Squaring and jointing stock with hand tools

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Forum topic by groland posted 01-22-2009 07:56 AM 4766 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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212 posts in 3677 days

01-22-2009 07:56 AM

Topic tags/keywords: squaring jointing hand tools

I am pretty new to woodworking and do not have access to power jointers and surfacers, plus, I would kind of like to learn to do this with hand planes. So I have a bunch of questions. When you have cupped or twisted stock, what are the correct procedures for flattening the faces of the boards? When doing several members, say a set of four table legs, what are good methods for verifying that all stock is the same width and depth? Is there a jig or kind of shooting board that is for jointing edges of stock that’re to be glued up into a table top?


7 replies so far

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4065 days

#1 posted 01-22-2009 12:36 PM

the answer to your question is a complex one. I suggest that you invest in a good book to get all of this.

Getting things the same requires clamping pieces together and planing them as one. Think about taking a good course at a place like Woodcraft. They have great courses in most of their stores.

-- making sawdust....

View groland's profile


212 posts in 3677 days

#2 posted 01-22-2009 02:52 PM


Have you any recommendations on a good book, or perhaps an instructional DVD, that covers this thoroughly?


View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4228 days

#3 posted 01-22-2009 03:45 PM

“The Hand Plane Book” by Garrett Hack, chapter 5 tells how to plane. A great resource on planes. Also check out “Arts and Mysteries” column in Popular Woodworking Magazine by Adam Cherubini. There’s ya a start. Get started and then come back with problems. We’ll be glad to help. Always remember, the important thing is the end result. The wood doesn’t care how you shape it. Do good work and say in touch.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 4054 days

#4 posted 01-22-2009 04:00 PM


My jointer recently failed me and I flattened and squared the face and edge of a bunch of Ash recently. Now I took the short cut and trued the other side with my thickness planer. However, the first face and edge I did blog about over on my own site. Maybe this little description will help a little. I echo what has been said above though. There are some Chris Schwarz videos up on YouTube where he flattens a board that are helpful too.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 4131 days

#5 posted 01-22-2009 04:31 PM

It can be tricky and you won’t get it right the first time, but it can be done and is done often. There are a few resources online that you should be able to locate on how too. Google it and also check Popular Woodworking for info. I would suggest taking their methods and trying it out on a few spare pieces of wood to get the feel of it, then take your time on your project piece.

Best of luck.


-- He said wood...

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4380 days

#6 posted 01-22-2009 10:37 PM

If you are a more visual person like myself, there are some DVDs that can help you get started in this area. The first two are by Rob Cosman “Hand Planing and Sharpening” and “Rough to Ready”. The other one is by Christopher Schwarz “Coarse, Medium and Fine: Fundamental Woodworking Techniques”. You can buy these DVDs from a couple of different places: Lie-Lielsen, Rob Cosman, and Lost Art Press. A class is even better if you can find one near by. There is nothing like having someone look over your shoulder and telling you what you are doing right or wrong.

View groland's profile


212 posts in 3677 days

#7 posted 01-26-2009 02:35 AM

Thanks for all the tips. I ordered Hack’s book from Amazon and am looking forward to reading it over. He’s coming soon to Cleveland OH, so I may try to get over and see his presentation at Woodcrafters’.

I used winding sticks, a straight edge and square to work on my wood which was 3” red oak. I got to try out my newly acquired used Stanley Jack and No. 7 jointer planes on this. I must’ve gotten a decent edge honed on them because I was able to get very fine shavings off the boards. It came out well. I used my hand tools to flatten one face and one edge. Then I was able to use a thickness planer on the opposite edges, finishing up by running the hand-worked edges through to freshen them up and make them more precise. I was very pleased with this work. Planing such thick stock with heavy metal hand planes is hard work!

Thanks to all who replied!


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