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Making Traditional Wooden Planes Paperback – May 1, 1996


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Making Traditional Wooden Planes + The Wooden Plane: Its History, Form and Function
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Astragal Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879335697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879335691
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

The author is an expertInobody does it better. Whelan has achieved a rare mixture of skills. He combines a serious academic and historical background with the practical experience of having made all these planes himself. And on top of that he writes and draws with clarity and confidence.

From The New Yorker

This book is excellentIwith directions that were easy to follow and accurate. Certainly the book I'd recommend to anyone wanting to build their own plane.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 78 people found the following review helpful By imaginatus on July 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've just finished reading through this book, but haven't tried making a plane yet. But from comparing this book with others I've read and other sources, it's quite good.
This seems to be the only book that really tries to cover construction of wood bodied planes in the manner of originals. Most of the items discussed are based on antiques which are used as prototypes.
Each chapter covers the construction of a specific plane. Simple models are used in the beginning to cover general tips and techniques. The projects range from simple smoothers to plow planes.
Projects are covered by a discussion of the steps involved and hints about key things to watch for. These tips on potential problems and critical steps seem some of the most useful aspects of the book. The references and supply sources sections are also great.
After reading, I'm inspired and will be starting on my first plane soon.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Caleb James on March 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to put a review for two reasons. One, is that the 1 star reviews by others that haven't even read this book and just complaining because of the price is simply not a review.

Two, this book is such an excellent resource on understanding the construction and overall principals in the making of one piece solid body wooden planes. It would cost you a lot of money and time in acquiring these planes to study if you could even find them. I am not happy to see others price this reference work so highly since the original price was, I believe, $37. I have contacted the publisher and informed them of my interest in seeing this book have a second printing. If they get enough inquiries from buyers they will reprint and the price will be of course back down to earth. I dislike the high price because the author unfortunately is not benefiting from his excellent work.

I would buy this book at the higher price only if you are intent on making planes, and a good number of them, otherwise you might benefit from other online resources the detail the work of traditional wooden planes.

I can say the reason that this work is so exceptional is that it is not trying to take one piece (not laminated) wood planes and dumbing it down for the novice woodworker. It is a real examination of the actual antique planes and considers how to produce them with tooling that is possible to use today.

There has been excellent additions to the explanation of how to make certain wooden planes such as the work of Larry Williams DVD on making a set of side escapement hollow and round. That might be an alternated source for making those planes if your interest lies in that area.

I recommend any who want this book to contact the publisher and request a reprint. I have placed my name on their list of those that want a copy when it is reprinted, which is unknown. I of course have my own copy but would definitely appreciate a second to donate to my local library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would like to split the review a content and a presentation:

Content is good. The author covers probably all the most widespread ways to build a plane, from a simples way (lamination in the Krenov-style) to the traditional single piece design. Also he covers quite a number of special planes, like hollow & rounds, a rabbet plane and so on. This part deserves a solid 5 stars just because I've never seen it covered in a single book. The text gives quite an insight into history of manufacturing the planes and explains great deal of details behind every type covered, which is very enjoyable.

Now a word about the presentation, which is plain awful. The book is ridden with typos (the first one is right on the folio), there are unescaped word-processor sequences (specifically, whenever a 1/8" is used), drawings seems to be done in MS Word by somebody having quite a strong opinion on proportions and perspective. In general, it looks like an author version of the text was sent straight to the printing press.

So, if you're not distracted by things like above, it's a good book that gives straight directions on building a plane. I personally don't regret buying this book, just a surprised that Astragal Press did such a sloppy job on publishing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Drdgard on March 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Disjointed. Get David Finck's book. This looks more like a syllabus than a book. I learned more about making wooden planes by talking to Caleb James for five minutes.
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2 of 23 people found the following review helpful By D. Bowdish on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
It looks fascinating and I'm very interested in books on making hand planes, but why is this so expensive?? If anyone has it beyond the one review, it would help to have more detail. It's only 121 pages and seems to be the best one available, but I'd like to here more.
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