Reply by RGtools

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Posted on Hand Planing Work Bench Top

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3372 posts in 2678 days

#1 posted 04-25-2013 01:06 PM

When I first flattened my bench I used a jack plane all the way and it worked, but the purchase of a jointer made this task a heck of a lot easier. I would not bother with a smoother on a bench.

If you are going to be doing a ton of handwork and investment in 3 planes is key:

Jack (or Fore), for cleaning up rough surfaces and hogging away wood quickly. Use a cambered blade
Jointer, for making things dead flat. Use a flat or very lightly cambered blade.
Smoother, for cleaning up small patches of tearout and removing plane tracks. Use a flat blade with “relaxed” corners.

You don’t need Stanley 1-8 to get the job done. These 3 planes will serve all of your stock prep and surfacing needs so they are worth the investment (compare them to a 12” power jointer/planer and you will feel better about the price). LN planes are the top of the line, but I have used and loved Veritas and WoodRiver as well, these are all sound investments that take very little fettling to get up and running. The main difference is in little details like how much play is in the depth adjustment knob, and how well the iron holds an edge over time…and so on.

For my money

I’d grab a vintage Stanley Jack in good condition (~$25) and put a good camber in the iron. (I have a pretty minty one you can PM me about if your interested). Jacks do rough work so I don’t see a lot of sense in buying a precision tool here.

For the jointer and smoother, I would go Clifton. I find rounded top planes to be more comfortable in use than the “Bedrock” style…but that is just me. Jointers and Smoothers both do a precise task and there fore the extra money for good machining is worth it (that and flattening a jointer’s sole is an odious task that should be avoided at all cost).

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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