100 years ago, Buck Bros was one of the great names in tools. Current
production... uhhhhhh.... let's put it this way: my Buck Bros block
plane, bought when I started wwing about 10 years ago, almost drove me
screaming away from hand tools forever. I like a bargain, I'm not a
tool snob, and I generally try to find some good in every tool, but
this plane proved to be almost completely useless, except maybe as a
paperweight, doorstop, or bad example.
OTOH, I have some Buck Bros chisels of about the same age that are
pretty decent, if a bit soft.
I had bought two Buck planes--jack and a block--knowing they were not
the "real planes" I would someday own. The idea was that I would learn
to fettle them and not be overly depressed when I destroyed them in the
process, and I was at least half right, because I was somewhat upset
when I ruined the frog on the jack plane. Well, I did eventually learn
to tune the planes and both really work well. The lessons I can pass on
to you, with the usual my 2 cents disclaimer:
Except for a Lee-Nielsen, planes require a lot of fettling--not a good
idea to practice on an expensive one unless you have confidence and
above average talent on first efforts.
A plane is, after all, just a holder for a chisel. Like all neat
phrases, this is an exaggeration, but it is true that if you spend the
time conditioning them they will produce picture-book shavings. There
are people in third=world countries who do remarkable work with very
I did wind up throwing away the block plane because it would no longer
tighten the blade, despite trying hard to rescue it. I don't think this
problem is unheard of.
In case, anyone is wondering why I didn't buy a used Stanley, it must be
I live in an upscale neighborhood. My Thrifts and backyard sales don't
do them. Hope this helps.
I bought a smoothing Buck Brothers Plane because of its price. It was next
to useless until I took it apart and re-ground the chip breaker to sit on
the blade properly. After that it worked quite well. I think my next
purchase of a plane will be a L-N.
I would like some help understanding. I bought a BB plane at HD because
I had never used one, and I didn't want to drop > $200 on one without
some idea of whether I would use it regularly.
After having used it some, I would consider a nicer plane if I had some
inkling about the difference.
I'm currently using it it plane some cherry boards that I glued
together. I am experiencing tearout if I'm going against the grain. I
think that happens with any plane, doesn't it? What would a LV plane
give me that a BB doesn't?
Better wearing iron, undoubtedly, plus the ability to adjust the throat to
take the type of shaving which would minimize tearout even up grain.
Plus, if you've got big hands, a _lot_ more room for your knuckles. Keeps
you from getting an impression of the plane body in the first joint of your
little finger during longer sessions.
When you say "ability to adjust the throat", are you talking about
adjusting the opening where the blade comes through the sole?
I have looked over that plane trying to find a way to do that, and
couldn't. But the nicer planes will let you do that?
Even better, a plane that's pretty much ready to go out of the box, vs
one that may never be, no matter how much work you put into it.
The BB (jack) that I've got (before I knew any better) has bad
depressions at the mouth. And that's the good part of it.
Hear! I got the same plane, and it's true that the mouth is *sunken*
into the sole of the plane.
Even better (worse!) it appears the forces required to stamp it out were
enough to cause a (guessing from memory) 1/32" concavity along the
length of the sole that is just a little to much to sand out... at
least, I'm not looking forward to it. After 20 minutes of patient
pushing only 1/2" near the ends were touched and I gave up.
Get a used old stanley. I got one that'd been flattened on the sole,
and it only took a few minutes to correct the rounded result. :) It's
not a collector (despite the 2 patent dates), needed a new blade, had a
"transitional" lever cap, and some clever repairs to a split knob (wires
wrapped into carven slots, ends twisted together, and soldered all
around), but it works and cost all of $12.
Sure I could. There have been times when I've had more money than sense.
The LV planes I can understand. They've made some interesting changes. LN
are probably good planes, but IMO not worth the money.
I shouldn't have responded in such a smart ass way.
I only have one Lie Nielson plane, a nice 140 skewed iron patterned after an
There are alternatives to the $200 planes. I have old Stanley Baileys and
Bedrocks purchased on EBay. A nice #4 Bailey can be had for well under $40.
When you pick it up, you will know the difference. I wouldn't bother with
the new Stanleys, but I know a school that uses them and they are tuned
do quite well.
I have two Veritas planes and two Veritas spokeshaves. They came out of the
box working. Moderate price and great quality.
When you pick up a Lie Nielson plane or a Veritas plane after holding a
modern Buck Brothers you will know the difference.
'Sallright, I smart assed right back. :o)
Soon as I get the Cash together I'm looking at 3 or so Knight planes.
Everyone here raves about the quality and the price is sure right. I'v
got a number of older SBs I picked up on e-bay and garage sales. Also and
old wooden jointer of about 26" length. The mouth is kind of wide and I
can't decide whether to patch the mouth or use it as a scrub. Until then
it just sits there as one reminder of all the stuff I need to tune. When
I started along the Neander Way I was very ignorant and bought a new
Record smoother. Probably put 20 hours into that sucker and I'm still not
satisfied with it. Tuning the SBs went a lot quicker, so the Record was
worth something. The same lesson could be learned on the Buck, for less
than half the price of a new Record.
Got a chance to fondle some of the LV planes and LN planes at last years
Woodworking Show. I prefer the LVs. When they noticed that the drool was
starting to pit the sides, I was asked to leave. :o)
: Sure I could. There have been times when I've had more money than sense.
: The LV planes I can understand. They've made some interesting changes. LN
: are probably good planes, but IMO not worth the money.
What makes them not worth the money? They're better machined
than the Stanley Bedrock's they're derived from, have better
and thicker blades, etc.
-- Andy Barss
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