A jack plane
is the general-purpose bench plane
, used for general smoothing of the edges and sizing of wood
. Jack planes are about 15 inches long, and the blade usually has a moderately curved edge. In preparing stock, the jack plane is used after the scrub plane
and before the smooth plane
. The name is related to the saying "jack of all trades". Jack planes perform both the work of smooth planes and trying planes. A jack plane has a measuring screw which moves the blade in or out of the plane's body so it can make the workpiece straighter. Jack planes are the steel equivalent to the wood block plane.
A jack plane came to be referred to as a "No. 5" plane or a "Bailey pattern No. 5," at the end of the 19th century. Prior to that, all but the blade was made of wood in bench planes. A man named Bailey contributed the design that persists to this day, and continues to enjoy credit for this improvement. The No. 5 nomenclature originally used by Stanley Tools to label its Bailey pattern jack plane product continues to identify jack planes made by various manufacturers.
To sharpen the blade, water stones, oilstones and ceramic stones can be used.