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There is no single best way to set a bench plane to take a proper shaving. I’ve seen people do it by eye, with their fingertips, using scraps of wood and even working on live stock and making adjustments on the fly. This last technique takes guts. It’s like working on a car while the engine’s running.

I’ve tried every single method above and can do them all with great ease. There is no secret to unlock any particular method. Only practice.

The following is how I prefer to set a bench plane to take a shaving. It’s in more detail than I usually go into on the blog, but here’s the dirty little secret about that: The reason I started writing this blog in 2005 was to create a way for me to answer common e-mail questions. Want to know the difference between bevel-up and bevel-down planes? Instead of answering that question six times a week, I could paste this


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