Hand planes are simple tools that need to be set up and maintained properly to work effectively. The definition or details of “properly” can differ, but in general it means a really sharp blade and a sole that is flat. Tangent factors such as chip breaker setting and fineness of the mouth opening certainly come into play, especially in certain circumstances, but for practical purposes sharp and flat are the essential qualities. With the blade set fine and parallel to the sole, great things happen. John, Mike, Josh, and I spent the weekend of Jan 21-22 sharpening, tuning, and using a variety of bench planes that they brought in.