The Superior Works: Wooden Planes - Terminology
Wooden Plane Terminology
The descriptive terminology the planemaker's themselves used for their
planes was never standardized, so it follows that the terms we use today
to describe them are varied. The definitions that follow are in fairly
common use by collectors and users of the planes.
- Wedge - The piece of wood used to hold the Iron in place to
prevent the Iron from slipping backward during use.
- Finial - The topmost portion of the Wedge and the portion that
is struck by a mallet to drive the Wedge in place.
- Wedge Mortice - The opening in the Stock into which the Iron
and Wedge fit.
- Iron - The chunk of metal that is sharpened to produce the desired
cut on the wood.
- Stock - The largest portion of the plane, with its Sole shaped
to perform some specific function.
- Toe - The frontmost area of the Sole; normally is the location
of the maker's mark.
- Heel - The rearmost area of the Sole; normally whacked with
a mallet to remove the Iron.
- Chamfer - the finish cut on the edges of the Stock to make for
a more comfortable grip; said to be either flat or rounded.
- Sole - The underside portion of the Stock; the portion of the
Stock that makes contact with the wood.
- Bed - That area of the Stock onto which the Iron rests.
- Mouth - The opening in the Sole through which the Iron protrudes.
- Throat - The angled opening that starts at the Mouth and widens
toward the Wedge; allows passage of the shavings.
- Fence - The section of the Stock (normally on the left) that
references off the wood to guide the plane as it's worked; not all planes
- Stop - The section of the Stock (normally on the right) that
stops the plane from cutting any deeper; not all planes have Stops.
- Step - The section of the Stock (normally on the right) that
carries the Stop; characterized with a molded top, made to reduce the plane's
- Tote - The grip found normally on bench planes; said either
to be open (like a pistol grip) or closed (like a saw handle).
- Strike - an area on the Stock, forward of the iron, that is
hit with a mallet in order to loosen the wedge; usually a hardwood or metal.
- Boxing - The wear strip of a harder substance, normally boxwood,
let into the plane's sole in order to make the high points of the sole
- Spring - the amount of lean, off the vertical, a plane is worked
on the stock.
pal, April 20, 1998