Reply by mcase

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Posted on Hand Planes - Why?

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446 posts in 3153 days

#1 posted 03-08-2013 04:18 AM


I think its a great question. I often ask myself the same thing. To me it also involves the question of am I sculpting wood or just machining it? So is there a practical productive place for hand planes in a modern machine based shop? By this I mean not just because they are good for us mentally or emotionally which in fact they are. They are for me anyway. Planing wood by hand in a quiet shop is soothing, where as buzzing sanders combined with howling vacuums is not – in fact its nerve jangling. Stickley, which has been making outstanding furniture of uncompromising quality for over a hundred years still hand fits each drawer box – sculpting them to fit each individual bay. I can’t think of a better tool for this than a hand plane. Another good example of practical application has already been mentioned – removing milling marks. Hand planes can be a great practical additions to machines for this reason alone. When I joint a board on a 78” long jointer its straighter than any hand plane is going to make it, but its has milling marks. I keep a #3 bevel up with a straight ground blade just for smoothing jointed edges. Its both practical and satisfying. I also use hand planes to smooth and shape drawer fronts to fit flush on inset drawers. Yeah, there are a whole lot of practical uses for hand planes in a machine based shop. I suppose ultimately keeping the woodworker calm and happy is also a practical idea – hand planes are real good for this too. Start collecting them and Enjoy!

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