Dvd review – Super Tune a handplane with Christopher Schwarz
I’ve been on a bit of a handplane binge these last few months. It happens from time to time. And whilst I was happy to spend rather a lot on a Japanese kanna, there is something about shelling out for a modern “premium plane” like a Lie Nielsen or one of the new Lee Valley planes that doesn’t really appeal to me. So, whilst on the lookout for a way around this I stumbled across former Popular Woodworking editor Christopher Schwarz’s 2012 DVD, “Super tune a handplane.”
Schwarz is a bit of a character, a very sharp minded individual, an entertaining writer and talker and it seems a talented woodworker. He writes a very interesting blog, which you can see if you click HERE.
We’re not talking a lot of money here: for £12, Schwarz takes you through every step from selection to stripping down, cleaning up, flattening, putting back together, through fine tuning to trouble shooting in two and a half hours.
There having watched the dvd, there would be those who would say “well that’s just common sense” and you’d be right. There is a lot of common sense in the DVD.
Watching Schwarz work isn’t always easy. At times he’s racing away, physically tense, a bag of nerves, but you realise this is just part of his personality. If you get sidetracked by this you might miss out on some of the many little gems contained within. He’s a pragmatist, concerned with results and brevity rather than obsessing over every theoretical possible “correct” way of doing things. He’s enough of a pragmatist to upset many of who he refers to as the “sharpening police,” so if you number amongst their ranks, you might want to give this DVD a miss.
He’s an honest chap. He asks the question – does his super tuned plane perform as well as a modern premium plane? “Not really” is his answer, but there isn’t a lot in it. If you’re time rich and cash poor following his instructions really do work.
And yes, they really do work. Since watching the dvd I’ve tuned my old Stanley 4 1/2 bench plane. No, I didn’t head for ebay to find one of the pre war planes he loves so much, rather I super tuned the plane I already had without upgrading a thing, (another topic he deals with well) and yes after maybe just half an hours enjoyable work, the plane performs better than it ever has. It works beautifully, where as in the last it’s just performed adequately.
Getting Schwarz’s DVD had all the information I needed and provided just the motivation I needed to get the job done.
Easiest place to find it is on Amazon, but I’m sure it’ll be available elsewhere.
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