The Zen of Hand Planing


Something about working with an old, sharp block plane is very zen.  I find it therapeutic.  I like to keep the blade sharp enough to cut hairs and polished to a friction-less, mirror finish.  Your power starts in your shoulder and transfers down through your arms.  As the plane begins to move, you can hear the blade slicing through the thinnest possible fiber of wood.  The thin shaving rolls up slowly into the body of the plane like a coiling snake.  Each stroke of the blade alters the project forever leaving behind a wake of glass-smooth wood a fraction of a fraction smaller than it was a second ago.  At the end of the stroke, you look back at your trail of change fixing on what angle to plane next.  The board has changed and it will never be the same again, yet it awaits your next pass as your shoulder tightens ready for the next transfer of your force into the blade, into the wood.  With each pass of the blade, the board get closer to your desired result.

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