First let me say that i’m not an expert but more stated an ametuer wheelchair woodworker. I have done days and weeks of research on every type brand and shape. I have watched every video on this site for hand planes and all videos on youtube on handplanes (no I don’t have a life and my job is not very demanding). My first purchase was 2 Planes from rockler.com, and by no means do I means any negativity towards rockler because I consider them a stellar company, a stanley bailey No. 4 Smoothing plane $65 and a stanley bailey No. 5 jack plane $75. I have spent 6 hours flattening the shoe and various parts on the no. 4 because they come so out of tune that it’s like getting an antique and restoring it. I will say ahead of all else do not waste your money on these planes. they are in no way like the antique stanley bailey planes so don’t get them confused like I did. I then purchased a Lei Neilsen low angle block plane. By far my best idea yet and the perfect smoothe quality is apparent right out of the box and it is not even a comparison. The block plane cost me 150$ but The plane will probably live longer than me and i’m 26 years old. Being in a wheelchair makes just about everything in life a lot harder and being in a wheelchair in the military is a whole nother story. the block plane right out of the box went straight to a piece of maple without even touching any adjustments except the blade depth. My first consistent gossamer shaving of my life and I actually got a little love back in my life! I had to do absolutely nothing to this plane and it worked better than spending 6 hours on the no. 4. You will absolutely not regret buying the low angle block plane if you buy it and you will undoubtedly make your ancestors proud of you for making a wise decision. in the words of my 5 year old son “daddy that’s a really really really really cool tool daddy!” I then after doing an abundance of more research sent an email to veritas asking them how shipping would work since i’m stationed in japan but our postal code is out of california (i know confusing but i’ve stopped trying to figure out how things work in the air force.) they responded to me in 7 minutes, count it folks 7 minutes and said that they will send it to me whatever means necessary and gave me a quote on shipping to my area and offered to send it priority mail for no extra charge! after a couple of e mails back and forth and a little shmoozing to the wifey i decided to order the veritas low angle smoothing plane, no. 4. the reason i went for this model is because of a few reasons. it’s perfect for a multipurpose plane. it has perfectly even sides so that it can be used as a shooter which if you don’t know is a board put against another board and you cut the end grain of your lumber by laying the plane on it’s side using the shooter as a guide (look it up for a more detailed description) also i wanted it because it doesn’t have a frog and i figured the less parts the better. you sacrifice weight but if you’re not a wee sally than you’ll push it through no matter what. also all the reviews i read with exception to a couple were way up there. i looked up the reviews and videos on finewoodworking.com and i highly suggest you sign up for that, $5 a month for the digital magazine subscription. Ordering a second 50 degree blade can highly recommended to prevent tearout on highly figured wood and difficult grain patterns. also veritas has a new blade steel out that is supposed to be better than O1 or A2 steel in that it’s easier to sharpen, gets sharper, and stays sharper for longer. I looked up the biology of their new blades, http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=70671&cat=1,41182,43698&ap=1 and it looks very promising and the reviews are equally promising on it. so i ordered the plane, the extra blade, A honing plate and some honing paste since i don’t have an 8000 grit stone and the honing plate with paste is supposed to equal something like a 13000 grit. all total with shipping priority mail to japan cost me $319.05. the plane itself with the new blade cost $240, which comes in at $110 cheaper than the lei neilsen. i consider veritas to be comparible with lei neilsen according to my research. but all the extra stuff i ordered still came in at roughly 75$ cheaper than to get just the plane by itself from lei neilsen. and if you don’t know being in the U.S. Air Force as a Staff Sargeant we are payed at whats considered in the u.s. to poverty level so money is a tight commodity to me so saving almost a hundred dollars but getting a tool that will last a lifetime is a worthwile investment. they responded 14 minutes after i placed my order with a shipping and tracking number. I have never received that level of customer service and they immediately earned my respect and that’s not something i give out easily. I will update my post once I receive my package and i’m giddy like a schoolgirl waiting for it to arrive. Thanks for reading and I hope it helps out the newbies out there like myself. nothing like learning from your mistakes and I have learned. DON’T BUY JUNK TO SAVE MONEY!!!!!!
a.k.a. iron sides
-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying