The best hand planes for the money

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by SST posted 04-16-2010 03:49 AM 8620 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I keep telling myself that I’m not a collector…that I’m not on the slippery slope…and as long as I use them (it shouldn’t really matter if I have more than I actually need) I’m still ok-no intervention required.

That said, I thought talk a bit about a couple of of the best hand planes out there for a relatively small amount of $$$.

I’m referring to Keen-Kutters “K” series (Not the KK series, they are not the same)
Keen Kutter # 4

The K series (the one pictured is a K4) is actually the same as an early Stanley Bedrock plane with the round sides instead of flat top sides. That means that it has the bedrock type frog setup which has been copied by the high end planes. The early bedrock frogs, like regular Stanleys, required that you remove the blade to adjust the frog, but it’s really no big deal as when you move the bedrock frog on either early or later models, you change the blade setting & need to re-adjust anyway.

My point is that these great planes are out there at bargain prices. I paid $31.00 on ebay for this one. Now, since I really am NOT a collector, I look for ones that need some TLC. I don’t mind if I have to repaint them & they’re not original. This one had rust on the bed (upper side & looked bad, but was only cosmetic) and a broken rear tote. I used the electrolytic rust removal method on it (google it if you haven’t seen it…it’s really cool) & repaired the tote. Lots of old planes need a tote repair, but hey, we’re woodworkers, aren’t we? That should be no big deal. The repair is virtually invisible, & I used a catalyzed black enamel on the bed.

Keen Kutter

This is one of the reasons that I don’t feel the need to spend a couple hundred dollars for a plane when for $31.00 plus a little shipping, materials, & a little fun/putzing, I’ve got a great plane.

I’ve got a K-5 (Stanley #5 size) as well that didn’t need anything except a cleanup that cost around $35.00. With deals like this, I could become a collector…

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

3 comments so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4034 posts in 4265 days

#1 posted 04-16-2010 06:09 AM

After a tip from Thos. Angle, I acquired several Sargent Bailey-pattern bench planes, with quality on par with pre-war Stanleys. I blogged the buy and rehab of a #9, the rough equivalent of a Stanley #4 here.
There are a number of other reputable lesser manufacturers that made similar planes to Stanley. I have inherited a Lakeside jointer from my paternal grandfather that is easily the equal in quality to a Bailey. These were sold by “Monkey (Montgomery) Wards” – as my Dad would say.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

316 posts in 3748 days

#2 posted 04-16-2010 03:56 PM

one of the planes i recently picked up was a transition smoother labeled WM Enders OAK LEAF. I do think it is actually a re-branded Union plane. OAK LEAF was another brand of Simmons Hardware which sold the Keen Kutter Brand.

if you pick up a plane by a secondary plane maker keen kutter oak leaf dunlap and want to know who actually made it you usually can tell by the frog.

also I did some digging and WM Enders was a sales executive that created the oak leaf brand of locks and tools. Nice plane you found thats certainly a beauty. I started down the slippery slope.

-- Got Wood?

View canadianchips's profile


2613 posts in 3199 days

#3 posted 04-17-2010 02:21 AM

I started buying “Stanley ” planes, then one day I noticed at yard sale a different brand. I now buy ALL brands so I can compare for myself why some work better than others. My scrub plane is a home built plane I found at Flea Market for $5.00.(He was asking $10.Had to bargain, it was rusty and dull, not a STANLEY.) I put a contour on the iron , this thing works great. (In fact i used it today to clean paint of old wide baseboards that were warped badly.)
Just wondering. How many planes does one have to have before we become COLLECTORS ?
When I was on carribean cruise and went to ART auction, when a person bought more than one of same artist they called him a “Collector”
Just saying, what would they call a person that has, maybe 350 of these baby’s ?
NOT maybe. HE DOES. (Comment from his wife)

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics