Getting Unplugged – Part 2

As I mentioned in the last post here are some pictures of my restoration to a few of the tools from my wife’s grandmother’s house:

I still have some work to do on most of these – i.e. make sure the frog fits well, sharpen the blades, etc. but the hard work is done.

Now that I had some hand planes I needed to know more about using them, at least using them effectively. In the early 1980’s I bought a new Stanley #5 at one of the big box stores and like a lot of others had much less than satisfactory results trying to use it. So I began to read everything I could about hand planes, and other hand tools. That is when I became a BIG fan of Chris Schwarz; his articles in Popular Woodworking, his blog at PW (his blog now at Lost Art Press) plus I purchased his book “Handplane Essentials” which is a great resource.

Going back to the year before, to the Woodworking Show that comes in April, I purchased Lee Valley’s Low-angle Jack Plane with the express purpose of using it on a shooting board as I had read about those and that was a good plane to use for that purpose. It had, and has, received good reviews and is a bit less expensive than the one made by Lie-Nielsen. I had previously bought LV’s low-angle block plane and knew they have good quality products.

However before using it I had to have something to use it on – a shooting board. I looked on the internet to see what I could find and came across an excellent website belonging to Australian woodworker Derek Cohen. He shares an extraordinary amount of information on all of the tools he makes in his shop, and documents the building process with pictures and text. I highly recommend you check out his website: (ttp://

On his site I found a ramped shooting board he made and decided that is what I wanted to make. Here is mine:

Ramped Shooting Board

I also made the miter fence like his and the Donkey’s Ear, they work fine and are accurate. The ramp has the advantage that it uses more of the blade than a board that is just straight.

I sharpened the blade on my LV Low-Angle Jack (I currently use the Work Sharp system) and used it a few times. It worked well with the board but was not totally comfortable to hold. So a couple of months ago I made a hotdog like the one on Derek’s site out of a piece of mahogany I’ve had for years, and now the plane is a lot easier to hold and move.


Hugh Terry


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