Used hand planes?

Hi,
I am just starting to get into woodworking and am looking at buying a used hand plane (likely a #4 bench plane if I can find one). What are some of the things I should be looking for to make sure it is a good plane and not a piece of junk? Thanks.
Cheers, Chris Ottawa, ON
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<< I am just starting to get into woodworking and am looking at buying a used hand plane (likely a #4 bench plane if I can find one). What are some of the things I should be looking for to make sure it is a good plane and not a piece of junk? Thanks. >><BR><BR>
The best start is Garrett Hack's book, The Hand Plane Book. If you are doing this to simply save money, there is a good chance you will buy a plane twice. Better ff spending right the first time. So here is the best route:
1. Learn how to sharpen tools 2. Get any cheap plane or chisel, just to practice 3. Start with a block plane, then a no. 5 plane, then     a 4 for smoothing. 4. Decide if you want wood or metal. For wood check out Steve Knight Toolworks, for metal, Lie Nielsen or Lee Valley.
Restoring old planes is really fun, and honestly not that hard, but one of the first things you will have to do is get a good blade,such as a Hock. Thre are reasons we pay so much for good bench planes, and it isn't vannity. But if you larn to sharpen well, even a por plane will perfom tolerably, assuming you stay with straight grained woods.
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DarylRos wrote:

Garrett Hack's book is nice, but there's a wealth of free info on this subject in this NG, just Do A Google Search. Add looking up planes at wwww.supertool.com and you've got a pile of info. If you want to buy USED planes LV and LN sell new, otherwise they're great. I don't know if Steve sells used planes of his, but I can't see how he get anybody to give them up so he could re-collect them. Antiques tores and flea markets are a better bet for finding planes. Ease of finding depends on area and desire to use eBay. I like to SEE and feel the plane before I buy, so that makes my choice easy. YMMV. Where are you and maybe somebody can point you the right way. The bottom line is that wood parts are replaceable, metal parts need to be w/o cracks or horrible pitting. You'll need a battery charger. Dave in Fairfax
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Thanks for the info so far. I live in Ottawa, Ontario, so I've got the Lee Valley store right at my doorstep. I was thinking of buying new, but in an effor to save some $, I thought I would look for a good used plane first. BTW, what's the battery charger for??
Chris

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Chris wrote:

Those planes and other metal toys are going to be rusty. Do another Google search and you'll have more info on how to replace rust with metal. I haven't been in Ottawa in 30 years, but you should be able to fins old metal and wood Stanley and Sargent planes without too much difficulty. Look carefully at the sides and the throats (hole in the bottom) to make sure ther's no splitting or cracking. Have Silvan explain how to make new totes (back handles) for the planes. %-) I hear he's been busy recently. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me. Dave in fairfax
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On Sat, 20 Dec 2003 16:42:35 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@fairfax.com scribbled

By battery charger, he means this:
http://www.canadiantire.ca/assortments/product_detail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id%34374302721229&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id 5524441888875&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id08474395348027&bmUID71981533709&assortment=primary
A car battery charger, so you can do electrolysis & get rid of rust. Not the chargers for small battery tools.
Luigi Replace "no" with "yk" for real email address
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Here's the bookmarks I've got so far for planes. The Stanley plane dating pages, second from top, is a great resource.
I got lucky a while ago and picked up four old planes at and estate sale from an old woodworker. Beautiful pieces. Since then I've kept an eye on the sales and travelled to several but nothing like that one has turned up.
http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2nwp6/stanley/Stanley.htm http://www.hyperkitten.com/tools/stanley_bench_plane / http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0.htm http://www.yesterdaystools.com/tuninga1.htm http://www.thckk.org/sargent.html
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If my sig works right, you might find some help there.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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On Sat 20 Dec 2003 12:37:16p, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote in

Yep, that's a keeper. Thanks, Charlie.
Dan
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Dan responds:

Glad it helps. I apologize for the lack of photos, but one is the limit for AOL: I've got somewhere between 20 and 30 to go into that eventually, but it awaits getting this house sold, making a move, setting up my own web site and similar fun things for, I hope, very early next year.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Charlie Self wrote:

I went through Bedford Friday. It's still there, waiting on you.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Silvan writes:

One hopes, particularly this time of year, as it is far too cold to sleep outdoors, even in the balmy southland. Sort of south, anyway.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Charlie Self wrote:

We're the "in between" state. Yankees (which you are currently, seeing as how you reside in the wrong Virignia) call us "hillbillies" and seem to think that Virginia and WEST Virginia are the same state. (Which they used to be, I'll grant you, but you took most of the real hillbillies with you when you broke ranks in 1865.) People from North Carolina on south call us "Yankees" and demonstrate a decided exiguity of historical knowledge. (Well, we only joined the Confederacy reluctantly, I'll grant that as well, but we *did* join, and Richmond *was* the capital and all, but nevermind, yes, we're Yankees. Just don't tell that to people in Vermont.)
Anyway, if it makes you feel any better, I was in Savannah, GA last night, and it was only 30 degrees. More balmy than here, but hardly balmy enough for sleeping outdoors unless you're a teen to 20-something whose blood courses with homones.
(Though on the up side of that... I got a 15,000 BTU propane heater for the shop to supplement the electric. It was the only indoor-safe heater they had, and it's indoor-safe enough to use inside a tent. Daddy won't have to freeze his ass off the next time we go on a Cub Scout camping trip.)
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Silvan writes:

Hell, I'm ALWAYS a Yankee...born and raised in NY, just outside the city. My mother, though, was from Louisa County, so that gave my uncles the right to call me "Damn Yankee" until I got out of Parris Island. I never said a word about it. It just stopped.
And, IIRC, WV didn't break ranks in '65. It was '63, and Uncle Abe yanked this place off as punishment (you can take that as a joke, or not, depending on your view of WV).
Virginia as a colony extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific, so Statehood was a definite come down.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Charlie Self wrote:

I guess your uncle is smarter than I am. Then again, you've told me how out of shape you are, so I think I can still out run you, you damn yankee you. :)

'63, '65, doesn't matter, you still crawled into bed with Uncle Abe. :)

On the bright side, we unloaded California. Good riddance! :)
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Read any of the _many_ guides to Stanley planes, particularly Patrick's Blood and Gore, Jeff Gorman's site and the type dating study. Garret Hack's plane book is excellent, but most of the immediately necessary content can be found for free on the web or this newsgroup.
Go to eBay. Find yourself a Stanley #5 with a brass adjusting knob and without blue paint. Get one that appears complete and not too tired, from a seller who has a regular trade in the things. Don't get an old one (they get expensive, owing to rarity) or a battered one (the hobby of tool collecting comes later).
Then buy a new Samurai iron for it.
Now sit down with Google, rags, and a screwdriver or two. Strip it down, wipe it clean and re-assemble it.
By this time, you should have a perfectly functional bench plane. Do _not_ "tune" it, just get the basic adjustments right (frog position, iron position). Don't get side-tracked into "tuning", sole-flattening, mouth-closing and the rest of it.
Learn to use it. This is more important than having the right brand.
You buy a #5 because it''s common and useful, but it's not as common as a #4. #4's grow on trees and under workbenches. before you know it you'll have a breeding colony of them - they're the wire coathangers of the woodworking world.
The Samurai iron is because they're good (best you can get), affordably cheap and best of all, they arrive sharp. Right now you want a user, not a sharpening exercise. Stanley's own irons are rubbish, and you'd have to sharpen them (perhaps from a really pitiful state) before use. Hock irons aren't sharp from the factory (and I don't like them anyway) and Clifton irons usually need the mouth tweaking before they fit an old body. Keep the old iron though. If you were lucky enough to find a Sweetheart Stanley, then that's an excellent user iron - but you'd still need to learn to sharpen it.
For a block plane (which I use more often than a bench plane) go to Lee Valley and buy a new Veritas low-angle block plane. I know no old plane that can be restored into a condition anywhere near as good as these, straight out of the box. An excellent piece of work.
If you can't afford it, go for their "apron plane". Less useful though, as it doesn't have the adjustable mouth.
If you're going for an old block plane, go for a knuckle joint from eBay. The "old pattern" (read Blood & Gore) works better, but may have a cracking problem. The later pattern works well too. All of Stanley's other block plane designs are rattly pieces of junk with adjusters that have all the precision of firetongs. Modern production and Record even more so. If you need a new iron, Hock carry a range that fit most designs. Old low-angles are harder to find than normal block planes and carry a price premium.
If you've a rusty plane, then use electrolysis to clean it (web search - has anyone seen that rusty2l.com site lately ?)
Other planes you should collect as you see a bargain are:
#4 1/2 - Wider and heavier than the #4, it's a useful smoothing plane.
#4 - Always useful, and available for almost no cost if you keep your eyes open. May be tuned into a smoother, or butchered into a scrub plane.
#271 - miniature router plane. Very useful for working grooves or hinge mortices.
#78 - (or the Record #778 is better) a big rebate plane, useful for cleanup work on big work
#92 - cabinetmaker's rebate plane, that also serves as a cheap shoulder plane. English-made are accurate, American are rough (modern ones near useless, old ones are better).
#80 - cheap and commonplace scraper plane.
Other planes tend to be specialist. Ones I'd recommend to consider are:
#112 scraper plane (the new Veritas). Finally, an affordable #112 !
One of Steve Knight's woodie smoothers.
#7 (or other long plane). If you're going to edge joint longish boards, then you start to need one. A #6 is long enough for most things other than big furniture projects, unloved and often cheap.
-- Smert' spamionam
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In addition to the advice of others here, consider getting a plane other than Stanley. Sargent was a prolific competitor of Stanley, and you can often find Sargent planes for less than the comparable Stanleys (due to weirdnesses of the tool colector mentality). Also consider Ohio Tool, older Craftsman (usually made by Sargent), and other less well known makers.
    -- Andy Barss
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Dear Chris,

a
See if you can get a copy of this magazine,
http://www.canadianwoodworking.com/issue.php?updateid '
BTW, this is a blatent plug, I wrote the cover article.
Thanks,
David.
Every neighbourhood has one, in mine, I'm him.
Remove the "splinter" from my email address to email me.
Newbies, please read this newsgroups FAQ.
rec.ww FAQ http://www.robson.org/woodfaq / Archives http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search Crowbar FAQ http://www.klownhammer.org/crowbar
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I noticed 1 thing, I was tuning a bailey # 4 C yesterday, low knob, pat date circa 1903, and when I set the frog back in, there was no slop forward or backwards, or side to side. Seems the "newer" Stanley # 4 has more slop you have to work with when setting the frog. JMO Thanks, Tony D.

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Yep, low knob Stanleys had a frog seat almost as good as a Bedrock.
--
Ross
www.myoldtools.com
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