Now Who Was It Said That?

Honest questions deserve honest answers. It’s when questions are partly or wholly disingenuous and thereby baited that they raise flags and cause agitation. Thankfully I only get one in a hundred that provoke the worst in me. The wonderful thing about genuine questions is that they often bring out the greater reflectiveness in me. That said, even the disingenuous questions can answer the questions others might have but be unable or unwilling to articulate on a more public platform. It’s also important to remember that the most difficult questions for us to answer are the ones never asked.

I have tried to answer statements made by others who say things like ‘Paul Sellers hates machines!‘ or ‘Paul Sellers never uses machines.‘ And when did I actually say never use sandpaper, never use micro bevels or there is, “Only Paul’s way.” As in only my way will work and “Paul’s way is the high way.” and things like that? Well, usually it has nothing to do with anything I have said but it can be more what I don’t do or don’t usually do. For instance, I don’t use two bevels of sharpening no matter what you call and neither do I advocate separate sheets of abrasive film or wet and dry unless it is to advise people starting out as a temporary measure. This is all because I don’t really sell things. The advocates for many methods are almost always selling something alongside their name as a recognised guru. Things like holders for getting the right angle on tools, sawing guides, special knobs on tools or this kind of extra thick iron or cap irons (chip breakers USA). because I don’t use this or that can be a point of accusation. And accusations can become discriminatory. The truth is I don’t generally use power equipment because I personally choose not to. Do I like planing rough-sawn wood smooth, true and dead flat and then thickness planing it with a bench plane? Well, sometimes I do and sometimes not or even not at all. For me, it’s the same issue as making myself cycle for 20 miles most days and then the more when it’s raining, cold or windy going to and from work, to a cafe to write or to do my personal shopping. It’s just plain good for me and the exercise keeps me fit and healthy, keeps my blood sugars down and it wakes me up when I start and end my days. Planing up panels for four hours as I did today (after my shorter cycle ride of 12 miles) really got my heart pumping over a prolonged period. I did not always feel this way about exercise and running is not too good for anybody long term and certainly not three times in a given day. I split my morning and evening rides with a shorter six-mile ride instead of eating lunch. These are the things I do have a better life.

So how did this all get started? Well, it was with what I saw as a genuine question accompanied by a statement. And I take


So if the No. 80 and the card scraper are problematic on soft woods – as is the consensus opinion – how does Mr. Sellers deal with tear out in these woods encountered during smooth planing? I know he is not fond of using sandpaper to repair issues like this. But is there an alternative?


Stephen, Thank you for giving me this question. Your saying, “I know he is not fond of using sandpaper to repair issues like this.” is more likely to give others the wrong impression even though I know that this is not your intention so this will give me a good opportunity to help others understand the real issues and my position on them. I hope that that’s okay. Firstly, on the issue of scraping soft woods (as distinct from softwoods): You can use scrapers on some if not most soft-grained woods whether hardwoods or softwoods. That said, they always work on hard or dense-grained woods and are perhaps less predictable on the soft ones. If you do want or need to scrape softer woods, you must be prepared to sharpen and resharpen far beyond regularly and even when you don’t detect any dullness in the cutting edge. What am I saying? I’m saying even soft woods like pines, firs, spruce and such will allow a sharp scraper to refine their fibres. But you must be diligent to keep the cutting edges refined. Looking at the consensus does not read Paul Sellers in there really.

I might offer that 99% of woodworkers have no concept of card or #80 scrapers let alone how to sharpen them or use them. I will indeed resharpen and scrape difficult areas in soft woods. But I mastered the art of switching my plane in different stroke directions as I work awkward areas and am used to refining even difficult grains using my smoothing plane in short, multidirectional swipes with lift-offs on short sections with the very finest of settings. Another technique I have videoed on is stuffing shavings into the throat of the plane with the left hand while swiping using the plane with the right. I have saved many a troubling spot using this technique which was passed down to me as a boy in my apprenticeship by the men I worked with. As to my not being fond of using sandpaper: I use sandpaper on all of my projects but not as others do automatically to take out poor hand work or planing and scraping and machine marks. That said, it might well be the only answer for some woodworkers unused to hand tool work or, as does happen, where the complexity of grain structure is such that you can eliminate a lot of really hard work. My countering this over the years has been purely to equip people, woodworkers, to master the art of planing rather than automatically reaching for a belt sander and random orbit sander which is what was happening in the lives of almost every woodworker I ever met. I think my using hand planes eliminates about 98%+ of reliance on sanding to achieve what is a better finish using planes. So why do people rely on power sanders? Well, it’s because boards passed through a power planer were left with the telltale power-planer stripes going across the grain that would be highlighted when paint of varnish was applied. If you are a machinist woodworker, you have absolutely no choice but to invest in a helical cutter head to continue power planing alone with or to belt sand and then random-orbit sand to take out any power-planer and sanding marks. The alternative would be to scrape and then sand usually. This, of course, assumes that all woodworkers have access to such specialist power equipment when at least half (if not much more) of the more global audience I reach out to do not. For such soft woods, I rely more on a card scraper than the #80. Sharpening scrapers demands our patience because it is such an elongated process compared to plane sharpening. I do understand the reliance on power sanding and I am not at all reluctant to use such methods. `what I faced was the unbelief that people had in themselves that they could actually master the use of hand planes. Hence what you see in my videos is the realness of real woodworking and not just some guru standing in front of a camera after spending half an hour sharpening and setting a plane so he or she can take a few onion skin-shaving off of a strip of pristinely prepared wood –– totally unreal. The videos we make (now thousands of them) of me planing and scraping awkward grains I naturally encounter in my day-to-day of making projects, knots and surrounding grain too, are in the processes of building the projects we train people worldwide through. We insist on realness not staged shots.


  1. Perhaps a video on refining softwoods and prepping a #80 and a scraper for such work would be beneficial? Showing the nuances of working softwoods? How to know when to sharpen. I think you brought up as many questions as you answered. I think softwoods just seem to want one to pick up sandpaper without thought.I will admit that softwoods have tested my patience in trying to get a fine surface many times. Thank you for all that you do.

    1. I should point out the significant difference between soft woods and softwoods, hard woods and hardwoods. Softwoods and soft woods and hardwoods and hard woods are not one and the same as one being soft wood and the other being hard wood. I am sure you know this but for the discussion we need to know exactly what we are talking about. Not all softwoods are soft grained and many hardwoods are actually soft grained. Balsa wood, the softest commercial wood used in different spheres of woodworking, is actually a fast growing hardwood. The density of the woods we use can and do affect the functionality of the scrapers we use for truing and levelling awkward and resistant grain types. Where people often cite sanding as an answer for the tasks I mention, in reality it does not necessarily answer the crisis we face in getting the level and true surfaces we strive to establish. In reality, belt sanding and power sanding of any type will indeed remove material unevenly because the softer elements to the growth rings usually dip and dive depending on the softnesses the abrasives encounter and also the plane in which the wood presents itself. Resharpening is not necessarily a sensed condition because the tools and the wood can feel energised and well cutting. No, it is more establishing a regimen of resharpening after so many minutes of use. In my case, when scraping woods like European redwood––Scotts pine, American LongLeaf pine, spruce types and so on, I just refresh the edges within minutes. On hardwoods the time would increase to somewhere around half an hour depending on the wood. Oak is one of the most forgiving woods to both plane and scrape. Additionally, there are techniques at our disposal. A skewing here and an opposite skew elsewhere, lowered angles of presentation and such are all to be experimented with whilst in the processes of refining.

  2. Hi Paul. This article prompts me to ask a question about iron sharpening. It’s very much in the space you describe – wishing to understand, not to challenge.

    You’ve described often your preferred approach to iron sharpening, using a series of diamond plates followed by polishing on a strop with compound. I’ve been using this technique for a couple of years and I’m slowly but steadily getting better at it.

    My question is around understanding the range of factors that makes this technique the best for you? I know you can do it at speed, around a minute, and you like to sharpen up regularly, so this speed helps. You also like the inherent strength of the macro camber. Other systems may claim to get the edge to a higher level of sharpness up to 30,000. Do you find that there is no benefit or need for a higher degree of sharpness (if those claims are correct), or does the time taken to get to that level make it impractical for real time wood working?

    I guess I’m curious to know how far to pursue trying to get better sharpness, versus just sharpening more often than I currently do! Hope that makes sense?

    1. Personally, and i will go out on yet another limb here. Some woodworkers do have a disorder and some have serious negative pride issues we often call showing off to anyone watching. Often, we want to be admired for our dedication to the higher ground in the sense that what we are doing is more in a realm of a spiritual or more moral high ground. Now this is not the way of any crafting artisan I ever met because you could, following this level of, shall we say obsessiveness, spend 8 hours sharpening and correcting what is way beyond any kind of necessity for a good and working edge and then only a few minutes using the tool because you are not even sure if it is still sharp enough now that in the first few strokes or chops you dulled the edge. I want to be careful here because obsessive compulsion can indeed be a mental health disorder leading to real anxiety that interferes with all areas od daily life and in many ways. I have experimented with our awareness of sharpness and found that by the time we sharpen our tools we have dulled the edge to somewhere around the equivalent of wehat we would get with say 100-grit abrasive. After using my planes for 10 minutes on almost any wood you care to name including spruce and pine with knots in from the softer softwood rangemy blades are so dull I could not cut myself with it if I tried and yet, yes, I can still take a decent shaving. No one ever speaks of this to my knowledge but I do sometimes save a minute or three by only sharpening to 250-grit. Here’s the thing though; it only takes ten seconds to got from 250 to 10,000 which is way beyond what anyone needs so you might just as well go that extra mile. Another thing never mentioned though very factual. When you have taken the first two hundred or so strokes on most woods the cutting edge will have deteriorated to somewhere around 250-grit roughness and I don’t care what kind of tough steel iron you have retrofitted your plane with. I would not say this if I did not believe ot to be true. Do it on teak and it will do the same in just fifty strokes, mesquite 75 strokes and yew about the same. So, stropping to 10,000- to 12,000-grit is just somewhere in the practical range of honing and getting back to the work. The last thing I want to do is to give anyone the impression that they are the better being for going up to 30,000-grit the better one for only going to 100-grit. It’s simply not true.

      1. Thanks Paul. Very clear. You mention sometimes doing only a quick sharpen to 250. Conversely, do you sometimes just do a few strokes on the extra fine stone, or perhaps even just a few swipes on the strop instead of going back to the start on the coarse stone? Or do you always start with the coarse to keep the macro camber base in place? I’ve tried just doing some intermittent stropping (on the chisel not the plane blade) which seems to be practical. I wonder if the same would work on the plane iron – though I guess the time taken dissembling and reassembling means it’s almost always worth doing it fully?

          1. For me, having the routine itself establishes the mindset. If I didn’t go through the process, or changed it up each time, then I’d be less likely to do it regularly. I still let my planes go too long without sharpening, but I find that the consistent routine not all speeds up that routine, it builds the confidence that it’s quick, easy and not disruptive. For a while, I’d question whether I’d actually sharpened enough, or messed about with extra strokes or just generally dallied around, which lengthened the time that the blade was out of the plane. Now, I treat sharpening like a production line process, where I count (to myself!) the strokes on each stone, and then the final polishing and back (wiping up first!), and I just know and trust that it’s right. Because I’m on my own in a hobby environment, with little pressure to get things done, that type of discipline took longer to form I think. I’m probably still in that stage with planing up a board, where I’ll do a face then think about it for a bit and maybe change planes or try some other approach. I don’t really have complete process discipline yet (I usually do by the fourth or fifth board, or if someone is watching). Like everything, it takes time to get there.

    2. You already have a great response from Mr. Sellers who has forgotten more than I’ll ever manage to learn as a hobby woodworker. I think another angle here is that sharpness is a means to an end or outcome, and not an end unto itself. To a point of diminishing returns, most of the hand tools I use simply work much better when sharp vs dull. I don’t have Paul’s experience, but I have enough to know that this basic observation is true. I started out with sand paper on a piece of floor tile because it was expedient. I quickly moved on to the same system Paul uses- three diamond plates and a strop. I do have a fourth courser diamond plate that I use sometimes when I need to shape a blade (to purpose or to correct a defect) vs just sharpen. I sometimes use sand paper and a flat granite surface for the same reasons. But for day in and day out maintenance sharpening I use the simple setup. For myself, I find this efficacious because it gets to the “end” or “outcome” I want. I can quickly get my plane blades and chisels sharp enough for the vast majority of work. It comes down to what is “sharp”. I think sharp is a rabbit hole with no end. You can always make an edge sharper because with real materials, you’ll never get down to some theoretically perfect edge. I think there are diminishing returns. And as Paul notes, as soon as you actually use a blade you start to dull it. So, for me, three diamond plates and a strop gets my tools quickly to what I consider “sharp” and this marries to my experience of my tools working like I expect them to. If I have some specific task that requires extra special sharpness I occasionally obsess a bit more. An example here might be a tiny last touch to a finished piece where the absolute best control and outcome are demanded and I have one shot to get it. In situations like this still use my standard setup, but might test the blade then go back to the strop or the finest diamond plate a second time. Sometimes I also spend extra time worrying about getting a blade edge as square as possible- maybe ahead of a delicate mortise or with a plough blade when the material and situation are less forgiving. In the end, I want to be focused on my work and not my tools. I want my tools tuned and sharpened to the extent that they sort of disappear and become extensions of the body and part of the process. I expect it is similar to a golfer or ball player. When I played football (they call it soccer here), in a match you don’t think about your alignment, or boots or the rest, that all disappears into an intentional act of having the ball end up in the net or another players feet. I think of sharpness as a means to this sort of “intention” or outcome. Of course none of this is to say I don’t also love my hand tools. I think about them often and sometimes just take a moment to appreciate and admire them. I might even do the same with a sharpened edge on rare occasions. Still, in general, though, when I’m working I want it all to disappear into the task and three plates serves this need for me.

  3. Good morning, Paul! I’m in the planning stages of building a Roubo work bench. I was wondering if you could send me the lay out and the dimensions of a traditional Roubo work bench. Thank you!

    1. John-
      Paul is not a Roubo bench user. HE does have 2 good tutorials for the style bench he use, one out of 2x and the other plywood. You can find both under the tutorial link at the top of this page.

    2. There is an almost uncountable number of videos, other posts and books containing the information you seek.

    3. Evan is correct. Christopher Schwarz is probably the “web personality” most associated with the classic old French Roubo-style workbenches.

      I was enamoured with the Roubo myself for a while. And later the transportable Monrovian workbench, championed by a couple of other American web woodworkers.

      But in the end rebuilt my father’s old workbench. I was going to just re-use it but woodworm had ruined it all and in the end I saved just one small token piece of wood :(.

      I also bought an old Sjobergs workbench, ostensibly to help with my bowl-making (as the unusual vices looked like they would be very useful) but it has seen only a little woodworking use so far :(.

      I was offered a very big (huge) old no-name English woodworking vice at a significant yet reasonable price – in hindsight it would likely have been ideal for both my bowl-making and woodworking – but I had just bought and fitted (not easy) a similar but smaller (but not small) vice, from Amazon I think. It’s ok 🙂 but the much bigger, vintage, English vice would have been much better I think :(.

      1. BTW FYI For bowl-making, I have in the past made 2x Robin Wood style high, slim, rustic bowl benches. I kept them outside under a small tarp in the rain so each only lasted a few years. 🙁

        I also still use (a lot) a dumb-head shave-horse (kept indoors), which I made. Also several chopping blocks and a big, old, car tyre 😉

        I also built a David Fisher style log ‘bowl-horse’, also still kept “indoors”, but (so far) I have not taken to it like ace American bowlmaker, David Fisher. :/

  4. Hi Paul I particularly enjoy your wit and wisdom oh yea your woodworking extraordinaire teachings as well. I must confess at age 75 and woodworking/woodturning my entire life (not my vocation by far) and accumulating all manner of tools both power and hand it all sums down to fun, camaraderie and no profit.

  5. I got a chuckle from the Roubo Bench question, do you get that often?

    I see what you do and then try to attain the same results using your methods.
    When I resort to sanding out defects in my work I resolve to get it right the next attempt.
    I have found that you still get a washboard effect or sniped ends when using power jointers and thickness planers even with spiral heads. They are noisy enough where you have to wear ear protection or risk damaging your hearing. Then add the noise of the dust collecter you really need so that eliminates the benefits of noise reduction from spiral heads. I try to use these machines when no one else is home as to avoid exposing family members to the hazards. That includes the family dog who can’t express his discomfort.

  6. Mr. Sellers,

    Ouch! I think I’ve just been metaphorically poked in the eye. If so, I protest. I attempted to clarify the “statement” accompanying my initial question in a subsequent response I posted in your “Accept No Substitutes” blog entry. It is worthy of review. If you found my “statement” to be inaccurate or disingenuous, please know that it emanated from your own previous comments about woodworkers’ use of sandpaper now being at an all-time high – the implication being that it is often overused. If that was a leap of logic on my part, it was an honest one.



    1. Steve, I’m afraid you are definitely misreading the innocence of my answering. I have done absolutely nothing but state my thanks for your asking what was a very good question. It helped many people and was all good from my end.

      1. Mr.Sellers,

        All’s well that ends well. Thanks for taking the time.



      2. @Stephen, it may please you to know, I (we readers?) read Paul’s reply as an honest appreciation of your question, and his preamble was there simply to indicate not all questions were as honest (earnest?) as yours.

        Ps: may please you a bit less to know English isn’t my first language, but I do speak it well (better than I sharpen, sadly 😋)


  7. Hi Paul, yes definitely agree with you on the sharpening of tools. Why would anybody sharpen a hand tool to more than 3000 grit. A no 4 Stanley sharpened to 3000 grit on a diamond stone leaves a silky sheen finish. What more would you want than that. To sharpen more than this is well just a waste of time and effort. Beyond that, is it just trying to prove something that is really not required in the day to day woodworking. I stand corrected if someone can justify this

    1. Paul,

      It depends on what you’ve got to hand. I sharpen to 16,000 grit because I was given a 16,000 grit stone as a gift. It leaves a beautifully sharp edge and works in exactly the same process as the rest, simply replacing the strop (a strop with compound would also get much higher than 3,000). It maybe adds 10-15 seconds, just like a strop would. I wouldn’t sharpen to 3,000 because I don’t have a 3,000 grit stone! My stones go 600, 1200, 16,000 (or strop) because that’s what I have. That works for me, and most times I don’t use the 600, just 1,200 – 16,000. If I had a 3,000 I’d add it in somewhere, but would probably still use the 16,000 because it’s there and adds so little time to the process and I trust the finish it leaves. I think the key is to get a process that works, and that works in short order. You’re likely correct about 3,000 doing all that is required, but you’re probably overstating the time and effort of stropping or whatever, which is virtually nothing.

      1. Well said Rico. 🙂

        The blade I keep sharpest is the small blade on an old Polish girl-scouts pen-knife (I prefer it’s simple 2 carbon-steel blade configuration!). I use it mainly to sharpen my pencils! 😀 I recently found that sharpening it on a very fine 2-sided oil stone, which I got it a box of old tools I think, took the sharpness to a whole new level :). The red/white combi-stone seemed useless (very fine and very, very fine?! :D*) at first but now I find it gives, to an already sharp edge, a very sharp edge for a short while. I usually strop afterwards but not really necessary (?).

        *I think I have since seen similar red & white combi oil stones sold cheaply on Amazon or eBay, possibly the same or similar? Too smooth for general sharpening though, but it might be handy for sharp scalpels and pen-knives that could usefully be sharper 😉

      2. Rico,

        Yes get totally what your saying, I too finish with a strop and compound and the finished result is far more than 3000 grit finish. What I was saying is the finest diamond stone I use on a daily basis is around 3000 grit. Don’t get me wrong if I had a 16000 grit stone in my possession I would probably use it without hesitation, but would not specifically buy one. Hope that makes sense my friend.

        Regards Paul.

        1. Yes, makes perfect sense Paul. I wouldn’t recommend the 16,000 grit either for the price!

  8. As is true in many endeavors, one must experience what Mr. Sellers is describing/ has described in order to truly understand it, and a large part is mental. For example: sawing a straight line. The natural tendency is to put pressure on the forward stroke instead of letting the saw do the work. The saw wanders. Focus on letting up on the pressure, i.e. just push the saw through the stroke with just the weight of the saw, and voila! Just what Paul said. It is mental in that it requires one to focus on not putting pressure on the forward stroke. Eventually muscle memory will develop, and you no longer have to think about it.
    The same when planing the edge of a board. You say to yourself “Self, stop the downward pressure, just push the plane and let it do the work”, and what do you know? “So that’s what Paul means” it plane a square edge.
    The same with sharpening. With experience one will sense when it’s time to sharpen, e.g. the plane or chisel just doesn’t seem to be cutting even though it feels sharp when you run a finger over the edge. If you think it’s sharp, think again! Sometimes the strop will get one back, and sometimes it’s hit the medium, the fine and the strop again. If you take a blood thinner don’t run your finger over the edge again :-)!

    Regards, JT

  9. While watching your video, I can see that you own a couple of Veritas plane. of course you don’t use them probably to show use that we don’t need those pricy tools to achieved good work. but I wonder, do you sharpen them the same way? where I live, the availability of old tool is not very high and eBay pricing nowadays match a Veritas plane where I live. those thicker iron seem to be difficult to sharpen with diamond plate.

    1. Marc-
      Paul has commented on on other planes and why he comes back to the ones he uses most in other blogs. On thicker irons, they are harder to sharpen on everything, this a natural result of you needing to remove more metal to get to the same place as a thinner iron. I have never seen a need for thick irons, which is one of the reason I stick to older planes. Something else to be aware of with veritas planes is that if you pick either the PM-V11 or A2 steel you will be making the sharpening even slow as both metals are more wear resistant than 01. I have not used PM-V11, but the extra resistance in A2 does not make up for the extra time it takes to sharpen.

      1. I agree with you, I spent so much time to get an edge on those iron that I have no choice but to use a Waterstone. I’ve made the mistake of buying a pmv-11… when you’re done with your sharpening with Waterstone, you end up with dirty hand … and in my case, since I don’t use a guide, they are super dirty … it’s annoying. I wonder why they don’t make thinner iron.

  10. Paul, I just watched your very clear YouTube video on the Stanley #80. I was introduced to the #80 40 years ago, sharpen mine the same way you demonstrated, and use it all the time with good results. several years ago I was encouraged to sharpen one side at 90 degrees as with a card scraper rather than 45 degrees. I have done so also with good results. I’m curious if you have ever tried it that way and if so what your thoughts are on sharpening the cutter on the #80 the same as you would a card scraper.

    1. No, I haven’t tried that, but there is no reason why it shouldn’t work. I do know however that many options of angles to edge tools which include scrapers in my view are diversely available and whereas 25º followed by 30º is standard but my cutting edges actually vary according to how i will use the tools. Paring chisels at 25º and chopping edges at 35º but not always are an example. Most of oiur decisions surround edge fracture and longevity in relation to one another. And one can compromise the other so we choose accordingly.

  11. Paul, I’m returning to woodworking after a thirty-year gap. Your YouTube videos are such a help, thank you.
    I’ve always written-off my ability to sharpen anything without a guide, usually sending the edge backwards and making the wretched thing duller than it was when I started. So, starting up again now, I’ve been using a honing guide… and still cursing the lack of a decent edge!
    Watching you sharpening things, I had a “Why not give that a go” moment. As you point out, sharpening the way you do only takes a moment.
    Blow me down. My Stanley #4 is now producing perfect full-width beautiful curls leaving a baby’s bottom finish.
    Between that and using knife-walls, suddenly I’ve got the confidence that I just might be able to finally make something respectable, well-made, well-jointed, and useful.
    Thank you so much. Your work is deeply appreciated!

  12. Good evening Mr Sellers. I, along with many others I suspect, trod a lone path into the world of woodworking. No mentors or, to be honest, much interest beyond making hen coups and such. fast forward to my retirement and a kitchen to build with all the essential kit, power driven all plus the necessary safety gear. Now I cannot explain why I began to buy wooden and metal planes but I now have eight metal ones and ten assorted wooden ones. With the exception of the two that I have made (one of each) all came to me with blades that were incapable of taking a shaving of any type from any wood that I have seen. lateral adjuster so far one why or the another to counteract out of square sharpened blades, any bevel angle that you could name and even one with the blade and cap iron mounted upside down, the chap who gave it to my said that he could not get it to work. I am now a convert to the ways of your teaching and enjoying my time at the bench, I even planed past my scribe lines once as I was enjoying watching the shavings curl from the mouth of my (self made) wooden plane. Thank you for all the knowledge that you have passed on to those of us with a desire to listen, who need someone at their shoulder to nudge them on the right path . We will be forever in you debt.

  13. I got a good chuckle from the comment about pristine prepared wood and staged shots. 😀 Very true! I always wonder why so many enjoys showing off a whisper of a shaving as some sort of proof that their tools are sharp (I am throwing stones in a crystal palace here, just to be clear).
    Why not show the SURFACE in stead? After all, that’s what’s really count. 🙂 I now only shows an image of a glistening and shiny smooth surface in a pine board that I took after using my #4. It looked like glass! A result hard, if not impossible, to achieve with my random orbit sander..

  14. I know that most of my hand planing issues stem from dull irons. You say it only takes you a very short time to get your irons sharp. For beginner hardworking woodworkers do you recommend an angle guide or freehand? Freehand is certainly faster but probably leads to inconsistent angles when done by novices.

  15. most of the people reading these blogs are not old enough to know how we were trained re sharpening. all we had was an oil stone (actually whetted with a mix of mostly kerosine and a touch of oil) there were no jigs that i am aware of and you had to learn a light touch when finishing to get the best of the blade. done often enough that would still get a clean finish. though i have to admit i adore my diamond stones and would not use anything else now. i think the main reason we spend so much time saying this is the best and only way is due to so many youtubers trying to differentiate themselves for the mighty dollar. 95% of youtube woodworkers are untrained and really do not have a clue. they just make their own copy versions of other peoples videos and keep passing on poor information and misninformation.

  16. Paul, I always enjoy reading your writings. Questions are often misconstrued and there are some questions that dont need to be asked. I used to teach a lot of fire and building code classes along with several other code geeks. At the start of each class we had a brief discussion on types of questions. We always start with the old statement that there are no stupid questions. The people we were training were advised that yes, there’s are stupid questions and we do not answer them. We also did not accept smart A** questions, however, thought provoking questions were always welcomed.

  17. Paul,
    Just leaving this here: you’re the best. Your content is the best.
    Thanks for it all.

  18. Paul,
    It’s fair to say that it felt like a breath of fresh air when I first came across your videos. Your approach based on simple explanation and demonstration, encouraging the individual to develop their woodworking skills rather than, in my case at least, resorting to buying some tool or jig to compensate.
    Importantly, you’ve also recognised that some of us don’t have the budget, space or indeed the desire to fill our workspace with machines and seek a more pragmatic approach, to our woodworking efforts.

    Chris G

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