In Shop Blog

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.

Anyone who knows me personally has probably noticed that the last 12 months have been a struggle. I have been months behind on everything: delivering furniture commissions, restoring my workshop, writing magazine articles and even posting to this blog.

The reason: the revised and expanded edition of “Handplane Essentials.”

When I agreed to revise the 2009 book I expected it would take a couple weeks of intense work. I was horribly wrong. Once I dove into the project I decided to rework the entire book, line by line. I added more than a dozen chapters. I removed obsolete material about manufacturers who are no longer manufacturing. And I added new photos throughout.

The original book was good. Really good. But this one is even better.

Like the first edition, this book is printed on premium coated paper, hardbound and with a dust jacket. It will arrive soon in the F+W warehouse, but you can order your copy now via this link to

Here’s a list of the new chapters I added to the volume:

      • Adjusting Wooden Bodied Planes: How to deal with bench and moulding planes.
      • An Imperfect Surface: What handplaned surfaces should really look like and how to judge your progress.
      • Basics of Hollows and Rounds
      • Beading Planes and Complex Moulders
      • Charlesworth’s Ruler Trick: I make the case that this is one of the most important new techniques I’ve learned.
      • Daed Toolworks: A profile of a maker who wasn’t around in 2009.
      • Konrad Sauer: I expanded my profile of this toolmaker as his work has expanded.
      • My Love of 32.85 degrees: A case for simpler sharpening.
      • No. 51 Chute Board Plane: A review of a tool I once dismissed.
      • Planing Basics: A large pictorial chapter on preparing stock by hand
      • Return of the Loopy Infill: A profile of an early and legendary modern toolmaker.
      • Sharpen Router Plane Blades: Tricks I’ve developed to make it easy to sharpen this L-shaped blade.
      • Spring joints: Why and how.
      • Stanley Premium Planes: A review of the new Sweetheart line.
      • Start on the Skew: A quick tip to stop chattering.
      • The Essential Kit of Handplanes
      • Using Cap Irons: I’ve reconsidered my ambivalence to the cap iron.
      • Veritas Skew Rabbet Plane
      • Working Without a Cambered Iron: Can you? Should you?

So if you have the previous version, I think you’ll find a lot of valuable new material inside (I’d honestly tell you if that weren’t the case). If you’ve haven’t picked up this book, I think you’ll find this revised edition to be well worth your money and time.

And now back to playing catch-up on everything I got behind on in 2016. My fingers are crossed that it was worth the effort.

— Christopher Schwarz

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.

Recent Posts
Showing 5 comments
  • JasonS

    I received my copy yesterday. What an awesome collection of information. Some of it I had read before on this awesome blog, and some I hadn’t. If anyone is on the fence about it, this really is a must have reference book.

  • john2t

    I read everthing I can on planes etc. and sharpening. I recently read the latest from Richard Maguire, The English Woodworker.
    He posed some interesting comments about sharpening the different tool steels available to hand tool users today. You might want to review it and comment on it the next time you update sharpening techniques.

  • Andrey Kharitonkin

    Recently I came across old Russian books on hand planes by M. A. Netyksa dated back to 1890 – 1910 (recent reprint: Острожка и резка дерева. Нетыкса М.А. 1994 and another one: М. Нетыкса – Практический курс столярного искусства, 2016) where I found the rule on how to set chipbreaker to reduce tear-out. Basically it says: if chipbreaker is too far away from the cutting edge then it will not speed up breaking of shaving and will be useless; if it will be too close to the edge then it will cause shavings to collapse and pack right at the edge and will jam the plane mouth (bacon shavings?). As we can see, they also knew about jamming!

    Good luck with the new edition and hope it will stand the test of time! Besides, it has pictures in color and good portion of humor. (Let’s discuss it in 100 years).

  • rjhanby

    Ordered mine yesterday. I read a borrowed copy quite a while back, looking forward to having my own and seeing the new content.

  • mbknox

    I have read, reread,found things I missed on earlier reads. It is one of my go to books in the shop. Can hardly wait for an updated version, but what will i do with my first copy? Itas an old friend now!

Start typing and press Enter to search