Legendary English craftsman Alan Peters used a Stanley No. 7 for every bench plane operation.
David Charlesworth uses a No. 5-1/2.
Joseph Moxon says you need a fore, jointer and smoothing planes.
And many woodworkers use just a bevel-up jack plane.
After years of teaching hundreds of people to use bench planes and answering thousands (yes thousands) of e-mails, phone calls and questions from woodworkers, I became convinced that the more you read about bench planes, the more confused you’ll get.
So a few years ago I began to rethink the Western bench plane system. Not to develop some idiosyncratic new way of using them , that wouldn’t be helpful. Instead I set out to explain the bench plane system in a way that embraces historical approaches, explains all the modern ones and gives you the power to adapt your existing set of planes to your work.
The key to all this was to stop focusing so much on the size of the plane and to focus far more attention to how it is sharpened and set up.
This DVD “Handplane Basics – A Better Way to Use Bench Planes” is the result of all that work. Over the course of a month, Drew DePenning, Megan Fitzpatrick and I boiled down this approach in a 70-minute DVD that:
1. Explains the bench plane system so you can immediately understand the proper use of everything from a “scrub plane” to a “panel plane” to a “fore plane.”
2. Shows you how to sharpen, set up and use the three planes you need to process rough lumber into gleaming boards.
3. Explains and demonstrates how to four-square your lumber. I take a rough board and show exactly how to deal with its faces edges and ends so you get a project part that is flat, square and good-looking.
I’m quite proud of this DVD, from the content itself, to Megan’s direction to Drew’s filming and editing. The DVD is being pressed as we speak and should be shipping withing four weeks. If you pre-order the DVD, you will get it for $19.95 , that’s 20-percent off the $24.95 retail price. This sale ends on Dec. 31, 2009.
You can read more about the DVD or order a copy from our store.
– Christopher Schwarz