Other than ease of adjustments, appearance, and "cachet", why does an expensive plane work better?

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wrote:

Interesting, thanks
There's some stuff on display in Coalbrookdale (home of Victorian cast iron) about ductile iron. Clearly there's another of those US / UK terminology variations going on. Adding magnesium to the melt would have been easy enough mid-19th, if only you could find the magnesium....

"Dynaflow tranny explosion" ? Isn't that a Wasp Factory song ? -- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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On Wed, 12 Nov 2003 02:11:49 +0000, Andy Dingley

And if they'd tried pure mag, what -pretty- fireworks would have ensued!

Could be. Whassa "Wasp Factory"? I didn't know white anglo saxon protestants did blue-collar work. =:0
---------------------------------------------------------------------- * Scattered Showers My Ass! * Insightful Advertising Copy * --Noah * http://www.diversify.com ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Memories!
A coil of magnesium wire cleverly hidden in the candle snuffer made chapel more exciting....

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I remember vividly my Grade 11 chem teacher spitting water into a tray on the front bench. Nobody except him knew there was a piece of sodium metal in the tray.
Ah, the good old days!
djb
--
There are no socks in my email address.

"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"
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It was patented in 1949.

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First of all, I'm assuming you are talking about smoothers here.
If everything is set up exactly *perfectly*, you probably *can* get a cheap POS to perform as well as a L-N ... for a couple of passes ...
A better plane will have a better and thicker iron, so to begin with you'll need to upgrade your iron if you want it to hold an edge as long and be as resistant to chatter. A better plane will likely have a more solid bedding, which also helps negate chatter. (You may or may not be able to compensate for this on a cheap plane.) A better plane will likely have a more precise adjustment mechanism, which makes it easier to get the correct setting to start with, and to be able to do it repeatedly (sloppy yokes and excessive backlash are a royal PIA on a "precise" tool). A better plane may even have better ergonomics (Lee Valley's line is a good example of this), which makes the plane easier to use for extended periods of time.
IMHO, you cannot separate ease of adjustment, ergonomics, blade quality, bedding, etc., as they all go into making a smoother that performs well. If all you intend to do is to take one perfect shaving, then you could get by for less. If you intend to use your plane on a regular basis, and rely on it for giving you a surface that's free from tearout and ready for finishing, then all those elements come into play.
As for the question of the owner lavishing extra attention on the L-N versus the cheap Stanley, I've found just the opposite to be true. A L-N will actually make pretty decent shaving from the box with no more than a bit of honing to the iron. An old Stanley usually needs quite a bit of attention to get it to where it performs well. (And a new Stanley is probably a lost cause altogether.)

IMHO, the Veritas is the best value out there now. I have old Stanleys, and several L-N planes, but the Veritas (low-angle) smoother is the one I turn to most often. It's got the combination of solid bedding, a good iron, precise adjustment, flat sole, and excellent ergonomics; and all for a good price.
Chuck Vance
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Chuck, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Your now famous "full-width, translucent, cottony-soft shaving" phrase has stuck with me! I'm eager to join the ranks of Neanders, at least on a part-time basis, to share in the joy! :) Now the Veritas you mentioned here is the larger low angle, correct? NOT the $89 low angle block plane?
dave
Conan the Librarian wrote:

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Bay Area Dave wrote:

Yep, the one I was talking about is their "low-angle smoother". To tie in with your other post asking about the adjustable mouth: That is something I forgot when I was talking about what makes it my most-used smoother. It makes it a snap to get the plane set up for the lightest cut and smallest mouth possible. Set the iron depth and close the mouth up as much as you want.
Also, here is another case where a well-made plane makes a difference. The tolerances have to be pretty tight for that sliding toe-piece. A poorly-made plane would likely have some slop which could cause the plate to misalign slightly right in front of the iron. This could cause problems when trying to set the mouth for a tiny opening.
It could also allow for some side-to-side gaps which could allow "crumbs" to get picked up and possibly ding the work as they were dragged across the surface.
Chuck Vance
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Cool. You and Mike both have the same plane and give it 2 thumbs up! I'm gonna order it as soon as I get an updated Lee Valley catalog so I peruse the latest and greatest before placing my order.
If I get the small low angle block plane later on, is it so small that it would be silly to install the wooden ball and handle set? Do you have that plane too?
dave
Conan The Librarian wrote:

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Yeah, I've got their low-angle block plane too. It's a very nice little plane and extremely handy to have around the shop. Knowing what I know now, if I could only have one low-angle block, I'd probably opt for that plane.
I thought about getting the add-ons for the plane, but then I thought about what I use a block plane for, and 99% of the time it's going to be a one-handed operation anyway. Besides, I've already got a low-angle jack, a couple of low-angle smoothers, an old Stanley #65 and an old #60-1/2.
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) No, I don't have a plane problem.
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wrote:

There really is no difference, Dave. The only difference is in the quality of the tool...i.e., how long the tool will last before its difficult to adjust, how often you need to resharpen, etc.
I have a $79 table saw that I use almost daily...and I've used it to build cabinets. Sure, there's a lot of features missing on it (originally, at least) that you see on a top-of-the-line name brand saw. And I do have a lot of jigs made for it. But, in the final analysis, it does an excellent job for me...and the quality is equal to anything else out there.
The same can be said for most tools...planes included.
Most of today's woodworkers can't even FUNCTION unless they have the very best that money can buy. The old timers simply made do with what they had...or even could build themselves.
Look at the excellent quality of some really old cabinetry. Simply amazing to me...and much with no power tools at all.
Even a very expensive plane...with a mediocre owner...will turn out shoddy work.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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Trent wrote:

Let's see if I've got this right: "There really is no difference ... The only difference is in the QUALITY [emphasis mine] of the tool"?
Leaving aside the question of whether that particular statement even makes sense, as someone who uses planes extensively in all of his woodworking, ease of adjustment and quality of tool steel (longlasting edge) are very important differences. As well as bedding of the iron, reliability, repeatability, and ergonomics.

So is the quality of the tool equal, or have you figured out a way to do decent work *despite* the tool?

Have you actually used a modern plane from Stanley versus one of the higher-end planes (or even an old Stanley for that matter)? I'll tell you what, if you are really a glutton for punishment, I've got a Stanley #4 that's less than five years old. If you'd like, I'll pack it up and send it to you, so you can put it to use. But I'll guarantee you that if you can make it work it will be *despite* the plane, not because of it.

I'm not really sure where that puts me. I have a couple of home-made spokeshaves that are as good as any manufactured ones I own, and my little cocobolo smoother is a pretty fine little plane as well.
Of course, I also own some L-N planes, a few Veritas ones, and a bunch of old Stanleys. Guess what? They are all purchased with the idea of making my woodworking *more* *enjoyable*. And if I was doing this as a living, my tools would all be purchased with the idea of making it *more* *efficient*. And I wouldn't be purchasing shoddy planes in either case.

I agree completely. And what's ironic, is that I do almost 100% of my dimensioning, joinery, and surfacing by hand (i.e., with no power tools at all). Maybe that's why I can see the difference in poor quality planes (or hand tools in general) vs. decent ones.

Very insightful. None of us had ever thought about that possibility before.
So, how do you feel about Craftsman power tools?
Chuck Vance
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wrote:

You left out the i.e.

A plane is simply a tool to fix specific errors or problems in woodworking. I very seldom use a plane. There are other tools...or combination of tools...that can accomplish the same thing.

You want MY opinion?...or something to compliment your pre-conceived mindset?

No...I haven't. I haven't used a plane at all for quite a while. And the newest one I have is 40+ years old.

I got the impression Dave was interested in the difference between two NEW planes.

Sure sounds like yer an advanced woodworker.

But the discussion never WAS about poor quality planes...at least that wasn't Dave's question. Poor quality is poor quality...no matter what the cost.

See...ya learn somethin' new every day! lol

Which tools?...and which manufacturer?
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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Trent writes:

Wrong in your first statement, so wrong in your second. A plane, depending on style, can do a great many things beyond fixing problems or errors. In many cases, a good rabbeting plane is the absolute fastest and easiest way to form rabbets. Smoothing some woods is far easier with a good plane than with any other tool. At one time, making molding was the province of planes. It still can be, and is especially useful on small jobs where setting up for power molding cutting is a hassle. You're done with the job using planes before you can even finish bolting down the shaper cutters, or before you can even find the right router bit.
A plane is one helluva lot more than a tool to fix mistakes.
While I'm not much on mysticism of any sort, you might want to borrow and use a couple of good planes to make a small box or bookcase, to gain a feel for the wood that you cannot gain with power tools. That's not mysticism, though, it's simply removing one layer between you and the natural material.
Charlie Self
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas J. Watson
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On 06 Nov 2003 02:32:04 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

Personally, I still hold by my original statement, Charlie.
From what I've read in your posts, I think your level of expertise in woodworking is more advanced than most.
But I find very little use for a plane with today's modern technology.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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Trent wrote:

I addressed that in the next paragraph. See below.
And if you really believe that a "difference in ... quality" "really is no difference", then I certainly don't want to be the recipient of whatever your work product is.

I don't even know where to start. Maybe just a question: Why do you think that there are planes that are referred to as "smoothers", "jointers", "rabbet planes", "plow planes", "scrub planes", "molding planes", "dado planes", "router planes", "chisel planes", etc., etc.?

The second clause in that sentence doesn't parse.
Let's review: You said you have a cheap saw and you have built all sorts of jigs to make it work well. Then you say the quality is equal to anything out there. So which is it? Is the quality just as good, or have you managed to cobble together enough jigs to make it functional?

Ah, but you are prepared to tell us that there is no differnece between high and low-end planes.
Thanks, I'll give your opinion all the consideration that it deserves.

The Stanley I was referring to is a new plane. Even though it's five years old, it is the model that is currently being sold as the "contractor grade" Stanley.
BTW, that plane is in a lot better shape than it was when I bought it. I lapped the sole, tightened the yoke and lateral lever, and upgraded to a Hock. It's still a piece of garbage.

I'm not sure if yer being sarcastic here or not, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and just move on.

I may have misunderstood, but it appears to me that when discussing the merits of a *new* cheaper plane vs. the high-end ones, it is valid to include the current Stanley model.
There are also degrees of quality even among perfectly useable planes. If you are interested, just check Google for discussions about Records, Cliftons, Veritas, Lie-Nielsen, Knight, Clark & Williams planes to name a few.

Plug the following into Google and all will become clear: http://www.google.com/groups?as_q=blames%20tools&as_epq=poor%20craftsman&safe=images&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&as_ugroup=rec.woodworking&lr=&hl=en
Chuck Vance
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wrote:

You can if you want to, of course. But it wasn't DIRECTED to you. lol
Its obvious you have a different opinion...and that's fine. That's what this group is all about. We all have different experiences...i.e., different opinions.

Its been used.

:)

I wasn't. But I can see where your attitude might have thought that.

Yes...I think you did.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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Trent wrote:

Right, it was directed to a Usenet *newsgroup*. If it was just for BAD's consumption, then you should have e-mailed him directly.
You offered your advice on a public forum as if you had some knowledge of what you were discussing (i.e., no difference in cheap vs. expensive planes, except for quality ... whatever that means). I wanted to make it clear for others who might happen to stumble across your statements, that it appears you don't know what you're talking about.

Yep, that's exactly what it's all about. Some us have opinions based on experience, and some of us ... well, exactly *what* is your experience with planes, anyway? :-)

Semantics. It's the new model of Stanley plane. My L-N plane is as old as it is.

Maybe so. I thought he wanted advice from someone who had something useful to offer. Perhaps he wanted to hear from you instead.
Chuck Vance
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+ + + True colors? You assume planes are to be used as-out-of-the-box, and thrown away when getting dull. Like a file. PvR
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I have beed looking the prices for hand planes recently, and boy, being a librarian must pay well :-)
irax.
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