Hope chest advancing progress


I have raised all of the panels for the lower frames and now it looks like a completed box except for the lid. I am starting the lid tomorrow so watch out for any technique that might be of value. I plan to form, joint and raise the panel completely with wooden planes and may video progress just for fun. We’ll see.

Here are some details of my progress to day. Sanity reigns when I am making. How did you enjoy the posts on the strengths of my mitre joints with splines in. I thought the whole thing was amazing. Now that the chest is together you could stand a tank on that too. This is real woodworking fun. You don’t get this with machine only woodworking. or at least I doubt it.

OK. Those of you who believe the best way forward is to use metal cast planes for all your work. that’s far from true. Those of you who believe only bevel-up planes have any value. That’s not true. Those of you who believe it’s thick irons only that work best. That’s not true.


Those of you who believe that Stanley #4s and #5s are junk compared to modern-day counterparts and should never be used. That’s not true.



You see I had all of these planes ready for use and to be honest I switched back and forth between them to get the best result in the very diverse grain I was working with. Actually, the nearest I got to a one-size-fits-all plane was was very clearly the oldest all wooden one. My old jack and jointer slid effortlessly over the wood and straightened and flattened the most awkward grains throughout. That said, the Stanley number five would surface and edge boards more readily than all of the really refined planes and so too the #4 Stanley. The new Veritas bevel-up smoother gave pristine surface to the endgrain bevels after the smoothers and jacks had removed the bulk of the waste and my Woden #5 1/2 worked on some of the difficult areas of reverse grain.



It takes about ten minutes to raise a panel like this with a simple bevel. Very easy to do with hand planes and very safe too, but the work can be hard. Expect to sweat a little and even puff and blow perhaps. great upper body workout again.



Framed lid and raised panel tomorrow all being well. Drawer on Friday or early next week.



I love seeing:

The joints come closed wi’ th’ shoulders neat

And panels tightly framed complete

Within the grooves that hold for life

The hope of futures bounty bright


  1. Paul, what do you recomend a #4 1/2 plane for? i noticed that it was missing from your panel raising, plane experiment. -Nick R.

    1. Hello Nick,

      I hear good things about the new woodshop going up and the bench making evenings you guys are having.
      In times past any smoothing plane would have been seen as a light trim fitting plane and would have been the last plane in the series of planes used for dimensioning stock to finished size. The smoothing plane took out surface defects and enabled localised planing. It wasn’t so much a workhorse as the others but a refining plane. Today, because we generally use machines for dimensioning and joint making, most of the long planes have been rendered obsolete by redundancy. The smoothing planes are now the most dominant of all planes entering the sphere of hand planes as the new genre workhorse because of this.
      Of all the planes I own and use, I use the #4 1/2 the most. I simply left it out of use on this panel because I found the others more convenient. I keep both #4 and #4 1/2 handy and in the US I have a number #3, which I quite like too. But beyond all of this, the wooden hand planes are of all planes ever made, the most pleasing to actually plane with bar none.
      Keep up the good work and all being well I will see you and the others at the beginning of January.
      Best regards,


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