First off, the plane you have isn't exactly a "great" example of a handplane, so it's going to need some work.
Watch this video:
And do what they instruct as far a tuning the plane. A bench plane is very similar, with only a few differences. They will be covered in other links I have posted.
And some good advise: Use good paper to lap the sole flat! Emery cloth sheets are a great place to start, and wet/dry paper up to 400 grit will finish the job.
Also, research "sharpening on glass with wet/dry sandpaper". Rockler sells an inexpensive kit for this if you need the supplies, and it's a great way to start, as it gives you everything you will need for about $35. Get the kit with the fine paper if you go this route, as you will likely have the coarse grades for lapping the sole already. And use the honing guide that comes with the kit, or buy a similar model. They are simply awesome for setting the proper bevel angle and getting a super sharp edge. It makes the whole process super easy, almost like a set of training wheels, only better.
Link to the sharpening kit: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...g%20on%20glass
Here is a good honing guide: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...ter=sharpening
I'll be honest, there are many honing guides that cost more, but many don't work half as good. This is one place where the cheaper model really is your best bet.
The only honing guide I have tried that I like more (and I've used a lot of different guides) is one of the units made by Richard Kell. However, it's not cheap. Garrett Wade sells them, or they can be imported from England directly from Mr.Kell himself.
This is a good read: http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/plane_tune.shtml
Now, go to Lie-Nielsen's site and watch all their videos about sharpening, using and tuning planes. Even if it's not the type of plane you have, or even about a plane, watch it anyway. They have a ton of little bits of info that is very useful in most all their videos.
As for using it, you need a heavy bench that has vises and other hold-downs designed for planing. A plastic table is useless for this and will not work. Your truck is also going to wiggle all over due to the tires and suspension. This also is not going to do much but frustrate you.
You will need to build a bench or find a very heavy and flat surface to use. You do not want it to move and it needs to be very flat. This is paramount to your success with a handplane.
Now, you need to learn how to use it, this includes setting the blade, sharpening the blade, adjusting the skew of the blade, moving the blade over the wood, and the list goes on and on.
One thing you will realize, is using a handplane correctly is not as simple as just buying it, pulling it out of the box and shoving it across some wood. It needs to be tuned well and handled properly to produce even decent results.
And one thing you must remember, using hand tools is all about skill, and skill needs to be developed and perfected. Just like you can't just hop in a Sprint Cup car and win the Daytona 500, you're not going to just pick up a plane from Home Depot and produce .001" thick shavings and produce perfectly flat and smooth boards. It's going to take time and effort to get even decent results, and the quality of your plane, as well as what you are planing on (ie: your bench or other work-holding surface), is going to make a HUGE difference in the quality of your final product.
Also, go to YouTube and search for "handplane techniques", "flattening with a handplane" and any other phrase you can think of to do with using a handplane, find the videos from the guys who are either known woodworkers (Rob Cosman is one) or who appear to really know what they are doing and watch them.
Rob Cosman has some good videos and books on this subject, and you can learn a lot from them.
Chris Schwarz also has a blog and some videos on YouTube, etc, on the subject of hand-planes and workbenches. I suggest looking him up as well.
Check this link out for some info on benches and that way you can see what is required of a bench to be effective for hand-plane use, as your "run of the mill" 2x4 and plywood bench isn't really going to be the best for hand-planing by far. You CAN build a bench from 2x4's and ply and have it work, but it needs to be designed in a certain manner and be built to handle the stresses of hand-planing, and also be outfitted with the work-holding accessories that are needed to be successful with a hand-plane.
Look at the "Workbench 1.0" link on the main page of the above link. It's an inexpensive way to get a good, solid bench that will work for hand-planing. There are also other torsion box designs as well, and most are suitable for hand-plane work.
And you don't need to spend a ton on vises to make a good bench. You can get by, and do very well in fact, with pipe-clamp vises (I have a "twin-screw" pipe clamp vise and a pipe-clamp "leg vise", both of which are awesome and were quite cheap to make), but, you will need to be creative. Wooden hand-screws can also be very helpful, as can be seen on the "Workbench 1.0".
And finally, if you really want to make hand-planing work for you and you want to get the incredible results from them like all the hand-tool pros get, you will want to consider upgrading to a much better plane in the future. Planes are NOT created equal, and there is a huge quality margin from what you find in most "Box Stores", as compared to the WoodRiver line from WoodCraft and Veritas from Lee Valley, and the old Stanley's (such as the BedRock's) can be very, very nice planes, and even the Stanley Baileys are good, useable planes. And then you have the top line stuff from Lie-Nielsen, ECE and the others, which are truly incredible tools that are simply amazing to use.
I know I put a lot down here, but there is a lot to be said about starting out with a hand-plane. It's not something you can just pick up, work with and get great results in the first 5 minutes. There is a lot to know, and there is a good bit of technique to tuning, sharpening and using them.
But, once you get the basics figured out, you will be able to use a plane quite well and make it do things that eve the best power tools can't match.
Just remember, there is no "magic" to this, and it CAN be mastered by most anyone. And if you put in just a bit of time and effort, you will achieve good results in just a short time. I promise you that.