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prep rough stock by hand Stock prep by hand might sound like a great workout (and it can be if there’s a lot of it), but it isn’t as hard as you might think – particularly if you have only a couple of boards to take from rough to ready. In this longish video excerpt from “Build a Hand-crafted Bookcase,” Christopher Schwarz shows you how he uses winding sticks and handplanes (hint: a jack does most of the heavy work) to flatten a plank of wood to create a “true face” then a “true edge” – and a few planing tricks to help you get there quickly.

After establishing those, he talks about different ways to mark the final width, then shows you how he rips a board overhand with a panel saw (along with a trick for keeping your cuts straight) before marking out and planing the board to the final desired thickness.

And all pretty quickly. (Yeah, I know this video is 20 minutes long…but he had to stop and talk a lot. Typically, the work shown would take maybe 5-7 minutes.)

Oh…and Chris does own more than one shirt – but you might not know that from watching our videos (we always ask him to wear his cheerful red one).

— Megan Fitzpatrick

“Build a Hand-Crafted Bookcase” with Christopher Schwarz is available on DVD or as a video download at

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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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handplane essentials