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on 8 August 2001
I have had more pleasure from this book than almost any other. Lest this seem an overstatement, the quality of the book is such that it can be used as a resource for historical information or as a practical guide to the best use of handplanes. The photographs, taken with a real artistry by the photographer John S. Sheldon, link with the text to perfection. There are many sidebars (panels) that expand the detail given to a particular topic. A technical book of this quality is rare. The writing is outstanding, the text elegant and unobtrusive. For all these qualities, this book will find a place, not only on the shelves of the craftsman, but also amongst the books of those who admire good writing and design.
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One has to be honest enough to say you need to be really interested in woodworking to want a book like this. That's not to say it is a boring grey book - far from it - but the subject matter is of course not a broad one.

Now, putting that aside I can say with some joy that this is a beautiful book. It is well bound, glossy and packed full of information that might suggest it is dry but is anything but. The author clearly loves the subject and he takes us through the history of planes, their use and how they are made. He tells us how to tune them and of course how to get an edge worthy of a master.

Like almost all the best books about woodworking this is an American one. And, whilst of course it is orientated towards the US, England gets quite a few mentions because of the older companies who made outstanding hand tools. What it does of course remind one is that sadly we in the UK have lost that interest and joy in the subject whilst the Americans seem to have embraced it.

Overall if you are an inveterate woodworker with a love of the subject then this book should appeal to you,
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on 20 July 1998
I have recently purchased a new Lie-Nielson plane that worked great out of the box after a little honing of the blade. It will never replace the now tuned Stanley transitional plane. This book showed me the value of a well-tuned tool, old or new, and deepened my appreciation of hand tools. Having grown weary of noisey power tools, I have shifted my focus towards more traditional hand tools. These tools don't come with manuals, which makes this book all the more valuable to have. After reading of some specialty planes. I know which I should look for while searching flea markets, garage sales, and woodworking catalogs.
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on 17 May 1998
This book covers all aspects of almost every type of handplane including their tuning, uses, and specialty items. There are many great tips that I have found invaluable. This a book that on first glance I thought would be boring or uninformative, but instead I found it to be very interesting, well written and illustrated, and of high quality.
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on 22 October 2010
When I selected this book, I suspected that this was one of those coffeetable books that are full of nice pictures that you could admire, and some nonsense text in between.
I was pleasantly surprised when I read the text, and although a bit difficult to for a foreigner to understand first, there are so many technical terms that doesn't appear in a normal dictionary, it was full of explanations of how a plane was designed, how to use it and what could be done with it. Yes, so in the end, I have spent quite many nights studying this fantastic book.
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on 14 September 1998
When you finally decide to defect from the world of routers, jointers and power planers, come read from this book. Garrett has taken what some would argue is an outdated tool and shown its practical use. The Handplane Book gives great overviews on the various types of planes that exist - old, new and new versions of oldies. Garrett shows you how to set many of these planes up to achieve results that power tool users can only dream of (try getting a glass smooth surface with sandpaper - read the book and you'll understand why you can't). As for the photographs, only the most beautiful tool examples were used, and were very well shot. Nice enough to put on your coffee table ;-) For any fan of manually powered craftsmanship (smoothing and shaping in specific) or those who understand the simple beauty of a hand tool, this is a must have.
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on 4 February 2009
My partner wanted a couple of woodworking books for christmas which he named and he said anything else that I thought he would like. What do I know about woodworking. I scratched my head read some reviews and chose this book. Of the 3 books I gave him at christmas this is the 1st one he picked up and is the one he is currently reading. Personally I can not see the facination but he loves it. Really good buy and would recommend.
Now where to find a good book on chisels? Whats a girl to do?
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on 17 May 1998
This book covers all aspects of almost every type of handplane including their tuning, uses, and specialty items. There are many great tips that I have found invaluable. This a book that on first glance I thought would be boring or uninformative, but instead I found it to be very interesting, well written and illustrated, and of high quality.
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on 7 January 1998
Have you thought of planes as boring and impossible to use? This book makes them interseting and teaches you the skills on how to tune up your planes so they will make the beautiful shavings you see in the pictures.
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on 3 May 2006
An absolutely first rate book for all interested in woodwork. I am not a proffessional woodworker just a keen amateur and I have found this book riveting. It covers the history, sharpening, tuning, how to use and provides a mass of information on what to look for when purchasing and renovating fine used planes. The text is easily understood by all levels of woodworker and I can not recommend thIS book more highly.
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