My first favorite hand tool is the hand plane. Although planes are simply a device for holding one or more chisels, they amaze me in both their evolution and their variety.  Many are works of art and I confess to owning more than I can possible use in my woodworking and carpentry projects.

My first fascination with hand planes was simply trying to get them to do the job they were intended to perform. When I was a young, my Dad had a #5 Stanley Bailey in his tool kit. I was constantly trying to get it to do a decent job of planing, but always failed. Finally, I got frustrated and quit. I took up the task once again when I was a young adult and learned how to tune and use a plane from a local pro. What a difference! It amazed me once I was able to produce those fine curly shavings and get that beautiful finish a plane produces.


I don’t think I’ll ever lose my fascination with hand planes — both as a collector and a user. Plus, trying to sharpen them and get the best edge possible can be downright addictive.