In Letters, Shop Blog

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Editor’s note: Normally we don’t bombard you with commercials here on the blog, so please forgive us this brief message. We’re quite proud of our “Handplane Essentials” book that came out this summer. The whole staff pulled together to put together this volume, which is a compilation of most of the stuff I’ve written about planes during the last 10 years. We worked nights and weekends editing and designing it. We sweet-talked our bosses into letting us use nice paper, a hardback binding and a dust jacket. We got it printed here in Ohio.

But is the content any good? We think so. We’ve heard from lots of readers who have been thrilled with the book. And today a reader tried to post the following review on our store’s web site. Unfortunately, his review is too long to fit in our store, so I promised I’d post it here.

If you are interested in reading more about “Handplane Essentials” or ordering a copy, click here.

– Christopher Schwarz

“I am a woodworking newbie. As I started to set up my shop I found that there are quite a few critical decisions that I had to make regarding space, quality, and cost. In my case space is fixed and very limited, quality is non-negotiable. And cost, well cost is an important factor , I can’t afford to make mistakes; when I buy something it has to do the job and do it well. So I started to read and talk to people who have the wisdom of their years in the trade or hobby. I got so many contradicting opinions that the more I listened and read the more confused I got. That is when Chris Schwarz and ‘Handplane Essentials’ came into the picture.

“In the book, Chris helped me understand that I don’t have to be a hand tool purist, I can mix and match power tools with hand tools AND he told me how to do this. The first lessons of the book taught me what handplanes are, what they can do, what the advantages and disadvantages are over other wood smoothing techniques and power tools, what the different types of planes are, when you should use one, and finally, guidance as to which ones I should buy. I found the book to be a tutorial, a reference, and interesting reading. The book contains an unbelievable amount of knowledge written in a format that is easy to read and understand, entertaining and thorough. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn not only hand plane essentials but also wants to learn about the techniques to use to get the highest quality of your woodworking efforts.

“There is one negative. The book does not contain an index. Two months after reading the book, when I am ready to use one of the tips or other knowledge presented in the book I will have to spend hours finding the right page. To solve this problem I created a spreadsheet for those items I thought would be helpful to me. I gave a copy of the spreadsheet to the author. Perhaps he will post it on a website for you.”

Larry Ercolino
Phoenixville, Penn.


Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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  • mdhills

    I’m a big fan of indices, as well. The chapters are small enough that the table of contents picks up a good chunk of this mission.

    I’m curious how Larry ended up outfitting his arsenal.


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