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.

Is Your Handplane Tuned? Acacia melanoxylon Knows

One of the best things about getting older has been the fact that I can now do more woodworking tasks “by feel” than “by eye.” As my already-crappy eyesight has become dulled by middle age, I’ve found that my other senses – particularly my sense of touch – have become heightened. I cannot always...

lifting_0001

What the Deceased Say About Dragging Your Planes

Though dragging your plane backward on the return stroke can make your iron dull faster, not all the old books agree that you should avoid the practice. In fact, many of my books are silent on the issue. “Spons’ Mechanics’ Own Book,” a massive tome on woodworking and other trades, has nothing (at least...

Here I am, dragging back my jointer plane on the return stroke.

When Planing, I Can Be a Real Drag

I’m the first to admit that I have some bad habits. I drink beer. I occasionally curse. And I sometimes drag my planes back across my work on the return stroke. When you receive traditional training, dragging a plane back across your work will get your knuckles rapped by the shop nun. That’s because...

angle_block2_IMG_4583

Sharpening Angles for Dullards

The most embarrassing jig I’ve ever owned has been photographed, measured and pondered more than any single piece of fine furniture I’ve built. It’s a stupid little block of wood with stops on it for many common sharpening angles I use with my side-clamp honing guide – sometimes called the “Eclipse” guide because that...

Siegele_84

Back Bevels on Block Planes

When I was taught to sharpen in 1992, the flat back of the iron was holy ground. We were taught to flatten it completely and polish it like a mirror. Never mind that none of the old tools we were buying at flea markets looked like that. With the old tools, there was rarely...

veritassteel

Tool Test: Veritas’s New Top-secret Steel

Canadian company creates a steel combining the best of the old and new. By Christoper Schwarz Page 14 I’ve long been suspicious of the so-called “super steels” that promise long edge life between sharpenings. That has always meant that you have to spend a long time sharpening the tool on your stones or – even worse –...

purple_IMG_2700

More Experiments with Chipbreakers

This week I’ve been surfacing a lot of wood by hand, from pedestrian sugar pine to funky metals that have wood-like properties (e.g. purpleheart). And all the while I have been testing, testing, testing things with my chipbreakers and the cutting angle of the iron of my handplane. Huh? You might say. Yes, there...

sixboard_onbench_IMG_2634

The Joy of Chests

I can build a six-board chest entirely by hand in about 10 hours of shop time. That time starts with one 8’-long and one 12’-long board and ends with a paint job. In fact, I just did. The above statement is not a boast. Instead, it is a way to encourage you to build...