Best plane for this job

I'm about to construct a frame and panel chest with Mahogany. It looks like a local supplier is going to be able to do a little ripping and maybe resawing to get me the general sizes of stock I need since I don't yet own a tablesaw. I hope to finish the job with handplanes. I'm looking through the Lee Valley catalog and I can't figure out what the most useful plane would be to add to the low angle block plane and shoulder plane I have now. I won't be planing anything over 40" in length for this project. I will be edge joining a few boards to make the panels I need but the stock I'll be using should be pretty square on one edge so I shouldn't have to worry about taking off lots of material to prepare for joining.
Is that enough info to make it possible to offer good advice? I can't decide whether I should get a bench plane or a smooth plane here. I'm leaning heavily toward the Veritas #4 smooth plane. It seems I've read about low angle block planes and #4 planes being good starting points as both are pretty versatile. Is 9.5" long enough to true an edge on a 40" board if needed or should I maybe think about the #51/4W since it is 12" long? What about after I've joined the boards to build the panels and need to smooth the joint? Will the #4 do that job well or should I be thinking about using a scraper for that anyway?
I know I've asked a lot of questions here. I've been doing research myself and I own The Handplane Book, which I'm about to go read a little more but I thought I would ask here as well.
Thanks in advance for any help!
-Chris
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I just realized what I posted and that a smooth plane IS a bench plane. Wish you could edit with Usenet.
-Chris
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Hi,
If you plan to do jointing by hand, you are better off with a longer plane, like a jack plane.
Have you thought about how you might raise your panels or rabbet the edges, and how you will make the dadoes on your rails/stiles?
Good luck with the project -- enjoy!

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Seems Lee Valley and George has a fine "Junior Jack" which is long enough for careful joining, and short enough for surfacing. Even a ham-handed guy like myself can grip it easily with the clearance available in the new design, and the ease of blade adjustment makes it ideal for new folks.
With Mahogany, since it runs to "rowed" grain, you might consider a second iron, back-beveled for a little higher angle of attack.
EVERYONE should have a scraper (or three) at hand, and the dial-a-burnish LV sells gives finest shaving to glue-busting angles over and over again.

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guy
That's the 51/4W I mentioned. I have pretty much decided it will either be that one or the #4. I think the 51/4 would be better suited to this project but I think I'll want to get true jointer and smoother planes later. Would I ever use a 12" plane if I have a 9.5" plane and a longer, maybe 18" or so, plane? Or, would the "Junior Jack" do smoothing just as well as the #4 so there would be no need for the slightly shorter plane? I'm very good at making thngs complicated.

Thanks for this info.

LV
I haven't tried one yet but plan to. I'll have to look up the burnisher in their catalog since I haven't noticed it yet.
Thanks, Chris
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I'd make that smoother a low angle. Since I have a nice smoother, I use it, but when it really counts, I find myself reaching for the low angle which, paradoxically, gives me a fine surface on figured hardwood. Supposed to use high angle stuff for that. With the Junior Jack and the low-angle I could pass up the old Stanley smoother, though he's a fine plane. Have an old Fore I use when I don't use a power jointer, but mostly jointing is too easy on the machine.
You can raise panels with your shoulder plane. Scribe, rabbet your reveal, scribe the bevel, cut; then scribe and rabbet for the insert into the frame. It's a technique which was once common. Marlowe is where I first met it. Even if you do end up routing, take the bulk out with your planes, the bearings will thank you.
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Hmm, maybe this is the best compromise. Go ahead and order the 51/4 now and then I can get a nice long jointer and the low angle smoother later.

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I might give it a shot on some scrap to see how I do. Thanks again for the advice.
-Chris
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Thanks.
I have a router and a half finished table for it. I don't know if it's powerful enough to turn a panel raising bit and it is not variable speed so rabbets are probably the way I'll be going.
-Chris
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The Lee Valley/Veritas and LN planes are surely very high quality tools capable of doing very fine work. However, on a limited budget IMO money would be better spent on some used Stanleys. For the work you described you could edge joint with a #5 and do some of the finishing with a #4. If edge jointing longer boards is in your future look for a #7 as well. I have a #6 that I find very useful though many others will say it is a wasted size. For what a single Veritas plane costs, you could buy a used Stanley 4,5, and 7 that would of course need some tuning and work, but probably be capable of doing 95% of what the more expensive planes will.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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Thanks Larry. I've read a lot about buying used planes and tuning them and thought about going that way. In the end, I decided that it's worth it to me to buy something I know will come out of the box ready to use after a little honing of the iron and very minor tuning. Even with the reading I've been doing on tuning used planes I just don't know if I want to try it right now. And with my lack of experience at this, I just don't know what to look for in a used plane to be sure it doesn't have some kind of damage or whatever. It will certainly take me longer to build a collection this way but I will be proud to own them and know that I have a quality tool that is going to last my lifetime. Though I'm sure an old Stanley would last a very long time and do quality work also. I don't mind spending the money for good tools but I don't want to buy the wrong tool or one that I will no longer use much once I add tool X to my collection.
-Chris
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On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 15:44:33 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@fellspt.charm.net (Lawrence Wasserman) wrote:

I am not one of those people. I have a #6 and use it for just about every planing job. I've used it for thicknessing, jointing small boards and boards up to 5ft., planing end grain, and smoothing.
I find it's size just about perfect. Longer than a #5 to joint long boards, but not too heavy to smooth faces of smaller boards. In fact, I like the extra heft when face planing. It's a very good all around plane size.
Layne
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<Layne> wrote in message (Lawrence

The #6 sure seemed like a good size to have when I was reading about planes and what is available. I actually had it on my list before the #7 before reading so many negative comments about it's usefulness. It's actually pretty weird to see the general attitude about this plane. I still think I might pick one up at some point. I got my new rusty old Stanley #7 tonight off Ebay.
-Chris
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wrote:

Best thing about the #6 is that no-one wants them....
If I'm jointing things only a foot long, I use the #6 - no need to swng the weight of a #7 around on a little job.
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I second that. A #5 is good to have.

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You're off to a good start, but don't fool yourself into thinking you won't be adding to your "collection". If you really go for the handtool thing, you'll be buying a rabbet plane, shoulder plane, plow plane, scraper plane, lower-angle plus higher-angle smoothers, etc., etc. DAMHIKT.
I came upon this thread late, or I would have weighed in with those who suggested a #6. I bought my old WWII-era foreplane after I owned a smoother and low-angle block, and it quickly became my most-used plane. It's long enough for most medium jointing tasks, works well for surfacing panels and such, and can be used as a smoother in some situations.
While I love my vintage Stanley, if I was in the position to buy one now, I'd probably opt for the Lee Valley plane. It fills the niche between the really high-end boys and the old Stanleys, and when you figure that you'll likely need to replace the old iron in the Stanley with a Hock or similar upgrade ($40+), it makes even better economic sense.
Anyhow, you might want to start playing around with your Lee Valley plane first and as you get accustomed to what it can do, it will give you a benchmark (no pun intended) for the old #7. The adjustment mechanisms aren't the same, but at least you'll know what the end-result can look like.
Have fun and welcome to the slope.
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) It's slippery down here ... wheeeeee!!!
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I'm thinking pretty seriously about ordering the Veritas #6 after my next paycheck. I would have loved to have picked up that Lie Nielson #7 instead of the old Stanley I bought but $400.00 is pretty hard to swallow for a single handtool. If I prove to myself that I'm really going to use these things maybe I'll go for it down the road. Once I get a basic collection of hand tools I need to save some pennies for a good table saw though. I've come so close to going to Home Depot and just picking up the BT3100 to use until I can afford what I want but haven't done so.
-Chris
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You might want to check of ebay for the Clifton #7 that Lee Richmond www.thebestthings.com is offering. I bought mine from Woodcraft on closeout and got a great deal. The sole is dead flat as it came out of the box.

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Chris,
2 points for you.
1) If you are into hand tools, check out wooden hand planes (http://www.knight-toolworks.com ). I have metal and wooden and LOVE to use my wooden plane (soon to be planes -- I have another on order). It's beautiful to look at (purple heart coffin smoother with curly maple inlay) and makes the most fluffy shavings -- my heart speeds up each time I use it. Just a suggestion.
2) As for picking up a less expensive table saw -- check the classifieds in your area. I wish I had started there, I've picked up tons of stuff for CHEAP through the paper. Examples: $300 mortiser -- $100. $900 8" Jointer -- $450. $150 router -- $5 (my favorite steal ;). $350 drill press -- $130. $800 bandsaw -- $250. Most of these things have seen very little use (1-3 years max). Reasons sold vary too -- divorce, moving, upgrading, quiting, etc. I bought my tablesaw brand new, but I've seen Dewalt, Delta, Grizzly, Jet from cabinet to contract for anywhere from $350-$900.
Good luck and enjoy!!
Mike
[snip]

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