I didn’t see it coming, not at all! But alas, it came and it conquered. I thought it was so far off from me that it would never be within striking distance. But there it was right in my hands, and out of the blue it came. What I had before me was a mere scrap piece of wood, a throw-away from someone else’s project. The task I had was, as I saw it, simply a necessary evil; hand-planing a rough surface so that I could get a good look at the true grain of an unfamiliar wood. My hope was that I’d find a new species to add to my woodworking pallet. As expected, this “scrap” did not disappoint, as gorgeous grain and color were revealed once the plane had done its work. But what captivated me while my guard was down was the exhilaration I felt gliding the plane across wood’s rough surface, stroke by stroke, shaving by shaving. “What is this I’m feeling?” I asked myself. “I’m hand planing!” I mean, I have always been of the opinion that the enjoyment of woodworking lie in the power tools. Hand tools were just drudgery.
I must say that I had a difficult time reconciling the emotion with the action seeing that I had spent all these years avoiding it. Perhaps it was because I haven’t been getting enough exercise and the work was causing the release of endorphins into my system. Maybe the visual pleasure of seeing the new grains cheered me up. Or possibly there was a certain joy in flattening a board by hand rather than machine. Whatever the case, I have discovered a newfound appreciation, nay, pleasure in hand planing. Ever since my 7th grade shop class I have been of the opinion hand planing was too much work and using power tools was much more satisfying. I dare say, I think my opinion has changed today.