Neander Jointer for a Normite

Hey All, Previous thread was about my quest for a bigger jointer. On the flip side I only need somthing that big every now and then. Since I am basically a normite, with only one (decent) plane in my collection can someone pass on a bit of wisdom on what plane or planes I might want to tackle the occasional larger board ?
What would I need to surface and edge large stock - I am assuming a Jointer would be in order (no 7 or no 8) from the Liew Neilson collection ? But what about low angle ? Also should I think of getting a scrub and a good bench plane as well ? I like figured woods and would see doing a lot of work with them -- would that lead me to a cabinet makers scraper ?
Moving from a (powered) 6" Jointer to and respectible 8" one would cost ~$900 (new cost minus selling of old unit) Can I get a resonable set of hand planes to do the job for the same sum of money ?
I only mention Lie Nielson since their catalog is sitting on my desk -- any other recommendations for manufacture ?
Thanks Eric
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Hi Eric,
I'm by no means a handplane expert, but it seems that I'm in a similar situation as you - pretty much a power tool user, but moving towards using hand tools more often or as needed. I've grown my handplane collection over the last 12-18 months from about 1 (a POS block plane that I found in my garage when I moved in) to, let's see, 16!!! and I might've missed one or two. Anyway, here's my first tip, go to www.woodcentral.com and check out their hand tool message board. There are a ton of great contributors over there that can offer you a LOT more help than I can. Do you read Popular Woodworking? Well, Christopher Schwartz, one of their editors, posts there all the time and he's answered my questions several times. Rob Lee from Lee Valley, etc. etc. all seem to be over there.
Anyway, aside from that, which is probably the best information I have for you, I'd say you're thinking about this the right way. For large boards (as well as small ones, depending on what you want to do), and assuming you want to go from rough to ready, you probably want a scrub plane, a jointer, probably a jack plane and then a smoother. There are many ways to skin this cat, though, and I won't pretend to know the best way.
As for the $$ issue, you'll probably be surprised (well, I was at least) that $900 won't buy you as many planes as you'd think - at least not if you buy new planes from somewhere like Lie-Nielsen. For example, using their latest catalogue, to buy the above planes (no. 7, 5, 4 and scrub) would run you $1145 + shipping. So, you have to think that one over.
What I did (and many others out there) was to try and find old Stanley planes that were in good and usable shape. I found several on ebay, and a couple local. I did buy a few new planes, though, so I have a pretty good mix. It probably isn't surprising that the brand new Lie-Nielsen planes work wonderfully and perfectly right out of the box (save a little honing perhaps of the irons). The Stanley planes I bought, however, work great too, just after a bit more tweaking and elbow grease.
The other issue you brought up that I think is important, is that if you want to work difficult woods, you might need some different planes, or at least extra blades at steeper angles. So, you never seem to have enough planes. The myth isn't a myth. Neither is the one about how satisfying it is to use a good hand plane.
So, anyway, I'm not sure if this information is very helpful or useful - pretty much stating the obvious - but, my point is mainly that you should take all your needs/desires into account and then look at all the sources available and follow your gut. I know I'll have a lot more pleasure teaching my son (age 10.5 months so I have time to actually learn how to use all these planes hehe) how to get a wispy shaving from a well-tuned plane than I will showing him how to use a power planer or jointer and not lose his fingers.
Mike
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Mike Appreciate the thoughts. It sounds like you have a mixture of planes from different sources. One thing I am wondering is the difference between a Veritas and and Lie Nielson -- I'd like to buy once and be happy -- there is a signficance between the two (price wise) just wondering if there is something I'd notice in use or over time ?
Cheers Eric
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Hi Eric,
As to the question comparing Veritas to Lie-Nielsen - there is a difference in fit and finish (materials used, presentation of these materials, etc.), but it's a bit of a tough call as to if one is "better" than the other. I have a few of each of these makers planes - Veritas: scraper plane; medium shoulder plane; low-angle block plane. Lie-Nielsen: low-angle jack plane; scrub plane. I also have a Clifton fore plane (#6) that I got a steal on during a Woodcraft closeout.
The Veritas planes incorporate a lot of really innovative improvements to classic Stanley (usually) designs, and as far as I've seen they are all well-thought out and impressively made. I use the low-angle block plane, with the optional wooden knob and rear handle, as a small smoother from time to time - it is that versatile. I've only just bought the medium shoulder plane, but I can tell it is going to be a great tool to use. All the Veritas planes I have are great and fun to use.
The Lie-Nielsen planes perform as you'd expect (from the price tag!). There's something more ethereal about using them, though, that is tough to explain. When I pick up the low-angle jack I feel like I'm driving a Cadillac or something. The adjustments are all precise and positive. In practical terms, though, there isn't much of a difference in performance (in my less than masterful hands anyway) between the two. I bought the LA jack before Veritas came out with their version only last month. I would probably have gone with the Veritas simply based on the price difference, as well as my positive experiences with them in the past. That being said, I'm probably going to shell out more dinero in the near future for a Lie-Nielsen smoother. I definately don't need it, but I have decided that driving a Cadillac every once in a while is worth the extra cash flow - and these planes will last several lifetimes if well cared for. Some things are worth it :)
Mike
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I'm assuming you've not used hand planes before so don't get offended if the following questions are way too basic for your skill level.
1. by "an occassional large board" are we talking long but narrow "large", very wide but short "large" or very wide and very long "large"? (it's a lot easier if you cut larger boards down to an inch or two longer than finished length and 3/4 - 1" widerthan finished length. rip on and bandsaw and cross cut with handsaw if you can't do it on the bandsaw. getting a shorter and/or narrower board is easier to get one face flat and one edge straight than a longer and/or wider board)
2. do you have a 12" planer? (taking off the high corners of a cupped board with a hand plane ain't bad. Taking off the convex high spot on the other side is a bit more work. Leave that side to the planer)
3. what shape are you in physically? (using a #7 or #8 will give you a bit of a workout. And once you get going and you get into it you probably will take of more wood than you need to cause auto pilot can kick in.)
4. will you be doing the handplaning when it's warm in the shop? (doing a half an hour with the #7 or #8 and a #4 or #5 will work up a sweat in comfortable temperature ranges. If the shops hot keep the water bottle handy)
5. do you have a means of holding the large board, both for straightening one edge and getting it square to the face AND for getting one face flat? (trying to work around clamps is a PITA)
6. do you have what you need to sharpen a plane iron and do you know how to sharpen a plane iron? (the iron(s) may not come sharp and honed and even if they do you will have to sharpen them sooner than you think.)
7. do you know how to set up a handplane for different types of planing? (you can really tear up a nice board if you don't know what you're doing so plan on practicing a bit before having a go at a board you value)
8. can you look at the grain of a board and tell which way you should plane or where you may have to stop and start planing in from the other direction?
9. do you know how to identify what areas on a board need removing and how to tell when you're done?
There's a lot you can do with hand planes and there are somethings that it's best to do with hand planes. But be aware that this is a very slippery slope you're approaching. If you're not very careful you can end up like O'Deen : )
charlie b
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<snip>

You mean, a trumpet player, contemplating a career in lamp design? ;-)
Seriously, this hand plane thing is enjoyable, and addictive. But a lot depends on your project patterns, your schedules and deadlines, and the size and equipping of your shop. The afore-mentioned O'Deen is known for, amongst other things, open-air woodworking, and wooddorking in the park. But he resides in California. You can do that more easily here. Hand tools make for a refreshing portability, when compared to power jointers of the approximate size of small aircraft carriers.
My current jointer of choice is a very minty Stanley #6, about 40 years old. When I NEED to face joint something large, rough, and twisty, I haul it down to the shop at the Adult Ed, and use their Delta 6". I have feelers out for a classic Delta DJ-20 class jointer, but only at the right price, and in pristine condition. It may be a while, but I can wait.
Patriarch
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Once a year, for each class, I would demonstrate preparing a board about 2' long, 8" wide by scrub scribe and smooth method. That was enough to convince most that hand planes are for touchup, not stock prep, in the modern shop.
"patriarch snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcastDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message

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Charlie,
Answers intersperesed

Long ==> 6 to 10 ft long, 8" wide.
I have been rough cutting to nominal size then using the 6" jointer to square and face -- works great until you really need a 8ft long board. Jointing a 8' board on a 6" jointer with 44 " tables is a PITA

Yes -- not thinking of planing to thickness -- if I can get it close then the planer will take over

I'd like to think I was in greate shape -- but it sounds like a Jointer would be good for me !

Yes --

Yes -- not sure I am an expert yet, sounds like its time to learn

Not yet --

Pretty much --

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Sam the Cat wrote:

Joining an 8 footer won't be trivial either - but a lot quieter, a bit more physical exertion and you'll get in part of your daily walk/jog. There's also a hard to describe thing that happens when you can feel and hear and see how the wood and the iron are interacting. I've never had the "AH!" moments with power tools that I sometimes get when using hand tools.

Can't hurt. I'm betting that there weren't many out of shape apprentices prior to power tools.

A good bench and vise(s) make using handtools a great deal easier.
Re: sharpening

This'll be another slippery slope - or rather another part of the hand tools slippery slope. Get Ian Kirby's little, inexpensive book on sharpening with japanese water stones. If you get further into hand tools, you probably will end up getting Mr. Lee's more comprehensive book on sharpening just about anything
Sounds like you're going to enjoy using hand tools. Won't be long before you start turning into a galoot. ENJOY!
charlie b
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Sam: you got a lot of good advice in the posts to date. I offer my experience doing what you seem to say you want to do. I was making a hard maple chest and had 3 8" wide figured boards I wanted to use for the top, but hated to rip 'em down to fit my 6" jointer as it would ruin the effect I wanted. I had over time gathered up a few old Stanley bench planes, a #4, #5, and #6 (all acquuired for under $25 each, I might add <pat on my own back with grin> and happened to have an extra iron for the #5. No scrub plane. So I ground the extra #5 iron convex, to mimic the iron of a scrub plane, and used that old Jack to hog off the high points, and it worked well - followed it up with the regular ironed #5, used the #6 to get it flatter still and really did not use the #4 all that much. Got them boards so they were fairly smooth and didn't rock when I put them on top of the unisaur, then put them thru my planer for a couple of passes, flipped and planed the "hand planed" surface. The top came out like a million bucks. Downside is the boards were 48" long and this is real work with hard maple, so I worked up a real sweat and aggravated by bursitis, but my point is that you don't need a bunch of fancy schmancy planes to get a result when you combine normite and neander technologies. My 2 cents.
Mutt

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