Chris Schwarz's Blog

New: ‘Mastering Hand Tools: Basic Skills for Balanced Woodworking’

6. Card Scrapers & Scraper Planes: No matter how awesome your planer and jointer are, there are going to be small areas of torn grain that will resist your every effort to remove them. Card scrapers are the secret weapon in the war against tear-out. The problem is that sharpening them seems to require a lifetime of experience or some crazy jig.

We show you how to sharpen this essential tool with a file, a block of wood, some sandpaper and a burnisher. You’ll be making wispy shavings and tear-out-free surfaces in one afternoon. Plus you will learn how to prevent your thumbs from burning using a trick from your refrigerator (seriously).

Once you can sharpen a card scraper, you also can apply that knowledge to a cabinet scraper, which is an inexpensive and highly effective scraper plane. We’ll show the basics of using this tool, which can save your thumbs if you have a lot of scraping to do.


7. Braces and Hand Drills: The Ultimate Cordless Drills: No matter how big your cordless drill is, there are some wide or deep holes that will cook your drill. That’s why we think every woodworker should own an inexpensive brace, which allows you to make huge and deep holes with little effort – once you understand how to sharpen the bits with a common file.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, either. We show you how to pick a garage sale special for $5 and pick bits from the 25-cent bin. You will be amazed at what a brace can do once you have a sharp bit.

Once you have a brace, which powers bits from 1/4” and up, you’ll want to learn to use a hand drill, which drives the smaller bits. Used hand drills, which are sometimes called “eggbeater” drills, are available almost everywhere and are safe and fun to use.

8. Jack Planes: The Widest Jointer Ever: If you have a 6” or 8” jointer you know the heartbreak of buying 14”-wide rough boards. What do you do to get the boards flat? Ripping the lumber into narrow widths is almost a crime.

You need to learn how to set up and use a jack plane. With a properly set up jack you can surface the face of almost any rough board in 15 minutes (and not be out of breath!) so it can go through your powered planer. The trick is learning how to shape the plane’s cutter and how to use the tool in a way that exploits the weakness of the tree.

We’ll cover grinding the iron, honing the iron and using the jack plane in ways you probably never imagined. It can reduce boards in width with shocking speed. It can also add texture to your projects, which is a nice detail if you build reproductions.


9. Router Planes: The Power-tool Woodworker’s Friend: Router planes are excellent at cleaning up machine-made joinery. They flatten the bottoms of dados, adjust rabbets and can even cut hinge mortises so you don’t have to balance a huge router on the edge of cabinet.

Router planes are easy to set up, sharpen and use – even if you’ve never used one before. We show you the trick to sharpening the L-shaped cutter – it’s easier than you think. We then show you how to make the tool do things that most machines cannot, such as getting a perfectly sized tenon on a rail that is in the absolute center of the work.


10. Smoothing Planes: Stop Sanding! Few woodworkers like power sanding. You can reduce (or almost eliminate) your sanding chores by learning to sharpen and set a handplane. This will turn one of the dreariest parts of a project – sanding – into one of the most enjoyable – planing.

We’ll start with a block plane. One of its most amazing feats is that it can save you from sanding the narrow edges of your projects forever. With one or two swipes, you can produce a perfect, ready-to finish surface.

We show you how to set up a block plane using sharpening materials you probably already have on hand. And we show you a trick to setting them up that hand-tool aficionados have been guarding for centuries.

Again, the DVD is on sale now until the release date. Click here for information or to order it from ShopWoodworking. Or if you want to start right now, go to ShopClass on Demand.

— Christopher Schwarz

8 thoughts on “New: ‘Mastering Hand Tools: Basic Skills for Balanced Woodworking’

  1. guykk

    Does the DVD have everything from the indvidual ShopClass downloads? If so i guess it’s pretty long as the first 3 parts are nearly 1.5hrs long. I don’t want to order the DVD if the downloads give me more content.

      1. guykk

        Megan,
        thanks for confirming, 2 DVDs is an excellent bargain at that price – togther with the 50% sale I think I’ve now got quiet a few things to order!
        cheers

  2. Bill Lattanzio

    I will have to give the video a try. I agree with you on all points, especially with the sanding. One minor disagreement with the rip saw. I’m hardly a great sawyer but I found that even I can rip a board with a repectable amount of accuracy. I just don’t like the amount of time involved. Prefer the table saw and a jack plane to clean up the edge. Other than that good post.

  3. Galoot

    Twenty bucks? I’ll buy two, one for myself and one for my shop teacher! He needs to learn how to think like a saw.

    Screw it. I’ll buy four. You never know who I’ll meet.

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