A local friend who I met on Lumberjocks, PurpLev, is more of an inspiration to me than he may realize. A few years ago, I needed help with some gluing cauls. His help came in the form of showing me how to sharpen my block plane, then using it to vary the thicknesses.
He did it quickly, and I did not pay close enough attention to really learn. But in his show, he has planes of several types, plenty of chisels, and does a lot of work with hand tools. At the time I met him, I had no interest in becoming a hand tool expert; I use mainly power tools.
But since then, I have learned about the importance of planes, and bought a set of used (somewhat old) Stanley planes from Hull's Cove Tool Barn, with the intention of eventually being able to flatten my slightly cupped bench top, and in general use planes more in my projects. Someone suggested that I get a #4 smoothing plane, a #5 jack plane, and a #7 jointer plane. I got a #3 instead of a #4. The price for a #3, #5, and #7 plus a shoulder plane was about $200 total.
And I do struggle with my chisels, dull as they are. I have tried to sharpen them with a few strokes on a cheap abrasive block bought in a Chinese restaurant supply with useable results. So if that’s possible, with so little effort, then perhaps with just a bit more effort I could have better performing blades.
Anyway, this blog is dedicated to PurpLev, who without saying anything, nudged me in the direction of using hand tools.
-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA