This beautiful, oversize coffee table book begins with the history of handplanes, dating from 79 AD, and continues through types of planes, their mechanics and instructions for using them. Full-color photos introduce rare collector planes as well as everyday planes, with good illustrations of sharpening, tuning and adjusting the many models represented.
The "physics"' of planing is thoroughly discussed, as well as chip removal, throat clearance and skewed irons. The book really gives the reader a solid understanding of what is necessary for this varied class of essential hand tools to function efficiently.
Cutting geometry, frog adjustments, bedding the iron and back bevels are explained. A long chapter on care and upkeep is worthwhile reading. Mr. Hack covers benchwork, stops and jigs, planing technique and how to "read" wood grain to use planes properly.
Everything from scrapers to molding planes to spokeshaves is discussed, and there are many unusual planes included that the average woodworker may never see.
A final chapter on buying and collecting planes gives useful advice on what to look for, and what to be wary of.
This book is an authoritative resource on these simple, yet complicated woodworking tools. Fully indexed, with a good bibliography, it is worth reading and re-reading many times.