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class to learn hand planes

islandman's picture

hi, i'm quite new to woodworking, but i've developed quite an interest in handplanes.  i don't really know what i'm doing with them, but i sure do seem to enjoy working with them.  i'd like to at least get halfway proficient at working with them and consequently sharpening them.  i live on the west coast of florida, and i would like to find some place to go to learn the proper techniques for using them.  i have a few handplanes now (veritas #4, 5 1/4 mini jack, 7, bullnose, low angle and standard block plus a spokeshave).  can anybody give me some direction on where to go to take a class?

frankfive's picture

(post #104595, reply #1 of 14)


Here's a link to FWW's list

Unfortunately, it doesn't list any in Florida; you might have to make a trip.

The only one I can speak for first hand is The Philadelphia Furniture Workshop. Alan Turner and Mario Rodriguez have an excellent facility and offer excellent instruction there.

I'm not sure if that's in your travel plans but I'd take a look at their website and use it as a benchmark as you a review other schools.

Good luck


There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.       - Steven Wright

bones's picture

(post #104595, reply #2 of 14)

I would reccomend a couple of dvd's.  Someone else reccomended these to me when I first got an interest in LN planes.  Go to and check out the videos by David Charlseworth.  He's a great instructor and I learned a lot.  Secondly, if you are going to be using your planes to take rough stock, I would also reccomend Rob Cosmons Rough to Ready DVD.  If you want any assistance in sharpening, Davids, sharpening DVD helped me.  After I spent some time learning to sharpen, I spent a ton of money at LN.  Good luck and watch the monkey, once he's on your back it's hard to stop. 

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases:
If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it.
And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

...For that old machine lovers:

Troys's picture

(post #104595, reply #3 of 14)

Not a class but tools for working wood has a great video by the late Jim Kingshott on using hand planes. Jim does a great job of explaining the parts of a plane and what they do. Then goes on to show how to use the various types of planes to flatten and square up a board. The bad thing about the video is that he shows you some very nice planes and I am now just plain envious:)


islandman's picture

(post #104595, reply #4 of 14)

thank all of you for the help.  i think i'm going to try a combination of your suggestions.  i've contacted a school from taunton's list to see if they have room.  since it's the weekend, i guess i'll have to wait for monday for a reply.  i am also going to get some of the videos to help me out until i can go to the school.  thank all of you very much. 


Troys's picture

(post #104595, reply #5 of 14)

My pleasure and good luck.


ctsjr82's picture

(post #104595, reply #6 of 14)


If you are specifically wanting to know how to use handplanes only, then I would recommend getting a copy of Lonnie Bird's DVD on handplanes. It's available on Amazon or from Lonnie's website. If you are interested in how to use handplanes and other handtools, then I recommend enrolling in Lonnie's school and taking Woodworking Essentials. Check out the website I'm heading to my third class in May 2009. You will learn more than you ever thought possible. Hope this helps. Tom

"Notice that at no time do my fingers leave my hand"
"Notice that at no time do my fingers leave my hand"
JMadson's picture

(post #104595, reply #7 of 14)

I've been to the Marc Adams school in Indiana twice, I love it and I've only heard good things about it.

This class might fit your needs

 Page 42 in November 19, 2008 issue of Marc Adams School of Woodworking

If this link doesn't work, their site is

noviceneil's picture

(post #104595, reply #8 of 14)

I would second the recommendation for the Marc Adams school...they do have a weekend course taught by Chris Shwartz and Tom Lie Nielsen entitled Handplanes and their uses  the last week of April...seems tailor made for your quest... they also have several week long courses that emphasize woodworking with hand tools..well worth the time and investment..also, in addition to the above named video, Rob Cosman has one called From Rough to Ready that teaches the basics of hand planes to dimension rough lumber...Chris Schwartz also has a DVD on handplanes...and if that's not enough, pick up Garrett Hacks book ...that and three or five years of experience will make you quite proficient in their use.

Still Noviceneil, but getting close to advancement

SawdustSteve's picture

(post #104595, reply #9 of 14)

Go to the 'front page' of Knots. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page. There are listings for woodworking schools and woodworking clubs. There are 14 clubs in Florida. Attend a meeting or two and you will find someone who is willing to teach you hand-planing or the club has classes on hand planing. Get some clear pine, sharpen the blades, and go at it. Planing is just like any other skill, you've got to practice to make it p[erfect. Most people forget that the most important thing is that your workbench not move while you're planing, No, you don't need a 'sherman tank' of a bench, hust something reasonably solid.

SawdustSteve Long Island, NY (E of NYC)

islandman's picture

(post #104595, reply #10 of 14)

Thank you for your replies.  I've got a workbench that's about 4" thick and about 350lbs.  The woodworking clubs in that list, unfortunately, are too far away to go for just an evening that they usually seem to have.  I am going to try the woodworking school in Indiana since the one I contacted still hasn't gotten back to me.  The Indiana school sounds quite good for what I'm looking for.  Again thank all of you for helping a novice trying to get started.  It sure is a great activity that I would like to be doing right now.  I'm stuck in Portland, Oregon trying to get back to my workshop in Florida and our flights been cancelled until who knows when.  Right now they're saying we may get out the 26th.  At least the motel finally agreed to let us stay.  They were overbooked and said we may have to leave.  Well, the motel has beer, and there's a good football game on tonight.  So, c'est la vie.  Thank you again for the help.

stevo1952's picture

(post #104595, reply #11 of 14)

If you are stuck in Portland, you may want to go see Gary Rokowski at the Northwest Woodworking Studio. His place is about 1 mile south of the convention center Max stop. He's a bit of character, but his work is first rate and he might have some advice or future classes you might be interested.

islandman's picture

(post #104595, reply #13 of 14)

thanks but i just got your message and it's a blizzard outside now.  i doubt he's open christmas eve anyway.  we're supposed to fly out the 26th so i'll probably miss him.  he sure does sound like an interesting character.  is his place on front stree?

JMadson's picture

(post #104595, reply #12 of 14)

Marc Adams takes registration on line. You can check class availability too on their site. It's usually difficult to get into the poplular classes but with the current economy it looks like their attendence is down. Good for you, bad for them.


dustindavids's picture

Great! (post #104595, reply #14 of 14)

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