All of this discussion had confirmed what I thought all along. Those of
us who do use hand powered planes usually have many. We just have our
favorites close at hand when it counts. I have a BUNCHA' planes, I
still have the little Stanley block plane. It rides to work with me
every day. In my shop though, I like an old Stanley #5 Jack for
smoothing and short board jointing (1 by Whatever material), an old
Stanley 60 1/2 for end grain (it's a small low angle block plane), and
a BIG OLD # 7 STANLEY JOINTER! On about the fifth pass I can bring a
continuous curly from one end to the other on a 2x4. Wax the sole and
the blade and set it shallow. You can hang the curls on your kids ears.
Tom in KY, Keeping the shop interesting for the little ones.
I also keep a Stanley 101 in my tool belt.
Still working on getting a cessna plane. ;-)
I'm fairly new to the world of hand planing as well, and I'll second
the recommendation of a Steve Knight plane - I have his Pocket plane
and his Jack plane, and they're both great. I'd recommend the Pocket
or one of his Smoothers to start with - email him with what you need
and he'll hook you up, and if you ask really nice, maybe give you a
discount on your first one. Not only are they wonderfully functional,
but they're beautiful as well... I have one in purpleheart and the
other is padauk - wow.
I've also heard nothing but really good things about Lee Valley planes,
but have yet to get one.
You do not state what kinds of tasks you want to try with a hand plane.
Asking "what kind of first plane" without considering the tasks is a very
open question with no single answer.
a) want to be able to flatten the surface or edge of rough cut lumber?
b) do you want to be able to plane glued up stock?
c) do you want to be able to avoid sanding?
d) do you want to be able to remove small bumps from a piece?
e) do you want to be able to clean up dadoes and tenons?
I think you get the drift. Many people have already given good advise on
places to purchase your first place.
My first plane was a Stanley 9-1/2 (small block plane). This sat in a
cupboard for a couple of decades since I thought power planing and sanding
was easier. I was wrong. This is a good little plane for cleaning up small
bumps, rounding corners and tasks where bed length is not needed.
For the kind of planing tasks which I do, I find hand planing almost
therapeutic. Seeing the shavings is so much better than seeing dust in the
A couple of years ago I went into a woodoworking store to buy my first plane
(technically second, but first for over 20 years). I also had not
considered the types of tasks. I asked the sales person what type of plane
I should buy and he was equally unable to answer.
I ended up buying a Record "Jack" plane (the company is no longer in
business), equivalent to a Stanley #5 about 14 in long. This is fine for
many tasks. I ended up getting a LV A2 blade. What a difference.
I then purchased a LV Scraper plane, a LV Low Angle Smooth Plane, a LV
Medium Shoulder Plane a LV Chisel Plane (used in lieu of scraper to remove
glue excess). I am now awaiting delivery of a LV Router Plane.
I love the feel of the LV shoulder plane, but its 3/4in blade and short body
mean it only gets used for its intended purpose cleaning out dadoes or
The plane I used most is the LV Low Angle Smooth Plane.
I still use the power planer for surfacing rough cut lumber, but I now use
the hand planes as often as I can.
Thanks to all who replied so quickly.
Truth is, I have gotten along without a plane for so long that I'm not
really sure what I need one for. It's sort of like, before I bought my
first computer, I wasn't sure why I needed one. But those who had them
assured me that once I owned one, I'd find all sorts of uses for it and
that I'd never be without one again - and they were right.
Those of you who speak so poetically about the joys of using a good
plane make it sound like some majical experience akin to watching the
sun rise. I want to experience some of that, and find out what I've
Right now, I expect a block plane would be more useful to me than any
other, but I wanted to get a reality check before I plunked down the
cash for a Lie-Nelson or even a Knight or Lee Valley.
"Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas
If I were you I would definitely get the LV LABP, I got one, and it
is really nice quality. But also check out eBay for a nice looking
Stanley #5 jack plane (avoid the color maroon, dreadfull, blue is
okay), you'll need that, and you can upgrade the blade with a Hock
or LV A2 or HCS steel blade (easier to sharpen than A2). That's
the basics, then there's tuning the #5.
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
Thirded, or fourthed, ... not sure. The LV LABP would be a great starter
plane. It'll work great, right out of the box; and it's not terribly
expensive; and useful as all get-out. If you want to chamfer, get the
little chamfer attachment for it as well.
I, too, in a fit of ignorance, bought the evil Buck Bro #5 from the
borg. Don't go there.
Start off with a #5 or #4 1/2. Find an old Stanley in good shape. We
ain't talkin' big bucks. Also get the Taunton Press Mario Rodriguez
video on planes. That will get you started. Learn to tune it so you can
get shavings so thin they have only one side. That feels good.
When you get the urge, and you will, then spring for a fancier, sexier
tool like a Lie-Nielson or Knight. The old Stanley will still serve you
well, and you might get a jointer like a #7 just to show off.
Hear-hear! I entirely agree. I absolutely love all my old Stanleys, and reading
in this ng is why I got into them. They are easy to get in good shape on eBay
and local "used stuff" shoppes. I hate one #6 tho... it's a type 8 that needs a
ton of tuning and fettling, and I paid too much for it. So the best policy is to
get one that "looks really good".
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
Thanks for all the good advice. I think I'll try the Lee Valley Low
Angle Block Plane first, since it seems to match my hazy vision of what
I need a plane for. It's not out of reach price-wise and shouldn't
require a lot of tuning to be useful. If I have a religious experience
as a result and convert to neander, I'll look up the other
recommendations to start my collection.
Thanks again and Merry Christmas!
"Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him."
Hell, even my WIFE thinks they are cool. She likens them to "a work of
art". I especially love the design of their shoulder planes. I'll wager
that every Xmas, birthday, and Father's Day, you'll have a plane on your
Want List! <g>
Have to add my 2c.
First off, agree with all the others about the block plane, my most
used by far. If your going to stick with machines for bulk
planing/jointing, then I'd suggest you learn to use scrapers first,
hand and plane types.
My problem with larger planes is that I don't have a good place to
secure the wood, no big sturdy bench, your not going to be happy
jointing or planing on a couple of workmates not matter what plane you
I have all kinds of planes, most used or cheap or old and cheap :)
The mediocre ones can be tuned fairly well.
Used every one of them for something. Have a great older Stanley
jointer plane, used it for rough planing a couple times (in 20 years),
have never even bothered to tune it. Without a secure work piece it's
useless. I'd rather use my Inca jointer to finish and my Makita power
planer for rough work (Well tuned THIS is a very handy tool).
However my $30 Record low angle block (tuned) with adjustable throat
will finely slice anything I can muscle it through. Use it for all
sorts of things, small chamfers (no jigs), smoothing jointer blade
nick lines, tenons, etc...
I also keep a crap block plane handy for "construction"
A shoulder plane with removable front piece is very handy as well. I
have a small 1941 Record 077A, works great for all sorts of things.
I'd like to use my OLD nameless #12 scaper plane more, and have a
couple under $5 flea market wood planes not worth repairing that I've
used for "rough" work.
If you've got the bench or whatever and want to neander your wood, the
others have given great advice, smoother, jack, jointer.
And yes, a bench is finally on my radar.
email@example.com chopping out the mortise.
BBS'ing since 1982 at 300 bps.
Surfing along at 19200 bps since 95.
WW'ing since 1985
LV Cust #4114
Nothing catchy to say, well maybe.....
WAKE UP - There are no GODs you fools!
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