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Every so often, we publish a newsstand-only special issuethat digs deep into a specific topic or process. I  like to think of each of these issues as a miniature book that features the best collective knowledge from all of our editors and contributing authors.As a beginner to woodworking, I find these special issues to be a treasure trove of information. Recently, I was gifted a Stanley block plane (thanks Chris and Steve) and instead of sifting through all of our back issues to find articles about plane use, I picked up a copy of Hand Tools in the Modern Shop.

This special issue not only taught me the background of my new tool, but also how to assemble the parts and sharpen the iron, as well as the variety of uses for this versatile plane.

Whether you’re a beginning woodworker like me, or an expert craftsman, these special issues will provide you a one-stop place to learn about your favorite woodworking topic.

Now you can download this issue, and five others, at our Popular Woodworking Shop. For a taste of what you’ll find inside Hand Tools in the Modern Shop, I’ve listed the table of contents below. And as a bonus, here’s a link to download the featured article “Sharpen Plane Irons & Chisels.”

, Drew DePenning


Why Use Hand Tools
You don’t have to be highly dextrous or specially trained to use hand tools. Find out the simple steps anyone can take to quickly become an accomplished hand-tool user.

Sharpen Plane Irons & Chisels
Sharpening is the most essential skill needed to begin hand work. It’s not complex or mysterious. Here’s a simple and tested way to start , no matter what sharpening system you use: waterstones, oilstones, or ceramics.

Cabinet Scrapers
Scrapers are a secret weapon. They remove tear-out that other tools can’t tame. Here’s how to sharpen and use a cabinet scraper.  by Don McConnell

Side-clamp Honing Guide
This common and inexpensive sharpening jig allows beginners to achieve truly sharp edges.

Use a Smoothing Plane
Smoothing planes quickly transform rough wood into a ready-to-finish shimmering state. Learn to choose, set up, and use this astonishingly precise hand plane.

Traditional Wooden Planes
Wooden-bodied planes seem simple , almost crude , but they are actually highly refined instruments capable of great finesse.  by Don McConnell

Metal-bodied Jack Planes
If you own only one bench plane, it probably should be a jack plane. It can be set up to do a wide variety of workshop tasks.

The Versatile Block Plane
The block plane is a pint-sized problem-solver in any shop. Here are tips for setting up a vintage plane and putting it to use.  by Lonnie Bird

The Essential Shoulder Plane
Tweaking almost any joint to have an airtight fit is easy with a well-tuned shoulder plane.  by Lonnie Bird

Precision Edge Jointing
Jointer planes and try planes can produce edge joints superior to those from a powered jointer. The trick is in how the iron is sharpened and the way the plane is wielded.  by Don McConnell

The Case for Handsaws
Handsaws are neither obsolete nor difficult to use. Learn how, when and why you should use these venerable and useful tools.  by Graham Blackburn

Handsaws: East vs. West
Japanese-style pullsaws outsell western saws in North America. Find out the true and important differences between them so you can choose the right tool for your work.

Miter Shooting Boards
This simple workshop accessory is the real secret to sawing perfect miters , whether you do it by hand or with a power miter saw.  by Don McConnell

The Basic Bench Hook
The first backsaw accessory you should make is a bench hook. Three pieces of scrap make an accurate and indispensable jig.  by Don McConnell

Bench Gouges
Bench gouges are not for ornamental carving. Find out how to use this oft-misunderstood and useful tool for rough stock removal.  by Don McConnell


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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