Repairing a Jack Plane

A man uses a jack plane.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-20
What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Test wood
Bench grinder
Sharpening stone
Lubricant oil
Clean rag

Repairing a jack plane isn’t a frequent occurrence. A jack plane is a fairly simple tool that you use for general bench planing chores, smoothing edges and sizing pieces of wood. This tool measures about 15 inches long with curved blades. Usually, the only maintenance you will need to perform is blade adjustments. However, if you need to tune up your jack plane, follow these directions.

Step 1 - Use Safety Gear

Always use safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying bits of wood when you work with hand or power tools. When you use a jack plane, wood slices will go flying. Protective eyewear guards against the severe damage these flying wood chips can cause.

Step 2 - Test a Cut

Test the jack plane to ensure it doesn't just need a minor adjustment to set it working correctly. Draw diagonal lines on a piece of test wood and secure it in a bench vice or other grip. Run the jack plane over the surface.

Step 3 - Examine the Test

Check to determine if the cut is the same width across the entire surface of the plane. If only part of the drawn line remains, the jack plane is out of whack.

If it cuts on only one side of the test wood, check the lateral adjustment lever, which is located right above the rear handle. The lever will move side to side.

If chunks of wood get caught up in the mouth of the jack plane, use the adjustment nut that is directly in front of the back plane handle. Turn the nut clockwise (tighter) to create a smaller cut and test it again.

Step 4 - Check for a Loose Blade

Make sure the jack plane blade is not loose. If it gouges the wood, tighten it. You need to first remove the cam lever cap to expose the adjustment screw. Using a flat head screwdriver, tighten the blade.

Step 5 - Test Again

Slowly operate the jack plane looking for a good roll of wood. After all the adjustments are made, if the cut still isn’t satisfactory, you will need to sharpen the blade.

Step 6 - Sharpen the Blade

Remove the blade and inspect it for any burrs or nicks along the edge. Use a bench grinder to remove any burrs or nicks found. While holding the tip of the blade to the wheel, move the blade side to side. Use a medium grit on the wheel. If necessary, dip the blade in water to cool it down.

Step 7 - Rough Grind the Beveled Edge

While rough grinding the jack plane beveled edge, keep cooling it with water. Hold the beveled edge to the wheel at a 25-degree angle. Put a drop of oil on the stone for lubricating the blade when making a pass. After each pass, wipe the stone clean and reapply oil. Once the blade is sharp, return it to the jack plane.