Coming Soon: Revised & Expanded ‘Handplane Essentials’

Anyone who knows me personally has probably noticed that the last 12 months have been a struggle. I have been months behind on everything: delivering furniture commissions, restoring my workshop, writing magazine articles and even posting to this blog. The reason: the revised and expanded edition of “Handplane Essentials.” When I agreed to revise...

handplane essentials

The Making of ‘Handplane Essentials, Revised Edition’

When Scott Francis at Popular Woodworking Books asked me to revise my 2009 book “Handplane Essentials,” I thought it would be a short job. The plan was to add a handful of articles I’d written on specialty planes and update the text to accurately reflect toolmakers who had entered or left the market since...

Workshop Setup & Handplanes: Two Books on the Horizon

One of my resolutions for the new year is to post more updates about our progress with book projects and share tips or ideas I learn from them … and so, a quick update from your friendly neighborhood book editor: We have a couple of great titles coming down the pike. I’m currently editing “The Practical Workshop” which...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...