The Importance of Maintaining Your Hand Planes

The Importance of Maintaining Your Hand Planes

Posted by Vic Tesolin on 22nd Jun 2024

If you're into woodworking, you know that having the right tools is half the battle. Hand planes are among those indispensable tools that every woodworker, from seasoned pros to enthusiastic hobbyists, needs in their toolkits. But owning a hand plane is just the beginning; keeping it in tip-top shape is where the real magic happens. Let’s chat about why maintaining your hand planes is so important and how you can keep them performing their best.

Great Performance

First off, let’s talk precision. A well-maintained hand plane is like a perfectly tuned instrument. When the blade is sharp, the sole is flat, and everything is adjusted correctly, your plane will glide through wood like butter. On the other hand, if the blade is dull or the adjustments are off, you’ll struggle with uneven cuts and tear-out, and you’ll end up working a lot harder than you need to. Regular maintenance, like sharpening the blade and oiling adjusters, ensures that your hand plane is always ready.

Longevity of the Tool

Hand planes can be a significant investment, and with the proper care, they can last a lifetime—or even longer. Many woodworkers treasure their hand planes, passing them down through generations. But to make sure your plane stands the test of time, you need to keep it clean and rust-free, oil the metal parts, and take care of the wooden handles. These simple steps can prevent deterioration and keep your tool in excellent condition, preserving both its functionality and value.


Safety might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about tool maintenance, but it’s a big deal. A sharp, well-maintained hand plane is much safer to use than a neglected one. When the blade is sharp, you don’t have to apply as much force, which reduces the risk of slips and accidents. Plus, a plane with well-aligned parts won’t catch unexpectedly, which can also prevent injuries. Regular maintenance keeps your tool working smoothly and predictably, making your woodworking projects safer and more enjoyable.

Quality of Work

Let’s face it: the quality of your work is directly tied to the condition of your tools. A poorly maintained hand plane can lead to subpar results, no matter how skilled you are. Sharp blades create cleaner cuts, which means less or no sanding later. A flat sole ensures even contact with the wood, avoiding gouges and irregularities. By keeping your hand planes in top shape, you can consistently produce high-quality work that you’ll be proud to show off.

Cost Efficiency

Here’s a practical reason to maintain your hand planes: it saves money. Well-maintained tools are less likely to break or need significant repairs. Spending a little time and effort on maintenance now can prevent costly replacements down the line.

Tips for Maintaining Your Hand Planes

So, how do you keep your hand planes in great shape? Here are some easy tips:

1. Sharpen the Blade Regularly: A sharp blade makes all the difference. Use a sharpening stone or system to keep it razor-sharp.

2. Flatten the Sole: Periodically check the sole of the plane for flatness. This is less of an issue with high-quality planes, but it is worth mentioning. Use a flat surface and some sandpaper to smooth out any high spots.

3. Clean After Each Use: Wood shavings and dust can gunk up the adjustors on your plane. Give it a good clean with a brush or compressed air after each use or when you have it partially disassembled for sharpening.

4. Oil Metal Parts: A light layer of oil on the blade and other metal components prevents rust. Just be sure to wipe off any excess.

5. Store Properly: Store your hand plane in a dry, cool place. Use a protective cover or case to keep it safe from dust and humidity.

Buy Them Once…Keep Them Forever

Maintaining your hand planes isn’t just about keeping them looking nice—it’s about ensuring precision, safety, and longevity, all of which contribute to the quality of your work. By dedicating a little time to regular maintenance, you’ll keep your hand planes performing at their best, making every woodworking project a breeze.

In order to understand, you must do - Vic Tesolin