hand plane group therapy (my journey into it) #1: tools + eBay + me = dog house

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Blog entry by jacob34 posted 05-13-2012 03:36 AM 1980 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of hand plane group therapy (my journey into it) series Part 2: galu gala the first hand plane is here today »

I want to be completely honest starting this series by standing up and saying hi my name is Jacob and I am addicted to tools, I also am a collector or pack rat who loves to gamble. This being said I wrote a blog recently to admit I have fallen into the group who embraces hand planes I have seen several videos and read articles that convinced me that both to be a true woodworker one must one at least one and two that they are a essential tool to use whether with power tools or hand tools. I as a person who follows this website saw several people mention the abundance of hand planes on eBay and decided to go look, BAD IDEA, as a gambler I enjoy the biding and waiting to see how it plays out on an item. I also tend to look at all the information when beginning something such as working with hand planes and decided I needed multiple planes, this fed my collecting side as well.

I have in the few day since embracing hand planes purchased or “won” on eBay several hand planes. A Stanley block plane (vintage of course), a Stanley 5 1/2, a Ohio tool co. block plane, Hsb and Co. plane, Norvelle Shapleigh Hardware Co. Diamond Edge plane and most recently a Stanley jack 5 1/4 plane while also be at the moment the highest bidder on a Stanley No. 7 smooth base plane 22”, and )VINTAGE) STANLEY NO. 78 RABBET plane. In my defense I am pretty sure after all have been cleaned up and fixed if necessary they will accomplish the needs I envisioned when I purchased them.

This is a sentiment not shared by my wife, she seems to think maybe I have gone overboard and is while not looking for a knife is not wanting cuddle time. So this series will either end up with a hopefully nice collection of hand planes that improve my end product in my woodshop or me looking to see if anyone needs a roommate. Keep your fingers crossed either way. On a side note what are some of the things one should look for when buying planes online to avoid things like planes that are not fixable or parts that are more difficult to procure.

Thanks for reading.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

13 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


6929 posts in 2595 days

#1 posted 05-13-2012 03:49 AM

I love it! You start with w/the problem…and end up with buying advice. It sounds terminal. : )

I would watch out for damaged mouths. Try to buy w/rosewood that is in good condition. The totes/knobs can sell for more than the plane itself. Some meat on the iron is nice. Plus I would also lean to the keyhole shaped levercap vs the kidney shape. Oh, and I seem to like the SW stanleyd too.

Good luck, you will need it. There is no known cure.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2303 days

#2 posted 05-13-2012 03:51 AM

Hi Jacob, my name is Martin and I’m addicted to tools, LOL. I share the same passion/obsession, as a lot of us on here do, what keeps me out of the dog house, is when I spend time in the shop with my daughter. As for hand planes, I own only two, one was given to me by my uncle 15 years ago, the other I purchased when I first started woodworking 26+ years ago. My uncles was in bad shape and I restored it after a few years of fighting with, I just decided I spend more time fixing this than using it. Both of mine are Stanley’s flat bottom and grooved bottom, and you are correct essential for wood working, I have a power hand plane I have used twice but I use on of the hand ones on almost every project.

For advice, I am not sure what to look out for, I know with the planer from my uncle had a broken plastic handle, that I replaced with one I made out of oak. Blades as long as they are sharp will last a very long time, the most difficult part is keeping the correct angle when sharpening, ( build a jig that’s what I did).

Good luck with your obsession, tell your wife you restoring them so you can sell them one day to pay for the kids college, by then she might forget and your collection will remain with you :)

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2833 days

#3 posted 05-13-2012 03:52 AM

This is why I completely ignore and skip ebay. Although I can remember the day I was contemplating a number 6 at the antique store and the wife tried to remind me that that magazine article (FWW) said I only needed 3. I also remember there was eye rolling as well. Good luck, just remember, once you hit a certain number she’ll never notice the occasional addition.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Mosquito's profile


9304 posts in 2289 days

#4 posted 05-13-2012 03:54 AM

You could always have them delivered to you at work, and build a handplane Till with a “secret” compartment for the ones she doesn’t know about ;-) Not that I’m encouraging… hehe

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View mafe's profile


11725 posts in 3086 days

#5 posted 05-13-2012 11:03 AM

Hi Jacob,
Have a nice trip as you go.
I began this travel myself a little over two years ago, and I have enjoyed every step of the way.
Mostly because of knowledge and the smell of the shaves produced by the planes, the gambler in me is not so big, but yes I spend so much more time on E-bay than I should in the hunt for the planes I ‘needed’.
It’s a slippery road, and I really do not want to know or think about the money I have spent on my plane collection now, but to be honest I think they are all worth it.
I started out with some old wooden planes and a no four as I remember, and then it just took off, first all the Stanley’s, then wooden, then special planes and of course German, Danish, French ohhh yes and latest is a collection of Japanese planes and tools, so yes the road is slippery and honestly we do only need 3-6 planes, so the choice is just: collect / use, but I do not think I meet someone yet who could really stay on that use road alone, once we get into woodworking the fascination of the tools, the patina and story in the vintage tools and the joy of making an old plane run smooth and sharpen it to perfection is way too big to be overseen.
My advice is to buy the basic set and let this include a good shoulder plane, then spend a heavy amount on sharpening gear, water stones or diamonds is the way, after this the road is open, just never tell your wife what you really spend, then you will only need a good lawyer.
Have a nice trip – best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View TrBlu's profile


386 posts in 2623 days

#6 posted 05-13-2012 11:10 AM

Hey Jacob. My name is Tim. Welcome to the addiction.

You have some good advice above, so I am not going to add much. Do a little reasearch to understand the approximate age of some planes. There are some great websites available for Old Tools, Stanley, Record, and many specific manufactures. Google is very helpful in this regard.

Also, I have purchased a couple planes from ebay, but have had better luck with local estate sales and swap meets. The benefit of a local sale is I can hold the plane and get a closer look to check for damage.

By the way, a damaged plane is not necessarily a bad buy. I have bought broken planes the pulled parts for sale on ebay for significant profit. Selling some thing along and have some money in my paypal account helps soften the “wrath” when I do go ebay shopping.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2994 days

#7 posted 05-13-2012 11:33 AM

I want to be completely honest starting this series by standing up and saying hi my name is Perry and I am addicted to tools, I also am a collector or pack rat. Several years ago I spent thousands of dollars on ebay. I am proud to say it has been 2 years now and I haven’t bought a single item from ebay. I still look to see what the prices are doing. My passion with hand planes started because I wanted 1 of every stanley plane made.(At that time I did not know they made hundreds of different plane. As I started I quickly realized the high end ones are NOT for me (I don’t have that kind of money). I justified continue to buy all planes at yard sales and flea markets because I dreamt of opening a shop called “SIMPLE & PLANE” specializing in old tools. (TO DATE that dream is not happening yet either.) I am enjoying what I do, I just have to control my spending, (I believe I am doing that as well, but their are times it is tempting. Just testerday I bought a old TABLE SAW – JOINTER combination for $20. For $20 I could have bought a case of beer (I don’t drink anymore) and just pee’d it away, waking up in morning with nothing OR buy the saw and have a heavy piece of cast iron in my shop…........

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

View BerBer5985's profile


445 posts in 2417 days

#8 posted 05-13-2012 01:08 PM

I can go ahead and throw my hat in the ring for being obsessed with tools! I have the sane problem with my wife as well. I found it’s just easier to send stuff to my work and sneak it into the garage. She never asks, “where did you get that from.” she has no clue what tools are new and which I’ve had or inherited from my dad and grandad. So if she ever asks, I found it in the attic. You’re not committing a cardinal sin and as long as your tool habit isn’t causing hardship in the marriage like “you’ve spent all our money on tools and we can’t afford groceries this week!” type hardship, then what she doesn’t know, won’t kill her. It’s ashame our wives aren’t more supportive of our hobbies because we could be out at the strip club with our friends getting wasted and gambling our money away and instead we are 15 feet away in our shop making things for the house instead.

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2261 days

#9 posted 05-13-2012 03:13 PM

I want to thank all who have come to support me and my addiction. I think we have all taken a step forward here. Shane I must admit that while I admit I have a problem I honestly have no desire to fix it I have always been pulled toward tools no matter what they are.

Marty I like your thinking except I have already tried that with my wife and she wasn’t buying it she knows me to well.

derosa, I have been there oh am there with ya, I haven’t hit the flea markets and antiques yet but pretty sure I will. As for eBay I have decided to only search when looking for a specific tool.

Mosquito my wife and i have our routines set and don’t hide anything plus I love showing her new tools.

mafe, I never thought of foreign hand planes man now I am even more excited hmm wonder what a safe waiting period is to bring this to the honey.

Trblu I completely agree I can’t get to estate sales or swap meets much with coaching my kids sports and family time but I would love to, and I am looking for older planes that need assistance I like the connection it gives me when they are fixed.

canadian I think your store idea is cool, I am not cured enough to think I could wait two years to buy off eBay although I did promise my wife that other than wood for projects I have already told her I would do I will not spend money on tools or my shop.

BerBer I completely see where your coming from tools after essentials although I have tried on occasion to explain to my wife that tools are essential. She comes into the work shop a lot as the kids follow me down into it and her rabbit is in there so hiding tools as well as not my style is also difficult at best.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View Dwain's profile


524 posts in 3856 days

#10 posted 05-13-2012 08:04 PM


My name is Dwain, and I am also an addict. I have purchased about 20 planes before finally settling on type 11 corrogated Stanley Baileys. Now I have numbers 3 – 8, including the 4.5 and the 5.5. I hope to find a 2 someday, but figure that won’t happen. Now that I have scratched that itch, it is on to the LN and LV’s of the world. I am currently saving for the LV Bevel Up Smoother and Jack, as well as Veritas Router and Medium Shoulder planes.

I have shared my addiction with my wife and have an understand that I will purchase no more than two or three a year. We will see how that works out.

Anyway, I love your post and am supportive of your plight. Stay strong, and spend more time working with your planes. That may (and I mean MAY) help slow down your need to buy more.

At the very least, it’s good to have hope.


-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View chrisstef's profile


17382 posts in 3003 days

#11 posted 05-13-2012 10:29 PM

Jacob, im Chris and also an addict. It started with the pasing of my grandfather and the eventual clean out of his basement. Im now addicted to rust, especially rusty planes. Not much of a gambler, so for me, its the hunt. Im a tag sale kinda guy. I look for the ones out in the woods, off the beaten path, you can keep your old baby items and glasswares, i want corrosion, i want the smell of dirty pennies and stale hay emminating from an old barn. I wont ever pay top dollar, ive got a $25 limit which tempers my spending habits. Yesterday i scored a breadmaker for $5, basically brand new with the instructions. Sears has it for $103 on line. Great success.

A fitting tune:

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2885 days

#12 posted 05-14-2012 02:14 AM

There is but one treatment for tool addiction; build an addition to the house to hold them.

And then another.

And then another.

And so on…


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

18711 posts in 2565 days

#13 posted 05-14-2012 12:03 PM

Jacob, if there is a club for the addicts, I would easily make president, ceo and chief gunk remover. I have more planes than I can count. Thats because I find places to ’’store’’ them and forget they are there until I look for something else. But, the bottom line is if done correctly its an investment. Thats my story and I’m sticking to it.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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