DID YOU KNOW…

To some people, learning a new skill can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Handplane Central has information for beginner woodworkers on the many different types of planes and what they’re used for. Why are some planes longer than others, and why do the blades all have different angles? What hand plane is best for your needs and what are the essential planes you simply can’t work without?

Handplane Central also has information on how to set up your plane properly so that it works the best way possible. Want to know the correct way to use a plane, such as for shooting the end of a board or thicknessing down to a line, then Handplane Central can help with that as well. We also have information on blade sharpening, flattening a sole or repairing a handle.


PlaneFest 2006 – Worlds Best Hand Plane Makers Unite


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If you're into hand planes - most notably infill planes - you may or may not have been aware that something very special took place in Michigan a week and a half ago on Friday (10th February).

The event took place in the workshop of Popular Woodworking Magazine and featured some of the finest contemporary plane makers in the world. Some of the attendees included Wayne Anderson of Anderson Planes, Konrad Sauer of Sauer + Steiner Toolworks, John Economaki from Bridge City Toolworks, Larry Williams and Don McConnell of Clark and Williams, Robin Lee from Lee Valley Tools and Tom Lie-Nielsen of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks.

Terry Saunders, plane designer for Lee Valley/Veritas who - if he hasn't already - should be awarded numerous prizes for design, style and functionality, was also at the event, as was Mark Swanson who has an equally important job as a patternmaker for Lie-Nielsen. Others involved in the event were Ron Hock, master blade maker, Clarence Blanchard and Mike Jenkins of The Fine Tool Journal, Joel Moskowitz from Tools For Working Wood, consumate metal craftsman Brian Buckner and Bob Baker, a seminal name in contemporary planemaking and one of the pivotal people involved in "kick-starting" a renaissance in planemaking over the past 20 or so years.

The day was hosted by Christopher Schwarz from Popular Woodworking Magazine and John Edwards. Both of these guys are great craftsmen in their own right.

After starting with individual introductions and a little background into how the guys got into planemaking. collecting etc, it was then down to tuning up and using the many tens of thousands of dollars worth of handplanes. Whether it was bevel up or bevel down apparently all of the planes made thin, lacy shavings and left smooth, satiny surfaces. Some handled difficult grain better than others, but all of them worked remarkably.

Extraordinarily the event will also be remembered for those who could have come had their workloads permitted. Names like Karl Holtey, Bill Carter, Ray Iles, Ian Dalziel and Darryl Hutchinson from England and Ben Knebel from Shepherd Tools were among the list. Though the guys themselves were absent, their hand planes were not. In the words of Ron Hock "Imagine taking a few swipes with a Sauer and Steiner. Reaching over and grabbing a Holtey 98 or A13. Then a Clark & Williams woodie. All the while having Robin Lee or Thomas Lie Nielsen standing there watching and talking and brother Buckner saying smile for the camera and Bob Baker and Mark Swanson talking about dovetailing infill soles."

The day was a huge success and a great time was had by all. The question now is whether or not there will be a similar event next year? Several of the attendees have already offered up their shops for just such a gathering in 2007.

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