1. Thanks Joseph, I can see myself making a load of shavings for the next project using this method. One of these days I will get myself a Planner / Thicknesser but right now I want to be able to do this by hand.

  2. Thanks Paul. The perfect video at the perfect time for me. Yes, it is pronounced “afeared” if you’re out in the sticks. You’re an honorary Texan. I just bought 14.5 board feet of 8/4 rough beech for making hollows and rounds, and I ain’t afeared anymore. 😉

  3. Might take you up on that Dave. Thank God I watched this video first. Beech is hard. It planes beautifully but gives you a workout. Started with 8″ x 11′, 2″ wide rough sawn. Cut it down to 11″ sections with a hand saw. Split those in half with a hand saw. Then started hogging. The diagonal method really works well. That saved me. You just can’t run an iron down the length with a deep cut. Did I say beech is hard? Thanks Paul.

  4. Great video in so many ways: technique, expertise, hard work, sense of humor, enthusiasum, poetry, and results. All packaged in a wonderful example of masterful teaching. Like a swan gliding across a lake…..

    And once again, absolutely outstanding video and audio results.

  5. Thank you very much, Paul. This was my most wanted video!
    A few times during this demonstration I felt like it would be sometimes helpful to have this 3rd person’s camera perspective while beeing eye-to-eye with the board and the scrub.
    And it was good to see that this is also not a walk in the park even for such a skilled master.

    I wonder what stock preparation 3 will be about 😉

  6. When I saw this video for the first time I hadn’t really been conscious of how much I work out in a day. I have been doing some of this on my US tour every time I demonstrate so when I get to the next filming for the rocking chair conclusion I should be super fit.
    Thanks for all of you favourable comments, everyone. See you Wednesday for the start of the coffee table!

  7. Great video! Always good to see basics of hand work.
    One question about of your choose of order of operations.

    Some would do face1 then edge1 – then face2 next. Then cut to length (each end), shoot the ends and finally as a last step plane edge2. Thus, the splits from end shooting and face 2 traversing would be planed away last.

    Some would do face 2 after face 1 and save the edges for later.

    I wonder why you proceed as you do? Reason or habit?

    1. I find it most practical to do flat face followed by edge so that gauge lines and stock of gauge have the proven faces to run against. Overshooting with the plane on end grain is a bad habit. I lift off before out cut reaches far side and then, once down to knife wall on the one side, turn the board around and plane into the opening cut, which when done properly and carefully will not result in spelching.

  8. Nice gnarly board that you tamed Paul. Perfect example. Thanks for the excellent lesson.

    The board has some fairly short grain that can be seen on one edge as well as the “hill” that you described. You mentioned that it might be used for an apron or some other table part. For what furniture components should we reject boards that have short or strongly humped, reversing grain?

    One of the things I have found most challenging is getting an edge square to the face. I was disappointed that you got it square on the first time. I would like to hear your advice on how to correct an edge out of square or in twist.

    1. “One of the things I have found most challenging is getting an edge square to the face. I was disappointed that you got it square on the first time. I would like to hear your advice on how to correct an edge out of square or in twist.”

      I was thinking the same thing Scott. I have trouble with that too. I’ve even done the same thing on the wide flat face of a board too! It ends up looking something like a wedge. 🙂

      1. I had that trouble Kelly, I always planed a taper into my board. In my case it was to much pressure on the plane. Once I lightened up and just let the plane glide over the board It went fine. I have to remind my self every time though, light, light pressure

        1. Yeah, I’m working on it. Sometimes it works better than others.

          BTW, my “wedge” seen when you look down the length of the board. One side will be thicker than the other. hahah. I usually do that only on the edge but, I did one like that on the wide flat face. …I’ll keep try’n (no pun intended.)

  9. Brilliant Paul, learning from your advice I have an old Bailey No.4 from ebay, picked up a set of DMT stones (haven’t made a strop yet) and after 3 hours of flattening the back and sharpening the plane iron. I have thoroughly enjoyed planing boards that I have about the place, I couldn’t believe how well it glides through the cut. I have a board here that’s twisted, bowed and cupped so this video is perfect for getting me started… thank you so much for sharing your vast experience.

  10. Hi Paul. Great video, thanks very much. Would you personally use that process for your stock if you were making a commercial piece or do you employ the help of thicknessers/planers? I am watching these with half an eye on what is appropriate should I one day turn my hobby into a business albeit on a small scale/part time basis still with the emphasis on traditional techniques where commercialism allows.

    1. I thank you for this question as I answered it for a friend of mine just yesterday as I got ready for the show here in Columbus Ohio.
      I use both methods depending on different criteria. The difference for me is that I can make choices others can’t because I mastered skills that give me this unique freedom. And of course that’s what the woodworking masterclasses is all about – master skill. We are trying to reestablish planing and sawing skills that will equip us to work wood appropriately down the road. So that when we surface plane, we have the confidence to whip off shavings and remove the planer marks without resorting the whole time to belt and orbital sanders, which translates into dust masks ear defenders and so on. Mastering the plane is a must because it reduces power sanding by a massive 80%. I can hand sand with a flat sheet of sandpaper in a heartbeat so establishing skill in planing really actually saves time. It’s getting to that skill level that counts.. tThe other key element is that we te tend to discount wellbeing in our work in our work ethic. For me, ethos is everything.

  11. Wow. Thank you so much. Paul, I was not planning on doing woodworking when I happened upon one of your video’s late december. From the little handywork I did in the past, I remember how I hated the saw, because it felt to be such a crude unprecise intrument. Seeing your knifewall explanation really dropped my jaw and running off to find a peace of wood just to saw it in the proper way.
    I am now one workbench and one carrying tote ‘old’ as a hobbyist woodworker, and yesterday you had me runnig off a again. I found myself a bent and twisted piece of what was in my mind scrapwood, and managed to get it flat and square. While working on it, I caught myself saying: “I’m having so much fun right now”, just like you do every now and then in your video’s 🙂 And I really felt it, and for that I cannot thank you enough!


  12. I’m curious about two things. First, why rip to width before taking out the cup on the second side? Wouldn’t leaving the rip for later give you more freedom in not worrying about your squared edges being spoiled?

    The second question is I don’t understand how to correct an out of square edge. The plane blade is straight across and set parallel to the sole. Planing should just keep the edge the same angle to the face. When I try to square an edge to a face, it’s really hit or miss whether I can get what I want.

    1. I was hoping that Paul would chime in here.

      I believe it was Robert Wearing who prescribed using a cambered (Jack plane) iron to quickly correct an out-of-square edge. By planing using only the left or right edge of the iron, the camber will cut deeper at the center of the plane than it will at the edge. Do a stroke or two and check for square.

      I believe you can do something similar (but less efficiently perhaps) with an uncambered iron by using your plane’s lateral adjuster to cut deeper on the side of the board’s edge that is higher. Do that for a stroke or two, check for square, and then put the lateral adjustment back to level once you reach square.

      I am practicing Paul’s grip now to see if holding the plane from the front is more effective than the side grip I was using.

      1. I simply press but rarely tilt my plane to the heavy side. Three strokes usually corrects any out of squareness there is. I would never readjust my plane set to set the iron out of parallel to the sole using the lateral adjustment lever – only to set it parallel. It was never the general purpose to do that and it’s seems but is not really a practical solution.

        1. Thanks, Paul- I’ll explore that approach. I’d seen demonstrations of David Charlesworth’s gently cambered blade approach in which offsetting the plane to one side or the other of the edge controls where the heavier part of the cut is, but have not had reliable results with it. I do agree with Charlesworth’s comment that no one can tilt a plain to a few thousandths of an inch. I can easily believe some extra pressure would do the trick and be controllable. The gently cambered blade (just a a couple thou. inch) actually does work, but it is one more fussy detail when sharpening and it makes adjusting the plane fussier too. In the end, sometimes it worked for me (and then was a joy) and other times I just spiraled out of control and made the edge less and less square.

          If you plane an edge with the plane level on the edge but skewed to the pushing direction, there’s a leading edge and a trailing edge. Does one side tend to cut more aggressively when you skew? I don’t think I’ve paid enough attention to notice (too caught up in aiming for square!).

  13. Hi. I saw a very interesting YouTube video (by who I forget) on which it was explained that simply by holding the plane correctly at the front one could control accurately where in relation to the edge of the board the plane travels. It is then a simple matter of planing more to the left if more is needed to be removed on the left of the edge and vice versa. Now I have tried it and it certainly works but don’t ask me why! John

  14. I too keep struggling with the edge square to face thing. When I used chambered edges on my plane blades it was much easier to correct out of square. Scot pointed out a good solution by using your lateral adjuster, but sometimes the “not being square” changes from left to right along an edge. It may even be square at some points.

    Conclusion: I’m still looking for a proper method.

  15. That’s incredible. Paul, I’m delighted with your explanations and what I admire most about your work and philosophy of this website, is power working wood with hand tools. I hate the noise and aggressiveness of the power tools. To devote the necessary time to work a board and know and enjoy stepping timber. That fills me with satisfaction. Thanks Paul and the entire community for their advice.

  16. When I try to view the video I get a Message screen that Reads:


    The creator of this video has not given you permission to embed it on this domain. This is a Vimeo Plus feature.


    I am unable to watch the video….

    1. Sorry about this. Is anyone else having this problem? I have done something that may have fixed but I couldn’t see the error in the first place. Let me know if it is still there and we will keep working to fix it.

      P.S. I will remove these comments when it is fixed.

  17. LIL for this video, thank you very much Paul as this has opened my eye’s on flatening etc. with hand planes. I hate using my Delta Lunch Box planer because of the noise and dust it creates. I am really liking this hand tool approach. And it is good exercise, yes.


  18. Put a plank into the machine – it comes out like any other(s) ; If I work-on it with my hands and “keep persevering” I am working also to myself; maybe the real quality of things starts in this synergy.
    Thank you for reminding this.

  19. I don’t understand an important thing in the beginning of this wonderful video: Paul says he use the hand plane in a way he gradually reduces the hump wich is i believe the convex face of the cup. I’m able to gradually reduce the concave face by traversing, but what i have to do to remove the hump like Paul?

  20. I am building an 8′ long walnut table and I am having trouble with my number 7 leveling plane gouging the wood where I encounter a grain change. I have tried a 4.5 smoothing plane to take it out with limited success and the same with a card scraper. I don’t want to remove too much more stock because I don’t want the stock to be any thinner. I could sand it out but that will leave noticible valleys in the top, any suggestions

  21. Paul
    Your the hardest working man on the internet. That oak board had every nasty a person usually looks to avoid.
    Your explanation of the rising grain where the knot/branch occurs has helped me understand whats going on with the wood and how to deal with it.
    I’ve often wondered how the use of oil on the plane might interact with the finish. I’m glad you pointed out by the time the piece is ready for finish that all the oil is gone.
    Thank you!

  22. Thanks, Paul. Lucid as always.

    One small question: Inexpertly used, a short scrub plane could accentuate the hollows rather than reduce the humps. To get more of a bridging effect, could you not put than curved scrub plane blade in a longer plane such as a jack or even a jointer?

    Thank you


    1. using a longer plane like a jack is what Chris Schwarz advocates. I did the same more only because that was the extra plane i had at the time and i wanted to keep my number 4 for general use. It works just fine. I haven’t tried a shorter scrub plane yet so don’t have a comparison.

    2. I personally think that a #4 length works just fine and would not generally use a longer plane until I have taken the said high spots and humps down. Then, for those who want to use a longer plane like a jack, it will be closer to the levels you need. No, I wouldn’t use a longer plane except possibly for a more refined truing because shorter scrubs means more localised and it works fine.

  23. Given the age of the video I doubt this will get a response but I was curious about the bow along the length of the board. It’s fairly obvious around the 37 minute mark of the video where the bow flexes in the center.

    I know Paul was aware of it because 1) he’s always aware of what the wood is doing and 2) he briefly mentioned it early on. It seems to me one of those subtle nearly unconscious decisions by a master. He could have taken it out but that would have left too little material for thickness plus, depending on the use of the board, the bow is easily pulled out during joinery as long as two attachment points aren’t referenced from one end, ie flexing the bow out doesn’t change a length.

    In machined work (joiner/planer) that bow would be machined out as part of the natural process but for hand work I imagine it’s not uncommon to simply leave it in if it’s minor and long enough to be flexed out.

    I guess at some level I’m hoping for a comment that indeed the decision was that taking it out would be more detrimental than leaving it in and didn’t effect the final piece in any way.

  24. Hello and thanks for that video. Old but still actual.

    I have two questions regarding the jig/board you use to dog your stock in place. First, does it have a name? Second, the principle seem quite simple but if you had suggestions regarding the dimensions that’d be great.


  25. It is a “bench hook” it is usually used against the front of the workbench to help holding a piece with the hand while sawing that piece with the other hand.
    search for “bench hook” and look the pictures.
    Some people make more than one with various dimensions ( mainly length and stop height).

  26. Bench hook is one of the most useful things in my workshop. Some people make a pair, so that you can support work better, some people combine them with a shooting board, I have used the back side of mine for small panel glue ups using wedges. I imagine teh bench hook could get pages of comments just on its own 🙂

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