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I think the 'problem' that gdenby states is one of the reasons I do suggest pine boards for first timers. It's a cheap way to learn about graining and how to cut cross grain, use stop cuts and the need for a sharp tool. I'd rather mess up a pine board than a nice piece of basswood.

Plust if you are wanting to do a wood spirit, it comes with 4 corners on which to practice. Those angles create the base for a face plane. 3 cuts and you have eye, nose and mouth planes. 3 more and you have the nose exposed...etc. i still grab some scrap wood (any kind) that already has an angle already on it and go to town just for hand training.
 
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