I have recently received several questions about adjusting wooden planes and requests to do a video on the process. As you’ll see, it’s really not brain surgery. I think it’s actually easier than using those adjuster things on metal planes. In fact, when I used to use metal planes, I did the fine tuning of the lateral position of the iron using a mallet rather than the lateral adjustment lever. I think it’s easier and more precise.
The most important thing you need to remember about adjusting wooden bodied planes is to PUT THE STEEL HAMMER DOWN. No other implement of destruction has done more damage to these beautiful old planes than the steel hammer. All those dents you find in the heel and toe, the broken wedges, and the mushrooming on the top of the iron, are all the result of abuse by a steel hammer. Steel is harder than wood and harder than the soft iron base of the blade. Basically, steel hammers damage planes.
So put down the steel hammer and step away slowly. Now pick up a wooden carving mallet, a small wood and brass plane adjusting hammer, or a simple block of scrap wood. Take a deep breath, feel the force flowing through you, and tap gently. We’re not trying to attack the plane. Lighter is better. Love and respect your planes and they will return the favor.
OK, enough of the Zen talk. Let’s get some work done :).