Block Planes?

With Christmas coming, I'm thinking I could finally get myself a good block plane. I've seen decent reviews of Veritas's planes, and Lie Nelson is probably too pricey. None of the reviews I've read put the Stanleys in the same general class as the Veritas planes.
I'm not going to be doing much fine cabinet work, but have occasional need to trim pine, oak & walnut to get a good fit. That & the occasional sticky door.
In terms of features, what do folks think about low-angle vs normal, and adjustable throats? The low angle planes seem to be recommneded for end grain, which I have to deal with on occasion. Is there a downside to the low angle?
Thoughts, comments?
Thanks!
Doug White
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The only downside I can think of is that planing might take a few more strokes when you have a considerable amount of wood to remove. I bought the Veritas 05P2501 low angle smoothing plane with 05P3001 jointer fence and 05P2502 A2 blade October of 2009. It has worked like a champ for almost all of my planing needs. I highly recommend it. In fact I was so impressed with the smoothing plane that about two months later, I went out and bought the 05P5120 plow plane with five blades as a Christmas present for myself.
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Here's a Veritas block plane on ebay. Current price is $76 http://cgi.ebay.com/Lee-Valley-Veritas-low-angle-block-plane-box-/150513130656?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item230b481ca0#ht_500wt_1156
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I am not sure what you mean that it might take more strokes. That's not quite true.
Low angle vs normal is more about endgrain.. not amount of strokes, unless you need to back the blade off.
I recently purchased 3 very old Stanleys for $5. After a bit of elbow grease I am really happy. Although my LN 60 1/2 is quite good, the old stanleys are very good too. I got a Sweatheart No 18 pat 2-18-13 Another No 19 Pat Dec 28-86 and finally the another more modern unit a No 19...
The number 18 is awesome... and in perfect shape after a little work.
Both the LV and LN are very good. I too recommend the Low Angle and a second blade for normal angle. Just put a different angle on the second blade. or use a micro bevel.
On 11/3/2010 8:38 PM, Upscale wrote:

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"tiredofspam" <nospam.nospam.com> wrote in message

I have my smoothing plane calibrated for very thin shavings so when I'm removing a given amount of wood, it takes more strokes. Just a feeble attempt to be funny on my part.
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I have a Stanley and I have a Veritas. I'd never buy Stanley again when you can have the best.

It would be nice to have both, but I'd rather have the low angle for versatility if I'm having one.
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I'm not familiar with the pricing of Veritas, but if your're willing to buy used and do a little cleanup and tuning, for the price of the LN, you can buy a Stanley 9 1/2, a 60 1/2, and probably have enough left over to get a decent # 4 and 5 too.
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wrote:
[...snip...]

Much more important than which brand the block plane is, can you sharpen it properly? Assuming you can, you can get some useful results from a Stanley.
Having said that, the Veritas will serve you even better. It is manufactured to much tighter tolerances and the blade is heavier, which helps eliminate chatter.
A Low Angle plane can be used on end grain. But it will be more prone to tearout on figured wood. It sounds as if that won't be much of an issue for you. I have the LV low angle block and it isn't usually a problem, especially with a sharp blade and a tight mouth (setting the adjustable throat to pass a fine shaving).
Another possible way to deal with this: purchase an extra blade and grind and hone the bevel to a higher angle and swap the blade out as needed. You can just hone the secondary bevel at the higher angle.
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Low angle planes are a definite plus when it comes to end grain. I like the adjustable mouth to take fine shaving and I think it helps reduce tearout when planing long grain.
As much as I love the LN and LV planes (I have the LV medium shoulder plane), if money is any type of an object, I would recommend buying a user grade Stanley 65 / 65-1/2 or 60 / 60-1/2, the older the better for your block plane. The older they are, the more metal there is in the mouth for support. You might also consider an apron plane like a Miller Falls #5..
If you search the bay regularly and are patient, you can snare a decent user grade 65 for $35 or so, delivered. 60 is less.
Expect to have to clean, sharpen and fettle virtually any plane you buy, new or used. LV, LN or Clifton and other extremely high quality planes will require minimal tuning. Remember, when you buy a plane, you are actually buying a kit. LV, LN and Clifton are just very, very well done kits.
You didn't ask about bench planes, but after you have your first plane, you have started down a slippery slope, so here's take on bench planes. The Stanley types 9-14 were probably the best they made. Numbers 3, 4 and 5 (smoothers and q jack plane, Jeff) are available on ebay at excellent prices if you are patient and willing to do some rehab.
You should be able to find one of these for $30 or less, and it is a better made plane than any I have seen offered by the major woodworking chains until you get to the quality level of a LN or LV. Yes, you have to spend a few hours flattening soles and fitting the frog and cleaning and maybe gluing up the tote. But you have to do that to anything you buy that costs less than the LV or LN (except for gluing up the tote).
One thing I have noted about the well-used planes I've acquired. They were well used by the person who owned them and made a living with them. They often are well fettled. I have a #5 Stanley that arrived in fine fettle. Not a machine mark on the top or bottom of the frog or the mating area on the sole. The sole is flat, the sides are square and the lever cap operates with just a bit of pressure and that is all that is needed since it is so well tuned. No need for a Hock blade on this plane. Half the japanning is gone, the tote is chipped and had a crack repaired, and overall appearance is rather ugly. But it sure is a pleasure to use.
(I do not collect planes either, I do not collect planes either, I do not.....)
Regards, Roy
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On 11/4/2010 12:48 AM, Roy wrote:

What Roy said. Hey, is your last name Underhill by chance? :-)
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wrote:

This might help as well: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.woodworking/browse_thread/thread/fa2c67adc100c811/a10c71962b99ba14?lnk=gst&q=veritas#a10c71962b99ba14
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On Thu, 04 Nov 2010 00:11:44 +0000, Doug White wrote:

Your best bet for the money is an *old* Stanley. All the info you need on the 9 1/2 and the 60 or 60 1/2 can be found at:
http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0a.html
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If you're gonna get an old stanley, look for the #18.
scott
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On Nov 6, 3:02pm, snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

Knuckle joint plane, one of the coolest looking ones. The 18 I bought at a flea market in 1978 for $3.00 has seen me through nearly every project since.
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On Sun, 7 Nov 2010 14:28:25 -0800 (PST), Father Haskell

I picked up a #65-1/2 (complete with a Hock blade) about a decade and a half ago, and it has served me well. I have to sharpen the darned blade frequently, though. (Every two or three years.)
-- Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling. -- Margaret Lee Runbeck
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Veritas and Lie-Nielson are both good. The difference in price, in my opinion, isn't that significant. The main difference between the two is that Veritas takes a modern approach to design and features, while Lie-Nielsen improves on the traditional designs with better metals and thicker blades. Both products are pretty much ready to work out of the box. Veritas however is typically a bit better here as their blades are usually dead-flat and only require a bit of honing.

I don't know about the new "Sweatheart" planes, but Stanley's other "new" stock would not be in the same class as either Veritas or Lie-Nielsen. However I have found Stanley's 9-1/2 (12-920) and 60-1/2 (12-960) block planes to be fairly decent--after a bit of fettling.

Given the woods you intend to work with, which are typically fairly well behaved, you could get by with a 12-960 or 12-920 from Stanley. But of course the Veritas or Lie-Nielsen will be better, and not require any fettling.

Low angle is best for end grain and can be used on well behaved straight grained woods. On difficult grained woods, the low angle will just cause tear out. An advantage of the low-angle plane is that if you buy another blade to fit it, you can grind that to a steaper angle and then swap blades around. Use the low angle blade for end grain and well behaved woods, and the higher angle for more difficult grain. If you find you use your planes a lot, having to swap blades around can be a time consuming task. In which case, it easier to just have both a low angle and a regular angle block plane.
As for the adjustable throat, it is an advantage over a fixed throat and can help with tear out sometimes. If you're going to only have one block plane, get one with an adjustable throat.
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Old Stanleys are good users, and cheap. The adjustable toe prevents tearout by letting you set the mouth just wide enough to feed a shaving through, breaking it as soon as it's cut. It works better than the "chip breaker" caps used on bench planes.
Expensive LN and Veritas planes are for expensive work. Shame to ruin them on the edge of a painted door slab. A #220 is good, a less than pristine #5 is better.
Angle of the frog is less important than sharpness of the blade.
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