Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 4
March 2008
Using Plow Planes

At first glance, plow planes seem to be rather limited in what they can do. Grooves—is that it? Strictly speaking, that is it, but time spent using hand tools to do traditional joinery will soon convince you how important grooves are. Plus, you can stretch the definition of a groove, if you care to. So how can you get the best out of your plow plane?

First, make sure the cutters are sharp. Just like any other hand tool, plow planes benefit from a sharp edge. They can be safely treated like a chisel, apart from the bevel angle. To retain some strength at the largely unsupported cutting end, the general advice is to use a sturdier 35° angle.

Second, set up the plane correctly. For instance, if the cutter isn't flush with the outside edge of the skate, it will just stop cutting after the first shaving. The skate will act like a depth stop. You should also ensure the fence is parallel to the body of the plane to avoid binding.

Proper set up

  For proper set up, the cutter must be flush with the outside edge of the skate.  
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