Subject: if i only buy one plane...what should it be
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 17:46:38 -0600
Organization: TDS.NET Internet Services www.tds.net
I'm a newbie with a miniscule budget who needs a good all-purpose plane.
Yes I know that no such things exists, but if it did, what type (smooth,
jack, bench, jointer)and brand would it be?
Something for under $50 would be perfect
You've gotten a lot of answers, many of which go way beyond the $50
limit. The unanswered questions are:
Do you own a grinder?
How are you set for sandpaper or whetstones?
Do you have any experience with sharpening, knives or anything else?
WHERE DO YOU LIVE - important because antiques are priced differently
How big a person are you? A hand that's comfortable with a #6 may be
cramped on a block plane.
A well tuned bench plane can be used for many things a block plane is
often used for, a block or #4 just isn't big enough to do many of the
things a larger bench plane can. If you want to talk off-line, e-mail
Dave in Fairfax
reply-to doesn't work
daveldr at att dot net
On 28-Oct-2003, email@example.com wrote:
I suppose if you're set up, you could get a plane for about $50
by buying a decent blade and making a wooden plane body. About
half the money will get the blade, most of the rest for the book
on making wooden planes and some wood.
You're got a lot of ideas for starter planes write down a list, check
the Thursday or Friday Papers for yard sales and Flea Markets, Get there
"EARLY" and pick some up. At yard sales you might find five or six
planes, at a Flea market 2 or 3 for your $50.
INSPECT CAREFULLY, but quickly, don't spend a lot of time at one table.
Don't buy anything that the metal is cracked or repaired. There are
enough good cheap planes out there.
Try this link for tactics on Flea Marketing
After you read it, at the bottom hit the "BACK TO GALOOT" link and
bookmaark the Home page.
No! Very bad advice here. The 10-1/4 is a rather odd plane, and
a bit of a pain to use. Plus, Stanley 10-1/4 are rare and collectable
Now, if you ran into a plain ordinary #10 Jack Rabbet, it might not
be a bad choice (being careful that the bed isn't cracked). But
the 10-1/4, with the tilting handles, isn't something a newbie
plane user would want.
I'm pretty new to planes...and also on a tight budget. So I'll offer
what I've done...which has worked well for me. None of this is high-end
stuff -- but has done the job quite well for me.
First, you didn't say if you had a separate budget for sharpening supplies
or for education (books)...you'll need both.
1. Lee's "Complete Guide To Sharpening" $16 +shipping - amazon
2. double-sided rough stone (~100/250 grit) $4 - harbor freight
3. King combination stone (1000/6000) $22 (sale) - woodcraft.com
4. chisel/plane sharpening guide $7 - woodcraft
Lets see....that's $49 in supplies, so I guess I won't make your
budget...it's hard to imagine getting buy any cheaper than that -
even sandpaper-based sharpening will get you close to $20, once
you buy 4 grits. You could skip the book and find good sharpening
As for the plane itself - I've picked up some good deals on eBay by
getting 'package' deals. Many buyers don't want to pick up something
they already have, so they avoid these auctions. I got three Stanley
block planes for $39 (9 1/4, 9 1/2 and 60 1/2) -- all in good working
Depending on your time schedule, you might be able to get a small
block plane and a smoother (#4) for well under $50 -- which would
be my recommendation. This, of course depends on what you intend
to use planes for. I use the #4 to prepare the surface of my
stock (usually after I've planed it by machine) -- as a replacement
for sanding. I use the block planes for cleaning up joints, fitting
miters and cleaning up the surface of more difficult wood or small
areas. And rounding/beveling corners, of course.
As a beginner, I see no reason to go with a high-end tool...the
middle-of-the-road stanleys work well for most tasks - and you'll
feel better learning to sharpen on your eBay special than on a
shiny new $120 LN.
Here's the thing Rush, if you're going to use hand planes you need a few, at
least a #5, a #4 and a low angle block plane for end grain work.
If you're schrewd you can get all 3 for around the $50 mark but you'll spend
more time and effort getting up to speed with sharpening and tuning which are
precursor skills. Look into scary sharp for an economical entry to sharepning.
Rob Lee has a good book out on sharpening in general which I don't own but seems
a worthwhile leg up for the money.
If you're not really a hand plane person get a block plane and a belt sander.
I think what you'll find is that most folks use hand planes because they're
ejoyable to use and they dode over their plane more than any other tools in the
shop. Why, well when you get that first crisp shaving to come through your well
tuned plane it's a little like getting all of a good golf shot, which is to say
that it's a bit addictive. :)
You may be a little late, but check out the garage/estate sales. I
bet you could pickup 5-10 planes for $50. Then, just do like the rest
of us and go to the library and check a sharpening/hand tool book out.
Each author has there own preference but most fettling tips are
similar. Once you learn the process, it's like riding a bike...
Totally addictive!!! Now the hand plane "it's really called a frog?"
phase. Next is the "sharpen everything in your shop, cut your hand
open, and use it more carefully" phase.
Used stanley #4 and block plane $10
Combination 800g/4000g stone $40
Learning fettling and the basics of sharpening from a book at the
library, priceless (pun intended)
For everything else there is a tool you can buy to make it easier
PS-Get your hands on a buffing setup with jewelers rouge as soon as
you can :-)
On 29 Oct 2003 17:53:40 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (Sam Schmenk) wrote:
How do you flatten the iron back?
I was beating my head on the wall trying to flatten the backs of tool
blades with water stones. I recently learned that water stones are
usually not flat enough themselves to flatten a plane iron or wide
After putting together a Scary Sharp sandpaper on glass flattening
setup, I'm getting much better results.
My inexpensive <G> sharpening setup has grown to this:
$150 for 250, 1000, 4000 grit Japanese water stones
$100 for a Shapton 8000 grit stone
$ 40 for a Shapton base / lapping plate
$ 50 for (5) 1/4 sheet glass strips, 220-320-400-600-1200 wet dry
sandpaper, and 3M 77 I attached the glass to MDF strips to protect
the edges and allow the strips to be held with a vise and dogs.
I do the backs on the sandpaper. The edges then go 1000-4000-8000 on
the stones and the back gets a final pass on the 8000 to finish. I
usually don't have to ever touch the back again, except for that last
For scrapers, I added:
$160 for (2) double sided DMT diamond plates (for lapping scraper
edges which will quickly destroy a soft water stone surface) DAMHIKT
$100 for a Veritas file jointer fence, burnishing tool, angle gauge,
and sharpening guide
$ 10 for a good new large mill file
A jointer push block (for lapping scraper sides)
A 2x2 hardwood block with 2 faces jointed a perfect 90 degrees (for
lapping the scraper edge).
I also picked up a grinder and a Veritas grinder rest for renewing
I'm shocked at the quality of edges I can get with the right stuff.
I also have a continually hairless left wrist and forearm. <G> You
could do all of it with sandpaper, but I find it quicker and easier to
use other stuff for tasks like scraper edges.
We are your friends. We want the best for you. We want you to be
happy. However, we notice you have some "issues" with sharpening
things. You may suffer from SAD. Sharpening Aquisition Disorder.
When was the last time you had hair on on your hand? Is your wife
afraid to use her kitchen knives because she knows you sharpen them?
Do you drool at the thought of a 16,000 grit water stone? ;)
I am totally envious of your setup! I'm a hobbyist with a some
success in sharpening irons and chisels. I understand your concern
with water stones not being flat. For my purposes, the stone works
good. If I were a pro, I'm sure it would be different.
BTW - with as much success you have with sharpening scrapers, do you
ever use sandpaper on the flat surfaces of your projects?
On 30 Oct 2003 18:18:01 -0800, email@example.com (Sam Schmenk) wrote:
It has been a while...
Shapton makes a "competition" 30,000 grit stone! <G>
Check out the bottom of:
Only to cut finishes, as in 320-400 grit. FWIW, I now have CURVED
scrapers! I will NEVER sand wood again now that I've learned how to
correctly scrape, and of, course, sharpen the darn thing.
Scraping, including sharpening, is faster, easier and cheaper than
sanding, once you get the hang of it. No changing grits, no
wondering if the sandpaper is worn, and no buying sandpaper! Not to
mention the side effect of _crystal clear_ figure, with no scratch
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