C. Non-Urgent Hand Planers (Nice & Helpful to Own)

This list of non-urgent hand planes reflects my experience getting started out. You may find that you need some of these tools earlier on, depending on the projects you decide to build.

Buy Hollows & Rounds Planes

Lined up half set of antique wood hollows and rounds hand planes with chalk numbers

Wanna go traditional and create your own moldings from scratch? Hollows and rounds are used to create nearly any moulding profile that you can imagine. I consider this type of wood plane to be a hallmark of the most skilled furniture makers. Several years ago I purchased a half set (18 planes) of even sized Beech Hollows and Rounds moulding planes, with cabinet pitch. You certainly don’t need to purchase a half set to get started. I made a whole blog post dedicated to purchasing hollows and rounds (here) and Bill Anderson and I included a good sized portion to using hollows and rounds in our DVD “Choosing, Refurbishing & Using Moulding Planes with Bill Anderson”. It has become the authoritative source on moulding planes.

In this Woodwright’s Shop video Bill Anderson shows Roy Underhill how to cut beautiful moldings using hollows & rounds:

Video Player: Bill Anderson teaches how to use hollows & rounds molding planes on the Woodwright's Shop with Roy Underhill

Descent vintage half sets can be a little difficult to find out “in the wild” (full sets are even more difficult…but you don’t really need a full set), but you can find a half set if you know where to look. I’ve found that Jim Bode usually has the best selection of hollows & rounds sets, but make sure you read my in-depth guide for finding hollows & rounds before you purchase any.

 Buy a Fore Plane (No. 6)

Stanley Bailey No. 6 Fore Plane hand planer on a woodworking workbench with wood shavings

As previously mentioned a “fore plane” hand plane is just the right size for flattening the surface of a board. It’s in between the sizes of a Jack plane and a Jointer plane. In fact, a Jack Plane is sometimes considered a fore plane. A fore plane can also be used as a jointer hand plane. If you don’t want to use your jointer plane for flattening boards, then go ahead and find a fore plane (which is shorter than a jointer plane). If all you can find is a Stanley No. 6 plane, then I’m sure it’ll work just fine as a jointer plane and a fore plane.

Buy a Scrub Plane

Stanley Planes: Four Stanley scrub planes lined up with cambered blade iron showing in front

Scrub planes are used to remove a lot of wood very quickly with their highly cambered (arched) iron/blade, especially on a board’s edge. Some people also use a scrub plane to flatten the face of a board. I accomplish both of these tasks with a jack plane or fore plane with a cambered blade, so I don’t have much use for my scrub plane. The longer jack plane and fore plane are better, in my opinion, at flattening faces of boards.

The metal scrub plane was invented (1896) well after power tools were invented, so why did Stanley come out with the No. 40 scrub plane? Christopher Schwarz has a good article that answers this question about scrub planes (here). He shares a couple uses that he has found for a metal scrub plane.

Stanley Planes: Joshua Farnsworth holding a Stanley scrub plane by the handle on a woodworking workbench

Here are a couple scrub planes that are popular among woodworkers:

Other Non-Urgent “Special Purpose” Hand Planes

Stanley Planes: Stanley # 113 Compass Plane or Circular Hand Planer

There are a vast amount of other special-purpose hand planes (or hand planers) that I won’t mention in detail here. However, I have started a list of specialty hand planes below (let me know if you think of some). You can click on each link to see pictures of each hand plane. As you progress in your skill level you’ll encounter projects that may require specialty hand planes (or may just make a project easier), and you can conduct further research at that time. Until then, my above fundamental list should give you a great head start!

Woodworker cutting dado joint with an Antique Wood Dado Plane or hand planer

Continue to the Handsaw Buying Guide (#4)…

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