WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Restoring, Tuning & Using Classic Woodworking Tools

Restoring, Tuning & Using Classic Woodworking Tools
by Michael Dunbar

Sterling Publishing, 1989
Paperback, 250 pp., $19.95
ISBN: 0-8069-6670-X

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    "Every woodworker that I have ever known," says author Michael Dunbar, "eventually acquires some tools that have once belonged to someone else. ...This book is a practical guide; it is intended for the woodworker rather than the collector."
     Dunbar is well known for his Windsor Institute in Hampton, NH, and as a teacher, a writer and a speaker throughout the country. He is a master woodworker and historian with a wealth of knowledge to pass on to the rest of us.
    Nowadays, magazine articles and woodworking books are so heavy with multi-colored illustrations that it is a refreshing change to sit down with Dunbar's book. He respects the reader's intelligence, with well-written text and informative black and white photos.
     If you have any interest in the quiet, personal joy of a wide ribbon of wood emerging from the finely tuned plane between your hands, this book is for you. It will be a guide to every handtool operation you want to take on.
    In the book, Dunbar instructs us on how to assess and buy hand tools, which parts can be repaired, and their proper use afterward. He covers cleaning, refinishing, heat treating, and sharpening of all types of planes, chisels, gouges, bits, spokeshaves, scrapers and saws.
     You'll learn each tool's history and evolution, how it works, and the features that make it worth purchasing. He is open and informative about any problems that are historically characteristic of certain tools.
     This book has remained in print for over a decade, and with good reason. Even if you never intend to own a full set of wooden molding planes or an adjustable plow plane, they are fascinating to read about. And as for metal bench planes, your flea-market finds can become great assets to your shop with Dunbar's guidance in reconditioning them for use.

...Barb Siddiqui