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 Post subject: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 1:46 pm 
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Location: Cardington, Ohio
I am going to start acquiring hand planes but do not know which one to get first. I am looking for opinions. Is woodriver a good brand or is it worth while to buy Stanley?

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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:28 pm 
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JPG wrote:
I am going to start acquiring hand planes but do not know which one to get first. I am looking for opinions. Is woodriver a good brand or is it worth while to buy Stanley?


I'd get a quality Jack Plane (#5 ) as the first one. I would not buy a modern Stanley. If your budget allows, get a Veritas/Leevalley plane. You should also look around for pre-WWII Stanley planes at pawn shops, yard sales, etc.

Woodriver and other low-end modern planes typically use a relatively soft steel for the blade, which means it dulls quickly. You can replace the blade with a better quality iron (from Hock, for example), but they ain't cheap. I've also heard that the quality control on the Woodriver and modern Stanley's is inconsistent so you might get a good plane or you might get a door stop. Most modern planes, including WoodRiver are made in China so that may be the reason for the inconsistent quality. Stanley sold out to Black & Decker a while back, which doesn't impress me either.

Here's a couple dedicated Stanley sites you should study:

http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0a.html

http://www.hyperkitten.com/tools/stanle ... ne/dating/

You'll also need the equipment and know how to properly fettle and sharpen a handplane. Rather than going into all that, I suggest getting a copy of "The Handplane Book, by Garrett Hack, before you spend your hard earned money on something that you won't be happy with. http://www.amazon.com/Handplane-Taunton ... plane+book

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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 4:08 pm 
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Lee Valley probably gives you the most bang for the buck, but WoodRiver (WR) ain't bad. A little more than the average Stanley, but much better quality. Cheaper than Lee Valley (LV) and while the quality isn't quite what you'd get with LV, it's still pretty good. For most of us on a budget, Wood River gives you pretty good quality for a reasonable price. I currently have a LV low angle jointer plane that is a pure joy to use. It was also several hundred dollars.

Since then, I've bought the WR #5, #6 and their low angle block plane. As soon as I can save enough, I'm going for their 1/2" shoulder plane.

I also have a Stanley #4 bench plane that I want to replace with a WR, but that'll be later. I also got a Stanley #78 rabbit plane which isn't bad, but it's quality could be better. It's just the only rabbit plane I could afford. I also have a Stanley block plane and low angle block plane from before the WR days, and they aren't bad for the price but have been relegated to rough carpentry work.

Bottom line, I like WR. I think they give you a good quality product for the price. I'd skip the #6 and go for the #5. I'd gotten the #6 thinking there would be a need, but with a LV #7, I rarely use it anymore. The #5 is a good catch-all plane. small enough for most finish work, big enough for larger rough work too. Next go for a good block plane, then either a rabbit/shoulder or a smoothing plane, #3 or #4.

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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:16 am 
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I'd get a smoother, followed by a block plane. The smoother does for the mill marks on hasty planed lumber without noise to offend your ears or dust your nose. I prefer the Lee Valley with room enough for my ham hands and adjustable mouth. Actually I got the 4 1/2, because I also have a vintage Stanley 4, which is a wonderful plane, but I have to three-finger the tote.

The block plane trims things just a bit to fit like nothing else in your inventory.


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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:51 am 
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Location: Sacramento, CA
Quote:
but do not know which one to get first.


Do you spend time trying to flatten or remove twist from wobbly stock on a powered jointer?
Have you built a planer sled to shim stock and run through the power planer?
Do you occasionally have stock edges that are a little wonky off the table saw?
Do you occasionally have stock that has a bump in the middle that want to quickly remove?

A Jack (#5) plane will help with this. Plane down the high corners until you have a reasonably flat side, then run through the powered planer.
It can also be used to joint and edge flat if the stock is fairly short.
It can also be used to flatten the face of stock.


Do you have a sanding schedule that you are comfortable with?
Or do you loath sanding up through all those grits to get to a surface that is ready for finish?

A smoothing (#4) plane will help with this. It will quickly remove all machining marks and make the surface glassy smooth, ready for finish.


Do you relieve the edges of projects so that machined corner is not so sharp?
Do you often need to trim the end-grain of a piece to fit properly?
Do you need to flush up a corner of a box that isn't quite level?

A block plane will do this.


In fact an argument could be made that those three planes are all you need to do the coarse, medium and fine work in furniture building.

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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:30 am 
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Hey Jon,
Since you joined this site 12 years ago, I'm sure you are pretty savvy regarding planes already. When you say you are going to "start acquiring hand planes" I'm assuming you mean you wish to develop your hand tool woodworking capabilities.....but would appreciate more information as to "why" you wish to acquire.
That said....I believe a pre-war stanley #5 would be an excellent 'start'. Gene suggested the Hyperkitten site and I second that suggestion. The #5 is a great all around user when properly sharpened and fettled. One can refine rough stock, flatten, edge, dimension and smooth most stock. Once mastered it can provide insight into what 'other' planes would suit your endeavors. As for brands....we all have our preferences...I started with vintage Stanley & Sargent planes and now have many Lie Nielsen planes and one Veritas plow plane.
Let us see what you decide to get!!
good luck,
Don


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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:24 am 
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A plane with an adjustable throat can accept a convex grind iron which can stay on the shelf until required for mild leveling. No matter the length of the sole, a strong recommendation.


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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:57 am 
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Don2Laughs wrote:
Hey Jon,
Since you joined this site 12 years ago, I'm sure you are pretty savvy regarding planes already. When you say you are going to "start acquiring hand planes" I'm assuming you mean you wish to develop your hand tool woodworking capabilities.....but would appreciate more information as to "why" you wish to acquire.
That said....I believe a pre-war stanley #5 would be an excellent 'start'. Gene suggested the Hyperkitten site and I second that suggestion. The #5 is a great all around user when properly sharpened and fettled. One can refine rough stock, flatten, edge, dimension and smooth most stock. Once mastered it can provide insight into what 'other' planes would suit your endeavors. As for brands....we all have our preferences...I started with vintage Stanley & Sargent planes and now have many Lie Nielsen planes and one Veritas plow plane.
Let us see what you decide to get!!
good luck,
Don


I have about a dozen planes, from a tiny finger plane to a #7c, and a couple specialty planes. All of them old Stanley except for a Fulton 3711 Jack. Never paid more than $25 for one, and they all do what they are supposed to. I can't afford the Veritas or other high dollar tools, and I actually enjoy restoring them.

A couple I had to scrounge parts for, which are not always easy to find. Something to keep in mind if buying old planes. Stanley planes are notorious for having screw threads that aren't made anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:51 pm 
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Honestly I have never used a hand plane before. I was given a great neck plane years ago as a gift. I tried using it but did more damage than it was worth. In the past few months I have seen that I could really use a good plane but didn't have a clue where to start.

I have not heard anyone who uses hand planes complain about them and they like the results they get over power tools. I would like to learn something new also.

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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:07 pm 
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I'm certainly not an expert when it comes to hand planes. But I do on occasion put both a jack plane and, more so, a block plane to use. I finally decided that using a current project as a learning slate wasn't such a great idea. So in order to learn muscle memory, learn how to adjust the iron to achieve the best response from the wood, learn to read grain direction, and the whole litany of issues connected with them, I spent no small amount of time with just scrap wood getting acquainted with them. I still struggle often but time spent on just covering the floor with feather like shavings has improved my relationship with my planes.

Remember, ... patience is a virtue.

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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:34 pm 
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Most of my hand planes are Stanley but also others including older Craftsman.
The ones I use the most are a new inexpensive Kunz - Bullnose Plane #75 and an older small cheap low angle block plane #102.
I have collected them little by little over time most from garage sales, resale shops, antique shops ...
They were purchased as I found them.

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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:37 pm 
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If you are interested in older planes (in reasonable shape, they can be incredible bargains) you should consider the Midwest Tool Collector's association (MWTCA) http://www.mwtca.org/tool-meets.html

I think an MWTCA tool meet is the best place to buy old tools, and a great place to meet and talk to people who can help you learn to use them. While the Ohio section seems not to have gotten going, there is one in La Porte, IN on Aug 22, 2015. It looks like a 4 hr drive from Cardington, OH, so probably not worth it for one plane, but likely worth it for several. Many places the meet is a once a year deal.

Mike Siemsen's DVD http://lostartpress.com/products/the-naked-woodworker shows him at an MWTCA meet, buying all the tools needed for building furniture. It also shows him refurbishing all the tools, then in the second DVD using them to build a sawhorse, then a full-sized workbench. This he did in one weekend, and figured the total cost of all the tools and lumber at $571. One reason the price is so low (remember this is an entire workshop of tools and a solid full-sized workbench) is that there's no vise on the bench. Here's his answer to that: http://blog.lostartpress.com/2014/12/03 ... oodworker/ You might have a good bench now, but if you start using handplanes, a good bench becomes even more important.

I do know Mike and think he's a good guy and an excellent teacher.


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 Post subject: Re: Hand Planes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:58 am 
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Thank you all very much. I will be asking for a few for Christmas and my birthday.

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Jon


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