What are the reasons so few modern planes measure up to the old one?

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (in snipped-for-privacy@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com) said:
| These purchase got me to wondering: Just what are the reasons these | old mass-produced planes are better than many of the new | mass-produced ones?
It could be because the poorly-made old ones took the path that the newer poorly-made planes will follow: to the scrap heap.
The good old planes and the good new planes were/are/will be afforded appropriate TLC and in another hundred years people will hold up a LN, LV, or Clifton plane and ask the same question.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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On 20 Jan 2006 12:23:03 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Look at the retail price for them when new, as a proportion of a worker's weekly wage. In their day, these were expensive tools and only owned by well-heeled tradesmen. There were cheaper options, as might have been used by farmers and similar, but these were relatively crude and we don't pay so much attention to them today.
It's difficult to realise just _how_ expensive a "simple" tool like this was in its day, and how few possessions even a well-off tradesman would have owned at the time. That box of good planes might have been a major investment, yet nowadays we happily see a Unisaw as a mere trifling indulgence in a hobby.
My grandfather was well off for the time. He owned a small shop, a stable and began a lorry haulage business. Yet today (and discounting the horses), I live on my own in a house that's about the same size he had, have a workshop the size of his stable, and probably have an equal weight of petrol vehicles.
For a fascinating look at 1900's life for jobbing trademen, I thoroughly recommend "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
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Ok, ok, I give. Allt hese answers make quite a bit of sense, especially now that I understand that these tools were in the same mold as the finer planes today. And they lasted this long only because they were workers and built with quality materials and great craftsmanship.
Andy: Thanks for the book suggestion. That seems like a good read.
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All this said, I never hear about anything other than Lie-Nielsen or Veritas or Knight planes as examples of fine quality modern planes. Are there others as well? Is Clifton any good? How about the new Stanleys? Are wooden planes better/worse than metal ones?
I am still very new to this aspect of woodworking. Heck, I just made my very first handcut dovetail joint last week. It took me a heck of a long time to cut it and the pieces don't fit like a glove, let me tell you! But it worked. And I can only see me getting better at it as time goes on. I am planning on making a drawer, of sorts, as my first "project" using dovetails. I know it will probably be a nasty looking thing, but it'll be better than nothing.
I am beginning to find hand tools very interesting and that is why I want to learn about such things as the quality of modern hand planes. I guess I am being impatient. I need to scrounge garage sales and eBay to get good deals because I don't have the money to plop down $250 for a hand plane!
If I did that, the wife would have my left nut, too.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Clark & Williamson, Holtey, Anderson, HNT Gordon, ECE, Shepherd.

Heard mixed reviews on them. Lots like them, but some claim that current manufacturing standards have dropped. No first hand experience here, just what I've read.

and it gives a great sense of accomplishment. Ain't it grand? With practice, they will only get better.

Better pass on the Holtey's, then, or she might take off your left nut at your armpit!
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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On 2006-01-20 18:35:10 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com said:

I've had good luck with Record (basically identical to Stanley but "English" instead of "American.") But Record seems to no longer exist...
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On 20 Jan 2006 15:35:10 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

There are loads of high-end plane makers. However they're a small niche market, so you won't see them advertised widely. Read FWW, look at catalogues from the top toolshops, or just Google and you'll see them. Holtey, St James Bay, Steve Knight, Gordon (?) - the Australian guy with the Chinese pattern woodies.
Sadly many of these planes are just _too_ well made. Something like a Holtey is made to be perfect, because it's accepted that it's a purely decorative piece. I don't understand this desire - the desire to own the best and shiniest Norris plane ever made, when it isn't even a Norris.
The Norris A5 I use the most has a bent adjusting screw, because someone dropped it. It still works (just a bit stiff) and it still works as well as a Norris ought. However that damage probably knocks a couple of hundred off the "collectible" price of the thing. Oh dear.
I know people who use Holtey tools day-in, day-out (mainly luthiers) Interestingly though, they're nearly all using custom tools made specially for them by Holtey and the excess finish was never asked for or applied to them.

Clifton were produced by a well-respected UK hand tool retailer and a well-respected industrial toolmaker in partnership, intending to make simply the best bedrock-pattern iron-bodied plane they could. In all my experience with Cliftons, then they've been excellent.
That said, there are reports from some US users of build quality and accuracy being off. Whether this is just the flat earth society measuring the irrelevant, I don't know.
The Clifton "Victor" iron is one of my favourite irons and I use it in around half of my Stanley-pattern planes. It's not laminated, nor is it A2 steel, but as a "classic" heavyweight iron made from traditional steels it's the best around. I use laminated irons (Samurai or Sweetheartt) in my fine smoothers, but these in most of my bench planes. Much better than Hock. The Victor is very thick though. Retro-fitting it to old planes often needs some mouth opening, and some people might not want to do that to the rarer plane bodies.

Woof.
Depends what you're doing and what you're used to. They're a totally different shape to handle. I think you need to accept that, and use them for what they're best at. I haven't found a use for a Stanley transitional yet.
Most of my wooden planes are old moulding planes (couple of hundred). Many of these are worn-out pigs to use, but they cut a shape that I want. I've also got a mixed bag of weird planes, some of which I made myself, that are spindle rounders, chair seat hollowers and the like.
Next up are my Japanese planes. These work best when working on a Japanese-style bench, with Japanese-style timber. Not a great deal of use flattening an oak table, but the only thing for shaping an oval onto a sword scabbard made of lime.
European (ECE) woodies have the advantage of easy adjustment (better than the Stanley pattern) and light weight. I don't use these much, but one of these as a scrub plane is by far my most powerful non-powered plane for quickly rough-shaping timber. I plane barn beams with this when timber framing - I don't want to carry a Stanley around for that long.
My very best smoothers are either a Norris or a very good Stanley (both iron) or a couple of Steve Knight woodies.

Congratulations! Now do it very, very quickly. Then do some more, very, very quickly too. You'll be doing them quickly and not so well. Then you'll get better at them. IMHO you can't do a good one slowly and you certainly can't learn to do good ones slowly. Don't fiddle with them - that never works. Mark it out as crudely as you like, then saw it exactly in one pass (that "exact" thing takes a bit of work). It's all about whacking it with the saw, yet having the cut land exactly where you wanted it. It's certainly not about trimming to fit afterwards.
--
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods

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[...]

Are you speaking of "Reformhobel", with screw adjustment? Normal continental european style (or at least german DIN plane style) is adjusted with the hammer.
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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On Sat, 21 Jan 2006 15:53:24 +0100, Juergen Hannappel

This sort http://www.fine-tools.com/G301047.htm The screw adjuster (like the GTL planes) has a big advantage over Stanley of not having backlash in a fork lever.
I know the wedge system too, but those offer no advantage over old English planes that I can buy locally for pocket-change.
My best scrub plane is an ECE with a horn front handle, a hornbeam sole and wedge adjust. The iron is a '50s laminated Marples though - better than the standard irons, as I find those a bit thin and bendy.
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Wow, the Norris sure is a unique-looking plane. But what I wouldn't give to hold one. I think I beginning to get the fever really bad now. I see you said you have a couple hundred, HUNDRED, moulding planes. I am beginning to understand how that can happen. I just want to buy everything I see!
Thanks for the tips on the dovetails. I tried what you said this afternoon: I made some joints really fast and you were right, they basically sucked. But I see the method in the madness. I need to do some more. Then some more! Thanks!!.
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On 21 Jan 2006 14:50:47 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Save your money. The good things about a Norris are the adjuster and the weight of the thing. You can get pretty much all the performance by buying a new Lee Valley. The Norris style adjuster is just a much better design than the Stanley style.

Just had a rough eyeball of them and it's about 130 that are real shaped moulding planes and a few dozens more that are various rounders (concave and convex), plain rebates, fillisters, and oddball carriage-maker's routers and the like.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

I happen to have a reprint of a Montgomery-Ward catalog from Fall of 1894 handy, and it's got some Bailey planes in it just like the #5 I picked up at an antique mall a few weeks ago. Here's the price list:
Bailey Adjustable Iron Planes: Smooth plane (iron), 8 inches long, No. 3 ........ $1.37 Smooth plane (iron), 9 inches long, No. 4 ........ $1.50 Smooth plane (iron), 10 inches long, No. 4 1/2 ... $1.70 Jack plane (iron), 14 inches long, No. 5 ......... $1.70 Fore plane (iron), 18 inches long, No. 6 ......... $2.16 Jointer plane (iron), 22 inches long, No. 7 ...... $2.40 Jointer plane (iron), 24 inches long, No. 8 ...... $2.96
So, what's the equivalent value today? There's a handy online tool at http://www.eh.net/hmit/compare/ which compares these sorts of things. So, plug in $1.70 in 1894 (for a No. 4-1/2 plane), and today that's worth $194.75 if one compares it using the average unskilled labor rate then and now.
And I see in my Lee Valley catalog that the really nice Veritas No. 4-1/2 smoothing plane costs $195 today.
Startling coincidence, innit?
- Brooks
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I suspected as much. But good to see actual data that supports what I suspected to be true! Thanks for posting that.
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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Whoa! That's amazing. That puts everything in perpective. Thanks for the info.
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Yeah so, find old Stanley planes, they're worth it much.
--
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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Cripes that's amazing! I even had an inkling of wonder about exactly those differences between then and now, and it evens out! But, look at the current prices of new stanley planes these days, far far cheaper.
--
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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On 20 Jan 2006 12:23:03 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

What you are seeing is a cumulative effect of "value-engineering" over the years. Various cost-saving measures, looser tolerances, more inexpensive alloys got applied to those designs, a little at a time until you went from something that was rock-solid and well-built to the flimsy, poorly made specimens one gets today. Along the way, users became less demanding as power tools began taking more of the jobs of hand planes and the primary purpose to which handplanes were applied was by home handymen to plane down sticking doors. Many of the buyers of modern handplanes had no idea of what planes are capable, I know that until I started making furniture, I had no idea.
... snip
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

SNIP Because only the good ones have survived. In 50 plus years they'll probably be asking the same question, however I fear there will be fewer good ones to survive. regards John
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Lee Valley has a new router plane design and their cutters will fit your Stanley router plane.
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Thanks--now you made me spend MORE money! :o)
Tell me,how do you guys get your wives to let you spend the money?!!
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