Plane Speaking

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snipped-for-privacy@gte.net (Dan Cullimore) wrote in message

First of all, thanks to everyone for all the responses. Lots of good info here, and I think I'm beginning to detect a pattern in the responses, enough so that I'm getting a much better picture of where to start.
The best question so far--and the info I should have included in my original post--was what I intend to do. Basically, I try to build furniture--the closer to Shaker or early American (Colonial?) style I can get, the better, though I do venture off and build clocks and boxes and shelves on occasion.
So what do I envision for me using planes? Well, I'd like to use planes to smooth as much of a surface prior to sanding as possible (what I'd *really* like to do is eliminate sanding as much as I can). I don't think I'll be hogging out rough material in the near future, though I see that as a potential.
Obviously, I'd want to trim slightly mismatched edges, dovetails, etc. I'd also like to joint boards prior to glue-up. Down the road, I see myself using planes for rabbets.
After several years of being a Normite, I find I'm drawn to the Neanderthal side more and more. Maybe it's because I'm aging and am getting at least as much process-oriented as goal-oriented. Maybe it's because I like the idea of a challenge and therapy wrapped up in one practice. Whatever. I should note that I'm going to be taking a class in NH on doing handmade dovetails.
So if I interpret the responses correctly--and don't hesitate to correct me if you think I'm going astray--my first four plane purchases should be:
1. Lee Valley low angle block plane 2. Lee Valley #5.25 bench plane 3. Lee Valley #4.5 smoothing plane 4. Lee Valley #6 foreplane (for jointing)
I realize Lee Valley wasn't specifically designated, but it was recommended several times, and I liked the looks and prices when I checked the website.
Is there a significant different between a bench plane and a smoothing plane, or can I buy either and substitute another plane, such as a rabbeting plane or an apron plane?
And why only four? Because that's all my Xmas bonus will allow. :) This time.
I know this is somewhat long-winded, so thanks for bearing with me.
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On 28 Sep 2004 07:30:10 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Ben) wrote:

Seems reasonable.
I'd leave the #6 though. It's not all _that_ useful and I'd either hold back (if money is tight) or go for a #7.
I use a #6 more than a #7, and I very rarely use my #8, but that's because I have the _choice_. If I only had one, it would have to be the #7. The #6 is great, lighter to handle and perfectly big enough to make a clock case, but you're going to look a bit silly taking it to a large cabinet.

Not in the box, but there is in how you tune them. The iron might be different (more crowning on a bench plane) and the smoother will be set with a smaller mouth.
With the bunch you describe, you'll probably set up the 4 1/2 as a smoother and the #5 as a bench plane,

I'd avoid the LV apron plane. I'm sure it's lovely, but spend the extra and get the adjustable mouth version.
A rebate plane is always useful, either for rebates or just for getting into a corner. The #92 isn't a great shoulder plane, but they're cheap and common enough that you should be able to squeeze one in.
--
Smert' spamionam

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Hello Andy! I've just been fettling my metals! Getting into it for the first time.
Alex
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"AAvK" wrote in message

first time.
Careful now, that can cause you to grow hair on the back of your knuckles, or go blind.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 7/10/04
  Click to see the full signature.
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No doubt, and YOU would probably a better President, genius. Alex
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Hello Ben, you say you are interested in eliminating sanding as much as possible, you'll need scraping planes as well: http://www.leevalley.com/home/main.asp And some Veritas planes are basically the same price as Lie-Nielson planes, these are works of art in heavier bronze: http://www.lie-nielsen.com/ Veritas is the better deal for the 112 scraper. Scrapers do the job of sanding.
Your choices numbered:
1. Lee Valley low angle block plane
My plan, or an old good condition Stanley 60 1/2 (more likely)
2. Lee Valley #5.25 bench plane
I suggest a 5 1/2 because the 5 1/4 and the 4 1/2 are too close in size.
3. Lee Valley #4.5 smoothing plane
Excellent choice
4. Lee Valley #6 foreplane (for jointing)
Too close to the 5 1/2, go with a 7 or 8.
Alex "Inexperienced, but, studying my ass off on what to get"
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On 28 Sep 2004 07:30:10 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Ben) wrote:

This adds up to almost $700. Don't forget you need to sharpen those blades. If you go the scary sharp route you can skip the stones, but you'll still want the Veritas sharpening system by itself at another $35 and you'll need some plate glass or other flat surface to sharpen on.
And do you have a good bench to use them on?

A #5 can be used as a smoother, but you have to adjust it back and forth for the different uses. When you get it tuned to get fine shavings as a smoother you don't want to have to open it back up to take rougher cuts. It's better to have both.

I would suggest you could get more bang for your budget by including some old stanleys. While you can get better deals in other places I'll assume you'll exert the minimum effort and just cruise ebay for a week or two. Keep in mind there are two places on ebay to find planes, one under home & garden and one under collectibles. Collectibles has a lot more volume, and usually they are listed under both, but sometimes not. #4s, #5s, and #6s in good shape can be had for very good prices, $25 for a #5 and maybe $40 for a #6. A #7 will run you more like $75. There is no shortage of these guys on there so try to find one close to you to save on unnecessary shipping costs, and don't get carried away bidding.
I would go more like this:
Veritas Low-Angle Block Plane Veritas #4-1/2 Smoothing Plane Veritas Medium Shoulder Plane Stanley #5 off ebay Stanley #6 off ebay
Your smoother is the one that needs the most tuning to work right so I think it makes sense to put some money towards it, and you'll have a reference for how your ebay planes should be performing. And you're still $200 under your original cost, which you could put towards a bench (good vises are *not* cheap), substitute a #7 for the #6, add another specialized plane or two, or that other essential element you'll want to have a lot of around when your planes arrive - wood.
-Leuf
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Leuf wrote:

This is the best advice given so far (and there's been plenty of good advice) in this thread, IMHO.
You want a dedicated smoother, and that's where you want to spend the extra cash. Old jacks, fores and jointers can be found for very reasonable prices, and they don't require the level of tuning that a smoother does, so I really see no need for spending the extra bucks on them. You can always upgrade them with a Hock iron if you aren't satisfied with the stock iron that comes with them.
I would even go so far as to suggest that you can get by with an old #60-1/2 for your low-angle block plane, but I have watched the LV low-angle gradually replace my #60-1/2 as my go-to block, so that would be hypocritical of me. :-)
My philosophy of plane-buying really boils down to this: Save your big bucks for the specialty planes where the old Stanleys would cost as much or more than the new L-N or LV offerings. Buy Stanleys for the more common planes that don't do such specialized duty. (Upgrade to Hocks if desires/necessary.)
Chuck Vance
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(Ben) wrote:

Have all that already.

I have a workbench, but it would need some modifications for regular use with planes.

This makes sense. And, as it turns out, I've just had a Stanley Bailey #5 given to me. It looks like it's in great shape, but the iron needs sharpening. No rust to speak of, though you can tell it's an older version.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Ben) wrote in
<snip>

That's a good thing.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Ben) wrote in <snip> > So if I interpret the responses correctly--and don't hesitate to

#1 is a good choice. These are nice planes. I have one, but find I reach for the LN first. It's slightly narrower, and fits my hand better. But the LV is top drawer.
#2 is also a nice plane. This was the first LV plane I bought. There's a lot of overlap, however, between how this one gets used, and how the #6 gets used in my shop. I use the #6 much more often. And quite often, where the 5.25 is used, a well-tuned old Stanley #4 does just fine.
#3 represents new territory for me. I just bought an old 4.5 Stanley from the fellow who runs Blood & Gore. News at 11.
#4 is a good choice, in my experience.
What would I change? I'd swap the 5.25 for the LV low angle smoother, and _maybe_ add the high angle blade. Keeps all of the planes of the same manufacturer, if that means anything, and buys just a bit more versatility with wild-grained woods.
Enjoy your new tools!
Patriarch
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Ben) wrote in

Well, just to throw my 2 cents in (again), but I agree with Andy that a #7 size plane would be better for general jointing than the #6 (like Andy I have #s 6, 7, and 8 - the first is a Union and the others are old Stanleys - but I use the #7 almost exclusively...I'm not even sure where the #8 is right now).
Like Leuf, I suggest looking at older "low knob" Stanleys for the bigger planes, the jack & the jointer, since those planes are usually in ready to use, or close to it, condition (unlike vintage smoothers, which often need more tuning). My #7 cost $35, a considerable savings over the $220 of the LV plane, or the $450 (or whatever it is) of a Lie-Nielsen.
If you want to minimize sanding, you'll want to look to a scraping plane before too long. After being largely ignorant of scrapers for a long time, I got the LN #112 not so long ago, and am very impressed with how it works.
John
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[snip]

Get eithe the 5.25 or the 4.5, but not both. Substitute a Shoulder plane. I have the Lee Valley medium and am most satisfied.

[snip]
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My first response is the usual "if you could only have 4, which 20 would you pick" since planes are like eating crackerjack, the more you have the more you want. But it is a good question. I think the answer depends on how you intend to use them - are you heading towards being a neander (mainly depending on hand tools), or as a complement to machine woodworking - or something else such as boat building (I do a lot of work on small boats).
The advice about the first plane being a low angle block plane is excellent - I like the older Stanley 60 1/2 block plane with the nickel plated cap - but be careful because it is important that the adjuctable mouth work properly. I have found a lot of these where someone has buggered up the adjustable insert (using a wire wheel, swaping parts, etc.) and it is impossible to get the sole flat. The ones with the knuckle joint cap are nice too - and the older Craftsman and Millers Falls planes can be just fine. I must have a dozen of these now, and favorites change from time to time, but this is the essential plane.
Since I work on small boats a lot, I am very fond of the No. 3 - it is really handy for getting out planks, etc., and just a useful all round plane. If you have kids in the shop they really like this plane too. But if you are more conventional woodworking I think a 4 or 4 1/2 is a better choice - the wartime 4 1/2 with the plastic adjusting knob is the heaviest of the lot, and can be tuned to be a wonderful smoothing plane.
And the 5 - or even 6 Stanley seems to be the favorite plane for getting surfaces and edges pretty flat and true. I think this might be why there seem to be more 5 size planes around than any other - this was the plane most craftsmen would have if they only had one plane.
And a rabbet or sholder plane - the one I use the most is an old Record 311, but the Stanley 92 or 93 work fine - if you do machine work and then do the final fitting by hand then you will find yourself using a rabbet plane a lot.
And because it is so small you might be able to sneak in a Stanley 101 - this is a little 3 1/2" very simple plane - looks almost like something out of a kids tool set (I think they might have been) - but pretty inexpensive (about $10 if you hunt around), and very handy for a lot of small jobs like easing edges. I think I always have one of these in my apron pocket - and have given a lot away to friends who have gotten pretty attached to them.
The book on hand planes by Garret Hack has a lot of good information in it - just be warned that once you start making nice paper thin shavings you won't want to quit - is great therapy. Have fun whatever you do.
Stephen
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Skimmed the posts in reply to your query, and while we all know why we like the LN, Veritas, Knight, etc, (e.g., they are a pleasure to use, well made, etc.) and we all know too that they will also cost you a whole bunch of money. Now, that may not be an issue for you (and frankly, is spending $1000 on 3 or 4 LN planes going to ruin my finances, naw, not really, and they are so, so beautiful) but if you're just starting out, IMHO there's nothing wrong with a few good, tuned, pre-or just-post WWII Stanley planes. I have some pre-war Millers Falls as well. They are staples in my shop, and are widely available at fleas, garage sales (I've never paid more than $30 for any plane, and that was my two #6s and a #7) (ebay as well, but sometimes the prices there get a bit too crazy) and if you google for tune up advice its out there (also a recent FWW article on block planes), and frankly, they do the job more than most (90%) of the time and give you the experience to know what specialized or otherwise special (e.g., LN low angle, Knight smoother etc.) you really need/want/lust after for your work. Personally, my most often used planes are #5, #4, #78, #79, #90, a #101 (yes, really, a 101 looks like a toy but is it ever useful, at least to me), a #9 1/2 and a #60 1/2. But it depends on what you do.
Go to Patrick's Blood and Gore: http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0.htm for photos and descriptions of these planes.
So, to answer your question while limiting myself to 4 planes, and depending on the work you do:
Bench planes: a #5 and a #4 or #4 1/2, (or a #6 or #7 for jointing of you need that functionality in what you do, I prefer the #6 over a #7, but that's just me);
Block planes: Go with the low angle #60 1/2, (but pick up a #9 1/2 as well if you find one cheap).
Specialty: a #90, simply because I use it so often.
Now, other useful planes are a #71, a #3 smoother (I must admit, only use it every once in a while), the #79 is really handy and the aforementioned 101, which you can find for $5 'cause folks think its a toy. Don't forget spokeshaves, they come in handy as well, and a #90 scraper, for which vintage (e.g., sweetheart shmeethart, a new english made one works just as well IMHO) does not matter, its more important how you prepare the blade. By all means, resist the lustful fantasy temptation of a #45, all I use it for is beading, otherwise it's brought me nothing but disappointment and heartache....(but I got it at a tag sale for $25, so not a whole lot lost).
Other folks point out that blade replacement is important, and again, yes they do work better and stay sharp longer without doubt, but with a little practice sharpening comes easy and the older blades with some life left in them work just fine except in some nasty figured grain, and that's why we buy a Hock. Good luck. Mutt
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Ben) wrote in message

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