Perhaps you are considering taking the class on Bench Plane Basics that is coming up on May 6th. If so, consider this post your pre-work. I’ve assembled a few of my favorite references on planes. I will bring a handout of these references to the class, but if you do some reading in advance I think you will get more from the class.
And If you are not attending the class, I hope you find something new and helpful in these materials. There are many, many more excellent sources than what I have listed here, but I think this is a good starting point.
Sharpening the blade
There is more to say about sharpening the blade of a plane than any other single point. To get started I think it is really helpful to understand what is really meant by “sharp”. Brent Beach has documented more theory and how-to on sharpening than you can read in a day. Here he describes power grinding with a belt sander
Brent also grinds using a really coarse bench stone. In my experience this works well with VINTAGE iron, but not as well on modern (A2, O1) steels
Here is how Brent hones the blade with “sandpaper”. It is the cheapest option to get started honing. His theory is great and his methods work, but I don’t use his jigs anymore. I also don’t use a back bevel. http://www3.telus.net/BrentBeach/Sharpen/
Joel Moskowitz (owner of TFWW) wrote the definitive article on powered grinding for FWW. I use this method now. You can view the article here (need a membership).
The last word on sharpening, an excellent dvd by Christopher Schwarz (CS) that teaches honing with a simple (cheap) guide
Plane Tuning (minimal work to make it useful) – https://thechristiantoolcabinet.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/minimal-bench-plane-tuning/
Plane Restoration (when full reconditioning is needed or wanted) – https://thechristiantoolcabinet.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/i-can-do-that-bench-plane-restoration-tuning/
Using the plane (this is where the fun starts)
- “A system of three” article in long-gone Woodworking magazine by CS – explains how to use a Jack, Jointer, and Smoother to prep boards by hand. Buy it at Popular Woodworking for $6
- Rough to ready – dvd by Rob Cosman – excellent source
Here are a few of my favorite references for hand tool woodworking in general. If you are working with hand tools (or you want to be) you really should check these sources out.
- The Essential Woodworker – Robert Wearing – Lost Art Press – Excellent Book
- Logan Cabinet Shoppe Podcast (free videos) – excellent productions covering all major topics in hand tool woodworking
- Anything by Rob Cosman (DVD’s)– I have viewed many of his DVD’s and all are excellent. His video is what got me started cutting my first dovetails.
- Anything Christopher Schwarz (books or DVD’s) – His workbench book is unmatched. His recent tool chest book gives a great explanation of what hand tools are required to build furniture. His blog gives lots of free information. Ok, I’m a fan of his work.
- Anything by Robert Wearing or Charles Hayward. British woodworkers who were trained in the apprentice system and then became authors. Excellent written instruction.
What are your favorite sources of info for hand-tool woodworking? Leave them in the comments!