Sunday, October 12, 2008
Book Report: :"The Handplane Book" by Garrett Hack
Alright, I hate to even utter these words, but, Jeff was right ;) I have been meaning to buy this book for a long time, and did so recently at Jeff's prodding. Now I wonder why I hadn't bought it a long time ago. If ever there was a complete, printed resource for hand plane design and use, this is probably it. It's actually so informative that there's barely a need to go over what's inside. I could probably just say "it has practically everything you need to know about planes" and leave it at that. Mr. Hack, you most definitely created the "Handplane Bible".
This book covers plane history, plane types and uses (including many of the specialty planes), overall plane function, how to buy a plane, how to tune your plane, and how to use your plane. He spends a good deal on blade dynamics and angles as well as many fine tuning points to get your used plane (or new plane for that matter) working like it should. Most of all, he fosters a solid understanding in plane physics and function.
If I had any complaint, it would be purely a personal one. I was hoping for more info on the history of various plane makers and comparisons between like models. Information on how a Keen Kutter or Union smoother compares to a similar Stanley or Sargent - or Miller's Falls, of course ;) - would be incredibly helpful when buying used tools on line. Unless the guy selling the plane knows anything about what a bench plane buyer is really looking for, you might not get pictures of the frog or frog receiving area on the base for example. Hmmmm....maybe it's time I write a book......
It was a little dry reading at times, but all in all a really good hand plane reference - THE hand plane reference as far as I'm concerned. If you dabble in hand planes even the least bit then I would pick up this book.
Here it is on Amazon for $16.46 with free shipping: