Fore plane
A Stanley Bailey #6 fore plane
Other namesShort jointer[1]
Used withjointer plane and smoothing plane
Stanley Bailey No. 6 metal fore plane and No. 28 transitional fore plane.

The fore plane is a type of woodworking bench plane typically used for preparing and flattening rough workpieces before using other planes, such as the jointer plane and the smoothing plane.[2][3] The name fore plane is sometimes used synonymously with the jack plane, but the fore plane is usually longer in length, making it more effective at levelling larger workpieces.


Under the Stanley Bailey numbering system for metal-bodied planes the #6 fore planes are 18 inches (460 mm) long, longer than the #5 jack planes and shorter than the #7 and #8 jointer planes.[4] Historically, wooden-bodied fore planes have been 18 to 22 inches (460 to 560 mm) long.[1] As with other bench planes, fore planes were first developed with wooden bodies, before the introduction in the 19th century of metal-bodied and transitional planes.


The name fore plane dates back to at least the 17th century in Britain, and was named fore plane because it would be used on a workpiece before other planes.[5] The name fore plane is sometimes used synonymously with the jack plane, while in 17th century Britain the term fore plane was used more by joiners or cabinet makers, and jack plane by carpenters.[5][6]: 48 


When used, the fore plane is either the first plane to be used on rough sawn timber, or is used after the jack plane.[7][8][9] The fore plane is able to quickly remove material and level the workpiece before the woodworker moves on to using a jointer plane or smoothing plane.[6]: 19  Often fore planes are used perpendicular and diagonally to the grain, and are set to remove larger shavings. The iron can also be sharpened with a slight camber to aid this.[6]: 101 

For the rough preparation and levelling of stock fore planes have largely been replaced in modern workshops by machinery such as jointers and thicknessers.


  1. ^ a b Sellens, Alvin (1978). Woodworking planes : a descriptive register of wooden planes. Internet Archive. Augusta, Ks. : Sellens. pp. 32–35.
  2. ^ "Sharpen a Fore Plane". Popular Woodworking Magazine. 2008-02-28. Archived from the original on 2020-10-25. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  3. ^ Hayward, Charles Harold (1958). Charles Hayward's carpentry book. London: English Universities Press. pp. 46–47. ISBN 9781440304286. OCLC 19496718.
  4. ^ "Stanely Bailey Planes Miscellaneous Data". Archived from the original on 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  5. ^ a b Moxon, Joseph (1703). Mechanick Exercises: or, The Doctrine of Handy-Works Applied to the Arts of Smithing, Joinery, Carpentry, Turning, Bricklayery (3rd ed.). London: Printed for D. Midwinter and T. Leigh... pp. 61–65, 168. hdl:2027/mdp.39015028306002. Archived from the original on 2022-07-10. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  6. ^ a b c Schwarz, Christopher, 1968- (2009). Handplane essentials (1st ed.). Cincinnati, Ohio: FW Media. pp. 19–21. ISBN 978-1-4403-0298-5. OCLC 326678537. Archived from the original on 2022-07-10. Retrieved 2020-10-12.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Joseph Gwilt (1842). An Encyclopædia of Architecture: Historical, Theoretical, and Practical. University of Wisconsin - Madison. Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. p. 977.
  8. ^ Austen, Stephen; Devoto, John; Toms, W. H; A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch (Firm) (1734). The Builder's dictionary: or, Gentleman and architect's companion. London; And S. Austen, at the Angel and Bible in St.-Paul's Church-Yard.: Printed for A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch, at the Red-Lion in Pater-noster Row. OCLC 889853614. Archived from the original on 2022-07-10. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  9. ^ "Flat & Square - Construction techniques". Archived from the original on 2021-01-27. Retrieved 2020-10-12.