In Chris Schwarz Blog, Handplane Techniques, Handplanes

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We’ve just received our shipment of our newest DVD: “Handplane Basics: A Better Way to Use Bench Planes.” And despite my needing a haircut when we filmed it, I’m pleased with the result.

Check out the trailer above for a quick preview. (Yes, there is banjo music.)

Thanks to Megan Fitzpatrick’s, ahem, firm direction and Drew DePenning’s skilled filming and editing, we crammed a ton of information about bench planes into 71 minutes of video. This DVD decodes the bench plane system in a way I think is helpful. Instead of focusing on conflicting historical instructions, one craftsman’s personal preference or numbers from a Stanley catalog, we explain the characteristics of all bench planes.

What does this really mean? Well once you see how the length, mouth, cutting angle and shape of the iron of the plane all interact, you can think for yourself. We boil it down so:

1. You can pick up any plane and know what job it is supposed to do.
2. You can set up any plane to do a wide variety of jobs.
3. You’ll understand the conflicting historical instructions for handplanes.
4. You’ll pick tools that suit your work and avoid buying tools you don’t need.

I think this DVD is best suited for handplane beginners or intermediates (someday we’ll do a DVD on advance planing , promise). In “Handplane Basics: A Better Way to Use Bench Planes” we cover (in a way that I’ve never seen before) choosing the right tools, sharpening the iron to the right shape and pushing the tool.

This DVD is available in our store now for $24.95.

– Christopher Schwarz


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Showing 20 comments
  • Richard Dawson


    And what kind of banjo music is on the DVD? A special kind of six string banjo, perhaps?

    Other than the misleading musical cue, a very informative program. Very worth while.



  • Bill Rusnak

    "Cue the banjo music." Love the trailer. Had to laugh when I saw the shot of the #1 riding the waves. It reminded me of the Schwarz dance.

    I still haven’t bought one because I suspect my wife will be "surprising" me with a copy for my birthday next month (fingers crossed).

  • Gordon Conrad

    Bravo Zulu (Navy talk for well done) for this effort. Trailer looks like you have taken the best of Handtool Essentials, Handplane Essentials and your seminars at WWIA to produce this video. For those who have little to none of the above, this video will be valuable in ensuring that they are successful in their use of the three basic handplanes. I know your books and sessions at WWIA have been invaluable for improving my use of handplanes. Loved the banjo music.

    R/ Gordon

  • Steve Branam

    I hear banjo music, I’m paddling faster!

    For Mitchell: you need the Lie Nielsen DVD "Traditional Molding Techniques: The Basics", by Don McConnell (of Clark & Williams). I have this one and highly recommend it. It’s $25 on the LN website. There are also additional DVDs on cornice moldings, making the planes (LN sells blade blanks), and sharpening them. I also have the latter two, again highly recommended.

  • Mitchell

    I just ordered this DVD and can’t wait to watch it.

    While ordering it I went through the other DVD and book offerings looking for one that focuses on wooden molding planes. Nothing there. Damn!

    Would you by chance, Chris, be considering doing your magic on this one topic?



  • John Gray

    Had pre-ordered mine and it came in the mail last week.
    It holds a ton of well presented information about planes, how to sharpen and use them. BUY ONE.

  • I would really really like if you started offering the dvd’s as downloads as well:

    – I would start buying without the hassle and additional expenses of importing items bought outside EU,
    – I would save the postage,
    – I would receive the item in half an hour instead of half a month
    – you would save a lot of trouble


    Bjørn the dane

  • Lyle


    I have this book and "Coarse, Medium and Fine" DVD that is produced by Lie Nielsen. Does this DVD add any insights materially different and additional to the content in the publications mentioned above?



  • Dave Beauchesne


    I want to order three of them, and due to the fact I am in Canada, I have to pitch in another 20 bucks for postage – – – – – so, 35 bucks less in my jeans to spend on woodworking tools – Also, the reply I got confirmed the 19.95 price point.


    Dave Beauchesne

  • ChrisF

    Has anyone else had problems with irons dulling quickly when used on a shooting board? I tried with both O1 and A2 blades at 25-26 degrees with my LV bevel up jack and after shooting one small cherry board the blades were dull where they hit the wood.

    I’m wondering if maybe it’s the fault of the shooting board fence, which is old red oak. I didn’t have this problem when planing my maple/cherry end-grain cutting board.

  • Just out of curiosity, how long is the DVD?

  • Matt


    It seems the $19.95 pricing ended on 1/3/10.
    But really, what’s another 5 bucks?


  • Greg Humphrey.

    I received my DVD Dec 31, and watched it New Years Day.

    Nice job, Chris.

    You never cease to teach us new ways to use our planes.

  • Dave Beauchesne


    I went through the process to order three of the DVDs, and still the 24.95 price – please advise –

    Dave Beauchesne

  • Jon Spelbring

    Excellent DVD. I got mine last weekend and sat myself down with it and a glass of 1554 Enlightened Black Ale. By the end of the glass and DVD, I was indeed enlightened. Good job Chris and crew!

  • frankomanini

    I ordered mine on the weekend and just got the shipping confirmation now. The trailer is great. Looking forward to the real thing!

    Just a note for Dave, you can go to the site and order the DVD, no code required for the 19.95 price point.

  • Dave Beauchesne


    What is the code so I can get the 19.95 price?

    Dave Beauchesne

  • Jeff Moore

    Just ordered my copy, you know, for the banjo music.

  • Gregg Counts

    I got mine last week and watched it tonight. I highly recommend it for beginners and folks like me who know a little and want to improve their skills or just as a review of things I learned in the handplane class with you and Tom Lie Nielsen at the Marc Adams School last year. Great job! Looking forward to the advanced dvd.

  • John Cashman

    I just got mine in the mail today. I look forward to watching it.


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