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.


Exploit the Weakness of the Tree

In hand-tool woodworking, brains almost always trump brawn. For example, when I need to remove a lot of material from a localized area, I need to think like a tree assassin and exploit its weaknesses. Think about it for a minute: Trees are much stronger in the vertical axis than they are in the...

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Cut Rabbets by Hand

Even if I have an entire shop filled with power equipment, I like to cut my rabbets by hand. Why? It’s fast and fun. Once you master a rabbet plane or a moving fillister plane, your router table and table saw will get a lot less use. To push you along this path, I...


Correct the Skew on a Plane Blade or Chisel

Some woodworkers would rather stick their hand into a running disposal while naked than turn on a dry grinder. So when they need to correct the skew angle on a skewed plane iron or skewed chisel they are at a loss. I even met a guy who would just buy a new blade rather...


Get Lubed Up in 19th-century Style

Ever since Roy Underhill wrote about the joys of mutton tallow as a tool lubricant in Popular Woodworking Magazine in the August 2010 issue, readers have been asking where to purchase the stuff. Or, even more alarming, how to render it themselves. The good news is that Lee Valley Tools has started to carry...


Confession & Redemption

I have a palm-grip random-orbit sander that I’ve used for many years on household projects that could not be planed because they were too big, such as 16’-long runs of base moulding nailed to a wall,  or weren’t designed for handplaning, such as plywood that is covered in paper-thin veneer. A couple years ago,...


A New Bookmark: Hardware City Tools for Totes

When you buy vintage Stanley planes in the wild, one of the most common problems is the tote – and sometimes the knob – are trashed. My first No. 5 had a crude replacement tote that was so poorly rasped that it looked like it was furry. I’d always intended to make a replacement...