I tend to bit a DIY in and around the house, from simple wiring to a bit of plumbing, even going as far as painting the odd wall and papering some others. I've even tried my hand at plastering as well, although hats off to those people that do that for a living as I found it to be one of the most annoying and dust flying jobs I have had the displeasure of doing, and once worked 'tarmacing' roads in the height of a hot summer, which was not too nice at all.
Anyway, when I'm doing a few jobs around the house involving wooden material, such as fitting doors or maybe putting up the odd shelf or two, (all depending on what the wife has told me too do that day), then sometimes, to make the fit as close as possible, I have to plane the wood down to the right size, mainly due to the fact that cutting strips off the wood would take too much off, leaving gaps bigger than a Politicians promise.
So, using the correct tool to do the right job is essential, with the bigger shaving jobs needing a powerful tool to get eh job done fast, whilst those smaller jobs, such as getting a door to fit in the frame, I tend to go for a hand plane as I feel more in control.
I am in fact the proud owner of several hand planes, and electric ones as well, with the hand planes comgin in all shapes and sizes, including a rather funny looking, yet very useful 'spoke shave' for getting into the curves of a job.
And one particular hand plane I own is called the 'Handy smoothing plane' from the well known tool makers that are called Stanley.
This plane looks the part and can handle many household jobs, and more, even though it's not massive, there are longer planes out there, being about 245mm long and 55mm wide, with a cutting blade size of around 50mm.
There is a very strong knob on the front of this plane which is used to help push the whole thing forwards and backwards, with the main handle being at the rear, behind the blade housing. The front knob on mine is made of a strong wood but I have noticed that some of the same style planes have plastic, or resin, knobs, which look pretty sturdy in themselves.
As for the blade housing section, well, this is based in the centre of the plane and protrudes upwards at an angle of about 40°. The entire housing comes in three mains parts, including the blade itself, with the back section, where the blade rests against, having a 'screw' at the back of it which is how you adjust the height of the blade itself. Then, to trap the blade, there is a front section that has a little lever which is loosened to allow the section to be moved so that you can adjust the height of the blade with the 'screw' at the rear of the back section...(Are you with me?).
This section is more or less fully adjustable, although it's best not to have the blade too far out of the shoe as this tends to 'hack' at the wood you're shaving rather than smooth it out.
This is a fine tool to have in your tool box, although if you don't work with wood then this tool will be as useful as a chocolate teapot. But if you do do things with wood and you may need smooth surfaces that using sand paper would take just too long then this is a must for you.
It is made of a very strong and quite heavy metal, weighing in at a mere 1.7kg, with the smooth 'shoe' of the plane, which is made of a strong and rather heavy metal, has one gap cut into it, this gap is where the blade comes out from, so that it can shave the wood you want to smooth down.
The rear handle has a lovely, comfortable curve to it which helps with not just the grip but with the push/pull motion as well, giving you less hassle when using it, saving on what some people call elbow grease.
The hardest thing about using this is getting the blade to the right height, as I said before, if the blade's too far out then it will 'snag' the wood, leaving it rougher than a teenagers spotty face. But if the blade's not out enough then you'll shave absolutely nothing off the wood.
Once you've figure out the correct height of the blade, then locked it into place using the front section of the plane, it won't move at all, no matter how much 'hassle' you give it. Then, as the 'shoe' of this one is as smooth as an Italians chat up line, it glides along as if it was on a cushion of air, taking just the right amount of wood shavings off your delicate work.
I've used this on several jobs, mainly getting that perfect fit on those doors so that they don't snag in the frame, and it has never let me down once. And no doubt as it is built to last, it will probably not let me down at all.
The blade itself is as strong as you'd expect, but as the sharp edge thins out this is the most delicate part and you do have to take a bit of care with it, so don't be trying to plane through metal bits such as nails that are in the wood as this will damage the blades edge.
But you can sharpen the blade with ease really, either by hand or using the many sharpening aids that are on the market these days. I personally use a sharpening stone, a little dab of oil, or UB40... I mean WD40... And a few patient minutes rubbing the blade around the stone until the edge regains its sharpness. Then it's a matter of slotting the whole thing together again and you're ready to shave, but not your face.
Just remember, a sharp edge will do a better and safer job than a blunt edge, so keep on top of the blade and don't worry, I've sharpened mine many many times and it's still as long and as strong as ever, but if you have to you can pick up a brand new blade for this plane for about £5.
In all this is a fine addition to a DIYers tool kit and as it comes in at around the £20.00 region the price is certainly not something you can grumble about.
© Blissman70 2012
Woodworking Tool / Fully adjustable for cutter alignment and depth of cut / Fine grey iron base with handle and knob in high impact polystyrene / Chrome carbon steel cutters / Length 14in / Cutter width 2in / Type: Jack