What Is A Jack Plane?

Are you curious to know what is a jack plane? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about a jack plane in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a jack plane?

Woodworking has a rich history, and its timeless appeal continues to captivate enthusiasts and professionals alike. Among the many tools used in woodworking, the jack plane holds a prominent position. The jack plane is a versatile hand tool that plays a crucial role in shaping and smoothing wood surfaces. In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of the jack plane, its features, and its various uses in woodworking projects.

What Is A Jack Plane?

The jack plane is a hand plane that consists of a long, flat sole with a cutting blade (iron) embedded in the base. It typically has a slightly curved cutting edge, which allows for efficient material removal and shaping of wooden surfaces. The jack plane is named after its versatility, as it can handle a wide range of woodworking tasks.

Features Of A Jack Plane:

A typical jack plane comprises several key components:

  1. Body: The body of the jack plane is usually made of wood or metal, providing stability and durability.
  2. Sole: The flat sole of the jack plane allows it to glide smoothly over the wood surface, facilitating even and controlled cuts.
  3. Iron: The cutting blade, or iron, is a replaceable component that is responsible for removing wood during the planing process. It is positioned at an angle to create a shearing action that results in clean and precise cuts.
  4. Depth Adjustment Mechanism: The jack plane often includes a depth adjustment mechanism, such as a knob or lever, to control the depth of the cut made by the blade.

Uses Of A Jack Plane:

The jack plane is a versatile tool that serves multiple purposes in woodworking projects. Some common uses include:

  1. Stock Removal: The jack plane is used to quickly and efficiently remove excess material from rough-sawn lumber, leveling and preparing it for further refinement.
  2. Thickness Planing: By adjusting the blade depth, the jack plane can be used to plane boards to a consistent thickness, ensuring uniformity across the wood surface.
  3. Smoothing Surfaces: The jack plane excels at smoothing and refining wood surfaces, eliminating rough spots, tool marks, and minor imperfections.
  4. Edge Jointing: When joining two boards to create a wider panel, the jack plane is utilized to achieve a smooth and seamless joint by ensuring the edges are straight and flush.
  5. Chamfering And Beveling: The jack plane is also suitable for creating chamfers, bevels, and other decorative edges on wood pieces, adding visual interest to the finished product.
  6. Shaping Curved Surfaces: With its slightly curved cutting edge, the jack plane can shape convex or concave surfaces, allowing for sculpting or contouring wood to desired forms.

Techniques For Using A Jack Plane:

To effectively utilize a jack plane, woodworkers employ various techniques:

  1. Proper Setup: Ensuring the blade is sharp and properly aligned with the sole is crucial for achieving clean and precise cuts.
  2. Planning The Grain Direction: Woodworkers consider the direction of the wood grain when using a jack plane, as planing against the grain can result in tear-out. It is generally recommended to plane in the same direction as the wood fibers for smoother results.
  3. Controlled Pressure: Applying even pressure and maintaining a consistent pace while planing helps achieve uniform cuts and avoids uneven surfaces.
  4. Finishing With Fine Shavings: As the final pass, using the jack plane with a fine blade setting produces thin shavings, resulting in a smoother finish.


The jack plane is a versatile and indispensable tool in woodworking. Its ability to remove material, smooth surfaces, and shape wood makes it an essential component of any woodworker’s toolbox. By mastering the techniques and understanding its various uses, craftsmen can harness the jack plane’s capabilities to bring their woodworking projects to life, creating beautiful and refined pieces that showcase the timeless artistry of working with wood.

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What Is A Jack Plane Best For?

A jack plane is a versatile bench plane used for downsizing wood to your desired shape. Its rounded corners and grooved structure allow for making flawless cuts every time. You can also use it for adding fine, necessary details while woodworking.

What Is The Difference Between A Jack Plane And A Smoothing Plane?

The most traditional way of setting up bench planes is to use a jack plane to remove material, a jointer plane to straighten it and a smoothing plane to prepare it for finishing.

What Is The Difference Between A Jack Plane And A Block Plane?

JACK PLANE: This is the steel equivalent of the wooden block plane. It has a steel body and because it is heavier than the wood block plane it is easier to hold down on the surface of the wood being planed. It is used to plane longer pieces of wood.

What Number Plane Is A Jack Plane?


A #5 is a called a jack plane, a #6 is almost a jointer but is call a fore plane. As the numbers and length increase so does the width: a #4 has a narrow blade while an #8’s blade is wide.


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