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Start Handplanes on the Skew

One of the little challenges for beginning handplane users to get a clean surface at the start of the cut, particularly with a smoothing plane. They push the tool forward and it leaves little bumpy chatter marks for about 3/8” of an inch until the plane starts to settle down and cut cleanly. The...

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Revising ‘Handplane Essentials’

During the last few months I’ve been revising “Handplane Essentials,” an out-of print book that we published while I was the editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine. The revisions, additions and subtractions will be significant. We’re removing a lot of the reviews and features on planemakers who are no longer in business. And I hope...

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Apologia for the Custom Handplane

The best rationale for these ultra high-end tools might not be what you think. by Raney Nelson p. 32 Over the past decade, I’ve made somewhere approaching a couple hundred custom handplanes, both for my own enjoyment and (since 2010) as my full-time occupation. I’d like to take some time here to tell you...

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2 x 4 Handplane

The concept of the “transitional plane” has piqued my interest for a while. Both off-the-shelf and user-made versions by their relative scarcity in my neck of the woods create intrigue. I decided to make a rough version using a 2 x 4, a donor No. 4-1/2 plane frog, a kitchen unit leg tote, and...

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Another Great Maker of Wooden Handplanes

When I first started using and writing about wooden moulding planes, there was only one modern maker with a full line of planes: the pioneers Clark & Williams (now Old Street Tool). If you ordered from them, it could take two years to receive your tools. The two-person operation got so backed up that...

Skewing at the beginning of the cut can eliminate skittering.

Skew the Handplane – Sometimes

Skewing the body of the plane lowers its effective cutting angle, which can work in your favor or against you. Skewing also changes the relationship of the cutting edge to the wood fibers, which can change the surface finish of the wood. While the above two statements might seem obvious, I’ve watched a lot...

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Handplanes, Handplanes, Handplanes

“Handplanes” is the third-most common topic of question we get at the magazine. (First is “workbenches”…specifically, “What wood should I use to build one?”* Second is “finishing.”) For those just getting into to handplanes, I usually recommend Christopher Schwarz’s article, “Coarse, Medium & Fine” (which first appeared in Woodworking Magazine, and is included in...

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Fine -tune a Handplane’s Back Iron

For me, the goal with my smoothing plane is to set it up so I can ignore the grain direction of a board or a glued-up panel. There are many valid ways to do this. For most woodworkers I know, there are two ways to accomplish this goal that we all agree upon: Sharpen...