New Plane User's Required Reading

  • Advertise with us
Review by Manitario posted 06-21-2011 05:47 AM 2292 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
New Plane User's Required Reading No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

The first plane that I bought was a $25 big box store special block plane, that I thought might be useful to trim the edges of some boards that I trimming my basement with. Out of the box it did nothing more than gouge and tear the wood, and quickly was assigned a place of dishonour in my shop. That was a year and a half ago. Since then, I’ve learnt a little bit more about planes, and managed to tune it to produce some nice curly shavings from it after a lot of sole flattening and blade sharpening. However, for the most part, planes didn’t really occupy much of my woodworking thoughts, other than as a curiosity. I since inherited a couple of my grandfather’s planes (a Stanley Sweetheart jack plane and a no-name #4) and thought that it would be nostalgic to learn how to properly tune and use them. Enter Garrett Hack and “The Handplane Book”…. I read this book with a growing excitement. For starters, it is a detailed manual on how to tune and use planes, and de-mystified for me some of the plane terminology (eg. why I should care about the difference between bevel up and bevel down planes). It is written in a clear and easy to read fashion, and has multiple diagrams and drawings. Most importantly though, this book is clearly written by someone who loves planes, and gets a thrill from producing a long thin shaving from a finely tuned old (or new) plane. His enthusiasm is infectious, and left me wondering why I would ever use sandpaper again, or how I would ever financially recover from all the planes that I now feel the need to go out and buy. Seriously, the book is full of pics of beautiful old and new planes, and I have come away from reading it with a deep appreciation for these simple but indispensible tools.

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

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3735 days

8 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 4950 days

#1 posted 06-21-2011 05:49 AM

Agree. It is a great book.

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

View bluejazz's profile


56 posts in 3639 days

#2 posted 06-21-2011 12:32 PM

I just last month picked up this book at the library. I learned a lot from it and before returning it I made copies of the several very useful diagrams in the book. As the reviewer said, if you’re new to hand-planes, you can save yourself a lot of heartache by reading this book.

-- I'm 58. In my mind, I still feel 28. Until I do something physical; then I feel 78.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3911 days

#3 posted 06-21-2011 03:39 PM

I got this book as part of a slip cover set of 2 books by Garrett Hack. Hack is definitely not a “hack” when it comes to woodworking or writing. In my opinion, he explains some of the finer points of setting up and using hand planes quite well without getting overly involved in unecessary jargon. This is perfect for folks that might be new to hand planes. His other book is about hand tools in general (I can’t remember the title), and on a high level addresses the basics of most of the various classes of hand tools. It is also a handy reference.

Also, watch out, hand planes are addictive. I started, much like you with some hand me downs from my father (who I later found out had received them from his uncle). I now have about 30 or so. Block planes in particular can be fun because there are so many varieties of design – all with their own little subtle charm.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View stevenmadden's profile


174 posts in 3942 days

#4 posted 06-22-2011 06:40 AM

Manitario: Sounds like a great book, I will have to check it out. The two books that started it all for me were “Handplane Essentials” by Christopher Schwarz and “Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Sharpening” by Thomas Lie-Nielsen. I highly recommend both.

Congratulations on the new planes.


View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4026 days

#5 posted 06-22-2011 06:56 AM

Got a used copy of it in my “library.” You’re right. Excellent text.

I’m still pretty clumsy with my planes, but … that’s really not the book’s fault ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Ken90712's profile


17902 posts in 4041 days

#6 posted 06-22-2011 10:43 AM

Nice review~ might have to look into this book, thx

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View DamnYankee's profile


3320 posts in 3414 days

#7 posted 07-01-2011 08:42 PM

Thanks for the review…I don’t have any planes … yet… so I’ll keep this book in mind.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4438 days

#8 posted 07-01-2011 08:53 PM

I too have it! It’s a great book .Please might I also recommend some of the workshop books showing different workshop set ups around the world I have anumber of these and love to get some great tips and ideas re how to set up your shop.kindest regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics