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Get One of the Best Jack Planes: The Jack of All Trades!
Do you struggle with downsizing and smoothing wood pieces? Is it a challenge to shave off small amounts of wood with reliable accuracy? If so, having one of these premium jack planes of 2023 should become your top priority.
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.
We continually strive to bring you high-quality options, and we’ve dedicated this guide to identifying the top jack planes currently on the market. We’ve also included a detailed guide filled with useful buying tips.Buy on AmazonBest OverallAmazonBasics Bench Hand PlaneBuy on AmazonIdeal for ProfessionalsGrizzly Industrial Jack PlaneBuy on AmazonDurable ConstructionWoodRiver Bench PlaneBuy on AmazonGreat ValueFaithfull FAIPLANE4C Number 4 PlaneShow contents
A Buying Guide to the Ultimate Jack Planes
What Is a Jack Plane?
A jack plane refers to a general-purpose, handheld woodworking tool. It has a flat, narrow base with an angled blade. As you move it along a wooden surface, the blade scrapes and shaves material.
This particular function makes jack planes suitable for two important tasks, including:
This scraping movement allows for removing unwanted and unnecessary wood and allows you to trim sides and edges smoothly.
Smoothing and finishing
Most wood surfaces are rough and textured. A jack plane can help remove this top layer and smooth wood for a finished look.
Both DIYers and professionals find jack planes to be versatile, productive tools. They can use this simple product for altering wood in whatever way they want. Plus, these items come at extremely affordable prices.
Are Jack Planes Smoothing Planes?
While jack planes may help with smoothing wood surfaces, they are not the same as smoothing planes. Both planes have different structures and functions. A smoothing plane is a highly specialized tool that helps produce very smooth and flat surfaces.
The smoothing plane’s fundamental objective is making wood suitable for polishing and finishing. Meanwhile, jack planes merely flatten surfaces. Some other types of planes often confused with jack planes include:
Jack Planes vs Bench Planes
Bench planes refer to heavy-duty tools used for flattening and smoothing long wood panels. Comparatively, a jack plane is a type of bench plane that is smaller and lighter, and is best for high-precision, detailed work.
Jack Planes vs Block Planes
Similar to a jack plane, a block plane falls in the fine woodworking category. However, it has a smaller and lower-angled blade. Most craftsmen use block planes exclusively for trimming edges and fitting joints.
Features To Consider When Buying a Jack Plane
Woodworking tools are not the type of products you want to buy repeatedly. After purchasing one, you will have to accept its performance or spend valuable time and money going through the buying process again. To avoid that kind of hassle, it’s good to consider the purchase an investment and choose the ideal product in the first place.
To do so, you’ll have to analyze the product’s ability to satisfy your particular needs. Does it have all the features to complete a task efficiently? Use the list of criteria below for evaluating a jack plane.
Jack planes are available in small, medium, and large sizes. The one you should choose depends on your particular project type. For example, if precision-cutting and detailed woodworking is your primary concern, opt for a smaller jack plane.
It will provide you with the control and stability required for precise cuts and shaping. Conversely, large jack planes are great for downsizing and smoothing wide wood panels. Meanwhile, medium sizes work well with all projects.
Apart from overall measurements, you should consider blade thickness, it determines the cut depth and a blade’s longevity. While thinner blades scrape finely, they do not withstand pressure and bend well. In some cases, a blade may even break, risking severe injury.
So, always look for a moderately thick blade around 2 mm. If your work doesn’t require fine scraping, it’s better to opt for thicker blades of 3-3.5 mm.
The angle of a blade has a significant impact on its performance. Generally, there are two blade positions; high-angled (<45 degrees) and low-angled (>45 degrees). The high-angled models scrape surfaces gently, making them perfect for finishing and smoothing.
Comparatively, low-angled blades shave and slice surfaces deeply. They are suitable for rough stages of woodworking, where faster speed is a priority over smooth results. All that being said, you can also find jack planes with adjustable builds.
These planes feature knobs for altering the angle and height of a blade. So, you can use one jack plane to achieve a variety of different results.
The construction of a jack plane directly affects its durability. So, you should look for the ideal materials used in each part of the tool, including:
High carbon steel (Blade)
This is a rigid and strong steel type with powerful resistance against abrasion. You can expect these blades to withstand extreme force and pressure, remaining straight and rust-free for years.
Cast-iron bases may be heavy, but they are also the most stable options. They won’t move or shake, improving accuracy. Plus, these bases won’t corrode or rust.
Screws hold a structure together, so they must be hard and strong. Most jack planes feature brass screws for aesthetics. However, avoid these because brass is much weaker than steel.
For handles, wood and steelwork equally well, the material in the handle has little impact on the tool’s longevity. However, it does very much influence user comfort.
Since woodworking takes time, the handle should have an ergonomic design, so that you can hold the tool comfortably. It should also have a slight curve or angle, providing a steady hold on the tool. The presence of textured surfaces further enhances the control and works to prevent slipping.
How Much Should You Spend on Jack Planes?
Jack planes are typically affordable woodworking tools. However, considering the given brand and offered features, you will come across three price ranges, including:
These jack planes are efficient in performance with sharp, angled blades and ergonomic handles. You can also find sturdy builds made from cast iron and steel. However, there are limitations to their functionality.
Mid-range jack planes take things to the next level by offering adjustability and modifiable builds, allowing you to tune the tool according to your needs. They also feature better quality materials such as high-carbon steel.
All jack planes in the premium range are vintage. They offer well-preserved traditional builds delivering outstanding performance. However, it’s better not to choose these jack planes unless you’re an extremely passionate collector.
What Is the Top Jack Plane of 2023?1– Best Overall
AmazonBasics is famous for offering quality products at affordable prices. And this bench hand plane is no different. This product is actually so impressive it’s nabbed our “best overall” award, owing to the extreme value and functionality it offers to customers. This product features a compact build made from cast iron and a 2-inch steel alloy blade. Although its durable construction can withstand years of rough use, the small blade blunts easily when used intensely. So, this jack plane is suitable for lighter, small-scale projects.
That said, the blade has a higher angle than 45 degrees. It shaves the wood gently yet accurately, allowing you to make the tiniest of modifications with perfection. And, in case you want deeper and faster cuts, there are adjustable knobs for altering the height of the blade. The jack plane also has sturdy plastic handles, providing a contoured and firm grip. Your hands won’t shake, slip, or even ache.2– Great Performance
If you don’t mind doing a little tuning before work, the Stanley Hand Planer will leave you stunned by its performance. It’s a small jack plane with a premium-quality blade positioned at a 21 degrees angle. So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re downsizing or smoothing wood. You can expect it to deliver superior precision results every single time.
Additionally, while its blade position is excellent for cross-grain surfaces, you will find it works equally well on others – just tweak the adjustable blade to the preferred angle and height. Further, this product has a sturdy cast-iron base, offering stability. It won’t vibrate or move, improving work accuracy. The tool also has an epoxy coating for protection against damage and scratches. So, it will maintain its original look for quite some time.3– Ideal for Professionals
Coming with a slightly higher price tag, the Grizzly Industrial Jack Plane is a professional-level tool designed for final finishing work. It includes a premium flat sole, cast-iron base, and sharp blade. This tool can shave and smooth any wooden surface easily and the sole also reduces resistance, improving the sliding action. So, you won’t have to put a ton of effort in for great results.
This product features ergonomic rosewood knobs and handles. The curved structure offers a firm and stable grip, giving you powerful control over the tool while working. And, this large industrial jack plane is also fully adjustable. You can also modify its parts, making it efficient for the desired function.4– Durable Construction
The WoodRiver Bench Plane is a premium option inspired by Stanley’s finest plane range, the Bedrocks. It has a large and narrow cast-iron body, suitable for any woodworking project. Also, it features a 2 ⅜ inch blade made from high-carbon steel. This material has great resistance to corrosion and rust.
So, although this product is a bit of a heavyweight, the sturdy construction will allow this tool to last through years of professional use. Plus, you’ll find Bubinga wood handles and knobs come installed. This quality wood, coupled with a contoured design, offers you a firm and comfortable grip, giving you complete control over the jack plane’s movement.5– Great Value
Are you looking for a high-quality jack plane that won’t break the bank? Well, then this Faithful Number 4 Plane will help with all your woodworking projects. The medium-sized jack plane has a premium metal blade and cast-iron base. So, expect high resistance against corrosion and damage.
Plus, the heavy base is perfectly square and flat, ensuring stability and precision as you smooth wooden blocks. The high-angled blade also scrapes the surface, gently achieving fine results. However, the blade does not come sharpened. You will have to do a little work before it’s capable of its peak performance. Nonetheless, the ergonomic handles and sturdiness of this jack plane make it a good budget-friendly option.
People Also AskedQ: Why is it called a jack plane?
A: Jack planes received their name from the saying “jack of all trades”. The versatile tool can perform various woodworking tasks, like smoothing and downsizing. However, fittingly, it specializes in none.Q: How long are No. 5 jack planes?
A: The standard length of the jack plane is 11-15 inches. But, you can also find it in different sizes depending on your needs. Small jack planes are 5-10 inches long, larger ones are found in a range above 15 inches.Q: What can you do with a low-angle jack plane?
A: A low-angle jack plane has a blade positioned at an angle below 45 degrees. These jack planes are ideal for working with end grain, shooting miters, and initial smoothing. You may not find it suitable for scraping and final finishing.Q: How long do jack planes last?
A: Jack planes are made of steel, cast iron, and similar heavy-duty materials. As a result, these woodworking tools are durable and sturdy. You can expect them to withstand a good 5 to 10 years of regular use.