Tool Overview #3: Going Plane Crazy...

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 10-19-2010 01:16 PM 1316 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Record Marples no. 4 Smoothing Plane Part 3 of Tool Overview series Part 4: You can tune a plane but you can't tuna fish »

Well, it would appear that I am sliding a little further down the slippery slope. I can see where, once you get started down a certain road, it is a little difficult to get off of it. A little over a month ago, my plane collection consisted of nothing, nada, zip. Now I have four, and tomorrow I am expecting the shipment of number five.

It started innocently enough. I received a block plane as a thank you/birthday gift. I like mechanical things. I am a little slow on the take sometimes, but after I disassemble/reassemble a device and get a feel for it, it all starts to sink in as far as purpose and design. I also spend much time looking at magazines and reading articles to help me get a grasp of what I am looking at. So, after playing with the block plane, I realized that low angle block planes are really good for end grain. I would hate to find myself wanting to do some smoothing on an end grain board and come up short, so I bought a Stanley Sweetheart low angle block plane.

Well… Then I started reading about smoothing planes. They help take the boards to a higher level of beauty by taking such thin shavings that the wood has a very pleasant feel to it. I checked on ebay, and wouldn’t you know there was a smoothing plane out there at a reasonable price so I went and pulled the trigger on it. And, as luck or fate would have it, the latest edition of Woodsmith had a great article on smoothing planes and how to tune it. Wouldn’t anyone take that as a sign that fate was telling them to invest in hand planes?

I was going to stop there, but I read another article in Fine Woodworking that if one were to choose one plane to have in their shop, they should make it a Jack Plane. While its intended purpose is to rough flatten lumber, it can also be used as a jointer and/or a smoother if necessary and it is a very versatile plane. So I placed a bid on ebay for an old Bailey no. 5. Further in the article, it detailed how, next to a Stanley Bedrock, the Bailey No. 5 Type 11 was a great plane. And, as luck/fate also decided to lend a hand on, the plane I put a bid on was a Type 11 plane. The tool is in pretty good shape, only the tote has a crack in it. No one else placed a bit and I got it for 10 bucks, plus shipping. This is the plane that is due to arrive tomorrow.

However… it couldn’t just end there. Between the Jack and the Smoother is the Jointer plane. Would be a shame to be so close to a complete collection and not have the Jointer. So I scouted around and looked at Jointer planes. Most of them out of my price range, but I could at least look. No harm in looking. Then I decided to try a different type of search. Instead of “Jointer Plane” or “Plane no. 7,” I decided to try “Plane #7.” I guess I thought I would try a search that few on ebay would think of. And, wouldn’t you know it, there was a Record no. 7 that no one was bidding on and there was only 30 minutes left on auction. Price was reasonable, so for 60 dollars, plus 10 for shipping, I now have the plane below.

Now I am not going to tell everyone that this is the best plane for jointing, but I do believe I received an exceptional deal. It is a late 80’s plane, which puts it in the era of Record that most shy away from. This version is pretty decent, the tote and knob are wood. Later editions resorted to plastic. There was light rust on the sole of the plane and on the frog. The plane arrived with the chipbreaker on backwards and the blade installed bevel up, instead of bevel down. I had to flatten the frog and sole and use evapo-rust on a few parts of the plane. I only have a quart on hand, so I used a plastic paint tray insert that was listed as solvent resistant to take rust off the sole. I found I could wedge the tray so that the solution pooled on the shallow side of the tray and I could soak half the plane sole, then flip it around to do the other half. My brother threw away a coffee table with a glass insert a number of months ago. I grabbed the glass and was able to adhere several grits of sandpaper to it and make a nice plate for sharpening and surfacing. After tuning, I am quite pleased with the performance and 60 bucks is a heck of a deal for a decent jointer plane.

So, I might be going “Plane Crazy” but I can’t help but feel that fate is partly to blame… ;)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

15 comments so far

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3358 days

#1 posted 10-19-2010 01:35 PM

Congrats on the tool scores, David! Just don’t start looking at Festool’s stuff as well. I don’t know what would happen if you started sliding down two different slippery slopes at the same time!

-- Robb

View Eric_S's profile


1551 posts in 2619 days

#2 posted 10-19-2010 01:47 PM

Its hard to have just one plane isn’t it. I found all mine on ebay searching with number first, like ‘no.7 plane’ or ’#7 plane.’

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2421 days

#3 posted 10-19-2010 01:50 PM

When I read this all I can say is YEP did that, YEP did that too, YEP I know how he is feeling, YEP I know what he is thinking.YEP I am slipping. YEP I have that plane also. After 5 years of buying all the old planes that no one seems to want anymore I am feeling overwhelmed ! Now you can branch off and start collecting stanley #45’s. There are 20 “types” of these babies ! Transitional planes = #21 to #37Jenny.Then one day you can buy other brand names of same type of planes. Miller Falls, Sargent,Record . Lots of options out there to SLIP on. Enjoy your slide. I AM ! (And I am normal)

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

View helluvawreck's profile


22707 posts in 2290 days

#4 posted 10-19-2010 03:09 PM

That’s just about sounds like the way that I got my plane collection. Good going.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View chrisstef's profile


15486 posts in 2430 days

#5 posted 10-19-2010 03:09 PM

Cmon overand we can fall the slippery slope together .. i just started blogging about the same thing .. started with a few block planes then i found myself at tag sales every weekend looking for the diamond in the rust .. grabbed a handyman #3, Bailey #4, Bailey #5

Have fun and ill meet ya at the bottom of the slope!

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View swirt's profile


2107 posts in 2396 days

#6 posted 10-19-2010 03:23 PM

Come on in and pull up a chair in the slippery slope room…. just watch that first step. Good additions to your collection. Next up will come a couple of woodies, just too give them a try (I recommend a set of match planes for T&G) ... and then …. and then….

-- Galootish log blog,

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3097 days

#7 posted 10-19-2010 03:36 PM

Congrats on your tool scores!

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2307 days

#8 posted 10-19-2010 04:28 PM

“Once you start down the dark path, forever it will dominate your destiny”- Yoda :)

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2395 days

#9 posted 10-19-2010 04:29 PM

Aw, come on, you know you need a #6 fore plane. Gotta have it to level those high spots, “fore” you joint or smooth.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3945 posts in 2588 days

#10 posted 10-19-2010 04:33 PM

You have been on a roll lately….....having way too much fun. What’s with that… manic-depressive or something?

I hope to do a little work with planes, but I will not get carried away. Don’t think my hands and arms could take to refurbishing a plane (at my age and my job, you have to choose between having a job, and doing a hobby requiring a lot of hand work).

I have one old one, that I bought new, a Stanley Bailey No. 4 about 1970 vintage that looks like it has been in multiple hand to hand combat battles, and has not come out the winner every time. I think I will tune it up just so I understand planes. Then my others will probably be new high end things that do not need tuning.

Right now I am on a plywood and MDF roll doing shop stuff, so have pity on me, hopefully my planes will get back in the battle some day.

This week is shaping up to not be too heavy at work, so should be around….....however, I notice when I am in the shop a lot, I spend little time on the computer….....that was the case this weekend.

Have a good one…......


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2136 posts in 2532 days

#11 posted 10-19-2010 05:26 PM

Thanks for the comments all. I think the word “plane” is the secret code word to generate an immediate response :) If the average housewife knew that one, they would interject the word frequently in conversation. “Hello hon, did you notice ‘hand plane’ that I got a new ‘hand plane’ haircut today?”

Lately, the workload from the corporate job has been keeping me hopping so have not had much time for involved processes in the shop. I find that if my shop time is limited, my tool purchases increase. One thing I enjoyed about getting these in the mail is that I could go downstairs and tinker with the hardware during my lunch break or between pages and the interruptions not be a burden. I could release a little physical energy so that my body could get as tired as my mind.

A skilled woodworker can make a bad piece of wood look good. I have spend a couple years making good wood look bad ;) I think, once you start crossing that threshold and start understanding the tools and techniques the right way, something really bites you and you get excited. As I have said, many times, hand tools (especially ones with a blade that requires sharpening) intimidated me. Now that I start feeling the tools on the wood as they are meant to be felt, I get excited.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Rustic's profile


3220 posts in 3020 days

#12 posted 10-19-2010 06:57 PM

Hey David I have a plane that I would like restored could you help me? I have started down that slope too

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3001 days

#13 posted 10-19-2010 07:03 PM


-- Custom furniture

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2364 days

#14 posted 10-19-2010 10:31 PM

It seems we have another budding rhykenologist on our hands! Fantastic! Enjoy the slide, I do.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2539 days

#15 posted 10-29-2010 01:10 AM

congrat´s with the toy´s and getting on the slippery lane
the worst thing you can meet on it is a galoot witch isn´t the worst to do….LOL


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