Hand Plane Comparison: Stanley vs. Veritas

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I'm wanting to purchase my first real hand plane (smooth plane), but I don't have the $ for a Lie-Neilson (the Cadillac?). Therefore, I was going to get a Veritas. After reading reviews and shopping online (and according to the 2005 Tool Guide from Taunton), the Veritas planes appear to be the best value for the money.
But the Stanley planes *look* descent enough, and are about half the price of a Veritas. And I have seen photos of Stanleys in professional wood workers' "favorite hand tool" selections. So I was wondering if anyone out there might have first hand experience in providing a side-by-side comparison of the Stanley vs. Veritas hand planes (in particular smooth planes). Amazon had a nasty review for the #4 Stanley, but the fellow didn't say why it was such a horrible hand plane.
So what's the difference? Please help. TIA.
-Mike
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The difference is that the Stanleys in most woodworkers' shops were made in an era when Stanley cared about handplanes more than garage door openers.
The designs are strong, and have been around since your great grandfather was a boy, or longer. They are, in fact, the same designs from which the Lie Nielsen and to some extent, the Veritas, planes are derived.
Here's the difference: The Veritas from Lee Valley works, right out of the box, requiring only that you clean off the preseratives and give the blade a light honing. A Stanley, or Record, or Anant, or Groz/Rockler, is going to require that you spend more time with it. Within the last 6 months or so, David Charlesworth did an excellent article, I think in Fine Woodworking, on tuning up a modern plane. With those efforts, he, and pretty much everyone else, gets the modern plane up to acceptable levels.
If you don't want to fiddle (fettle), then buy the Veritas, and go to work. I particularly like the LV Low Angle smoother (watch the wrap) http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageE864&category=1,41182,48944 &ccurrency=2&SIDThe bevel up configuration has some real advantages.
Now, if you want drop dead gorgeous, all your friends will drool, then order youself up one of these babies: http://www.knight-toolworks.com/wooden.htm And they work exceedingly well, too. But maybe not for your first one.
Welcome to the quiet side!
Patriarch
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On Wed, 29 Dec 2004 19:04:15 GMT, Patriarch

Steve has been selling them on eBay recently at a good- sized discount.
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Veritas has superior carbon steel blades and wood knobs and totes, bodies made of a ductile iron that will not crack, and they are ready to use out of the box. Stanley's blades are a very "basic" quality of thin carbon steel that will need sharpening more often and wear down faster. They have plastic totes and knobs, bodies made of basic iron that will* crack upon landing hard enough. The Stanley body castings are not* machined prescision, so the sole and sides must be tuned_to_square before it is accurate enough for use, THIS is a LOT of hard work. Tuning being another lesson. A new Stanley can be made to work beautifully after tuning, as well as any plane, new wood totes and knobs and better blades can be added but it isn't supremely cost effective considering the work of tuning. Even any new blade must be tuned, and you must be set-up for that. Veritas are highly praised for their quality of manufacture and usability, right out of the box. I don't have one yet ;-( so, Mr Lee, I want a new L-A-B-P for this promo...?
Alex
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of
will
plane,
box.
promo...?
Alex is correct in his observations and to a lot of people those factors all mean a lot. They may not to you though, and not all of them are reflective of the usefulness of the plane. I'm still using the iron that came in my Stanley plane and I don't consider that I have to touch it up an excessive amount. Be assured, I have to touch it up more than if I had a better iron in it, but it's not like I have to stroke it after every 5th pass. You'll get reasonable use out of the stock iron. You'll get better use out of better irons, but that does not make the standard product a bad product.
I have no problems with the machining on my Stanley body. Sure, as Alex says, it's not precise machining, but it's imprecise in directions and areas that do not matter to the use I put the plane to. I don't care that the sides are not square to the base within .001 inches. That does not affect the plane's ability to smoothly remove ribbons of wood from a hunk of rough cut, or to true up the edge of a board. Even the most ardent plane folks have commented that too much emphasis is placed on some pretty irrelevant pursuits when it comes to hand planes.
Plastic totes - yeah, one of mine has them. They're ugly. I don't like the looks of them. But then, I don't like synthetic gun stocks either. Do they work? You bet. Would a nice wood tote be better? Nope. Prettier? Hell yes. But the point is, there is nothing inherently wrong with a plastic tote. Nor should one necessarily shy away from a plane because if it gets dropped hard enough, it will damage the frame. That can be said of any tool, and the objective is not to drop your planes on the floor. Any tool that meets a minimum standard of resiliency is all that should be expected of tool. The rest is in the hands of the operator. Having said that, Alex is again correct in stating that you can buy better - it's a question of whether you need to.
Alex has a certain interest in particular aspects of his planes and that's half of what owning tools is all about. I too have tools that I hold that type of interest in and have purchased when something else would have worked just fine. But, to be fair to the Stanley plane, it does work. It's utilitarian, and it can benefit from some upgrades (mainly the iron), but it can be made to work extremely well pretty much right out of the box. Put the iron down on some sandpaper and do the Scarey Sharp thing, and you'll be surprised what a tool it really is.
--

-Mike-
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Mike Marlow wrote:

I quite agree with you on all your points but this one. I own a few Record planes and all the ones that get used a lot had the totes replaced because *I* have found a plastic tote truly miserable when used for heavily. Your hands get sweatier, they are uncomfortable and feel awful. Wood is much much more pleasant to use if you are doing a fair bit of planing. I would agree there isn't much difference if you are just using them for a couple of quick swipes though.
PK
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the
they
Hell
That would be a good point. I haven't hit the point where the plastic bothers me, but I can see where it could be a problem.
--

-Mike-
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Personaly, I despise plastic.
(a rediculous interjection, I know)
Alex
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I've made a good living from it for the past 35 years. It has improved your life even if you won't admit it.
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wrote in message

Thank you for the effort. I'd still rather have rosewood or cherry plane totes. Soft drink bottles and dialysis machines, that's another matter.
Patriarch
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Exactly. No one material can do everything all the time. I'm also a fan of using metal where is should be used, but can you imagine your printer made from cast iron housings? Ed
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wrote:

An MP3 player made of walnut would be cool...
Barry
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wrote in message

In what seems like another lifetime, I used an even-then-antique letterpress, made mostly of cast iron. IIRC, it was called a Kluge. Working for a neanderprinter.
Life changes, doesn't it?
Patriarch
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Hell no it hasn't. It just about bankrupted me. :)
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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Mike Marlow responds:

Generally, I agree with your observations, until you reach the above. The planes I've had with plastic knobs--rear totes were fine--all had raised seams, and after a bit of use, I could always tell what was wrong with them. Or my hand could.
Charlie Self "A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground." H. L. Mencken
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the
they
Hell
seams,
my
Oh man Charlie - that would bug me to no end. Any tool of mine that has a molding seam like that gets an immediate treatment, whether it's a plastic molding seam or a wood joint. I *hate* it when that starts to wear into your hand after some use. Just one of my (many...) personal nuances...
--

-Mike-
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Charlie Self wrote:

Fortunately knobs are easy enough to turn that even a 10 year old can do it. :)
(He did, too. I need to remember to yank off the knob I turned myself and put the one he did on there. I had to clean it up a little to make it suitably smooth for my poor widdle delicate fingers, but he nailed the shape.)
--
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On Fri, 31 Dec 2004 01:27:33 -0500, Silvan

Oh boy, if you can keep him interested in turning at that age, I have no doubt he'll become exceptional. There's just something about learning at that age.

Excellent. Enjoy!
JP
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Jay Pique wrote:

He's better at it than I am, truthfully. He has infinite reserves of patience, and he's very furtive with his cuts. He takes his time, and coaxes the shape out just oh so. While I tend to be less furtive, and more aggressive.
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"furtive" ... hhmmm ... just had to look that one up!
Main Entry: furtive Pronunciation: 'f&r-tiv Function: adjective Etymology: French or Latin; French furtif, from Latin furtivus, from furtum theft, from fur thief, from or akin to Greek phOr thief; akin to Greek pherein to carry -- more at BEAR 1 a : done by stealth : SURREPTITIOUS b : expressive of stealth: SLY <had a furtive look about him> 2 : obtained underhandedly : STOLEN synonym see SECRET - furtively adverb - furtiveness noun http://www.m-w.com /
Alex
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