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.


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 14I’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 –...


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...


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...


Veritas’s New PM-V11 Steel Coming Soon

Unlike many hand-tool woodworkers (and turners), I’m not much of a steel nerd. I’m not on a quest for the steel that promises the ultimate in edge life. The reason I’ve not experimented with lots of exotic steels is that every time I used CMP-10V, CMP-3V, D2 or whatever I found that these steels...


Old Street Tool (a.k.a. Wooden Handplane Porn)

Last Friday, I skipped out of the office for a trip down to Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking in Berea, Ky., (the most bucolic woodworking school I’ve had the pleasure of attending) to visit with Kelly and Larry Williams and Don McConnell of Old Street Tool. I arrived just in time to cadge a...

Here is a breaker installes less than half a millimeter from the cutting edge. Look closely. The line under the cutting edge is  secondary bevel on the chipbreaker.

Reconsidering Chipbreakers as Not Totally Evil

I have always disliked chipbreakers, which clog a handplane all too easily. But tonight I dislike them a little less. After the recent spate of discussions about a series of Japanese films on chipbreakers (here is the complete and translated film) and some encouragement from woodworker David Charlesworth, I decided to experiment with the...