If you are new to woodwork and DIY then it can be hard to work out what is absolutely essential and what tools you can do without, or hire when you need them. Every tool kit should contain the basic screwdrivers, hammers and a saw or two but what about more specialised tools like planes or workbenches? There are many good reasons to buy a woodworking plane though, as they can be used for more jobs than you may think.
If you have a door which sticks because it is just that tiny bit too large, or if you have a new carpet fitted and struggle to open the door into the room, a plane is the tool you need to quickly and smoothly shave off thin pieces of wood until you get the perfect fit. Using a saw is too crude and will not give you nice smooth edges, and trying to do the job with sandpaper is far too laborious.
Sometimes when you cut a piece of wood with a saw, especially when you are cutting curves, you can be left with ugly marks on the cut edges. A plane can be used to quickly smooth off these marks, leaving you will a surface which is ready to paint, varnish or stain as required.
Drawers and Edges
If you are making a set of drawers or something like a wardrobe, it is essential that the doors fit snugly and the drawers can be slid in and out smoothly. Even with the most careful measuring it can be difficult to get the exact fit, so once the drawers are made a good woodworking plane can be used to take off millimetres at a time for that perfect fit. A plane can also be used to round off sharp corners to make the item look better or make it safer for children or the elderly.
Preparation for Finishing
Whatever you are making, if you are planning on painting or varnishing, you have to have a very smooth surface as the application of paint will show up every bump and lump. Using a plane is the quickest and easiest way to make sure you get a smooth, uniform surface which will look great once painted. Different planes may be required for different sorts of projects, so take advice from an expert about which sort is most appropriate for your needs.
Every good woodworking project starts with a protractor and a set square, and if your angles are out then the project is doomed to fail from the start. UK woodworking planes are designed to be the ideal tool for getting a perfect right angle on your timber as you can remove the tiniest layers to get the correct results. Sandpaper is just too inaccurate for this sort of job; you really do need a woodworking plane. UK retailers have a wide variety and will be happy to give you the expert advice you need to make your first purchase.
Article by Morag Peers