’s even a finger rest toward the front. Therefore, the planing process is comfortable, and you get more control.
Overall, the Stanley 12-247 block plane lets you change the thickness of the shavings by loosening or tightening the clamp wheel.
For over two decades, the Big Horn brand has focused on creating woodworker’s hand tools at low price points. It wants each product to be ideal for advanced and beginner woodworkers.
Overall, this particular block plane from Big Horn is popular because it has tons of features at a competitive price. It’s easy to work with because of the convenient design. You find that the body is just 6.25 inches long, so it’s compact enough to hold in your hand.
The cutter blade is incorporated into the design and is 1 3/4 inches long. With that, you can completely adjust the cutting angle of this low-angle block plane for a different depth of cut. That makes it ideal for end-grain needs and much more.
Overall, the low blade angle is at 12.5 degrees, so it rests well on the face grain, too. You’re sure to appreciate the adjustment knob on the block plane, allowing you to tackle different projects with ease.
Another great option when searching for low-angle block planes is the one from Caliastro. It features a low blade angle of 13.5 degrees.
This low-angle block plane measures 4.25 inches long and is 1.3 inches wide. With the low angle, this block plane offers more versatility. There is a fully adjustable mouth to handle different requirements. Plus, you can dial it in based on your specific needs, too.
The blade is quite durable and is tempered and hardened carbon steel. You’re sure to appreciate the single-piece base, and it is frog cast from iron!
Shop Fox is another popular brand that has a low-angle block plane you might enjoy. The D2672 is only 6 7/8 inches long. Plus, the body is made of cast iron, which is more durable. Metal ones tend to work better than wood and last a bit longer. It’s lightweight, inexpensive, and durable.
With that, this block plane features dimensional stability, and you can adjust the machining speed better than with sand castings, steel, and other materials.
Because of the low angle structure, this block plane is a great choice for trimming across or with the grain. You always get perfect fits.
If you haven’t tackled woodworking projects before and are a beginner, this could be the best block plane for you. Easily learn how to fine-tune the plane while you work. Plus, it’s low-cost, so you can get the best tools without breaking the bank.
E.C. Emmerich is a German company and a top manufacturer of woodworking hand tools. Overall, it’s been in the industry for about 160 years and has a lineup of 400 practical and premium tools, including its wood block plane.
This is considered a pocket block plane because you can throw it in a tool bag or slip it in a pocket while tackling small planing jobs away from the shop. Plus, it’s only 14.6 ounces, so it’s lightweight and comfortable while still providing the control you need while you work.
The blade is quite sharp on this block plane, and you can use it straight from the box!
You’re sure to appreciate the depth control feature that allows you to adjust for the blade setting to get precision cuts. The plane is ideal for trimming and grain jobs, too.
When you’re working, you can use its adjustment knob to rest your palm. Plus, the blade is bedded at 40 to 50 degrees, and you can adjust it to 25 degrees.
If you want a smaller-than-usual hand planer, you should consider the block plane from Honoson. It’s a lot brighter than other options because of its red color. Along with its appearance, it provides great performance for your projects because of the flexible and lightweight design. Overall, the entire plane measures 5.3 inches long and has a 4-inch blade.
Therefore, it should fit easily in the palm and help you handle your work. It’s also possible to manually adjust the depth and alignment of the cutter to tackle any project requirements.
There’s a block knob right in the middle of the block plane to adjust the blade. Make sure to tighten the screws up before using it after making adjustments!
This block plane shows beautiful workmanship and is made of stainless steel. That means it’s durable and resists corrosion. On top of that, the blade is made of manganese steel. Therefore, you can work effectively and efficiently without spending too much money.
The Kunz brand has been around since 1992, and the German-owned company has built many block planes for different expertise levels and woodworking categories.
This particular model is also a pocket plane that can be carried around with no issues. It features a lightweight design and is just 11 ounces. Plus, it’s 5 1/8 inches long.
With that, the body of his block plane is made of stress-annealed iron. While it’s durable, the body is further enhanced with epoxy resin coating. That way, it protects from extreme temperatures, abrasion, and corrosive fluids. You also get a perfectly flat sole for more balance and evenness.
With so many block planes on the market, it’s crucial to understand how to pick the right one. Is wood better than the metal ones? While the different types are both good, you may have a personal preference.
Overall, the best block planes offer a blade that’s sharp, control over the piece, and also ensures durability. Let’s take a look at the factors to consider:
Low-angle Block Planes vs. Other Angles
Block planes have two versions based on the bed angle. The first category includes standard angle block planes, which are 20 degrees, but other block planes tend to be at a lower angle (12 degrees).
Generally, the standard angle is 20 degrees, but most woodworkers prefer a lower angle because they can handle the end grain easily.
You should also think about the bedding angle, which is the space between the base of the tool and the material surface you’re working with. Typically, you want a low bedding angle, especially when working with an end grain.
Generally, low-angle planes are more comfortable to hold and are faster to work with. You can use them to fine-tune your miter cuts on trim and shave corners of a door easily.
It’s crucial to focus on the blade of the block plane because that’s what slices through the wooden board. You need a smooth finish, and that’s the only way to get it. Therefore, a sharp blade matters a lot more than you think.
Most brands claim that their block planes have sharpened blades, so you can use them immediately when you open the box. However, it’s best to read reviews from others about the sharpness of the blade and check it yourself before you start shaving wood from the material surface.
All block planes should be small enough to fit in a pocket or at least fit your hand effortlessly. You must hold it to use it, and you may be planing for an hour or so at a time. This depends on the project and other things, but you probably can’t switch to the other hand during the job. Most people favor one hand or the other, so it’s best to have something that fits your palm effortlessly.
Mini ones might be ideal for females because they often have smaller hands than males. Just check the specifications of the tool and measure your hand to ensure that it fits properly before you buy the plane.
It’s ideal to find a block plane with an adjustable mouth. This feature lets you decrease or increase the space between the leading edge of the block planes’ mouth and the cutting edge of the blade.
That means you can get thin or thick shavings or make heavier cuts more smoothly than you can if there’s no adjustability for the mouth area.
There are two types of material used for planes: wood and metal. When you’re focused on portability, wooden block planes are better because they are more lightweight than the metal block planes.
However, advanced woodworkers like metal block planes better because the heavyweight structure can be used to their advantage. Typically, metal means cast-iron, but you can find other metals used.
With that, cast iron is beneficial because you can adjust your blade depth effortlessly. To do that with the wood version, you must use a mallet, which is time-consuming and uses more elbow grease.
Regardless of the material you choose, it should have a flat sole (base), making it easy to move along the wood.
It’s crucial to be comfortable with the design of the block plane. After all, you’re using it frequently to finish your projects.
Good block planes are operated with one hand, so the structure of the tool must have a spot to rest the palm or finger correctly. Often, they have one knob to control the plane. Most of the time, the adjustment knob is also the palm rest.
With that design, you can hold the grip and don’t compromise comfort.
Block planes often come at various price points. Cheaper options have fewer features and might not be efficient or comfortable to hold while tackling woodworking projects. However, if you’re a beginner and learning or have a limited budget, they can be effective for a short period.
However, you also have high-end block planes that can cost hundreds of dollars. Overall, most DIY hobbyists choose the mid-range, which is the sweet spot that has enough features for a decent price. Still, professionals may spend top-dollar to get everything they need and want from the tool.
Difference Between a Block Plane, Bench Plane, and Jack Plane
A jack plane is another frequently used woodworking tool. It prepares your wood board before you start edge jointing or truing. While it has a similar job as a block plane, jack planes are longer at about 14 inches.
On the other hand, bench planes are angled at 45 degrees and positioned with the bevel side on the bottom. There’s a chip breaker on the blade top to direct wood shavings away, reducing the skipping movement (chatter).
When searching for an ideal block plane, there are many things to consider. Overall, most people find the small size better, and the best block planes are adjustable and flat. That way, it’s easier to work the wood without damaging it.
What product might serve your needs best? You learned about 11 options, and one of them is bound to give you what you need. Overall, you should focus on comfort, adjustability, a durable body, and a sharp blade.
That means that the best block plane is the one from Great Neck. With its contoured shape, it’s comfortable to hold for long periods. The blade is tempered and hardened, and the frame is made of solid steel. You’re sure to appreciate the compact size, too!