Woodwork Tools Blog



The Block Plane – My Latest Woodwork Tool

Recently, I have developed an interest in building timber kayaks, and have launched into a project to construct my first kayak. I decided to dip my toe into the water (so to speak), by taking the easier stressed ply construction method, rather than jumping in with both feet and attacking a strip built kayak as my first project.
Needless to say, I have made many mistakes, and have learnt an enormous amount during this project, but hopefully at the end of it I will have a functional boat, that I can proudly claim to have made myself (hopefully not as it is sinking like a stone…).
Equally importantly, this project has given me the perfect opportunity to invest in another woodwork tool or two that were missing from my toolbox.
There is quite a bit of fine trimming work involved with kayak building – it is very important to get your plywood pieces cut and shaped very accurately, or you will end up with a boat that tends to move in circles, rather than paddling straight and true.

Until starting this project, for any fine trimming or planing, I had always made do with my smoothing plane (Stanley Bailey #4), chisels or my drawknife. It was only when I started working on this project, and I found myself trying to use my smoothing plane in one hand, while steadying the long pieces of ply with my other hand, that I realised that a  smoothing plane was not really designed as a one handed tool.

So I started to look at block planes.
After scouting around for a while, I managed to pick up a 2nd hand Stanley 110 block plane for about $12. This little plane is in pretty good condition, and feels like it was made to fit in my hand (which I guess effectively it was, since it is designed to be used with one hand…). I love the compact feel of the plane, and the lower angle blade has been great for trimming plywood, and finishing the various joints that are required.
I really can’t believe that it has taken me so long to add a block plane to my collection of woodwork tools – it has made a world of difference to the finish and accuracy that I have been able to achieve on this kayak, and I no longer have to stop with fatigued arms from trying to use my smoothing plane in one hand!

Other hand plane entries:
The Jack Plane
The Jointer Plane or Trying Plane
The Smoothing Plane
The Block Plane
Woodworking Tools – The Scrub Plane

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