bevel down vs bevel up

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Forum topic by 12strings posted 12-05-2013 11:59 PM 1402 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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434 posts in 3465 days

12-05-2013 11:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bevel up bevel down

AHA!!!! You thought I was going to ask which is better, didn’t you?

I actually just wanted to post this link:

It is probably the best summary and comparison I have seen, he really covers all the strengths and weaknesses of both…and in the end, I agree with his reasons for using bevel down most often.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

2 replies so far

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Derek Cohen

514 posts in 5049 days

#1 posted 12-08-2013 06:21 AM

Shannon’s video is good in describing the way the planes work and where their strengths lie. However there is evidence that he does not know how to use these planes optimally (at that time – this was recorded in 2011 and he may have developed further since then). This applies to both Bu and BD planes.

In the BU plane he argues that they cannot be adjusted on the fly. My observation is that he has overtightened the lever cap. It only needs to be tightened enough to firmly hold the blade. Set up that way, the blade can be adjusted with ease, either one-handed with the smaller planes (as per the BD plane), or two-handed with the longer plane.

Read through this review of the SBUS for illustrations:

Another issue with BU planes is the wear bevel on the rear of the blade. As Shannon notes, this is more theoretical than real. Still, all one needs do is use the Rule Trick (google this under David Charlesworth), and that effectively avoids this issue.

With BD planes, it is possible to set them up to minimise tearout by careful placement of the chip breaker. This was glossed over in the video. It is a powerful way of extracting performance from a BD smoother.

I agree with Shannon’s early comments in that these two planes are just choices to do the same thing. He does not describe the ergonomic factors that would expand on this. There are significant issues here, such as how to make a plane feel lighter in the hand. I would not say that they should be divided into Beginner vs Experienced groups. Both can fit into either group. However I do support his view that the BU is easier for the beginner to master.

Good video at the start (I had not seen it before) but dated and misleading information from about half-way.

Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 3465 days

#2 posted 12-08-2013 11:59 AM

This is good information to have, thanks. You are certainly more knowledgeable that I am on this. Thanks for correcting the mis-information.

Admittedly, I have no experience with BU planes (other than a block plane)...but this is because I have never felt the need for one. My block plane handles end grain…my old Stanley #3 can can handle hard maple without tearout…and I don’t use anything harder than maple.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

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