Hand planes for power tool users

I'm starting to wonder about the type of planes I should be acquiring. I'm definitely a normite, but there are certainly occasions when a plane is the best (and quickest) tool for the job. I pretty much have to agree that a good block plane is the first one to get. But after that I'm not positive. I use my bullnose rabbet plane quite a bit, and lately I've broken out a side rabbet plane on a few different occasions. What I'm getting at is this - if you use a powered planer, jointer and saws, and a wide belt sander to boot, smoothers, jacks and jointers aren't totally necessary. But say your grooves don't line up exactly at the bottom of a drawer - tough to make right without a side rabbet plane. Hmmm...I've run out of material for now, and swmbo is calling. Further bulletins as events warrant.
JP ****************** Distracted.
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It is the one I use the most. Consider the Lee Valley apron plane too.
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wrote:

I wouldn't go for that one - it's a great plane, but spend the extra and get the low-angle with the adjustable mouth. It's even more plane.
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I've got the LV low angle block, and a small LN bronze block plane. Excellent planes, the both. JP
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I only buy hand planes when I really need them. So far I don't own any. <G>
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Sort of like sex is great by myself, no need for women. You're missing a great tool.
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HA! That's good. And how true! Planing by hand can be such a fun and even relaxing experience. Right now I don't have the money or space for a full complement of powered tools, so I do a lot with hand planes. But I've really gotten to enjoy them! You can really feel what's going on with the wood, and they leave such a nice surface - often there's just something about a planed surface that seems brighter or clearer than a sanded one... I work wood because I enjoy the process, and as a side benefit, once in a while I turn out something that's functional and beautiful. Hand planes are an enjoyable and integral part of that process for me! But even if your only goal in woodworking is speed and efficiency, a hand plane is often a quicker and more precise tool to make a small adjustment, compared to sandpaper or powered tools.
To answer the OP's question, my most-used planes (roughly in order) are: LN low-angle block LV Bevel-Up smoother with swap-able low and high angle blades Steve Knight razee jack tiny "thumb" plane (unknown brand) about like a Stanley 100 or the LV "Little Victor" Sargent 424 jointer (Stanley #8-equivalent) homemade scrub (converted from cheapo smooth plane) LV Med Shoulder (not used frequently, but essential whenever I'm fitting M&T joints!)
Note - I haven't had the LV BU smoother very long, but the versatility of that plane, and the way it feels on wood, are really amazing - that would definitely be on my short list of planes to keep if I had to get rid of most of them (for some horrible reason). Depending on the kind of work you do, this could definitely be an excellent choice as a "first plane." Definitely a worthwhile investment, IMHO!
You probably already know this, but whatever plane you get, be sure to factor a good sharpening system into your budget - I like the LV Mk.II jig with a Norton 1000/8000 waterstone, but the little "eclipse"-style jig (~$10) and sandpaper on a chunk of granite would do well also.
Hope this helps, Andy
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Oh without a doubt. I did a few comparisons with walnut sanded to 220 versus a sharp plane, and it's so completely different looking.

I work wood for work and because I enjoy the process (although I must say, it's much more enjoyable when it's not for work!) And I agree that a sharp plane can be the best and fastest tool in many cases. I made a mantle from a large beam of reclaimed Doug Fir just recently, and there were a couple of beveled cuts that were too big for any of our saws, so I bandsawed them. To clean this up I could have used a beltsander or even a dynabrade, but it just wouldn't have been as true as quickly as using a bench plane. (A Stanley #4.) That was the best tool for that job IMO.

That's on the list...along with all the others. I've got the LV LA block (adj. mouth), the LN small bronze block, the aforementioned Stanley, the LV bullnose rabbet plane and an old unmarked wooden jointer that desperately needs a more appreciative owner. I'm planning on an iron jointer at some point. I borrow others that I need at work. The fettling on some of those borrowed really makes me want my own!

I use the Mk.II with paper on a granite surfacing plate. I take them up to 2000grit (back and front) and that seems to do the trick. I really like that jig. I'm not sold on the paper/granite method, but I've also got the Norton stones and I'm not sold on those either. Soon I'll get that new DMT stone that's said to be like an 8k waterstone. Even if it's not all that for blades, it'll be great for carbide I'm sure.
JP
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Jay Pique wrote:

I don't have a planer, so I use hand planes for everything. I'm not recommending that - that's just where I am.
I agree with the block plane. I use mine constantly. Another plane I found surprising in the amount of use it gets is my shoulder plane.
I picked up mine from LV more on a whim than anything else, and found I used it much more often than I'd anticipated. Part of that is because it's Veritas, but the other part is that it comes in handy for paring dadoes and such that no other tool could fix so elegantly.
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A block plane is really too puny to serve as a general-purpose bench plane.
Go for a Record, or similar, Jack, failing this, a smoother that you can get some weight behing.
Jeff
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I'd disagree. Certainly for a hand-working traditionalist, the place to start is a #5 jack.
However many people are so deafened by their powered routers that they think "they don't need _any_ planes". These people would be very well served by getting a good block plane as their first and probably only plane. Perhaps it's not "a general-purpose bench plane", but it would work well as the sole plane for someone who mainly works man-made boards with power tools.
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I agree with you to a certain extent. It's definitely nice to have a tote sometimes. But I don't really do a lot of smoothing or jointing by hand. If it's a question of a block or bench for your *first* plane, I'd say go with the block. More control, IMO.
JP ************************************************* And for end grain, a tote is definitely nice.
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Jay Pique wrote:

I have a thickness planer, DJ-20, and Performax 22/44 sander.
The planes I use on a regular basis, listed by frequency of use:
Low angle block Medium shoulder Spokeshaves (almost always to clean up band sawn patterns for routing) #4 Cabinet scraper #7 (almost always on items that are too cumbersome for the jointer)
I almost never use my #5, large shoulder, or bullnose planes.
Planes that get a bunch of use away from the shop: #7 All blocks & my LV apron plane.
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Get them all.......have over 100 and use them all every thing from a 24" joiner to a 1" finger plus specialty planes. Many times it is faster to grab a plane than to set up a power tool. All of mine are old stanley or bailey planes.

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Tue, Oct 30, 2007, 6:15pm (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (JayPique) doth saeth: I'm starting to wonder about the type of planes I should be acquiring. I'm definitely a normite, but there are certainly occasions when a plane is the best (and quickest) tool for the job. <snip>
Normite? No brainer - hand power plane.
JOAT It's not hard, if you get your mind right. - Granny Weatherwax
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I highly advocate Lee Valley-Veritas or Lie Nielsen planes, very pricey, but once you use one you will never want to touch a Stanley again!!
On Thu, 1 Nov 2007 10:33:11 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

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