Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Your First Joinery Plane, the Plow

So you've decided that you want to take a step away from the router and give joinery and moulding planes a try. Not sure what to choose for a first selection? Not sure that you'll use it very much? Well if you're concerned either of those may apply I'd like to suggest that you try a plow plane. I think the plow is easily the most addictive of the joinery planes and one of the most used. Here's when I use a plow:
  • Panel doors
  • Paneling
  • Drawers
  • Boxes
  • Making large rebates
Or pretty much any time you need a groove near the edge of the board.  Often it is less cumbersome than setting up the table saw or router table to make a groove, especially on something long. Plus the curly cue shavings are irresistible.

First I would say you need to select a plow that fits your workshop. I chose the Veritas Small Plow Plane which is a metallic plane supporting metric and English sized cutters from 1/8" to 3/8" in 1/16" increments. I chose this plane due to relatively low cost, and having English cutters that match all of my other English dimensioned tooling. Other good choices are:
  • ECE Fenced Plow Plane (Metric Only)
  • Old Street Tool (Expensive, top quality, long wait)
  • Various Record and Stanley plows on the used market
  • Various Wood bodied plows on the used market
While I do purchase many used tools this plow wasn't among them. As I looked into purchasing a good used plow it was difficult to find tools that had a selection of irons with them, had all of the proper parts, and were in usable condition. You may have better luck than myself but for a more complex tool like a plow I really wanted something that I was going to be able to use long term and not have to fuss with.

Next post will look at using the plow plane.

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