Preparing Rough Stock

Preparing Rough Stock

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Starting out with rough or oversized stock which you want to prepare using only hand tools? Paul shows how to use of the scrub plane and winding sticks to get your rough stock ready for your project.


  1. Carlos J. Collazo on 19 April 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Very valuable, thank you Paul Sellers
    & team. Many of us for one reason or other cannot or do not want to keep a thicknesser or jointer in our workspace. And I think this is an important fundamental skill for any craftsman.

  2. woodworker435 on 19 April 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Great extra video. It is always so helpful of you to show how work can be accomplished with everyday tools, not a $2500 machine that most do not own.

  3. Eddy Flynn on 19 April 2014 at 3:43 pm

    thanks so much for this Paul, this video smash’s so many mith’s .

  4. dpaul on 19 April 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Great quality video! I was able to see the slight twist in the leg at 54:30 before you applied the winding sticks. Thanks so much. This is really helping to train my eyes.

  5. garyprott on 19 April 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Nice way to start a Saturday morning. Extra videos are awesome. This is something anyone that works wood needs to learn. Sometimes a machine may be broken. Then what do you do? Oh yes. THIS. Thanks for all your teaching. Really enjoy these videos..

  6. bow on 19 April 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Many many thanks paul for this video. I’m one of them thatcannot afford a thicknesser and planer and want to do all miling and dimensioning wood by hand, only..

  7. Gerry Rovner on 19 April 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Thank you, Paul, for this techniques and process video. Terrific! While I do have the ,machinery, being taught how to do the squaring, dimensioning, and smoothing by hand is invaluable! I will modify my older no. 4. plane to make it a scrub plane, for future use.

  8. harpman on 19 April 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Thank you Paul. I’m just getting started. Must tool up and learn a lot as I have been with your most interesting videos! Thanks, Bruce

  9. harpman on 19 April 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Really? I took a double take when you said 4 minutes to sharpen that saw… Bruce

  10. Craig Gamble on 19 April 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks, Paul.
    This was very informative as always.

  11. ticktockman on 19 April 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Good job guys. Thanks for this one.
    (I do miss Ken’s comments)

  12. David Gill on 19 April 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks Paul great video , a good inside into using sawn timber, up to now I have always used pre-planed timber, I do not have any machines for milling it myself

  13. JOHN-C on 19 April 2014 at 9:05 pm

    A few years back I was contemplating investing in a 12″ jointer, a phase converter and other essentials for this large machine, lots of money. Why? I needed and wanted a way to flatten boards that were wider than my 6″ jointer, instead of ripping them and gluing them back together.

    Thanks to Paul Sellers, others like him and books I learned how ignorant I really was. Makes me laugh at myself now, that I was willing to spend thousands of dollars on a machine when it only cost me less than a $50 investment in hand planes to do the same exact thing.

  14. John Moore on 19 April 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I enjoyed seeing the scrub plane being used in a way that makes a lot of sense. I did set up a dedicated No. 4 as a ‘scrub’ plane about month ago. I thought I might have been over using it, but I think over all I am switching over to the jack or smoother appropriately. I would love to have a good band saw, but until then, I will keep four squaring stock by hand. Now even more efficiently due to this great lesson.

  15. rayc21 on 19 April 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Very interesting vidio Paul, I have learned a lot reasentely with your videos you always take the time to explain all about the subject that you are working on.

  16. karlg on 19 April 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Paul and team,
    Thank you for the surprise Easter gift. All of your extra effort and commitment provides an example and incentive for all of us to share our expertise and knowledge with others.

  17. norm lafond on 19 April 2014 at 11:39 pm

    this answered so many questions about using rough stock — it opens up many possibilities for me to use many types of lumber

  18. J_SAMa on 20 April 2014 at 12:29 am

    About that in-the-vise clamping for surface planing…
    Wouldn’t the wood cup when it’s clamped like that? Surely with 1 1/8 oak that probably won’t matter too much but what about say 1/2 pine? I’d try to dog that really.
    Just my 2 cents,

  19. STEVE MASSIE on 20 April 2014 at 1:24 am

    Paul and Crew thanks for this one, very nice surprise and very much appreciated. I learned a lot from this and just so happens I have a spare #4 which will be designated for my new scrub plane. That sure makes for fast stock removal.

    Thanks again !


  20. bit101 on 20 April 2014 at 3:15 am

    Great one, Paul. I just bought and rehabbed a second No. 4 for this very purpose. This is really helpful. What about jointer planes? Seems like you get by pretty well without a No. 7 or anything close.

    Also, would love to see a video on how to make a nice pair of winding sticks like those you have. You explain them well in this and other videos, but I’m sure there are some nice tricks involved in how to make them.

    No rush though, still need to make my shooting board and dovetail template. 🙂

    • Farred on 20 April 2014 at 5:09 am

      I just bought some 1 inch aluminum angle stock (L shaped)–cheap and straight. You can lay some contrasting plastic tape along the length.

  21. Farred on 20 April 2014 at 4:55 am

    It is difficult to explain to someone the thrill of planing flat and square your first board. All done with no noise, eye protection, hearing protect, and dust–just piles of beautiful shavings. As Paul would say, this is REAL woodworking.

  22. beniloew on 20 April 2014 at 11:02 am

    Great video!
    Do you ever use a jointer plane?
    Thanks – Beni

  23. mchickm on 20 April 2014 at 11:42 am

    Great Video, thanks guys !

  24. Farred on 20 April 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Paul: do you have some tips about squaring the edges? I’ve flattened several boards but find squaring the entire length the most difficult part of planing. I even attached a fence to my wooden jointer plane. I had to laugh when, as an after thought, you checked for squareness, and viola, it was so.

    • bit101 on 20 April 2014 at 8:00 pm

      Best line: “They’re always square these days.” Ah, the benefits of a few decades of experience. 🙂

  25. Thomas Marange on 20 April 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Paul; Thanks for the great tutorial. Just starting out,collecting tools, preparing my garrage for a work bench etc. I’m learning what I can, and the WW Masterclasses site has been worth it,s weight in gold. Thanks Tom

  26. billstennett on 20 April 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I have a couple of questions about the process which seem to affect me when I try try to plane up a board which I hope someone can shed a little light on.

    1) when using the winding sticks do you need to try them at different places along the board (moving towards the centre) or is it sufficient to just place them at the end of the board? Perhaps, as long as you have taken a continuous shaving for the full length then checking the ends is all you need?

    2) when planing the face edge my first try is often not square to the face side so what’s the process to get it square? Do you need to be using a plane with a cambered iron to correct it? Can you use a plane with a flat iron and tilt it? Or apply more pressure to the high side?

    Any thoughts appreciated

    • Joe Beazelman on 21 April 2014 at 7:40 pm

      1) No. Think about the surface of the face. If there’s a twist, it will run down the entire diagonal of the board. If it doesn’t, then it’s technically not twist. So, you only need to check for the ends of the board. The reason a plane can’t automatically remove twists is because they are not long or wide enough to reference off the entire surface of the board lengthwise and widthwise. Normal planing only requires working on one direction at a time. That’s why a jointer can quickly flatten and remove twists in one pass. It’s also why a jointer plane is wider and longer than a jack plane. It references more of the surface to help flatten the board at a time.

      2) You need to consider that the face of the board is your initial surface. Think about it as a piece of paper. By definition, it’s not square because there’s no other sides (ignore page thickness). Your initial face of the wood isn’t necessarily square because the other sides are not surfaced yet. All you can do is make sure than all points are on the same plane, like a flat sheet of paper.

      Once, you’ve established the face, you can use it as a reference to square the other sides. The subsequent faces can be made to be square to the initial face or to a another face already squared to the initial face.

    • Ed on 26 April 2014 at 12:55 am

      In class, Paul showed us how to apply pressure to the high side of the plane. Look in the video where he shows his fingers curled under the sole and his thumb on top in front of the knob. You can put your thumb on one side or the other of plane and apply downward pressure with that thumb to change squareness with a flat (square) iron. It was hard for me to get this to work and found I needed substantial thumb pressure, so you may need to experiment. You may also unintentionally counter your thumb pressure by gripping the tote too firmly or even twisting the tote without realizing it. You can try holding the heel of the plane between thumb and fingers catty-corner to the hand at the front of the plane as a way to avoid this (the grip is exactly like at the toe…fingers curled underneath, thumb on top). The nice thing about a flat blade rather than cambered for working on an edge is that, if you aren’t bulldogging, then a true, flat blade will keep the square edge square while a cambered blade will change squareness if used off-center. I don’t know if this is Paul-approved, but if an edge is badly out of square, I’ll take my cambered plane and use it off center to correct the squareness, then go back to the flat iron plane. But, you have to be careful because you can change squareness quickly (for the worse) and do other weird things with that cambered blade if you’re not being sensitive. It’s one of my favorite planes though, like a supersonic gouge. I set it up on my #5 rather than #4 as Paul shows.

  27. vnesterov on 20 April 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Some advice on how to get boads and keep boards square while planing would we very very helpful indeed. For me personaly I seem to create an angled surface when I try to plane a board edge.

  28. Mihai on 21 April 2014 at 4:21 pm

    My ‘lesson’ abstract :
    ⦁ the pursuit for exactness : The way you start …
    ⦁ the usefull scrub plane
    ⦁ the simple -perfect anatomy of the sawhorses (and no accidental marks on them)
    ⦁ the importance of a good front-vise
    ⦁ the role of the apprentice (actually -me – before a generous reward )
    ⦁ the large ‘P’ -gauged cup … ((:))

    such a great video , thanks for it.

  29. Kirk Zabolio on 21 April 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks Paul for the extra videos. Of all the videos out there yours are the best. Thanks again and keep them coming.


  30. richard hurrell on 22 April 2014 at 5:56 am



  31. knightlylad on 23 April 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you for the lesson, much appreciated.

  32. Ed on 26 April 2014 at 1:00 am

    Sometimes, heavy passes across the grain cause heavy spelching on the edge. Is maple worse for this? I’d concluded that meant I had to thickness first and rip to width last, leaving room for the edge to possibly break out. It seems that the trick of taking the edge off that Paul shows as a way to indicate when you’ve gotten to thickness is also a chamfer running the length of the board that will prevent the spelching problem. That will be a big time saver, reducing extra “just in case” ripping.

  33. arie67 on 1 September 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Excellent instructional videos, thank you Paul and team. My whole life I made al sort of constructions and contrapsions in the house and for friends untill a couple of years ago I decided to do things properly. I realised that all those beatiful furniture and houses from hundreds of years ago was made with handtools. So I went after the handtools from carboot sales etc and learned to sharpen them and to use them properly. Without your invaluable instructions on woodpreparation, toolhandling and body management I still would not have known much how to do the actual woodworking. I work with one number 4 and a couple of wooden planes and profile planes. Some old but sharp handsaws, a selection of second hand chisels in diiferent sizes, some files and diamond stones to sharpen. Two electric drills and a drillpress. My work starts to look decent. Thanks.

  34. Joel Finkel on 20 July 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I have a question that is simple to ask, but perhaps difficult to answer. It is this: How flat is flat?

    I am dimensioning 2 pieces of walnut (7″ x 36″) in order to edge joint them to make a 14″ x 36″ table top. One of the rough sawn boards varied widely (~1/4″) in thickness along its length and also had some bow. I got one side as flat as I could, but I’m sure it’s not as flat as a thickness planer could get it. As I sight down the edge of board, it looks flat, but perhaps has a slight bow at the end. I just cannot tell for sure.

    I suppose, in general, I wonder what tolerances are considered acceptable for hand tool work. Joinery is easier to gauge, as a joint is either well-executed and seamless or not. But how flat is flat?

    Thanks is advance for all suggestions.

    • Sven-Olof Jansson on 9 September 2015 at 3:27 pm

      A simple test of fit-for-purpose could perhaps be to put a glass of water on the bowed part of the top. If the water surface looks level when sitting in front of the table, then I would be happy and probably replace the water with a fluid more appropriate for celebrations.

  35. Bryan Webber on 8 September 2015 at 11:23 pm

    This video helped me so much Mr Sellers. Thank you so much for your expertise and willingness to share it with the general public and fellow woodworkers. I just bought the veritas plough plane from an article I read you did for a review.

  36. petervalcanas on 13 September 2015 at 4:05 am

    I have no intention of buying a planer or a jointer at this time and this video might persuade me to never buy one.
    I just turned 65 and after watching a couple of your videos decided woodworking was for me, I might not be able to afford everything I need at this time but I’ll chip away a little at a time.
    Thanks a bunch Paul,

  37. petervalcanas on 13 September 2015 at 4:12 am

    I had a question for you. I have a bench that I had put together more than 20 years ago made of 2×4’s that was only meant to be a simple bench and nothing more but after buying a #4 and #5 plane I thought it would be perfect to practice planing, however, the damn thing has more knots than I have aches and pains and wonder if maybe I’m wasting my time.
    Also, do you think buying a new plane and converting it to a scrub plane is worth it? I hate buying on EBay sight unseen.

    Thanks again,

  38. petervalcanas on 18 September 2015 at 3:27 am

    I just started watching the episode about the scrub plane and feel foolish about my last question. ha ha
    Thanks again Paul!

  39. William Marr on 25 November 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Paul – what kind of oil do you use with your oil-can lubricant? Also, is there a concern about spontaneous combustion with the oily rag rolled in the can? Thanks.

  40. Alien8 on 25 November 2015 at 2:32 pm


    I’m not Paul, but to answer your question : Paul uses a light machine oil, the 3 in 1 stuff you can buy at any hardware store…

    you’ll have to build a new shop If you do


    • Peter George on 25 November 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Also linseed oil is a drying oil so you’d end up with a sticky mess, even if you’re shop didn’t burn down.

    • William Marr on 25 November 2015 at 7:34 pm

      I guess combustion is not a concern with 3&1. Thanks Diego.

  41. tmpt on 22 January 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Maybe I’m over thinking it, but it seems to me that a rag stuffed into a can with oil added is not as simple as it sounds when one gets to actually making the thing. My question, is how much oil is added? If I were to use the exact can and rag that Paul uses, how much oil is required and how is it applied to the rag? I think another video would remove any mysteries!
    Right? 😉

    • Joe Kaiser on 22 January 2016 at 10:37 pm

      If you are using the 3-in-1 oil, it won’t evaporate, but the rag will absorb it. I just stuffed the rag in, squeezed some on top and used it. By the next time I needed it, the rag had wicked it in, so I had to put a little bit more on.

      It has gotten to the point where the rag is fully saturated and I very rarely have to apply more. You don’t need it to be dripping with oil. You want just enough that can can “smell” it on your plane when you are done.

      Sometimes that is my test. If I feel like i need to add more to the rag, I use it on a plane and give the sole a sniff. If I can smell the oil, it is good enough for me.

    • Martin McColl on 23 January 2016 at 11:50 pm

      I used 3floz of 3-in-one oil to soak a long strip of tee shirt that was then folded in half and rolled to a diameter that could be stuffed into a 4oz Green Chilies can. The resulting fabric cochlea sits about 5/8″ higher that the rim of the can. I add extra oil from time to as the pad dries out.

  42. Jari Granroth on 21 April 2016 at 2:57 pm

    How about using candle as a lubricant on the sole of the plane? I mean to have a very light rub of old candle to the sole? Would that cause any harm in the finishing phase?

    • Matt McGrane on 22 April 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Jari, I don’t know if candle wax is different from other types of wax, but I have used parafin wax (now I use the oiled-rag-in-a- can). Candle wax may have colorants in it that could change your wood appearance.

  43. arnold on 30 April 2016 at 8:24 pm

    after 60 years of plumbing work and strickly supervision for the last 15 years I need to keep my hands busy so I’m learning from the best , paul sellers, also a old timer in his trade, I watch evry video , baught pauls book and video on essential wood working hand I’m on my way to learning a new trade. or hobby, and I love it what a great teacher paul is, he realy knows what hes doing after 50 years of wood working . keep up the good workpaul ill always be right at the other end of the screen.

  44. Ricardo Santos on 2 February 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Many thanks, Paul, for sharing your experience. This is priceless knowledge for a beginner like me.
    You deserve all the best.

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