If you asked someone what was is most fun part of woodworking, prepping stock is generally not everyone’s first choice. While I wouldn’t sign up for a full week of prepping stick with handtools, I’ve found that I actually enjoy establishing a true edge and face. I don’t have a jointer, so I have to do all the flattening by hand. There is something satisfying about being able to run your square down an edge and have it all line up. Makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something significant.
I still use my dewalt surface planer to do a lot of thicknessing, but you have to establish a flat face for the planer to work properly. Like all things in handwork, the stock prepping process is so much easier if your tools are sharp. Especially in hardwoods. You can usually muscle through pine.
If prepping your stock by hand seems scary, check out this video that popular woodworking recently posted. It’s a great step by step for getting it done. Not a huge fan of the intro soundtrack on this video….