Im looking into getting a (Hand) Plane... but I've seen block and bench
planes. Which one would be the way to go for a first timer? What's the
difference in the two? Im gonna be doing hand dovetail/box jointery as well
as some 'common' woodworking projects.
I'm afraid that "Block or Bench" isn't the question. You need to go to
www.supertool.com and read your way through the website. Then do it
again until you have a basic understanding of the types of planes. A
VERY basic start in planes would be a #5 and a #110 or #220. That
won't, by any means, solve all your problems, but it will solve many of
them. If you add a #3 and a #7 you will have solved the majority of the
ones that you will run into in the beginning. If you are going to be
doing dovetails, you will need good chisels and a good dovetail saw as
well. And a mallet. Chisels don't get struck with a claw hammer. I'm
assuming that you already know how to sharpen your tools, because
without that ability your planes and chisels will never work properly.
I know that wasn't in your question, but I hope that it helps,
Dave in fairfax
reply-to doesn't work
daveldr at att dot net
If you're asking what type of plane will be more useful in joinery
tasks, I'd say a block plane over a bench plane. But you really need
to describe in more detail the tools that you already have and the
types of functions you expect to get out of the plane. And, as
another poster mentioned, you'll need to get set up for sharpening.
It may seem daunting at first but you'll "get it" eventually if you
keep learning and keep trying.
For the first-timer? I'd recommend a good low-angle block plane with an
adjustable throat. My Stanley 60-1/2 gets used more than any other plane in my
shop; that's the one I'd go for. Highland Hardware has new ones for $29
(that's about as low as you will find them), but the older Stanleys from the
1950's or earlier are better. You can probably find a good one on eBay for $25
If you're willing to spend a little more, the Veritas low-angle block plane
from Lee Valley is a work of art; it will be one of your proudest and most
Mike W. wrote:
To reply, change the chemical designation to its common name.
You need one of each. There's a huge range of planes, and "need" is
relative. But if you have a workbench, and you expect to "plane some
timber flat" then you'll be wanting a bench plane.
Everyone needs a block plane. Many people who wear shop aprons keep it
in the pocket, they're that handy. I use mine all the time, trimming,
chamfering, and even planing surfaces when I can't be bothered to
reach for a bench plane.
So for "starting out DIY", then get a block plane. For woodworking,
Good ones. Most modern planes are extremely badly made, and they're
just horrible to setup and use.
Fortunately there's a ready market in good, usable, old planes, coming
off eBay (and there's always the toolshop / yard sale route). If you
get a recognisable Stanley design, with no obvious missing bits and a
brass adjusting wheel, then you won't go far wrong. Restoration to
user status isn't hard (Google for it - electrolysis and "scary
sharp" are probably useful too). Old eBay Stanleys with good irons
are an excellent combination - good irons come from Stanley (but only
the pre-war "Sweetheart" irons), Samurai, Clifton (may need some work
to fit them) or Hock (will need sharpening)
Any bozo can use a plane. Adjusting it is the tricky bit. Even when
I've got kids in the workshop, I set the planes up and let them use
them, and they have no trouble at all. OTOH, my first plane when I
was of similar age was a Stanley 102. This is a cheap block plane with
an absolutely minimal adjuster (just a clamp) It took me about 30
years before I could use the damned thing ! This is one reason why I
like the Lee Valley / Veritas range - they have really smooth and easy
to use adjusters with no backlash. So, for your first planes, look
for types with easy and accurate adjustments.
Assuming you have a "serious" budget, then go out and buy the
Lee Valley low angle block plane.
Lee Valley #5, or thereabouts.
These are both excellent planes, where the best of traditional design
features has been shamelessly picked over and combined with new
innovations. They're also beautifully made, arrive in good tune
already, and have excellent irons. Price is pretty reasonable too.
This pair will do most of your "making stuff" bench carpentry.
Then when you need a smoother, look at one of Steve Knight's wooden
planes. These are another excellent plane that works really well (if
you truly need a good bench smoother - don't keep them in the toolbag
for scraping paint). Woodies have a bad reputation for being awkward
to adjust, and Steve's are no different. However he also delivers them
sharp and ready-tuned, so you'll have at least one honing's worth of
experience with them running properly before you have to re-set them
yourself. And with Steve's irons, that's a long time. To re-set a
wooden plane, you need a small hammer (light taps are the trick) and
practice. FWW also did a useful article on Japanese wooden planes a
while back, which has some relevance.
Don't buy a #4. The #5 is a better size for general bench work. #4s
are also the most common size of S/H plane and you'll soon find them
growing on trees and under workbenches. There's no need to spend money
A #92 is a useful plane for rebate work, and as a cheap substitute to
a shoulder plane (even though it's not quite as good). It's also one
of the few modern Stanleys that's worth buying quality-wise (UK
#80 and #271 are others that are cheap and surprisingly useful.
If you work with rough timber, get a scrub plane. Either an old #40 (a
bit hard to find), a modern Steve Knight (I've not used one, but would
like to) or a converted cheap #4 (search this ng).
Buy weird planes as you need them, or as you see one that looks
useful. There's no need to go crazy with a Lie-Nielsen catalogue on
OK, now you're sounding serious.
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
I'll attest to wanting to own a Steve Knight wooden plane. I have his
coffin smoother (and will be getting his scrub for Christmas). I was
a little nervous about how it would perform (only read reviews -- but
they were all positive) and very nervous about setting it up, it
looked like voodoo magic.
BUT, once I got it (I couldn't believe how little -- and I mean LITTLE
-- of the blade was sticking out the bottom) it was so slick to use
and in one complete pass of some semi rough wood I had laying around
(birch I think) the wood felt like glass!! I mean, I didn't get that
smooth on my last project without going through 2 grits on my ROS (for
about 30 min) and then fine sanding with 320 (end grain so it wouldn't
take as much stain). Holy cow!! I was converted instantly.
Now, what about adjusting the iron? Well, again I was a bit nervous.
So I bought a Veritas sharpening setup and did some Scary sharp on the
iron and got set to put it all back together. I followed Steve's
instructions and I would say it was about 30 minutes before I was
planing thin enough shavings. Hmmm...not as fast as I wanted, but
after about 3 days of practicing I was able to get the plane put back
together and plane fluffy shavings in about 3 minutes :) Yeah, baby,
yeah! So, don't worry, piece of cake once you get the hang of it.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.