If you like working on DIY projects involving wood, then you need a wood shop to make sure you get your projects done right.
That means getting the right tools for your projects, and you may need to consider getting a jack plane or a block plane.
You might even think about getting both, as these are different tools suited for different tasks.
It’s true that both have similarities as they’re both woodworking planes. However, they have very significant differences:
Jack Plane vs Block Plane: Differences
The Bevel Face Direction
You can tell right away the difference between a jack plane and a block plane by the bevel face of the machine. The jack plane is a type of bench plane, and all bench planes have the bevel facing downwards. In contrast, the bevel face on the block plane always faces upward.
Length and Blade Angle
Bench planes are categorized by an old 19th century numbering system, and some bench planes are described as n0. 5 and no. 5¼ bench planes. These are also called the jack planes, and they’re longer compared to block planes at 14 inches. The blade faces down at a 45-degree angle.
Block planes, on the other hand, are only 6 to 7 inches long. The standard setting of the block plane blade is at 20 degrees. Some block planes are low-angle types with blades set at 12 degrees, which works better for cutting end grain and adjusting miters.
Using the Jack Plane and the Block Plane
Since the jack plane is bigger, you normally need to use 2 hands when you use the machine. You have one hand to hold a knob in front, and the back hand grips the tote, which is the name for the handle.
You only need a single hand for the block plane, since it’s smaller. That makes it easier to use.
Uses for the Jack Plane
The jack plane is a very versatile tool. In fact, it’s said that it’s called a “jack” plane because you can call it a jack of all trades. It’s very good at many different tasks.
You can use this for dressing the timber to size quickly and efficiently. It is actually what the jack was first used for.
This can also be used for jointing shorter pieces of wood. The standard rule is that the length of the plane is at least half the length of the wood to be jointed. So with the jack plane measuring 14 inches, you can joint a 28-inch piece.
You can also use this for smoothing a wood surface, though this can be a very demanding task for any bench plane.
Uses for the Block Plane
The block plane is also quite versatile, and it can be used in countless ways. It’s small enough that you can carry it around all the time in your apron pocket, and as you work in your wood shop you’ll apt to find something that the block plane can help with.
Originally, the block plane was meant for planing across the grain, especially the ends of wood boards. This is especially true when you have a lower bed angle that gives you efficient slicing action for the hard end grain fibers.
But block planes can also have a standard bed angle which is higher, and this type can be used for more general tasks.
You can use it to remove mill marks from the lumber. You can clean off the saw marks quickly and easily.
Some More Info
Some small wooden parts are also too small for you to use a power jointer and planer, and they may even be too small for you to use the bigger hand planes.
But the smaller block plane will be much more suitable for the task of trimming the small pieces easily. If you clamp the block plane upside down in your vise, you can even plane the tiniest parts with no trouble.
Of course, you may have noticed that it’s with beveling or rounding the edges that a block plane really shows its usefulness. When cutting the bevels, it’s typically faster with a block plane compared to when you use a router. Just setting the router already takes a lot of time. With the block plane, you also enjoy the quiet operation plus you don’t need any safety equipment. You also don’t need to bother with dust collection.
So when you’re working on a piece of wood that needs to be shaved just a little bit, you can use your block plane for the job. You can trim doors and drawers to fit better. If you’re doing finish work, you can also sue the block plane to fine tune the miters.
You can also use a block plane with a handsaw and plane to the line. You can end up with a gorgeous surface with a crisp edge.