Fair Woodworking

July 21, 2014

Going Dutch on the Dutch Tool Chest

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Favorite tools,Favorites,Things I've made — fairwoodworking @ 11:23 pm

Tool chests are stupid!

There.

I said it, and it feels good.

I literally don’t like tool chests, but I also don’t really like to brush my teeth. However, like having teeth, owning tools may require some things we don’t like. I also don’t like, no screw that! I HATE top lifting lids. What a stupid idea! If you have a 12″ deep chest, you lose at least 12 inches of valuable real estate directly above the chest. Then you have morons that do these sloping lids that turn 12 inches into 15 or more inches.

It’s a fool’s paradise.

Sooo… With such strong opinions about this topic, how did I get here? Well I’ve been designing the perfect tool chest/box/shelf/backpack for nearly 15 years now.

After my first day as a trim carpenter, I went to Walmart and bought the largest Rubbermaid container I could wrap my arms around to hold all my new tools. It was perfect because I was certain that I could fit all my tools in it, and I could make just one trip from the work site to my truck at the beginning, and end of the day. Once I carefully fit all my tools in that tub, I discovered that I couldn’t much more than drag the blasted thing.

It was frigging heavy.

The next day I’d replaced the big tub with two smaller tubs and a 5 gallon bucket. It took me 3 trips now, but there was no risk of needing surgery after lifting any of them.

When the world rediscovered the monstrous/traditional English Tool Chest, my first thought was that it had the same problem as Gigantor the Rubbermaid container. It’s not portable, well, not with a one man crew at least. I recently learned that the awesome size of these chests was intentional so thieves would have to team up to steal them, and since thieves are not great at sharing, they would often get caught.  Well my tools will stay safe by staying with me, so the ATC is dead in the water.

When I first got into hand tools, I tried making different styles of small tool cases that fit the tools I had at the time.

But then I’d buy a new tool and the case was suddenly too small.

In the past couple of years, the DTC has found overwhelming popularity. I immediately approved of its lower half, but despised the upper half due to its massive gaping top lifting lid. The lower shelves with the removable front face was perfect. However the DTC had become so trendy that I felt like spitting every time it was mentioned.

What the world doesn’t need is another “I made a Dutch Tool Chest” post, I thought.

Now If you just have a couple of shelves for a tool chest, you will have a great place to store your block planes, smoothers, a plow plane, and what have you. But at some point you will start looking for a home for, oh, I don’t know… Perhaps a jack plane or a jointer. Oh, look I own saws as well…

This shelf idea falls flat on its face with these tools.

So let’s soften our stance a little on this top lid idea a little. Sloping lids are stupid, but I could live with a simple flat-topped lid.

Hey, a tool rack to hold my chisels, and screwdrivers would be awfully nice on the back. Ya, that is a good part of this lidded chest idea.

Hmmm. My chisels are kind’a tall. This is going to be a rather deep chest if they are going to stand on end like this.  Well they fit so nicely there on the back, I think it will be worth it.

Hmmm. The front of this chest fits my longer planes really well, but with a flat-topped lid, there will be tons of space above the planes, and reaching over the high front is going to be awkward. It may be better if I lowered the front a little…

Ahhhh Crap! How did that lid get sloped?!?

Through years of struggle, I finally accepted that the Dutch Tool Chest despite it trendiness and idiotic sloping lid, was actually very well designed.

Well it’s at least half well designed.

It’s still a little too big and heavy.

I know people will argue this point, and say “what are you talking about? I can lift my DTC. You are just a wimp”

Well just being able to lift something does not make it portable. Being able to lift your chest off one stool and set it down on another stool does not make it portable either. It makes it moveable.

My shop is in the basement. To get to my truck I need to get the chest out of the shop, up the stairs, down the hall, out the door, down the stairs, and up the driveway. The large DTC, and even the smaller DTC are not especially portable in my opinion.

That’s why I decided to go Dutch.

If you haven’t noticed, this chest is really two chests stacked on top of each other, just like my two smaller Rubbermaid tubs. You may also notice that the top chest is a little wider than the lower one. I know this may bother some, but it’s for a reason.

The top one is 27″ wide so that it can fit saws on that darned sloping lid. The problem with that is many door openings in many houses are for 30″ doors. Most door openings also have a 1/2″ thick door stop on both sides of the jamb reducing the opening to 29″. A wide chest is a problem in a small doorway.

In the lower chest, most of the tools are stacked side by side. The longest tool in there is my framing square, and it is only 24″ long, so I was able to get away with just over 25″ wide. That makes it just possible to walk through most doorways with out scraping my knuckles.

But there is more.

Part of portability, is being able to bring as much of your workshop with you as possible. I built a simple stand that the chests sit on that also makes the top of the lower chest just the right height for free hand sharpening.

That’s right!

My tool chest is also a sharpening station.

How cool is that?

I’ve already talked about the sweet rope handles, so I’ll just let that alone except to say that the upper chest handles still need some tweaking, and have not had the ends trimmed yet. I’ll get to that… or I won’t.

And finally the gravity latches.

Once described as a “Cool locking system”, is not really that big of a deal. Almost every fence in the free world has a latch on its gate that utilizes gravity to make it latch. The idea was simple. Getting it to work in all levels of humidity was the real challenge, and resulted in the guts of it looking a little less “realwoodworker”ish than I would have preferred.

I’m still making friends with this whole tool chest idea, but I think I’ve come up with a chest that I might one day come to tolerate.

 

July 11, 2014

The truth about Full Blind Dovetails

First off.

EVERYBODY LIES.

Lies are best wrapped around a kernel of truth.

The truth hurts, and…

When there’s no pain, there’s no gain.

And we all need a little gain.

So when I started hearing rumors told by big fat (but mostly skinny) liars, I had to check it out.

**The Lie**

Full blind dovetails are easier than through dovetails.

Ha!!!

The claim is that because the dovetails are hidden you can’t see if they suck. The joint doesn’t suck if you can’t see that it sucks.

This is the premiss to lying through joinery.

Where is the truth?

Through dovetails tell the truth about how really truly horrible we all are, and the big bosses don’t want us to know how bad they are.

Where is the truth?

Through dovetails are simple to cut, but for the beginner, they can seem complicated. Full blind dovetails are somewhat more complicated, and they can seem more complicated even when you know what you are doing.

The great thing with full blinds are that even if your saw can’t find the broad side of a line, you still have a chance at making a nice looking joint.

And really, the truth is overrated.

So here is my overrated conclusion.

1. Through dovetails need less tools, less skills, and involve a simple process.

2. Through dovetails show all, ALL, your mistakes.

3. Through dovetails are easily recognized on most projects.

4. Fullblinds need more tools, and more steps.

5. Unless you lean on a drill press and a handfull of other power tools, Fullblinds can take a little longer.

6. With fullblinds, only the most savvy of wood workers will know you did anything more than a half lap joint.

7. Fullblinds will impress the heck out of savvy woodworkers that don’t know how easy they really are.

IMG_8710 IMG_8709

 

 

July 5, 2014

LN bound

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog — fairwoodworking @ 12:10 am

First off. If you are sitting in a hotel in Maine getting ready to attend the Dutch Tool Chest class at LN tomorrow, I should apologize in advance. You’ll probably be able to pick me out of the group if you watch out for a few things. I’ll be the one that is too loud, too easily distracted, too quick with a dumb joke, too stinky, or too Canadian.
Or you can just look for the goofball that shows up with a his tools stored in a DTC and a fresh coat of paint.
The truth is I feel a little like a turd to take a class to build something I just finished building, but I have to think I’m not the first one.

I’m also not entirely attending the class because the teacher is a personal hero, although I’ll admit that when I ran into him at the tool barn this afternoon, I did pee a little. Good thing I brought a spare pair of underwear.

The big reason was that I’ve always wanted to, but never did take a woodworking course before. You see I, like many, am self taught. Very self taught, and I can’t think of a worse way to learn woodworking. The thing is, although I’m not a great woodworker, I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to work with another woodworker that is clearly superior to me in their skill and knowledge.
This is a chance for me to try to learn something from a real live person, and not a book or website.

So ya, I’m going to look like a keener try hard tomorrow.  I don’t mind that.
I just want to see if I can learn something I’ve missed, or un learn a bad habit that I don’t know I have.
If you are self taught, don’t make the mistake of wearing it like a badge of honor. The absence of a teacher is a weakness not a strength.

Just go try to fing someone who is better than you, and try to learn something.
It’s good for you

June 1, 2014

Silent Night

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog — fairwoodworking @ 12:39 am

Hmm….

Sure is quiet tonight…

**Crickets**

Blogs are quiet.

Twitter’s a ghost town..?

I wonder why Wilber Pan needed a nap today…?

** Checks Forums **

WoodNet looks a little slow tonight. That place never sleeps.

Hmm..

I wonder if Sawmill Creek has solved the Dovetail guide debate. No wait that got locked down.

Nope.

Nobody there either.

Perhaps The Canadian Woodworking Hand Tool Forum.

Ya, right! Like anyone ever goes there anymore.

** Crickets **

Where is everybody?!

T-2Hr 25Min16Sec.

Oh ya. Right.

Shhhhhh…..

It’s almost June!

I think it was early April when the news came out. Exclusive showing of the Holy Grail of tool chests for 3 days only.

It’s an event that may never happen again. In our lifetime or perhaps ever.

At first blush, you would that the hand tool woodworking community would be going Ape Sh** over this kind of news, but for some reason, there has been almost no mention of it.

Kind’a odd that nobody, I mean NOBODY is talking about it

T-2Hr 19Min33Sec.

The organizers of this event are some of the key members of the woodworking community, and they have seen how all goofballs pee their pants with the slightest mention of something exclusive, so I have to think they could be sweating right now.

With no talk of the event since almost its announcement, has everyone forgotten? I almost did.

If Don from Barn on White Run hadn’t posted about it, I surely would have forgotten. Don is one of the organizers, so he may know by higher than normal traffic to his site, but it could just be a bunch of looky loues.

All I know is it sure is quiet.

T-2Hr 11Min42Sec.

On the other hand, the entire world could be about to annihilate the ticket booth server. What if it crashes? That would be bad. Not just bad for them. Bad for me, cause I need me some tickets.

1200 tickets over 3 days.

What if there are 1200 people who all want my ticket.

Or what if there are 600 people who all want 2 tickets each. I want 2 tickets!!!

Or what if there are evil woodworkers that are going to buy up all the tickets and scalp them?

Should I buy extra tickets and scalp them?

I wonder how many police are in that town…

T-2Hr 05Min47Sec.

This is really starting to stress me out!

If you are reading this I’ve posted it after buying my Tickets.

Or perhaps I didn’t get any? They sold out while I was in the bathroom?!?

I need another alarm clock just in case I get distracted.

Oh Crap! How do you set the alarm on this infernal thing!!?

I know. I can run over and ask the guy next door to check on me!

No wait! It’s dark out and I could trip on something, and then some car might drive right over me!

I NEED THESE TICKETS!

Why is everything getting blurry?

Oh ya. Need to breath.

T-1Hr 59Min40Sec.

I need to relax and think about something else for a while.

Hmmm…

 

If man ever colonize the moon, will we build fences around our houses so our dogs don’t run away?

They’d have to be pretty tall when there is so little gravity.

Oh god!! What time is it!!?

T-1Hr 56Min49Sec.

This is crazy!

.

.

.

.

T-0Hr 00Min00Sec.

Uh oh.

 

Where’s my credit card?

 

May 18, 2014

1st Annual Day of the Jack Plane!

If you don’t know already. It’s been decreed, and I for one am all for it!

IMG_7950 copy

Now I know what many of you are thinking, I am just one of many mindless Schwarz’onian zombies, blindly following his every word.

I assure you I am not, and what better day to set the record straight than on Jack plane day?!

Way back in my early hand tool days, my original hand tool mentors on Hand Tool forums told me that scrub planes were the ultimate roughing tool, and I accepted this as gospel. Meanwhile, some scrawny journalist, that was actually building stuff with his tools, kept saying that scrub planes were more of a carpentry tool, and woodworkers were better off with the use of a Jack Plane. “What a dork”, I thought, because everybody knows that scrub planes are better.

Well a couple of years ago, on a whim, I finally bought a #5 jack plane. It sat on a shelf for months until one day I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I put one of my cambered blades into it, and tried it out as a roughing tool.

Wow…

I own a scrub plane. I can’t remember the last time I used it, and EVERY project I build gets dimensioned with hand planes. Chris was right, but was he really? He read somewhere that the jack plane was the better tool for the aplication. He tried it, and agreed with what he read. That doesn’t make him right, it makes him educated on a practical level.

So then he discovers the Moxton Vice, and I hated using that thing. He promotes the use of tool chests, and I said ya right I like my shelf. He is hard core on using sharpening jigs, and that drives me nuts! I personally think that until you are at the very least confident with sharpening by hand you need to avoid jigs. Why? Because god forbid your blessed jig gets damaged or lost and you are unable to sharpen anything until the UPS delivery guy knocks on your door with your replacement. The ability to sharpen tools is more important to hand tool woodworking than your ability to put on pants. Sorry Chris, I still think you are a little off on this one. Anyways, It’s funny how quick I am to disagree, with his “new” ideas, and also how often in practice they prove to simply be, time tested historically accurate gems of truth.

And,

Now he is telling us to “tooth” our bench tops!

What is this guy on?!!!

I have to admit, although it sounds nuts, I’d really love to give it a try some day. I have a sneaking suspicion I will like it, but I’ll stick with “it sounds crazy” until I do, because I have no hands on experience with toothed bench tops.

Bottom line is, don’t blindly follow anyone. Gather as much information as you want, but test it before you preach it.

I think you will be surprised at how few big name woodworkers you will quote after the testing is done, and that is why I preach so much Schwarz’onian drivel.

May 11, 2014

Don’t hate IKEA, and don’t hate the game.

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Strong opinion warning! — fairwoodworking @ 9:13 pm

Hate the player.

High-ho, captain opinion here.

I’m really tired of the players that have filled this world of ours. I’ll admit that I’m often a player in what “I” am calling “the game”, and I’m sure that many of you are as well.

So what makes us players? Well it’s not really consumerism, not even greed. I think it’s the misplaced expectations that one more new or new to me treat will make me happy.

This accepted error in human reality, is the fuel that fires the engine of the game.

Now, now, don’t get excited. It’s just that I’m on a return flight from one of Canada’s most wealthy and materialistic cities.

It was a little shocking to hear an add on the radio telling young adults that “just because you are only making minimum wage doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a brand new Toyota”.

Nice.

Billboards saying you DESERVE a new house, and we all NEED more jewelry because we’re worth it.

It’s also great that Fido can get laser eye surgery. Because Fido’s worth it too.

Gag!

Oh. More good news. There’s a new Pepsi! Its called Pepsi Next. Cause its the next Pepsi in a long line of must have new cola products.

Why?

Because the game needs “new” so you can be so excited that you drop everything to go get one. Who cares if you like it once you get it. If you wanted something good you would have just gotten a Pepsi. Well not really, you would have gotten a Coke.

But what we all know is they probably have already planned the cancellation of Pepsi Next because the players will quickly move on to Coke Fresh or whatever.

But we aren’t idiots!

Clearly most of us are not made of money so we have to get the best price, and we know how to find the good deals. We are smart shoppers, and sometimes we discover that there are cheaper alternatives for the trinkets we NEED. I mean really, I’m going to be tired of it soon enough so it doesn’t need to be a really good one.

But the game isn’t stupid either. It sees that you are happy with lower quality nick-nacks so the better quality frivolity mongers lower their quality to compete with the generic knockoffs. The knockoffs move overseas to lower their labor costs, and the higher end brands follow soon after.

The players drive the game. It’s the players that made IKEA possible. The player got us Walmart and the dollar store, and players like woodworking as well. Why wouldn’t we.

New doesn’t mean better. Often times these days, it means just the opposite.

A hundred years ago it we would have been free of the game right?

Not with Stanley at the wheel. Sometimes I think they wrote the book on the game.  If you are familiar with Stanley plane dating I think you can find the lessons of good game play.

At first Stanley was just trying to build a better plane. Creating a depth adjuster, an adjustable frog. A rib to keep that infernal frog straight! The adjusting nut for the frog, and then the lateral adjuster. By the time they had made type 10 and 11, they had pretty much made the perfect daily user plane. The type 11 was their longest running plane, but then the patents started running out, and Stanley needed to separate themselves from the competition. Suddenly the knobs were too low, and we needed kidney shaped holes on our locking levers. New and improved, but mostly new and different was the savior to our consuming needs.

Even the hallowed bedrock design. The original bedrock design was a marketing dud. The Bailey frog works just as well as the bedrock design, or in my opinion the bedrock is inferior. When you adjust the frog on a bedrock it changes your depth of cut. When you change the blade setting it changes the required mouth opening, and you will need to adjust the frog again. When Stanley moved the adjustments for the frog out from under the blade and to the back of the frog they made the bedrock a super cool plane with a super cool name. I’m sure Stanley never mentioned that they were fixing the shortcomings of a more expensive and less useful frog design in the process.

“But the adjuster is so handy to adjust the frog” . Well true, but I’m not buying it. My smoother is a type 11. I never move the frog. It’s set for optimum smoothing so why change it? My jack is a type 7 (I think), and the frog has no alignment rib, so if you touch my frog, I kill you. Not really, well maybe just a little. My #6 is a bedrock. It’s a LN so it’s pretty awesome and it was super easy to adjust the frog when I first set it up. Now that it is set up why would I screw with it?

Stanley was the king of marketing mumbo jumbo.

Ah, who am I kidding.
Don’t hate the player.

Hate Stanley.

April 26, 2014

Don’t get edgy about sharpening.

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog — fairwoodworking @ 11:18 pm

A couple of weeks ago I had ‘the talk’ with a new hand tool woodworker. You know the one we all dread?
No, not the  “where do baby hand planes come from” talk.
The one about how often you need sharpen your plane blades.

I think what makes this awkward is the power tool equivalents of today. Many woodworkers will use the same table saw blade for months, or in my case, years. An educated guess from a power tool woodworker might be every woodworking session or two.

It’s rarely welcome news that a plane blade depending on the wood and the skill of the sharpener, you could find it showing signs of dulling after as few as just a couple of passes.

It’s true because sharpening is really two skills. Making the edge sharp and making it durable. Just because you can shave hair off your back does not mean it is a strong durable edge. I can remember many times where by the time I was happy with how I’d set the plane to take a shaving, the test cuts had already dulled the edge.
In an obvious way that really sucks. You may almost feel like you have a sharpening hobby and from time to time get distracted by woodworking, but don’t get discouraged. In the beginning you have to resharpen a lot but in the beginning you also could use more practice sharpening. The more you sharpen the better you will get, but there is still more. Many new woodworkers also dread sharpening because they struggle to re set the plane.

Re’friggin’lax.

Setting up a plane is difficult at first, but the more you do it the better acquainted you will become with the plane. One day you and that dreaded plane will become friends. One day you will discover that rather than breaking into a cold sweat, you will appreciate the break in your woodworking to catch your breath, and ponder the greater issues that trouble our world. Like if you were playing basket ball in space and you completely miss the net, can you still call it an air ball?

April 23, 2014

Do your handles hang low?

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 2:21 pm

Do They Wobble to and Fro?
Can You Tie Them in a Knot?
Can You Tie Them in a Bow?

Do your handles…  hang…  low………?

Sing it along with me now!

You know there has been a lot of talk lately about the future of woodworking. Some say it’s going to die, others say it’s alive, well, and coming on strong. Personally, seeing a generation of children that don’t know what a pencil is for, know their moms iPod inside out, and yet aren’t smart enough to get past a child safe cabinet door, gives me little hope that they will ever be capable of any hobby beyond the world of Warcraft. Say what you want, but once technology no longer requires the use of your hands to operate , kids will look at you strange when you ask if they are right or left handed.

Forget woodworking. The future of fine motor skills in general are in jeopardy.

But anyways this post isn’t about woodworking, not really. It’s about handles, and a different ancient craft that few can argue is really and truly, a lost and dying art.

I am a knot tying idiot. I’ve learned to tie many cool knots, but if I don’t tie them all daily I forget them as quickly as I learned them. What I have managed to develop is some very rudimentary knot creating skills, and with that I managed to make what I think are some pretty sweet handles for a current project I’ve been working on.

 

I really like rope handles. They are custom fit, super comfy, and they don’t rattle when they are hanging freely.

 

Knot tying is super cool when done well, and the history behind knots is pretty cool too. One of my favorite books is considered by some as the knot tying bible.

 

The Ashley Book of Knots , shown here perched comfortably on some fine Swedish furniture, is a rather expensive guide to knot tying. The thing is, it is also an exhaustive resource to the history of how and why each knot was used. I really do wish every woodworker could somehow incorporate more of this book into their projects.

March 30, 2014

Hand tool work is slow…

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 5:35 pm

That’s right. I said it, and in many cases, I believe it.

There are many situations where hand tools are faster, and where they are slower, but in my shop?

Projects take as long as they are going to take.

I don’t own a bandsaw, a thickness planer, a Jointer, drill press, shaper, or any of that stuff. Really, my miter saw and table saw can only be relied on for a very small percent of any project.

No for me, it’s just a lot of hard work that takes a long, long time to finish, but don’t feel sorry for me. I like it. I wish it was faster, and I do find that just getting all my material down to rough dimension, and properly flattened can bog down my shop for ages. And you can only blog about dimensioning wood so many times…

But no really. I do like the process of dimensioning wood. I like the process of taking warped, twisted, or simply rough wood, and commanding it to take the shape that I, and only I so choose. I like the process of mating each piece to the pieces around it. I like the process of demanding excellence from my two hands, and the tools they wield. I like the process of learning new skills, and adapting old skills in new applications.  I like the process of becoming better today than I was yesterday. But you can only blog about dovetails so many times…

I like the process of working with wood.

I like working with familiar tools. I like knowing their quirks, and their strengths. I don’t really like sharpening them, but I do it anyways, and enjoy them all the more when they are sharp. I have a weakness for new and expensive tools, but I also love old ones, and I revel in them when they work just as well as their new compeditors. I hate refurbishing them, but I do it anyways.

I don’t like working with power tools, but I do sometimes. I don’t like ear protection, safety glasses, and dust masks. I like listening to music, or sports on TV while I work. I like not being covered in dust when I’m done, and I don’t like sweeping up, but I’ve learned that shavings can be slippery on a painted concrete floor.

I like sharing my love of woodworking with others, but I realize that most people don’t get it, so I try not to bore them. I’d like to give more of what I make to others, but I realize that most of them don’t get it, so I try not to burden them. At least my mom likes what I make.

Thankfully. I like the process of working with wood.

Because hand tool work is slow…

March 15, 2014

Speaking of Anarchy…

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 1:04 pm

the other day I bought a pitchfork.

No really, I did! But it was for work.

You see with winter construction, in my part of the world, open excavations need to be protected from frost. We do that by spreading straw, and that helps keep the heat in the ground, or at least slow the freezing process while pouring footings and such.

But when it comes time to pour your basement floor, you will need to warm the ground up, and the straw is now in the way of the warming process. When we are busy, I have people to remove the straw for me, but when things are a little slower, I don’t mind strapping on the old tool belt and do some honest work.

Now the last time I decided to remove the straw from a basement myself, I decided that I would save myself the expense of a new tool (Pitchfork), because I was sure I could get by with my trusty rake. Just for the record, although a pitchfork is nice to have when dealing with straw, you can do a beautiful job with a rake. Also for the record, it will take forever, and you may not be able to walk the next day.

So I go ahead and fire up my sweet new pitchfork, and man is it awesome! There is straw flying everywhere, and that straw is moving the heck out of the basement. I got the bulk of the straw out in record time, but wait…

I was left with a thin layer of straw over the entire basement floor, and no matter how careful, the pitchfork just wasn’t fine enough to pick it up.

Trusty old rake to the rescue!!! The rake was fine enough to collect all the leftovers into a couple of larger piles that the pitchfork could really sink its teeth in to.

Two tools worked better than one.

Like slinging straw, handtool woodworking is real work. Unlike slinging straw, handtool woodworking can be fun, and while you can fully dimension all your boards with one not quite ideal plane, having a few dedicated planes will make it all the more fun.

So, should all beginners avoid starting with just one plane?

I think beginners can go through a three step process as they learn, and starting with more than one plane is confusing.

Step 1 – I made a shaving. Beginners should at this first stage be enamored with making shavings in the same way as a first crush. They should lay awake in bed lusting after the chance to go make more shavings. If all goes well, they will get a good understanding of how to sharpen, and set up a plane here, and multiple planes would muddy the waters.

Step 2 – Squaring up a board. Beginners that rush to this point, may get frustrated. Planes that still don’t work how they want them too will distract them from their new task, and make them feel like they are not smart/skilled enough to do this simple task. I also think this is the best time to learn how different tools, set up differently, will make the process much more smooth and effective. This is also a great time to learn about tearout, and wood selection.

Step 3 – I need to build something! I feel sorry for people that skip steps 1 and 2, and I think many handtool dropouts mostly come from people like this. This is the wrong time to learn how to sharpen, set up, and joint six foot curly maple boards with a block plane…

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