Issue Four T.O.C. - Restoring Wooden Bench Planes


Pre-orders for Issue Four open on February 1st. If you’ve already signed up for a yearly subscription, you’re all set. If you haven’t yet subscribed and prefer to purchase each issue individually, remember that the free shipping offer is for pre-orders only. Also, when the Issue Four pre-order window closes after Wednesday, April 4th, the pre-order brown paper wrapping with tradecard will no longer be available. If you want to make sure to never miss this special wrapping, the best way is to sign up for a yearly subscription and select “Auto-renewing Subscription”.

Every weekday beginning today, we will announce one article from the Issue Four table of contents here on the blog. Stay tuned. There’s quite a mix of articles this time!

Without further ado, the first article we’re announcing is the one I put together about restoring wooden bench planes...

In 1937, Walter Rose wrote, “I do not think the tools such as were used in the days of my youth can be surpassed. Even admitting the excellence of the modern tools that are used by hand, the old joiner’s affection remains for the old style of tools. He feels a spirit of affinity in a plane made of warm beech that does not seem to exist for him in cold hard steel.”

If you’ve been paying close attention the past few years, you know I am a wooden plane convert. Even though I was trained on high-quality metal-bodied handplanes, I decided to switch over to old wooden planes a few years back. What started as a curious exploration, turned into a revelation. There are many reasons that I wouldn’t trade my wooden planes for any others and, although I discuss many of these in the article, my main focus is on selecting, restoring, and using these planes. This article is about as practical as they come because my goal is to empower you to dig up one of those crusty old planes in an antique store and tune them back into glorious use again.

In my view, it’s a shame that people seem to be intimidated by these simple blocks of wood with an iron. It’s like they think that there’s magic involved with tuning them but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In this article, I lay out the simple restoration steps that anyone can follow. I cover a handful of the most common adjustment problems and how I solve them quickly and easily.

Tuning an old wooden plane rarely takes me more than an hour. This is something you can do and so I hope this article inspires you to dive in. If you are intrigued by the idea of hand-tool-only woodworking but only have hefty, metal planes to slug around, you should hear me out. Wooden planes (especially fore planes) are game-changing.

You can reserve your copy of Issue Four here. Stay tuned for the second article announcement tomorrow…

- Joshua