I've been reading a great book by Graham Blackburn entitled "Traditional Woodworking Handtools". It is a pretty good read, and for me that is important. A lot of woodworking books are full of pretty pictures but the text side of things is a little light. Sometimes there just isn't anything of substance at all. And I do like to read.....
This book is all about the tools in a traditional (read "before electricity"!) cabinetmakers tool chest. Each type of tool is discussed, how to identify, tune and use each one. And it is full of very interesting insights.
But one particular passage had me laughing out loud. On the subject of handplanes we come to this.....
"one measure of an adequately sharpened plane is that you should be able to place the plane at one end of the board, tilt the board, and watch the plane slide down the board unaided, removing a perfect shaving, feathered away to nothing at its edges as it does so."
Now this has got to be an "Old Wives Tale"tm of the highest order! Has anyone tried this?? I for one am pleased when I achieve full width, perfect shavings with both hands on the plane. To do this hands free is an achievement indeed!!
Joking aside, this really is a great book and highly recommended to the hand tool user. There are no photo's, just line drawings (by the author) and the book is just packed with useful info and anecdotes. A pleasant change to the "coffee table" books that look so good.