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quixoticgeek

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Many years ago, back in the last millennium, when I was first taught the basics of using a plane in school one thing that was drilled into us was never put the plane blade side down, but always lay it on it's side. So you don't dull the blade.

Watching various woodworking videos on youtube, as well as in several pictures in online articles, I notice people putting their planes down blade side down. Is this a bad habit on their part, or was my old woodwork teacher being needlessly eccentric?

J
 

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That's what I was taught in high school shop class too but my father, apprenticed in Denmark, put it down on the bade. I don't see it really mattering unless there is sanding dust on the bench and you drag it back when you pick it up.

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Brandlin

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Putting your freshly sharpened plane blade-side down on a nice wooden bench is highly unlikely to damage it.

But I suspect that in a school / learning setting, you're also going to have other tools on a bench - marking equipment, screwdrivers sand paper, (hopefully not chisels... but you get the idea) I suspect that after a few terms of having to resharpen plane blades after every lesson that a teacher decides that a good mantra to quote is "don't put it blade-side down" rather than "don't put it down on anything other than a wooden surface".

Either way its a good habit to maintain and takes no effort to comply with.
 

Orraloon

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For many years I stuck with the school woodwork teaching and put it on it's side. I felt sure that if that was how woodwork was taught then that was it. These last few years however I have seen many lengthy discussions on forums saying lay it blade down. Being open minded I tried it and as long as you have some clean timber to lay it on that's ok too as I found the blade does not dull any faster. That said laying it on its side does seem a bit more disciplined.
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John
 

Ttrees

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Easier on the wrist to have a thin off cut at hand and preferably each end of the bench if working long stock.
 

MikeG.

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quixoticgeek":2kk7819v said:
........ I was first taught the basics of using a plane in school.......
There's the issue: schools. In a school environment laying the plane on its side is a good policy because of the clumsiness and carelessness of kids and the untidiness of their benches. In your own workshop, it gains nothing, unless of course you are clumsy, careless and/or desperately untidy! :lol:
 

Sgian Dubh

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Using a plane produces shavings. I always put the plane, sole down, on one or two of the shavings I produce and scattered about the bench. I don't think there's much in it when it comes to a preference for side setting down and sole setting down of planes between uses, but I prefer the latter ever since I cut a knuckle as my hand passed across the sole of a side resting plane. Slainte.
 

Phil Pascoe

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My wife after years of being with me couldn't walk past a plane on a bench without turning it on its side, but as above after having caught my hand on one I wonder the wisdom - after all, the iron is in contact with wood all the time when actually in use.
 

Woody2Shoes

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I got so fed up with my tools getting 'in the way' of my work on the bench I built a separate trolley with sharpening gear and a 'landing zone' for the tools currently in use. This includes a short strip of timber about 5mm thick so I can place planes sole down but with nearly all the sole and the cutting edge off the wood surface. The main benefit is that the sole is less likely to attract condensation if left overnight. When using a plane outside I am much more careful to avoid placing the plane flat where there might be sand/dirt on 'landing' areas.
 

thetyreman

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the education system created it to discipline children, I think it's crazy, you're more likely to injure yourself with a plane on its side, my planes could easily remove a finger tip. I always put it down with the sole touching the bench.
 

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Hmm. :wink: What does one do with a shooting plane that is naturally blade out the side? :roll: Lay the plane over on the blade or blade up? #-o :wink:

Pete
 

AES

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I too was taught to lie a plane on its side at school, and that was back in the 1950s! And like the OP I still feel a bit "uncomfortable" when I see people laying them sole down on YouTube, etc.

BUT I do notice that someone on here - I think it MAY be Steve Maskery of Workshop Essentials fame - lays his planes sole down but with the toe resting on a little "tin" about a couple of inches dia. I THINK he even mentioned said tin sometime and said he's inherited from his father or grandfather, I forget. Apparently said tin is filled with a small rag pad, slightly oiled I believe?

But like the OP, I still feel "uncomfortable" when seeing a plane lying on its side, but the reasons for not doing so as expressed above do make a lot of sense.

In short "I dunno".
 

Trevanion

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When I was in school we were never taught how to use a hand plane or which way to put it down. I did learn how to push a button to make a CNC machine do the work though. The joys of being a millennial I guess :duno:

Something I will note though, the benches we had were half woodworking and half metalworking benches and had been like that since the early 70s, wooden surface one end, a steel plate surface the other end. I guess if some kid with no idea about how a hand plane works put it sole down on the plate steel it's pretty much dulled instantly.
 

Terry - Somerset

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Just an observation really - particularly in a classroom sole side down seems the obvious default as:

(a) plane blades are/should be very sharp and can do a lot of damage
(b) kids in woodwork classes are learning, not experienced
(c) teachers are accountable for what happens in class
(d) teenage males are not noted for thoughtful and careful behaviour

And, if truth be told, a vaguely experienced, mature, amateur woodworker (me!) has been known to reach unthinkingly for another tool without properly registering the potential collision between hand and sharp object!
 

Trevanion

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AES":zwuldm1n said:
Tsk, you YOUNGSTERS!!!!!¨

:D
Maybe in another forty years time it'll be "Wow, you had to press the button?! These days we can do it by just thinking about doing it!" :lol:
 

ED65

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The tradition of laying a plane on its side comes down to us from before metal planes. It's been argued since that one good reason not to do this any longer is that the irons aren't held as rigidly in place as they were by wedges, but I don't buy that as the iron/irons of any properly tightened bevel-up or bevel-down plane won't easily be dislodged by a slight bump on the side, any more than they should be by the corner of the cutter running into a knot during use.

The danger of accidentally planing off knuckle skin however <shudder> is quite real and I think is one of two key things that argue very strongly against setting planes down on their sides. The other is damage to the edge itself, and it doesn't take much to introduce a tiny nick. In a single-person environment it wouldn't take much to minimise the risk of the former, but the latter would always remain.

Here's Frank Klausz on the subject in response to a reader letter in American Woodworker:
Planes need to be placed "face down," with their soles flat on the bench. This is the best way to protect their cutting edges. I learned this from my father, who learned it from his father.
...
I urge woodworkers to avoid storing hand planes on their sides. When a plane is lying on its side, the blade is exposed. It can easily be nicked by a hammer, a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, another plane, or any metal object. It's also much easier to cut yourself. As long as your workbench has a wooden top, it's better to keep your planes resting on their soles.
 

MusicMan

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I was also taught the 'put the plane on the side' rule. When I remember to do it :))) I put it with the blade facing away from me to avoid the knuckles problem.
 

woodbloke66

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Sgian Dubh":2e8u5ygn said:
Using a plane produces shavings. I always put the plane, sole down, on one or two of the shavings I produce and scattered about the bench. I don't think there's much in it when it comes to a preference for side setting down and sole setting down of planes between uses, but I prefer the latter ever since I cut a knuckle as my hand passed across the sole of a side resting plane. Slainte.
Same here except I have an old Star Trek mug in the tool well full of ebony and rosewood splints about 6x6mm square which I spread around the bench...you can of course use offcuts of finest 'shed' pine, but it's not quite the same :lol: :lol:

As an ex-woodwork teacher, kids were always, always, always instructed to put planes down on their sides...always - Rob
 
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