The plane is a modified chisel. The chief difference in action between a chisel and a plane in paring is this: the back of the chisel lies close down on the surface of the wood that is cut, and acts as a guide; whereas, in the plane, the cutter is elevated at an angle away from the surface of the wood, and only its cutting edge touches the wood, and it is held and guided mechanically by the plane mechanism. In other words, a plane is a chisel firmly held in a device which raises the cutter at an angle from the work, regulates the depth of the cut, and favors the cutting rather than the splitting action. The plane has developed as follows: it was first a chisel held in a block of wood. This is all that oriental planes are now, simply a sharpened wedge driven into a block of wood. When the hole works too loose, the Japanese carpenter inserts a piece of paper to tighten it, or he makes a new block. The first improvement was the addition of a wooden wedge to hold in place the "plane-iron", as the cutter was formerly called. In this form, the cutter or plane-iron, tho still wedge-shaped, was reversed, being made heavier at the cutting edge in order to facilitate fastening it in the wooden plane-stock by means of the wooden wedge. Then a handle was added for convenience. Then came the cap, the object of which is to break back the shaving and thus weaken it as soon as possible after it is cut.