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Blog entry by Philip Edwards posted 2738 days ago 568 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi Folks

I’ve been reading a great book by Graham Blackburn entitled “Traditional Woodworking Handtools”. It is a pretty good read, and for me that is important. A lot of woodworking books are full of pretty pictures but the text side of things is a little light. Sometimes there just isn’t anything of substance at all. And I do like to read…..

This book is all about the tools in a traditional (read “before electricity”!) cabinetmakers tool chest. Each type of tool is discussed, how to identify, tune and use each one. And it is full of very interesting insights.

But one particular passage had me laughing out loud. On the subject of handplanes we come to this…..

“one measure of an adequately sharpened plane is that you should be able to place the plane at one end of the board, tilt the board, and watch the plane slide down the board unaided, removing a perfect shaving, feathered away to nothing at its edges as it does so.”

Now this has got to be an “Old Wives Tale”tm of the highest order! Has anyone tried this?? I for one am pleased when I achieve full width, perfect shavings with both hands on the plane. To do this hands free is an achievement indeed!!

Joking aside, this really is a great book and highly recommended to the hand tool user. There are no photo’s, just line drawings (by the author) and the book is just packed with useful info and anecdotes. A pleasant change to the “coffee table” books that look so good.

Best regards

Philly



13 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2917 days


#1 posted 2738 days ago

An “Adequately” sharpended plane..some things just aren’t right. lol

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

244 posts in 3042 days


#2 posted 2738 days ago

Dennis
Being a perfectionist I always aim for adequate ;)
Cheers
Phil

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2763 days


#3 posted 2738 days ago

come on Phil—give it a try. .. :)
the books sounds like it is like having a mentor over your shoulder telling you all about the tools you are using..

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2776 days


#4 posted 2737 days ago

Phil,

To start, congratulations on your successful blogging so far and good luck on the continued attempt! You’re doing much better than I am, and I love to write! The challenge I’m coming up with lately is my lack of woodworking activities. I feel a bit guilty writing more than woodworking.

The book sounds fab; I’ll be sure to start checking for it. I have several on-line used book places I like to check; I’ll see if any are carrying it. Ever since I “found” the local library (Dana’s mom is a librarian, her sister and brother-in-law are librarians, and she used to work in a library for years during high school and college – so when I started dating her, it didn’t take long for me to rediscover the benefits of a great local library system), I’ve been checking out woodworking books on any and every topic under the sun. But I still like to purchase the good books. And one that contains such interesting passages as you quoted certainly sounds like one for the home collection!

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

244 posts in 3042 days


#5 posted 2737 days ago

Debbie
I’ve just been out in the workshop and tried. Nope, didn’t work for me….... :)
The book certainly is inspiring – the author is obviously very knowledgable and uses little stories to make you feel at ease (and his passion for tools!)
Ethan
Thanks, I’m trying to keep the blogging going. As you say, it is difficult to write when you don’t get in the workshop. You know what you need to do!!! ;)
I think you’ll enjoy the book, it certainly is different to most woodworking books.
Best regards
Phil

View Don's profile

Don

2599 posts in 2779 days


#6 posted 2737 days ago

Thanks, Phil. I have come to the same conclusion. Many of the woodworking books I’ve purchased are really nothing more than coffee table books – lots of nice picture, but little else, Thanks for the recommendation. Have you purchased the other two Blackburn books in this series?

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

244 posts in 3042 days


#7 posted 2737 days ago

Don
I’ve got the first one. not really worth getting as all the tools in it are in the second book. Plus the second book gives you all the user info.
Keeping my eye’s open for the third one, now.
Best regards
Phil

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2913 days


#8 posted 2737 days ago

Sorry, gentlemen and Lady, but I feel that the pictures are just as necessary as a well writen book. Clear,well taken pictures aide in helping me understand what the author is trying to teach me to do. If you have done what the author is writing about, then the pictures aren’t necessary, but if you can’t picture in your mind what they are trying to do, then the picture will usually clear it up. Just look at this website…if we would just tell about our projects, sure most of us could picture it, but the beauty of the wood, design of the woodworker and the image is burned into our minds for future reference. I for one, hate the woodworking books that are illistrated by hand drawn pictures because the author, usually isn’t an artist and the pictures look like they were done by a three year old. Philip, I haven’t seen the book you are talking about, so my comments are just my opinion of woodworking books in general.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2839 days


#9 posted 2737 days ago

Well, Phil, appearently your plane is NOT adequately sharpened.

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

244 posts in 3042 days


#10 posted 2737 days ago

Oscorner
Oh, I do love a glossy picture. Sorry, didn’t mean to say that photo’s are un-necessary. What I did mean is this – most articles in magazines and books on a given topic seem to repeat the same things. So I really like it when a book goes a bit deeper and explains more of the background information.
And as you say, you really need pictures to show the beauty of wood.
Obi, my planes must need additional work – I am shamed ;)
Phil

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2763 days


#11 posted 2737 days ago

maybe it was just the wood…. yah, blame it on the wood, Phil..

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2776 days


#12 posted 2729 days ago

Phil,

I just got my copy in the mail the other day and have already made it through five or six chapters. As you said, he has a wonderfully dry sense of humor! And I love his explanations of where some of the woodworking terms we use came from and why they differ (clamps vs. cramps, for example).

Thanks for the recommendation – it is definitely a book bound for my library (pun most certainly intended).

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34861 posts in 3003 days


#13 posted 2729 days ago

I took a class by Graham and I took a copy of one of his books that he wrote and he refused to sign it because he said that someone ripped him off and was publishing a copy of his book without him getting any of the payments to the author. He is now publishing his own books and those are the only ones that he acknowledges are his.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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