no7 jointer plane

No 7 hand plane explained

The Jointer plane is also known as a ‘Triplane’ ‘Trying plane’ or the ‘No.7. The less common ‘No. 8’ is also a jointer plane. The one thing that links all these planes is their length.

‘Jointer Try planes are typically 22-24 inches (510 to 610 mm) long ‘

The Jointer plane is made from cast iron or wood. Metal bodied hand planes have been more popular than wooden tools since the 19th-century industrial revolution. During this period, metal-bodied planes saw their debut and their popularity rendered wooden bodied hand planes almost extinct.

In this blog, we refer to the 22” plane as the:

  • Jointer
  • No.7
  • Triplane
  • Trying Plane
  • No.8

What is the Jointer plane used for?

The triplane can ride over any undulations on a piece of wood removing shavings until perfectly flat. 

My No.7 hand plane is a vital tool in the workshop. I often need to prepare two boards when glueing and clamping a tabletop. A perfectly flat edge to the board is the key to getting that perfect joint.

From 22” this popular hand plane is what is needed for a plane to true a plank. The long plane can either flatten a hump or level the board down to the lows.  You can use a jointer machine but I always finish with the hand plane as it removes any ripples from a rotary cutter block. 

How to true a piece of wood with a Jointer hand plane?

Jointer plane is long enough to correct any imperfections in your piece of wood. But you need to learn how to use this tool. Unlike any other traditional tool, you will need to practice the art.

Train yourself

Picking up the tool and just having a go is the key to building up muscle memory. The more you participate the faster you will gain confidence with the process of straightening a length of timber. 

Be one with your tool

Once your hand plane is producing long thin shavings it is likely that the wood has no lows or highs. These signs are small indicators that show the stage you are at with regards to true.

Planing out a low 

You will also feel constant resistance against the blade as it slices through the wood if the wood is straight.  But if you have a low so you will start at one end with no shaving in the middle and then finishing with shaving at the end. 

Planing out a high

f you have a high or a hump in the middle of your piece of wood you need to know this before you start because it is easy to follow that hump. Once you find your hump planning at the high until you reach the low. Then make passes with the plane along the full length until you have a full shaving.  don’t forget to check with a square that you have not gone off-square

Because the Jointer or triplane is so long it is actually very easy to handle. The weight and length of the plane provide stability and confidence enabling you to glide it over a length of wood. The additional weight of the jointer plane gives inertia which forces the plane iron or blade through the wood peeling off long shavings, once the wood is flat. 

Check for square as you go

I use a small square to make sure the edge remains at 90 degrees but there is another ‘tell-tale’ sign?

Two tools you can use to  check that you’re wood is Square and straight:

  • Combination Square
  • Winding sticks

Combination Square

 the combination Square is ideal for checking that the edge of your wood is Square. You can use any small square such as the engineer square or a try square.

Winding sticks

‘Wind’ is a twist in your wood like a propeller. Winding sticks were the first thing I made in college.  As the name suggests these sticks are just short lengths of wood that are true in all directions. 

How you use a winding stick is by placing one winding stick at the far end of your piece of wood and the other close to you. Sight along your wood and see if the winding sticks are in line with each other. If they do not appear to be in alignment then you have a wind in your piece of wood. 

Who designed the Jointer plane good?

The Jointer plane was initially developed by Stanley tool works, in particular, Frederick Stanley and  Leonard Bailey.  These old hand planes have been made by Stanley from 1869 to 1970. 

My Blog on the History of Stanley Handplanes

Are Stanley Tools any good?

Stanley still sells a Stanley Bailey number 7 triplane but it is not the same tool. Sadly over the years, Stanley tool works have from its original manufacturing plant in the United States to importing hand planes from China. Planes are made to the Stanley design but of less quality than the original Stanley Bailey number 7. 

Jointer Plane Brands

Luckily the Stanley brand is not the only maker of hand planes and in particular the triplane.

High Quality

  • Lie Nielsen
  • Veritas
  • WoodRiver
  • Clifton
  • E.C. Emmerich
  • Bench Dog
  • Stanley Bailey (Old)

Average Quality 

  • Kobalt
  • Stanley (New)
  • Faithfull
  • Grizzly
  • Kunz
  • Amazon Basics

Below are a few hand planes that I can recommend

Should I buy an expensive Jointer plane or a cheap Jointer plane?

This is a question you might have to ask yourself when you are in the market for a number 7 Jointer plane. 

I understand that sometimes these tools can be very expensive for the average woodworker.  but if you have the ability to purchase a high-quality tool obviously just get yourself a Lie Nielsen. 

Cheap Jointer plane

But here is the conundrum if you have to spend 500 on 1 plane, you could take that Same budget and by five planes. We don’t all have the budget to purchase the highest quality tools. I have in woodworking for many years and have collected my tools over a long period of time.  but if you are new to the business or hobby then acquiring all the tools you need straight away can be difficult.

Simple  plane designs are best

Luckily hand planes are simple. There are some low-cost hand planes that you can buy by that are very capable tools. For instance, the Jointer plane can be very expensive such as the lie Nielsen, for under 100 you could buy a Faithfull.  

Faithfull number 7  a good alternative

The Faithfull Jointer plane is cheap and does require a little bit of work. But, If you’re willing to put in in a little bit of effort you will end up with a tool that is almost as capable as the lie Nielsen.

I have done this on a Faithfull plane and I was very impressed with the result.  further improvements would be the plane iron or blade assembly upgrading to a Clifton or  Victor. Personally, I like to change the tote and knob So it fits my hands perfectly. 

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