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Should I store my hand plane on its side or sole?

When setting planes aside on your workbench, be sure to watch you don’t accidentally ding the blade with other tools.

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This collection of shoulder planes, bench planes, and block planes stays well guarded and ready to use inside a tool cabinet.

Q:

As my collection of hand planes grows, I find myself caught in the middle of the debate on how to best store them when not in use. Some folks lay planes on their sides to protect the blades’ cutting edges, while others insist you should set them on their soles. Who’s right?

—Cecil Cranston, Pine Bluff, Ark.

A:

Truth is, Cecil, you should use both methods, depending on your circumstances. For instance, setting your plane sole-down on a wooden benchtop won’t ding or dull its cutting edge, but placing it on your cast-iron tablesaw top might. So if you’re looking for a place to put it down between chores, laying the plane on its side will usually be your best bet. For long-term storage, though, a plane on its side leaves the blade exposed, where it could be damaged by an accidental, glancing blow from another tool. In this case, storing the plane sole-down on a wood surface, whether a shelf or drawer bottom, prevents accidental damage with no risk of dulling.

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