Chris Schwarz's Blog

A Few Spots left in the ‘Handplane Weekend’ Class

Handplane irons should be sharpened completely straight across. No curve. Ever.

No, scratch that. All bench plane irons should be sharpened with some sort of curve. Always.

Ah yes, this is one of the many debates that twist the knickers of modern woodworkers. The truth is that you can work with your tools set up either way. You just have to decide which method you prefer. To help you unravel the mysteries of handplanes, Deneb Puchalski and I are teaching a class this weekend  – May 14-15 – at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.

This class is usually sold out, but Marc just told me there are still a few spots open. So if you would like to be the recipient of two massive brain dumps on handplane use and can skip your child’s soccer game, kindergarten graduation or wedding, sign up here for the class.

Usually I teach this class with Thomas Lie-Nielsen (which is how it is listed on the site), but Deneb is stepping in this year to help, and it should make for an interesting class because we approach the work in very different ways.

So by the end of the weekend, you will have seen – and tried – both of our perspectives.

1. Grinding. Should you do it on sandpaper? On an electric grinder? A hand-cranked one? Try all three methods during the weekend and find out for yourself.

2. Should you sharpen freehand or with a honing guide?

3. Should your handplane irons be sharpened straight across or with a slight curve?

4. Should you use a toothed iron or a scrub plane to flatten boards?

The two-day class is always fast-paced and a good combination of instruction and hands-on work at the benches. Here’s a rundown of the broad points we plan to cover during the two days:

Saturday
1. Sharpening planes and understanding cutting geometry
2. Handplane anatomy of the different species of planes
3. Plane setup – preparing for the cut
4. Body ergonomics when planing
5. Planing a board’s face flat
6. Planing a board’s edge true
7. Shooting ends

Sunday
1. A video tour of the Lie-Nielsen factory – plus Q&A
2. Joinery planes
3. Scrapers and scraping planes
4. Two breakout sessions

  • A. Saw-filing basics
  • B. Moulding plane basics

If you have this weekend free, I hope you can join us.
— Christopher Schwarz

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