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Reply by jdh122

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Posted on Favorite woods to use with hand tools

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jdh122

969 posts in 2693 days


#1 posted 03-20-2015 05:32 PM

Definitely eastern white pine. If you can get some that is clear and knot-free it planes beautifully (leaves a surface that positively shimmers). Easy to saw too.
It does require sharp tools, especially with chisels or involving end grain.
Most of the common North American hardwoods work well unless you get a lot of figure. Hard maple is fine but not when it has birds eye or wavy grain. Oak is easy to plane unless it’s quartersawn, in which case the ray fleck will make you swear.
The way the board was sawn is probably as important as species. Christopher Schwarz (somewhere) says that one of the things he does to make handtool use easier is buy better grades of wood. I’m too cheap to pay those kinds of premiums, but can see his point.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests


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