Resources & Links

When I started collecting and using vintage tools, one of the most difficult challenges was learning where to go for reputable information.  I spent countless hours, days, and eventually months and years scouring the internet and bookstores for information.  Unfortunately, much of what I found was questionable – destructive techniques, bad advice, and information that while well intended, was unreliable or just plain wrong.

The resource list I’ve assembled here is by no means complete and will be updated frequently, but I consider these to be the best of the best.  I own most (if not all) of the books on the list, and have found the other resources to be particularly valuable.  Many of the books and DVDs listed can be purchased through the links provided, and in most cases help support Virginia Toolworks through affiliate accounts.  Please consider clicking through these links if you decide to buy.

While all are recommended, those in Bold denote a Must-Have – in my humble opinion.


A Guide to the Makers of American Wooden Planes – Martyl Pollak
Antique and Collectible Stanley Tools a Guide to Identity and Value – John Walter (out of print)
Classic Hand Tools – Garrett Hack
Flexner on Finishing: Finally – Answers to Your Wood Finishing Fears & Frustrations – Bob Flexner
Handplane Essentials – Christopher Schwarz
Mechanick Exercises: Or The Doctrine Of Handy-Works – Joseph Moxon
Patented Transitional & Metallic Planes (vols. 1 & 2) – Roger Smith (out of print)
Restoring, Tuning & Using Classic Woodworking Tools – Michael Dunbar
Sargent Plane Identification – David Heckel
Saw Filing and Management – Robert Grimshaw (out of print)
Spons on Carpentry & Joinery: A Manual for Handicraftsmen & Amateurs – Popular Woodworking
The Anarchist’s Tool Chest – Christopher Schwarz
The Art And Craft Of Cabinet-Making – David Denning
The Complete Guide to Sharpening – Leonard Lee
The Essential Woodworker – Robert Wearing
The Handplane Book – Garrett Hack and John S Sheldon
The Joiner and Cabinet Maker – Christopher Schwarz, Joel Moskowitz and Anon
The New Traditional Woodworker: From Tool Set to Skill Set to Mind Set – Jim Tolpin
The Perfect Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers – Ron Hock
The Stanley Plane – Alvin Sellens (out of print)
The Workbench Design Book: The Art & Philosophy of Building Better Benches – Christopher Schwarz
Traditional Woodworking Handtools, An Illustrated Reference Guide for the Woodworker – Graham Blackburn
Wood Finishing 101: The Step-by-Step Guide – Bob Flexner
Workbenches: From Design And Theory To Construction And Use (Popular Woodworking) – Christopher Schwarz


Coarse, Medium and Fine (DVD) – Christopher Schwarz (text included in Handplane Essentials book)
Mastering Hand Tools – Christopher Schwarz
The Last Word On Sharpening – Christopher Schwarz



Astragal Press
Lost Art Press – (Lost Art Press’s YouTube Channel)
Popular Woodworking Magazine – (Popular Woodworking’s YouTube Channel)
Toolemera Press

Reference Sites

Date Your Stanley Plane
Disstonian — Online Reference of Disston Saws
Fine Tool Journal
The Superior Works – Patrick’s Blood & Gore
Vintage Saws


Highland Woodworking
Lee Valley Tools
Lie-Nielsen Toolworks – (Lie-Nielsen Toolworks’s YouTube Channel)
The Best Things
Tools for Working Wood


Adria Hand Saws
Anderson Planes
Bad Axe Tool Works
Blue Spruce Toolworks
Brese Plane
Bridge City Tool Works
Daed Toolworks
HNT Gordon and Co Classic Plane Makers
Holtey Classic Handplanes
Liogier, hand cut rasp and rifflers
Old Street Tool (formerly Clark & Williams)
Sauer & Steiner Toolworks
Wenzloff & Sons


Early American Industries Association, EAIA
Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, MWTCA

Hand Tool Preservation Association of Australia
New Zealand Vintage Tool Collectors Club
Pacific Northwest Tool Collectors
Potomac Antique Tools and Industries Association, Inc. (PATINA)
Rocky Mountain Tool Collectors
Southwest Tool Collectors Association
The Tool Group of Canada

2 Responses to Resources & Links

  1. John Liddil says:

    The path to woodworker and hand plane user and collector is a mystery to me. I could use a table saw and bandsaw but the hand plane just would hit the plank and bounce. I could always use my sanders.. Somewhere along the line I started reading Christopher Schwarz and Garret Hack’s book on planes and I became hooked. The technology involved in making and using hand planes is brilliant. I now have a collection of 38 planes from Stanley, Miller Falls, Union, Upson Nut, Sargent, Record, Ece, and Preston. I find myself favoring all the type one or two Miller Falls they are solid -well engineered, similar to my 1953 chevy. I have a Preston bull-nose rabbet plane along with a Miller Falls # 55 (the number is pitted) adj throat 12 degree block plane that I always reach for. I have an early model Record no.6 with Veritas iorn and cap iorn for my miter shooting board and the Impeccable Miller Falls #10 for smooth planing and every thing in between. Thanks for the time you put into your site it is a tremendous resource.


  2. Hobie Bond, northern Ohio says:

    I came across a plane last week for free. There are no markings on it other than Made in USA on the heel just behind the tote. The frog has been painted yellow and has no markings. It appears similar to a Stanley that I have. Length is 14 inches, width is 2 3/8.Only parts missing are the blade and cap iron. The sole is very good except for fairly deep rust spot 3/8 diameter right under the front of the tote.
    Any idea who could have made it? I could send pictures.



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