Have been looking at buying some planes. Was looking at old Stanley's
as I figured they could do the job. I came across an interesting fact
- almost all the planes in the US and UK are metal but the planes in
mainland Europe (ie. Germany, Denmark, Italy, etc...) are wood. I read
some European woodworkers commenting on this.
Does anyone know why mainlaind Europe still uses wood planes instead
of metal? I was always under the impression that metal planes are
superiour but that could be my own ignorance.
Anyone care to comment?
When I was in my 20s I got all wrapped up in the James Krenov book,
Fine Art of Cabinetmaking" and really enjoyed making my own planes
following the instructions in the book. They feel really nice in the
because they're so light and precise if you take the trouble to
them. They're more important if you view woodworking as an "art". I
imagine carrying one around in my truck doing custom carpentry though,
at least the kind that I made which were all wood except for the blade.
I don't think I'd be too interested in the manufactured wood planes
metal parts for adjustment.
The wooden planes I own are made in Portland, by Steve Knight. They work
really well. They are different from iron planes, and so, for someone like
me, who hasn't settled on one type of work, having multiple types of planes
seems to work well.
The Euro wood planes I've seen/tried seemed to be quality work as well.
Mostly Ulima, IIRC.
many, too many, planes.
Me too - they're beautiful to look at and to use. Dense tropical
hardwood body with lignum-vitae sole and 1/4" thick iron makes for
quite a solid-feeling tool! I also have a few metal planes, both old
(1930s Stanley #4 smoother with updated iron) and new (mmm.... LN Low
Angle Block plane...). All are fine tools, and I use them all for
various aspects of almost every project. I couldn't say that either
one is superior in every way. Next plane will either be a high-angle
smoother by Steve Knight, an iron-bodied edge-trimming block plane from
Lee Valley, or a scrub plane, which I'm considering trying to make
myself, but I'll probably try to order the iron from Steve Knight.
I haven't use any of the other woodies of European origin, so I can't
comment on how those compare.
Actually, there's a hyphen:
I haven't been to Steves website for awhile. He has added HUNDREDS of
pictures of his BEAUTIFUL wooden planes at
No affiliation. Just like purty things made of wood.
I think it's part true, in that wooden planes are more popular in Europe,
and as workman's tools too not fancy and expensive toys. Look for instance
at this French catalogue:
The basic workaday wooden planes are slightly cheaper than the steel ones.
Wooden planes are also considerably lighter in your toolbag than steel -
important for a mobile tradesman.
France certainly used to have a very well established traditional
apprenticeship system for industrial arts, it may still. It was quite common
for training to start with the students making their own tools and many of
them continued to use them, bow saws, wooden planes and the like.
I have a couple of specialist old wooden which I use a lot in my building
restoration work. I really enjoy them and I don't think metal would be any
superior, but I bought them because for instance a serious 14" two handed
joiners rebate plane is just not obtainable new.
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