This week’s question comes from Andreas. He writes:
I’m just about finished watching all your podcast episodes on itunes. And there is one thing that caught my attention. If I was storing my block planes the way you do, I would be banned from wood working class back in the days when I was on school! My teacher was really anal about that. It was really against the law not to store them laying sideways! So I find this funny to see a professional wood craftsman to store them on the blade.
And here was my reply:
Hello Andreas. Believe it or not, it is my opinion that this is an antiquated misconception about planes. Lets review the facts. A plane blade cuts wood. And by nature, the blade is much much harder than the wood otherwise it couldn’t do its job. So by placing the plane on the workbench with the blade down, how much damage do you think could possibly be done? I would be more fearful of ruining whatever material I place the blade on top of, since the blade could easily dig into the surface. Now lets look at the other option. If the blade is on its side, a few things can occur. First, you now have an very sharp exposed blade sitting on your bench. You could very easily move your finger or hand into the blade and get a nice cut. Second, if the blade is exposed, there is a much greater chance that something metal may hit the blade or the sole (screw driver, chisel, etc). And those metal tools can and will do some damage.
So I would much rather protect my blade and my fingers by storing my planes blade down, then putting everything at risk by storing my planes with the blade exposed. Make sense??”
Now keep in mind this is only with reference to how I put rest the plane on the bench during work sessions. For actual longer term storage in my tool chest, I always retract the blade just to be on the safe side.