There was a recent thread where someone asked about buying used hand planes and refurbishing them to save some money. There was also some talk about buying inexpensive planes to do the same thing. I did both. First I bought some cheap Grotz planes. They were terrible. No matter what I did or how hard I worked to sharpen the blades, they would mark the wood or they would simply not feel good under hand. I had the same results when purchasing an old plane that I tried to refurbish. For the longest time, I just thought it was me and I stuck with my planer.
For my birthday last year, my wife bought me a Lee Valley Low Angle Jack Plane. Holy crap! Right out of the box it just worked. I could actually plane something without leaving gouges in the wood. All of the sudden things just made sense. Making minute adjustments was easy. I could finally make wispy shavings. Hoorah! Based solely on this experience, I went out a week later to buy the LV LA Block Plane to replace the $25 Stanley Block Plane and $20 Grotz I had purchased a year earlier. It was also an instant hit. Since then I have been lusting after the LV Smoother and LV Jointer to finish off the basic set.
YesterdayI was able to add the LV BUS to my collection. It’s my favorite plane yet. I can make even finer shavings with this plane than my BU Jack. There is just the right sense of weight—not too light, not to heavy. The controls are perfect. When my shavings were a bit too thick. I just closed the throat and they were perfect. An hour later after planing everything I could get my hands on in the shop, I was in a mini mountain of multicolored shavings. I am no stranger to power tools but there is an incredible sense of connection to the wood when you use one of these tools that satisfies in a way that is hard to describe. Listening to the plane travel along the wood’s surface; feeling the heft of the plane as it gains momentum; watching the shavings as they exit; and finally feeling the planed surface of the wood when you’re done – it really makes you feel part of the woodworking experience. The BUS does all of these things and more.
Now if only I could get that LV Jointer for finish off the basic set :)
-- www.craftedbytim.com - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & www.craftedbytim.com - I make. You buy.