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Beginner's Guide

I've read a few books but never have I attempted to write one. My buddy, Don Wilwol, (whom I've never met in person) lives someplace in New York and I live in Oregon. Don has written several books about planes, so far mostly Sargent planes which he knows more about then any human should know. Well, last summer Don asked me to edit a book about Sargent planes, (what else?) and while I was quite dubious, I accepted his challenge. Now I'm no expert on book editing but I used to read and review police reports all the time so I know a little bit about writing readable and understandable stuff. I was also fortunate enough to be asked to contribute an article on Marshal Wells Hardware Zenith planes. Well, the book was finished in the Fall and published. Don was gracious enough to list me in the cover as "Contributing Editor". The book is all about every plane that Sargent produced and an excellent reference for anyone wanting to know about them. I highly recommend it, not because I'm the "Contributing Editor" but because it's a darn good book.

So earlier this year, Don asked me to co-author a book for plane users just starting out. After struggling with the name a bit, Don, with a little input from your's truly, decided on "A Beginner's Guide to Hand Planes-The Pocket Edition". We wrote it because while there is a lot of information out there on hand planes, there's not much all in one place in a format that is easily read and understood. It's in a bound printed copy with lots of photos and easy to understand methods of cleaning, basic tuning maintenance, sharpening and stuff like that. The cool part is that it's almost small enough to fit in your back pocket or even better into the pocket of your shop apron. Well, why else would we call it a "pocket guide". I don't know about you but I rarely need a guide to help me navigate my pockets but it took me a long time to learn how to maintain a hand plane. I wish I'd had it when I started doing this stuff.

I found that writing a book isn't that easy. Editing is a lot easier as you don't have to think much but writing requires one to use one's brain and share the knowledge that's kept there in a way that makes it easy for others to understand and more importantly, to enjoy reading. Ever read a book you hated? I have. I usually never got through the whole thing. Well this one is hopefully easy to read and understand and to pick up some simple pointers if you are just starting out learning about hand planes.. It talks about setting one up for the first time, basic tuning, sharpening, and how to keep it working properly. Simple stuff, written simply in easy to understand, non-technical language. I think they call that an "easy read".

Now I'm not trying to sell books, I make nothing on them if I do. In fact, the vast majority of the books I distribute go in the box which also contains a newly purchased plane, destined for someone just like you. I do that because I think that most of the fun in working wood with a plane is learning how to do it well. This little guide can certainly help you do that. You can find it at a whole bunch of on line outlets including or follow this link: Beginners Guide and scroll to the bottom of the page.

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