Almost every day I get an e-mail or a phone call that goes something like this: “I’m a beginner. I want to buy some handplanes. But I have no idea where to start or what to buy. Help.”
I’m happy to answer these questions (it’s my job), but I noticed after 12 years of answering these pleas that I was saying many of the same things over and over again. So last night I did a mid-sized brain dump on the bench planes , both bevel-up and bevel-down.
It explains my rationale (and the historical rationales) for each plane size, from the No. 1 up to the No. 8. I fully admit that this article has a lot of opinions in it, but they are opinions based on a lot of work and experimenting with many different methods of work (there’s a good reason I grew a beard like David Charlesworth’s….)
In any case, you might find this article useful, infuriating or amusing. It might also help you if are ever asked: “Hey, I’m a beginner….”