LJ Challenge: Hand Planing Techniques (Deadline June 2, 2014)

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Blog entry by Cricket posted 05-19-2014 06:03 PM 3175 reads 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hendrik Varju is a well known furniture designer/craftsman who operates “Passion for Wood” near Toronto, Canada. He also offers woodworking courses and seminars and has been widely published in woodworking magazines in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. In 2007, Hendrik started producing DVD courses and he has offered to provide some of them as prizes in Lumberjocks contests. You can see the full list of all of Hendrik’s DVD courses here: .

This week, the prize is Hendrik’s tenth DVD course called “Hand Planing Techniques”. It is over 10 hours long and focuses on using hand planes for common tasks such as flattening table tops and door frames, trimming edge banding and levelling off dovetails, finger joints and other types of joinery. Hendrik shows you how to battle tear-out with higher effective cutting angles and shows you how to set up your hand planes for precision work. A long and detailed bonus section covers the hand planing of fine details like chamfers and slipfeathers, as well as covering shoulder plane sharpening and set-up. You can read more about this 5-DVD set here: It is valued at Cdn. $94.95 + taxes and shipping.

To enter to win this contest, just post a comment giving your answer to this question: “Why is hand planing such a valuable skillset to develop, as opposed to using just power tools?” Post a comment before June 2, 2014 and Hendrik will choose his favourite answer. Then we’ll let you know how to claim your prize. Hendrik will ship it directly to your home at no cost to you.

-- Community Manager

24 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4100 days

#1 posted 05-19-2014 06:10 PM

I think learning any additional skill set will make you that much better of a woodworker, learning how to use a plane gives you additional capability to do just that bit more precise woodwork, or gives you a solution that you may not have had if you did not have that particular skill.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1285 posts in 2101 days

#2 posted 05-19-2014 07:29 PM

Simple: Mastering a(ny) new skill expands your choices and widens your world.

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View chrisstef's profile


17914 posts in 3394 days

#3 posted 05-19-2014 07:36 PM

When you need to just take a hair off a tenon that’s too snug, or break the edge of a sharp corner, accept no substitutes. A hand plane will do it every time.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Manitario's profile


2755 posts in 3270 days

#4 posted 05-19-2014 08:27 PM

Finesse and serenity.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Bob Kassmeyer's profile

Bob Kassmeyer

246 posts in 3313 days

#5 posted 05-19-2014 11:45 PM

Often it is just much faster and expedient to use a hand plane as apposed to setting up a jig or power tool. Besides it’s just fun.

-- Bob Kassmeyer, Nebraska

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2975 posts in 3825 days

#6 posted 05-20-2014 12:09 AM

Have you ever used a powered jointer or planer? It puts you in touch with a machine.
Have you ever run a curl with a #6? It puts you in touch with the wood.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1091 posts in 3561 days

#7 posted 05-20-2014 02:45 AM

Hand planning is a valuable part of woodworking because not everything can be done with power tools. Sometimes the tolerances are so close that a handplane is the best tool for the job. I feel you also get more in touch with the wood and know how it is reacting to each cut of the blade.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1318 posts in 2021 days

#8 posted 05-20-2014 02:48 AM

Because good looking wood looks so much better when hand planed vs sanded.

Planed wood has depth and chatoyance. And to get the most out of the finish there is nothing like a planed finish.

-- Jeff NJ

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

267 posts in 3576 days

#9 posted 05-20-2014 04:56 PM

For me, the biggest benefit is that I don’t have room in my 6’x10’ shop for all the power tools I would need!

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4485 days

#10 posted 05-20-2014 06:01 PM

There are so many benefits of using hand planes it is hard to list them all. Quality of the finish, precision of fitting joints, safety (elimination of noise and saw dust in the workshop), and the joy derived from the feel of a sharp blade cutting through the wood. Usually there is less time required to set up a plane for a specific task compared to a power tool such as a router. Also, knowing what each plane is designed to do can change the way you approach woodworking. If you use vintage planes there is the history of the tools as well as the potential to outfit your shop for significant less money that a power tool based shop. With this knowledge and corresponding knowledge of power tools you can choose the most efficient and best suited tool for the task at hand.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Buckethead's profile


3195 posts in 2256 days

#11 posted 05-20-2014 06:13 PM

I find all the replies until now to be woefully lacking. Just silly pandering with the motive of getting a DVD set for free. Shameless.

The true value of hand planing is in the song. If any other commenter had truly mastered the art of hand planing, they would have thought of this instantly. A well tuned hand plane has the voice of an angel.

You see, I am an artiste. Not just the garden variety Internet commenter seeking freebies. I don’t stoop to that level. I take the high road. Yep… That’s how I do.

So, in summation, shame on all of you. Trying to win my free DVD set.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View mrsKennyMak's profile


64 posts in 2072 days

#12 posted 05-20-2014 06:42 PM

LOL to buckethead!!! ;-D

-- “In strange and uncertain times such as those we are living in [...] may we trust the inexpressible benevolence of the creative impulse.” ~ Robert Fripp

View Don W's profile

Don W

19206 posts in 2955 days

#13 posted 05-20-2014 07:23 PM

Asking about the advantages of hand planning is like asking if compromise is an advantage in an extraordinary marriage. Woodworking for most of us is more of a passion then just a chore. Although learning decent hand planning techniques will extend your woodworking capabilities and allow simplification of many intricate task, it also brings a sense of serenity, pride and overall enjoyment you just cannot get with power tools.

Hand planes have a certain allure that intimidates some, and attract others. You’ll find woodworkers who use hand tools, have a passion about their trade (or hobby) that goes beyond just getting the job done. We like the journey, we like to teach it, talk about it, listen to others, and ever expand on that journey.

If you can slide a well-tuned, freshly sharpened bench plane across a well-chosen and well figured piece of stock and not sense the history of the trade, not hear the smoothness of the grain, and not feel a passion for the wood, then you’re missing the whole point a tree was ever created in the first place.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View TheJBitt's profile


34 posts in 2345 days

#14 posted 05-20-2014 07:31 PM

You might like it!

Also, sometimes a hand plane is actually the more effective/efficient way to go, if you already know how to use it.

-- I make great sawdust. -Jon in Warsaw, IN

View theoldfart's profile


10662 posts in 2839 days

#15 posted 05-20-2014 07:32 PM

Don, I can’t truly improve on this statment. Wish I was this articulate about what I do! Well said Don.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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