The majority of bench planes are equipped with a tear-out prevention system.
by Kees van der Heiden & Wilbur Pan
Handplanes can be used to create a smooth surface that is ready for finishing on a piece of wood without the dust and noise associated with sanders. It is simple to use a handplane if the board has a straight grain and the blades are sharp. The board may tear if it has a figure such as curly maple, figured cherries, or knotty Pine.
Handplane tearout can be reduced or eliminated by using a variety of strategies. A tighter mouth, a higher bed angle or, if you’re using a bevel-up plane, a steep secondary bevel, are all ways one can attack the problem. There is one device that many bench planes include that can be equally as effective: The chipbreaker.
In the photo on the left, you can see how the chipbreaker reduces tearout. The cherry wood board in the photo was deliberately planed with a Stanley No. 4 using a stock knife and chipbreaker.
Video: Watch the video of Kato and Kawai showing the effect the chipbreaker.
Blogs: Visit the authors’ blogs. (Kees van der Heiden & Wilbur Pan)
Video: In 17 minutes of film, many woodworkers’ views on handplane setup were smashed.
You can find us at: “Handplane Essentials,” by Christopher Schwarz.