Handplanes

Handplanes are the mascot of hand tool woodworking – its profile is instantly recognizable, harkening back to a day when the loudest noise in the woodshop was a hand-wielded hammer. But don’t let that image fool you. Every shop needs at least one handplane. We cover the gamut – from the simple block plane to the more complex joinery planes and moulding planes. Here you’ll find the resources to learn how to use the many species of handplane as well as the handplane essentials you need to know. Master handplane techniques and you will be well on your way to mastering woodworking.

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How to Stop Your Rabbets from Sloping

Cutting a square rabbet with a rabbeting plane is a challenge for beginners; usually they cut a rabbet that slopes in toward the shoulder or away from the shoulder. When I teach people how to use a moving fillister plane, here are some tips I offer them to assist their efforts. 1. Don’t hold...

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Settling Debts: An Update on Clifton Handplanes

Though I’ve been a non-editor at both Popular Woodworking and The Fine Tool Journal for almost three years now, I still have debts to pay. And I take those debts seriously. One of my first reviews for The Fine Tool Journal, which was reprinted in the book “Handplane Essentials,” is a review of Clifton...

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What Hand Planes are Good For

The difference between school and real life is that in real life the tests come first and then the lessons. This is especially true of woodworking; you never know how far you should take one step of a project until you are knee-deep in the next step. That’s when you realize you didn’t fuss...

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An Observation on Vintage Handplanes

Note: I started writing this blog entry more than a year ago. I shelved it and have revisited it several times since. Each time, I thought: I don’t need this kind of grief. For whatever reason (four beers, perhaps?), I offer this as an observation based on teaching students, both amateur and professional. For...

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Improve Hand Plane Performance

There was a time when nearly even adult male in the United States owned a Stanley #4 smooth plane. The one I have was passed down to me by my dad (a chemical engineer) who got it from his dad (a tool and die maker). When I was a kid, dad dragged the thing...

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Get a Groat in Your Throat

When it comes to pushing our handplanes, I think we are candy-bottomed wussies compared to the joiners of the 17th century. We are obsessed with how thin a shaving we can make. Early joiners, however, wanted to take the thickest, gnarliest shaving possible for the tool, the bench and his or her arms. For...

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A Jack Plane with a Rounded Sole

When preparing stock by hand, the most useful plane is probably the jack plane (sometimes called the fore plane among joiners). Its curved iron allows you to remove a remarkable amount of material with every stroke. I usually travel with a metal jack (an old Stanley No. 5) because it’s less intimidating in a...

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Veritas Shooting Plane

By Charles Bender page 16 Just as with all the planes Veritas produces, its shooting plane is sleek, well thought-out and ready to tackle the toughest jobs. With a weight of 7.7 pounds, the Veritas shooting plane gathers momentum quickly and slices through the end grain of even the most rock-hard exotics. But despite...

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A Router Accessory you Can’t Have – Yet

Last month, I spent a few days inlaying about 40 pieces of brass hardware that all required recesses of different depths. My small Lie-Nielsen router plane did most of the work, but by the end of the job I was a bit frustrated. Unlike its bigger brother, the small router plane doesn’t have a...