Block plane vs Smoothing plane | Difference between the two | Which one to choose?

Hand planes are found in almost every professional woodshop, but they are far less prevalent on construction sites. Still, for sections in the house where wooden elements must fit perfectly, such as cabinets, doors, and trim, a hand plane might be just the correct tool. Planes can be used to smooth surfaces, remove little quantities of material at a time, and clean up areas cut by less accurate tools in certain locations. Planes can reduce, if not completely remove, the necessity for sanding in many situations. Furthermore, planes are less noisy than any other power tools.

Hand-held woodworking planes come in two varieties: block plane and smoothing plane. Carpenters, plane hobbyists, and DIY woodworkers all use them. However, because these two types of planes come in so many various shapes and sizes, determining which one is best for your project can be challenging.

Here in this article we will talk over some of the key distinctions between block and smoothing planes. This is how it will be easier to decide which tool is best for your next project.

So, let’s zoom in!

Block Plane

Block planes are multi-purpose hand tools. You can finely bend, flatten, and square a hardwood object with the help of a decent block plane. The only thing you need to know is how to deal with it properly. Block planes are the instruments of choice for smoothing or chamfering uneven stocks inside timber goods. A block plane can also be used to smooth out various joints, such as dovetails, mortise and tenon joints, and so on.

The sharpened edges of the hardwood pieces are carved with block planes as well. Block planes are your complete rescuers, allowing you to spend less time while sanding uneven wooden product surfaces.

Each time a tool is used, it should be carefully cleaned. Check to see if the blade of your block plane is sharp enough for the next time you use it. On the blades, burrs can easily develop. Sharpen the blade of your block plane on a sharpening stone with a little oil to make the process go more smoothly.

Smoothing Plane

These planes actually come under the genre of bench planes. Smoothing planes are woodworking planes that are used to polish wood surfaces. They are made to give the wood a high-quality polish before it’s finished. They have a 9 to 10 inch long body with two parallel handles. To make it easier to smooth out surfaces, the blade will be positioned at an angle.

Uses of Block Planes and Smoothing Planes

Block Planes

1. Smoothing

The hefty iron construction lets a professional operator quickly remove material without breaking or damaging wood fibres, as lighter weight smoothers may do. Because their blades don’t clog up from resin and pitch accumulation like those found in softer woods like pine, block planes are frequently useful for smoothing hardwoods after they have been cut with a saw rather than sanded.

2. Flush Trimming 

Trimming down wide edges where two boards meet should be possible with a good block plane. They’re also useful for swiftly and efficiently cutting flat surfaces before putting wood pieces together to ensure a tight fit. Because your joint will be practically undetectable when finished, it will be much more appealing!

Smoothing Planes

1. Exceptional Finishing 

On the surface of the wood, the smoothing plane is usually the last plane to be used. When used correctly, it produces a considerably superior polish than sandpaper, which can scrape and dull wood fibres.

Here you have noticed both the hand planes are used as wood smoothener!

As we have gathered the similarities between the duo, now it’s time to discuss the distinctions. Keep going!

Differences between Block Plane and Smoothing Plane

Size Disparities

The length of a block plane is 6 to 7 inches. The blade is placed at 20 degrees on a standard-angle block plane.The angle of a low-angle block plane is 12 degrees, which is better for correcting mitres and shaping end grain.

On the other hand, A smoothing plane measures between 140mm (512″) and 254mm (10″) in length. The size you choose is determined by the size of your workpieces. If you only build small models, get a tiny one, whereas larger if you are working on bigger projects. If the size of your workpieces changes, aim for a larger plane that will work in most situations.

Direction of the bevel face

By observing the direction in which the bevel faces, you may immediately determine which is which. The bevel on a block plane always faces up.

Other way, with irons pitched at 45 degrees bevel down and 12 degrees bevel up, the smoothing plane comes in standard and low angle metal variants. The irons on wooden smoothers are commonly pitched at 45 degrees.


Block planes are made of softer metals such as copper and brass, whereas smoothing planes are typically constructed of steel and wood.


A block plane is a small-bladed woodworking tool. The blade is attached to the body’s end and can be adjusted to any height between the top and bottom. Vertical adjustment is also possible with the blade. Start with the blade around 3/8 inch above the sole if you’re not sure what angle or height you want.

Smoothing plane blades are frequently gently rounded at the edges to avoid the possibility of gouging out tracks or marks in the workpiece, and the throat or mouth of a metal plane is typically set tight to prevent tearout.

We hope that this information has added to your understanding of the differences between the block plane and the smoothing plane.

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