Ah. Here is where I tell what I, the newbie, has learned. Not nearly enough learning, if you ask me. I'll update as I stumble upon revelations. I wish I could apprentice someplace. This self taught system of suffering alone can be frustrating.

1. Saw sharpening is easier than you think. There are numerous how-to's everywhere and if you follow these on a relatively sound but dull saw you will improve it and make it serviceable. Now sharpening a saw to perfection, that's a different keg of ale.

2. It is remarkably easy to make a raised panel with a plough plane and a jack plane. This fact caught me very much by surprise. I followed Roy Underhill's instructions and ploughed a narrow groove all around a board. A backsaw helped on the end grain. Then I raised the panel with the jack using the relieved groove as an edge stop, going cross grain first. This was the first woodworking skill that I mastered the first time out of the gate and without task specific tools. I was very happy. Now I need a project to stick all these panels in.

3. There is a BIG difference between the #7 and the #8. Wow. I'm a big guy so the extra heft doesn't tire me out and I really appreciate the mass.

4. There was less of a difference between the #3 and the Bedrock #603. I didn't have both planes simultaneously to compare but even with the Hock iron I discern little difference. And my #3 had a crack in it. I may be noticing a little less chatter, and I did a poor sharpening job on the Hock the first time around. I'm not saying the Bedrock is a poor performer, quite the contrary. The original #3 I had was GOOD performer. It was also a type 11. A modern #3 doesn't even come close even after a LOT of tuning. Why send a catalog company fifty bucks for a shiny new plane when a better old plane with a bit of patina can be had for twenty five smackers. Do I regret getting the #603? Nope.


5. Ask any galoot where to find decent cheap tools and he'll probably tell you his second or third favorite hunting spot. That is more than enough to flesh out a tool kit with usable tools.

6. I love the combination planes. I'm fascinated with their utility. They have limitations but not as bad as some would lead you to believe. The things that are wrong with the #45 and #55 are that the blade isn't skewed for nice endgrain work, and they have no forward mouth edge to help prevent tearout. Both problems have been solved with other tools. The #46 is a skewed blade #45 sans beading cutters. The #289 is a dado plane with a wide skewed iron and a pretty tight mouth. So are the #39 series. I covet all of them but can't justify the expense. Only wooden molding planes are available to take up the molding slack of the #55. If you hang around oldtools long enough you learn how to make a wooden plane, shape and temper and iron, and bingo, you can make your own molding planes. In the meantime, treat yourself to a #55. Homemade scratch stock are also quite versatile.

7. Finally. The most important thing I've learned and relearn daily. When you mess up something, or are halted by something you can't figure out, don't despair. I lament not having enough time to work in the shop and when I do get down there I lament quitting early because I stumble on an obstacle. All obstacles are overcome eventually. When stuck, change gears and do something you know how to do and do well. Just make shavings, even. Shop time is Good time.