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REVIEW David Charlesworth DVD Part 2: Hand Planing

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Alf

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This is the second in a series of videos/DVDs made by David Charlesworth in collaboration with the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks; the first of which I reviewed here. Unsurprisingly, given the title, this one focuses on DC’s hand planing techniques, and follows the first in having parts of the nine sections filmed at an open house presentation at L-N’s Maine workshops last year and the rest in a one-to-one workshop setting. The bias is slightly more towards the former in this one though. There’s a short intro explaining his approach to planing, the virtues of sycamore (as used in the demonstrations) and the importance of a flat sole if you want to take the finest shavings. The nine sections are as follows:

Stop Shavings and Straight Edges
How to go about planing a board edge slightly hollow (2 thou), the reasoning behind preferring slightly hollow surfaces as opposed to bumps and DC’s preference for a longer plane over a shorter smoother.

Datum Surfaces
Taking previously machined stock and preparing it for accurate marking out, why you’d want to do that, using DC’s preferred curved blade to prepare a reference face without losing flatness and how pencil lines help the whole process.

Bumps
How to go about removing them and restoring a hollow in the width of a board.

Face Edge
Hollowing the length, squaring up a face edge using the curved blade and how that works.

Wind
Winding sticks and their use explained, and how to use paper to measure wind.

Thicknessing to a Gauge Line
The difficulties of finding a good marking gauge, and learning how to use it. Planing down to parallel before reaching the gauge line and using the polished track from the gauge to judge how much further you need to go.

Hand Planing End Grain and Squaring Edges
Curved edges on block plane blades, using the same techniques on end grain as shown on long grain, avoiding splitting out and squaring up in two dimensions.

Placing a Knife Line
Planing end grain down to a knife line in a similar way to thicknessing to a gauge line, marking out using datum surfaces and using a knife and square accurately.

Bonus Footage - Flattening your workbench
The importance of a flat bench top and using the technique shown before to flatten part of it.


As you may imagine, I don’t begrudge an hour and a half looking at hand planes however they‘re presented, but this was very easy to watch, by and large. There was a glitch here and there, which just breaks the concentration on the action a bit; nothing I can’t live with given the quality and quantity of information on this disc, but it does come across as a bit amateur in places. I particularly liked the addition of diagrams to explain some points, and close ups and cutaways for things like winding sticks and how the curved blade is used to square up an edge. The latter always seems to be a difficult one to grasp, and I thought it was explained pretty well. DC’s reaction to his audience being largely unfamiliar with winding sticks has to take the prize for funniest moment so far - oh, the horror! There was a little more of L-N’s finest on show in this one, but again, it’s in no way a hard sell - or indeed any kind of sell at all. I can’t tell you how nice that is, and I hope it’s a trend kept up in the subsequent parts.

Now it seems to me there’s quite a spectrum of plane user types; veering from the 18thC re-enactor who uses ancient woodies and decries the use of so much as a square, right up to the cutting edge modern woodworker who has all the latest in bevel-up technology and measures their joints with a micrometer. DC is very much up towards the latter end of the scale; don’t expect to be able to take a hunk of tree trunk and turn it into a square board after watching this. Scrub planes will not be required. But taking a hand plane to already machined stock is almost certainly what the majority of us do, so let’s not kid ourselves. This takes it rather more into hand planes for machinists/engineers, if I can put it that way; how he takes already machined stock and takes 1 to 2 thousandth of an inch shavings from it. I must confess it’s not quite my approach to things; although I probably do work to similar tolerances (at least I flatter myself I probably do. Well I could if I wanted to…), I don’t put actual figures to it in the same way. They scare me, if I’m honest. However, you can’t help but be impressed when a dial caliper showed the hand-thicknessed stock accurate to within 2 thou all round.

So is this something I’d recommend to the hand plane novice? On the whole, I think not. There’s lots of excellent information in there, and I learnt quite a bit, but I feel it's more of use to the woodworker who’s already familiar with planes and wants to take their use up a level. Or three. There’s really nothing on the setting up of a plane, for that you’d need disc one and even then it was very briefly covered, and although a longer plane is suggested it felt like the reason why had ended up on the cutting room floor. Don’t mistake me, I liked this disc a lot, but like DC’s books, I feel exposure to his ideas at too early a stage on The Hand Tool Slope could be a little intimidating. But if you’re already comfortable with setting your plane for a fine cut, and finally want to do more with it than just make fluffy shavings to decorate the workshop floor, I’ll think you’d find a lot on this disc to learn from and enjoy. This series of discs is looking like becoming a very impressive reference library of David’s hand tool techniques.

David Charlesworth Hand Tool Techniques. Part 2: Hand Planing DVD 93mins £19.95.
Video also available, both direct from David Charlesworth and Lie-Nielsen

Very many thanks to David for sending me this DVD to review.
 
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Thanks once again Alf yet another excellent review (there really is a career for you there you know)

I might just buy this on the strength of your review even though I balk at the price :?
 

Philly

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Splendid review Alf (again! :D )
Agree with you on the "not for a beginner", as it could put people off. (you know, being REAL anal about stuff!) It is a pleasure to watch though, if only to watch a presenter carefully choose his words and speak clearly.
Personally, I learnt a whole lot from this DVD. I cannot spare the time to go on DC's courses (much as I want to !!!) and this DVD certainly goes a long way towards the DC experience. :D
Looking forward to Part 3.
cheers
Philly :D
 

bugbear

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Agree with you on the "not for a beginner", as it could put people off. (you know, being REAL anal about stuff!) I
A criticism I would also level the Garratt Hack's "The Handplane Book", which is also for committed enthusiasts only.

BugBear
 

froglet

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So if its not for the hand plane novice like myself what would people recommend to get started with hand planes. I enjoyed the sharpening video and I was going to put this on my list to santa so what should I replace it with.

Graeme
 

Alf

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froglet":2vno4oqh said:
so what should I replace it with.
Good question. There's Rob Cosman's Hand Planing one, Mario Rodriguez's Handplanes in the Woodshop and the hard-to-find Jim Kingshott ones. None of which I have seen, unfortunately, so all I can say is they exist. And even that's doubtful when it comes to the Kingshotts. Anyone in a position to comment on any or all of them?

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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I have the Rob Cosman one-Waka has borrowed it too, I wonder what he thinks?
It's not bad, but is a little short on real detail for nerds (maybe) Lots of info though, although a bit too "House of L-N" for my liking............
Some info on sharpening, but not as much detail as the DC one!
Cheers
Philly :D
 

froglet

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Having had a look at the Lie Nielsen site the Rob Cosman video sounds like a good idea, especially as the only two planes I currently own are featured in it :D

Philly where did you get your copy? I notice that axminster sell his dovetail video but annoyingly not the planing one.

Graeme
 

Philly

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I bought mine off this pushy Canadian Bloke. Rob something....
All I can say is this-Stay away from the Lie-Nielsen stand at shows. It will cost you dear! :lol:
Regards
Philly :D
 

froglet

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Philly:
It did cost me dear, very dear, and strangely enough it was all the fault of a pushy canadian bloke again (oh and the lovely Michelle of course, definitely her fault too) :D

Alf:
Thanks for that. :oops: Here was me expecting a search for Rob Cosman to find it. I would prefer the DVD version though, although being american I suppose it will be region 1.

Graeme
 

Philly

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Froglet
Far as I know they are region free. If not, I would be happy to do you a region free copy if you need it.
Cheers
Philly
(who is getting the hang of this DVD burning stuff!)
 

froglet

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Thanks for the offer Philly but I've emailed Lie-Nielsen and they are indeed region free. Now the big question is can I order from the LN site and only get a video? :D
 

Waka

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Philly

Yes I did enjoy the video, but as you say there are more detailed ones out there when it comes to sharpening.

BTW did anyone come away from the show with nothing?
 
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Anonymous

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Very astute observation about DC's "end of the scale". I have the DVD and found it very interesting, but I'm not going to adopt DC's technique and radius all my plane blades! The Rob Cosman video was more useful to me. I also have the Kingshott video, which is very good.

My favorite hand tool videos are the Kenneth Bowers videos made in the mid-80s. What a neat guy...

Bart Hovis
 

Midnight

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When the DVD's arrived the other day, DC had included a little slip to say that forthcoming releases would cover 1/getting the most out of scrapers, and 2/shoulder planes, release due sometime in December...
 

Philly

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Mike
So we know what you'll be watching over Christmas?
It's quite funny watching your loved ones faces glaze over as Mr C works his magic! :roll:
Merry Xmas
Philly :ho2
 
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