Surface Prep Shootout: We Have a Winner!

comments (10) November 12th, 2009 in blogs

Ed_Pirnik Ed Pirnik, Senior Web Producer
thumbs up 14 users recommend

Anatole Burkin (L) compares tabletops with a Fine Woodworking reader at the end of the event.
Fine Woodworkings Art Director Mike Pekovich works up a sweat while planing a table leg.
Fine Woodworking Editor Asa Christiana stirs up some dust while sanding table legs.
Anatole Burkin (L) compares tabletops with a Fine Woodworking reader at the end of the event. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Anatole Burkin (L) compares tabletops with a Fine Woodworking reader at the end of the event.

Photo: John Ross

The first-ever live streaming event, a Surface Prep Shootout between Editor Asa Christiana and Art Director Mike Pekovich was a great success and one we intend to improve upon as we bring you future live events. Click here to watch the replays.

Asa and Mike went head-to-head in a battle between random orbit sanders and good old fashioned hand planes to see who would finish first and whose work would be more aesthetically pleasing. In the end, Mike's hand planes won the day in both time and aesthetics.

Nearly two-dozen Fine Woodworking readers were invited to the event, which took place at the FWW shop here in Newtown, CT. Throughout the course of the event, we took questions from our live and online audience, and had a little fun at the expense of Mike and Asa. We also gave away door prizes -- two Lie-Nielsen Toolworks block planes, a Bosch Airsweep vacuum, and two Fine Woodworking DVD archives. Judging by the response we received from viewers, I think it's safe to say we'll be doing this again, real soon.

Cheers to all who participated and a special thanks to both Mike and Asa for being such good sports. Look for the archived coverage from this event at in the near future.

posted in: blogs, varnish, sanding, hand planes, surface preparation

Comments (10)

Clarker Clarker writes: Great Feature! What were the final times for the two?
Posted: 9:55 pm on May 2nd

gstilwell gstilwell writes: I'm not surprised at the outcome. My handplanes don't make dust; I don't need to buy a respirator, or a downdraft table,(with a dust collector) or sanding disks, I don't need electric cords all over the shop, it doesn't cost excess electricity. With the plane tuned properly, the finish is like glass. If not, a scraper blade will do the job.(which by the way, I noticed the sanding folks used)I do have to wade through fine, aromatic shavings of wood, though. I use them for potpourri, or to flavor my next Boston Butt on the smoker.
Posted: 9:19 pm on April 9th

Pkorman1 Pkorman1 writes: This video was fun but the audio was a problem. Asa better wear those hearing protectors. I had been to a tool event at Taunton Press in CT and the video cannot compare with being there live.
Posted: 9:37 am on November 19th

Jim Mansen Jim Mansen writes: While the woodworking information was interesting the complicated audio for the cameras seemed to escape either the people who were shooting or the narrator who had trouble getting the mic close enough to hear the participants. One of the contestants had a radio mic and one did not?? Please don't give up on these webisodes but think about all of us struggling to listen to what's going on with our small computer speakers. Thanks
Posted: 3:28 pm on November 18th

mdinterman mdinterman writes: The one thing I noted was the quet surroundings and the understandable discussions while using the hand plane then the loud not-understandable attempts at discussion with the orbital sander (WHAT!?!?!?). Couple that with the total absence of sanding dust and you have a winner with the hand plane.
Posted: 6:56 pm on November 15th

KParker KParker writes: Very nice. I wish I caught this live. I am an advocate of hand planes in the shop I work at. Being a contrary I'll stick up for abrasives here. I would not be just using an orbital sander if I were in an abrasive vs plane shoot out. An edge sander or a belt sander set up like an edge sander would make quick work of those legs. And for the top, a wide belt sander or stroke sander would be super fast. I know it wouldn't make sense to pit those big machines against the planes in this setting. But, given enough big belts on large machines abrasives rule.
Posted: 9:35 pm on November 14th

biblewarrior biblewarrior writes: I love watching true professionals at work like this. This is fantastic. It actually makes me want to use my own planes more, and get more planes. Gotta convince the wife right. Great feature guys, thanks.
Posted: 11:46 pm on November 12th

kemo kemo writes: Wow! a familiar scene witnessed by multitudes daily: 8-10 guys standing around watching one guy work!
Great idea guys-more soon!
Posted: 9:43 pm on November 12th

ratboy ratboy writes: Really enjoyed the event!
Posted: 7:55 pm on November 12th

fullnelson fullnelson writes: This was a great feature guy's. I'm looking forward to what you have planned for the future.
Posted: 4:11 pm on November 12th

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