Smoothing planes are used for the finest finishing work on the wood surface. Before sandpaper was in common use, surfaces such as veneers were not sanded down, but "smoothed" with the smoothing plane. It was essential to set the iron with extreme precision, and to work with the highest degree of skill.
Planes with mouth adjustment are known as "reform smoothing planes". An adjustable plate in the sole of the plane permits the mouth to be reduced in size, either for particularly fine work, or at the stage when the sole of the plane has been worn and has had to be trimmed.
As with all planes, it is very important to get to know a new plane, and sharpening it will rapidly deepen the acquaintance. Even if there is note in the box to say a new plane is sharpened ready for use, you should really take the time to sharpen and hone a new plane. Whether or not the manufacturer instructs you to do so, sharpen the iron, and hone it, and do the same with the cap iron. This is the only way to ensure that no shavings will get between the cap iron and the blade, clogging up the plane, as the freshly honed surface of the cap iron will fit perfectly flush on the surface of the blade.
It is also advisable to smooth the sole of the plane a little further, by placing 600-grain sandpaper on a dead flat surface and going over it with the plane a few times. This will smooth out any minor variances in the sole due to the manufacturing processes.
All the smoothing planes listed here have a 48 mm (approx. 1-7/8 inch) wide iron and a cap iron. The cutting angle of the ECE planes is 50°. The length of the body is 220 mm (approx. 8-5/8 inch)!