I'm new here. I'm a new woodworker -- I've built about 4 projects, but a very rough job. Turns out, I really enjoy the process.
I'm currently building a standing desk. The plans (here, on lowes, -- http://www.lowescreativeideas.com/id...desk_0109.aspx
). Well, part of the plans call for making a table top out of a series of boards glued together and held with biscuits. After talking with a buddy about how to do the biscuits -- he happened to mention that I'd need to "run it through the planer."
Well, I gave him "that look." He said it again "the planer" (pause) (more of my look) "you have a planer, right?" Umm, no.
So, that started my research into buying one (and my wife auditing my internet searches that I'm buying another tool (AGAIN)). And, the thinking/problem-solving began. Even if I did have a planer, I could only plane the individual boards, not the table top itself (it'll be, something like 24"x30"). So, I could plane it by hand.
In another place, someone said, you don't want to learn how to do it by hand on an individual project. Actually, I do. I often learn that way -- I can be very methodical. I work with very cheap wood, and I'm happy to redo things when my method fails. Moreover, I believe it is tremendously beneficial to my learning curve to learn things that occur during real world builds; as opposed to practicing for what might occur. Because my experience is that practice in the "real world" of actually building a project, is nearly always more productive/insightful/efficient than trying to workout a theory -- e.g., a solution in search of an answer.
Now, I've been looking like crazy for a used power bench planer that's a fantastic buy -- but haven't gotten lucky enough yet. While I may sand down the desktop -- it may be that I workout how to make the hand planes work. It'll be a learning experience either way.
I hope to share my progress here. In the meanwhile, I will force myself to read/buy/collect/study about 3-10 books on woodworking hand tools, before I spend additional dollars. That said, I love the idea (posted above) about spending $25 bucks a HD or Lowes for an off the shelf plane -- if nothing else -- as a learning experience to see if you can just make it work. Sounds like a great idea to me.