I’ll admit that I am more a power tool woodworker than a hybrid (and nowhere close to a hand too user). But the more projects I get under my belt, the more I realize that in order to improve as a wood worker, I’m going to have to get more used to hand tools. In some cases, it is probably safer, and not necessarily slower than power tools.
I recently edge glued quite a few short pine scraps, to make them wide enough for a few kids toy projects. After edge jointing the pieces, I glued a good number of them in rapid succession.
The edge joints, while close to flush, weren’t perfect, as I didn’t spend the time to face joint or plane all boards to a consistent thickness because, well the boards were too short (under 12” each). As I thought about how I could skip plane the boards, none of the approaches I know of felt particularly safe (I considered a sled with a hook, or just putting the boards back to back). Ok so maybe safe isn’t the way to call it, but more the amount of work I’d have to keep up could get annoying. So as a result, I kept procrastinating on these projects.
And that’s where hand tools (planes) come in. Now, I’m no stranger to good hand planes. I’ve been fortunate enough to use a few good restored pre-WWII Stanleys and newer Lie Nielsons, but I have never been able to justify the money, or get out of lazy-mode to want to restore a plane. The only planes I own, are cheap Groz planes, and a HF #33. These tools largely remain un-touched by me because I purchased them as throw-away learning tools for setup before I really invested in tools. I had paid for the Woodcraft sharpening service, which gave me a barely usable plane that I knew needed a lot of TLC. The first hurdle I had to cross is honing/sharpening. As a messy proposition (I have a few waterstones), I didn’t really try to get started…until last night. After about 2 hours of experimenting (making the stone convex from trying to flatten the stupid iron, followed by making it concave from my honing guide), I finally settled on “good enough for my first attempt” and finished up with the micro-bevel. I dropped the boards into my modified B&D Workmate imitation (replacing the included boards with thicker boards + the Kreg bench dogs makes it way more usable), and was pleasantly surprised by the the results (and shavings).
All in all, I’d say for a YouTube/self-taught experiment, the outcome was far more successful than I had expected. Looking forward to doing a full work through of my planes, followed by the procurement of their replacement(s)