10 Guidelines for the Cutting Edge of a Handplane

Lost Art Press

During the last eight years I’ve tried to refine how I explain how to use a handplane to students. The biggest problem the students have isn’t ignorance. I wish that were the case. Instead, their biggest problem is they have been flooded with so much contradictory information that they are paralyzed.

So I’ve been trying to increase the signal and decrease the noise so they can focus on what is important. To help cement these ideas, I’ve created a list of principles relating to handplanes. Here are the ones for the tool’s cutting edge. The most important one is No. 10.

1. A sharp edge is two surfaces that intersect at the smallest point possible. This is called a “zero-radius intersection.”

2. A dull edge is where damage has occurred (hitting a nail) or the zero-radius intersection has worn away to create a third surface at the intersection.

3. A…

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