WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Making & Mastering Wood Planes

Making & Mastering Wood Planes
by David Finck
Foreword by James Krenov

Sterling Publishing Company, 2000
Paperback, 192 pp., $17.95
ISBN: 0-8069-6163-5

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    When I first got seriously into woodworking back in the mid '70s, James Krenov's "A Cabinetmaker's Notebook" was one of the books that inspired me. Among other revelations, Krenov's description of his planemaking process opened my eyes to the possibilities of making my own tools.
    Now, David Finck, who studied with Krenov and sells his own brand of cryogenically-treated plane irons, has written what I consider to be the best book available on making and using Krenov-style wooden planes; and his advice on construction and planing techniques is a woodworking education in itself.
    Far from just a cookbook presentation, Finck's book is a clearly-written and far-ranging treatise, built around the making, tuning and use of typical laminated Krenov-style planes, including a welcome section on troubleshooting these versatile yet sensitive tools. All along the way, Finck provides excellent insights and instructions on tools, power-tool techniques, jigs, and the theories underlying the process of planemaking.
    His explanations go well beyond the rough outlines provided in Krenov's own books, and extend to workshop aids such as shooting boards, bench hooks, bench "pups" and friction boards. He also covers grinding, sharpening, honing and the angles and mechanics of blades, stones and grinding wheels.
    As Krenov himself says in the foreword of the book, "... if you're going to approach woodworking with sensitivity and maybe refinement, planes are a good way to begin." In this book, David Finck has gone a long way toward starting us down that path.

...Ellis Walentine