Something soothing about hand planes...

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 03-29-2013 02:25 PM 1191 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 1829 days

03-29-2013 02:25 PM

Over the winter I bought a couple of hand planes off eBay to try my hand at fixing them up. Lately we had a new bay window installed and my wife wanted me to make the trim. VERY simple (cottage theme) so it’s 1×6 pine with the edges rounded over. I looked at my router table and was thinking about how to feed a 10 foot board through it, make some outfeed support, all that stuff, when I decided to just take the Millers Falls No 14 and walk the board. Wife likes some tool marks. Not a lot, but it’s supposed to NOT look machined. So I sculpted the edges with that Millers Falls.

There’s something very soothing about walking a board with a plane you’ve rescued and tuned up yourself. Wood curling off smoothly, crunching under foot. Basically I just planed a 45 degree chamfer, made it 1/4 inch wide, and then cleaned up the edges. It’s going to get sanded. Came out pretty good if I do say so myself (and I do) and I can’t imagine getting that kind of pleasure from the router table. Not that I’m suddenly against using my router… but in this case, a cool spring morning, early, quiet, .... there was just something special about holding that plane and working wood with it.

19 replies so far

View SamuraiSaw's profile


513 posts in 1507 days

#1 posted 03-29-2013 02:35 PM

Sometimes you have to get back to basics, and then you discover the real joy of the craft. I love all my powerful toys, but after a while it’s nice to pick up a plane and simply make curls.

If you’re not familiar with him, check out Paul Sellers . His blog and online content are designed to renew the craft of woodworking with hand tools.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View poopiekat's profile


4273 posts in 3277 days

#2 posted 03-29-2013 02:39 PM

There is a sense of gratification that you discover when using hand tools, in a silent shop, that can never be enjoyed by those who operate one noisy, vibrating power tool after another.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Brandon's profile


4151 posts in 2494 days

#3 posted 03-29-2013 03:00 PM

Also, for me, as a new dad, I can only make it into the shop at weird hours and can work with all sorts of hand tools without pissing off my neighbors at 11pm using the router or table saw. Still, one of my favorite sounds is a sharp plane making full-width shavings.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View JayT's profile


5057 posts in 1754 days

#4 posted 03-29-2013 03:04 PM

Nothing beats the experience of using a sharp, well-tuned hand plane. I made some moldings for our kitchen recently and chose hand planning over the router table, as well. The whole process was much more enjoyable and really didn’t take much, if any, more time.

-- Pay heed all who enter: Beware of "the Phog" Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 1829 days

#5 posted 03-29-2013 04:24 PM

Yeah I have to say I was a little surprised at how little time it took. Probably in the time it would have taken me to get set up to use the router table, I was done. :) And I got a little more exercise which I can use to take off some of my “winter belly”. Now I’d like to look for some molding planes, hehehe. Ok, maybe not. Lots of other stuff I need to do, but it sure was a nice morning activity.

View Tugboater78's profile


2575 posts in 1734 days

#6 posted 03-29-2013 05:07 PM

Just getting into gathering and refurbing some planes myself.. last 2 days i have bren planing down some old lumber from a house i tore down last year. Was gratifying seeing that rough ratty 12 ft long 2×6 turn into a solid beautiful piece of oak…yes oak.. and i have around 100 of them.. power tool would do it quicker but the satisfaction of doing it myself is better than the money spend to acquire the power tools. I am terrible at typing, sorry

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View mds2's profile


310 posts in 1487 days

#7 posted 03-29-2013 05:18 PM

The zen of the hand plane. It is a magical thing.

View bondogaposis's profile


4173 posts in 1894 days

#8 posted 03-29-2013 06:58 PM

Yes, they should be be called “soothing planes” instead of smoothing planes.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BigRedKnothead's profile (online now)


8283 posts in 1525 days

#9 posted 03-29-2013 07:21 PM

I too started with power tools. Now I’m learning to do more and more with hand tools. I want to learn both ways to get it done. I’ve already found that I just do whatever method I feel like at the time. It’s fun.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2197 days

#10 posted 03-29-2013 07:25 PM

Next time your have to shape end grain on a table try using a smoothing plane; there is a trick to it but you will be hooked for life.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View JayT's profile


5057 posts in 1754 days

#11 posted 03-29-2013 07:28 PM

I’m sensing a money making opportunity here. The LumberJocks Anger Management Experience, repeat over and over “goozfraba” while making shavings. Alternative and more intensive therapy would involve popping bubble wrap.

Set up in a large office building (Wall Street, anyone?), charge $50 per person for a half hour of hand plane stress relief and rake in the dough. Anyone want to invest?

-- Pay heed all who enter: Beware of "the Phog" Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2197 days

#12 posted 03-29-2013 07:30 PM

I have actually thought about doing that in my office building.

And there is space downstairs for rent…hmm?

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Mosquito's profile


8456 posts in 1835 days

#13 posted 03-29-2013 07:43 PM

careful… wouldn’t want people to come in and call us elitists…

With how today is going at work, I might have to go buy a stack of lumber, and fill my apartment with shavings tonight…

Invest? How about I supply a plane? :-)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Don W's profile

Don W

18151 posts in 2110 days

#14 posted 03-29-2013 08:09 PM

With how today is going at work,

I made a lot of shavings this week too, just because!!!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View JayT's profile


5057 posts in 1754 days

#15 posted 03-29-2013 08:48 PM

No reason we can’t share the start-up costs. Mos, you and Don can supply planes (along with a few others we know), sounds like RG has a location scouted, now we just need to get Dan on board as a full time sharpener and find a lumber supplier. We might even be able to upcharge based on the lumber you work.

  • $50 per half hour for pine or poplar.
  • $75 for oak, walnut and maple.
  • additional charges for exotics.

Since I proposed the idea first, I’ll be the CEO that does nothing except take half the profits and is a talking head on TV.

-- Pay heed all who enter: Beware of "the Phog" Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

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