I've got the planes. I described these in an earlier posting. I've read the books. Especially good are Christopher Schwarz's Essential Handplanes and Thomas Lie-Nielsen's Sharpening. Now it's time to put what I've been learning into action.
I started with a wide board of curly red oak that I wanted to use to make some cutting boards. I set out using my Lie-Nielsen no. 7 1/2 low angle jointer to flatten the board, then my Veritas low angle smoothing plane. To remove a peak in the center of the board, I first planed a trough in the center with the jointer plane, then planed across the board on a diagonal to remove the high places until the board was level. Then I used the smoother to produce a surface that barely needed sanding. The result was good if I do say so myself, considering I started with a tough board to plane.
I learned a lot from the process. One lesson was that I need to know more about sharpening. A second lesson is that I need to know more about setting up my planes for optimal performance.
Fortunately, I'm having a chance to learn how to do both of these things. As I write this, I am midway through a class on handplanes taught by none other than Thomas Lie-Nielsen and Christopher Schwarz. The class is being held at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Indianapolis. Already, I've sharpened and set up two of my planes and have taken a perfect thin shaving with my Lie-Nielsen No. 4 smoothing plane. It was an exciting moment!
I'll have more to say about this class later, along with photos.