All Replies on First hand plane; another question!

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First hand plane; another question!

by djang000
posted 11-02-2012 12:23 PM

23 replies so far

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2917 days

#1 posted 11-02-2012 12:29 PM

One more thing to consider is that $250 could go a long way in getting you a number of key vintage Stanley planes. You can easily get a #5 Jack, a #3 or #4 Smoother, and a #7 Jointer for that amount and still have money to spare. But, if you’re set on a new plane, I’d suggest the Veritas simply because you won’t be dissapointed with any of their products.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3341 days

#2 posted 11-02-2012 12:39 PM

Brandon W for president…(except that his suggestions make sense!)

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2020 days

#3 posted 11-02-2012 12:39 PM

2nd that ^

-- Joel

View Don W's profile

Don W

18685 posts in 2533 days

#4 posted 11-02-2012 12:40 PM

I’m a vintage plane guy. I love vintage tools. They can work just as well as LN or Veritas. That said, I’ve got both LN and Veritas planes, and both are very well made and either will work well. As far as I can tell, the only real difference between LN and Veritas, LN has a more traditional look, were Veritas have a more modern design. I really don’t beleive the design changes change functionality at all.

Read this as well,

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

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3074 days

#5 posted 11-02-2012 12:47 PM

Hey Sam, as already mentioned, there are a number of good options for you.

Used Planes – You can get more for your money and some quality hardware, but it will take some elbow grease to get them in shape. One very good note about this route is that you will know your plane inside and out by the time you are done. Like it or not, even the highest quality plane will at least require a sharpening of the iron at the get go. Another plus is that you could probably get a smoother, jack, and jointer plane out of the deal. If you want to buy some restored versions, give Don W a holler. He is one of the resident plane experts and he sells refurbs.

WoodRiver – I am not familiar with these planes so can’t offer an experienced opinion. I can tell you that I read good reviews about them as a mix of quality and value. The downside is that the planes will require some tweaking to get them to work ideally (from what I read). Again, this will take you down the path of getting physically familiar with the tool.

Veritas or Lee Valley – I have the low angle jointer plane in this series by Veritas. A Jack is a good option. The fact that you can use multiple beveled blades gives it a great deal of versatility, at a price. If you desire to pick one plane, a Jack is a good choice, it can perform both smoothing and some jointing operations. Though with large sized operations, you might find it a little on the small side for jointing.

Hope you enjoy whatever you purchase,


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

View djang000's profile


67 posts in 2098 days

#6 posted 11-02-2012 01:29 PM

Thanks guys

I’m not a fan of going into vintage tools. I understand that there’s a lot of really good plane out there just waiting for th right bid, but since it would be my first plane, I would rather have something that will “work out of the box”, and by that I mean something that is already fairly tuned out so I can blame myself the first few months, instead of always doubting about the plane if I don’t achieve the desired results. Plus, every time I buy something used, I spend more then restoring it then using it (believe me; I boat an old sailboat 2 years ago and I don’t see when in a near future I’ll be able to enjoy it! :D).

That’s why I was looking for a new plane (don’t worry; I know it will need to be sharpened). So the question was really more in the type of planes; a good smoothing plane is definitely on my wishlist, and something longueur for jointing. But after reading a lot on the subject, I understand that a lot of people aren’t using their #6 that much. A #7 is definitely out of my price range, even in the woodriver range, which is why I started considering the veritas low angle jack.. But then again; would it perform better for jointing then a #6?? DonW; with all the planes you tried, what is your feeling about a #6?

I understand the plus value in term of quality for the veritas, but I have a hard time figuring out how one #5 can outperform a #4 and a #6…

thanks again!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18685 posts in 2533 days

#7 posted 11-02-2012 02:02 PM

First, let me make one statement. If you buy a restored plane from one of the reputable restorers, and there are several here on LJs even, your plane will work right out of the box. Period!

Now for the 1 #5 or multiple question. I couldn’t work with a single plane. I wouldn’t by a shopsmith, I have 2 bandsaws, etc etc. I hate stopping mid project to reconfigure my tools. Will one #5 fit all bills to a reasonable degree? Probably. Would I do it. No. And its not a shot at all those who bought a low angle #5 and change blades for different purposes. We all work different and the idea is to enjoy the time. I have a LN low angle #5. Its a great plane and I’ll never sell it, but I really don’t find a great need for it. I will use it sometimes just to take it out of the cabinet. Its a pleasure to use.

Stanley made a line of bench planes, and most other manufacturer made very similar or exact sizes. I have every one. Each one has a purpose. I’m not suggesting you need every one, but I will say, if you have every one, and you do a lot of woodworking you will find a use for them all at some point.

A #6 is a decent mid sized plane. It can be used as a jointer. So can a #5. Actually, if your building 12” boxes, so can a #4, and I’ve jointed with my #18.

So if you want my advice, here is what I would do. And I would do it in this order.
I’d buy a #3 or a #4 vintage. I sell them ready to go for about $55.
Then I’d buy a #7. I’ve got 2 that’s priced around $75. (i’m not sure if one is ready yet or not)
Then I’d buy a good block. I’ve got a decent #18 that’s about $35, but even a cheaper #220 will work.
Then I’d buy a #5 jack (get it sharpened as a jack). Again, mine go for about $55

I’m torn as to the sequence of the block versus smoother. Some guys are going to say the block should come first. I’m not going to strongly disagree. Some of this decision has to come from how you work and what you plan to build.

These are all Stanley/Baileys. You can save some money going no named, or lesser known (not lesser quality), that are identical to the above planes.

From a bench plane perspective, that’s a complete set of what you need. But be careful, these suckers are addicting.

There is one more point I’d like to make. Don’t spend a lot of time making a decision. Just buy a hand plane. If you decide you went the wrong route, re-selling is fairly easy and you won’t lose a ton of money on any of the above, vintage, LN or veritas. Wood river and a mid line, you’ll lose a little more, but it still won’t be substantial.

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

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3614 days

#8 posted 11-02-2012 02:06 PM

One thing to keep in mind >

out of that $250, put aside a good amount to invest in sharpening/honing materials (stones/sandpapers/honing paste/jigs/granite surface/grinder/etc). without this , not even the LV plane would work ‘out of the box’ – they will all require at least honing of the blades if not more.

Other than that, restoring an old/used handplane really doesn’t take that much effort and will have a plus side being your first hand plane – it will educate you on the parts of the hand plane and make your familiar with how it’s parts are working which translates to how it performs, and how you use it. this is how I finally understood some things about using hand planes (not so from my ‘first’ one which came “not so ready out of the box” as I hoped it would)

if not used, then of your 2 options, I’d go with the LV one.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18685 posts in 2533 days

#9 posted 11-02-2012 02:14 PM

PurpLev makes another very good point.

And to be clear about my last post. I would much rather help you restore your own so you really learn how the plane works then sell you a restored plane. To me the restoration process is as much fun as using it after.

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

View Swyftfeet's profile


170 posts in 2137 days

#10 posted 11-02-2012 02:22 PM

Don W for the win on this… All my planes are vintage, mostly picked up in yard sales or antique shops. I have a #7c picked up for free from an Amish friend. I have 3 #4s one sharpened with a camber, one normal, and I ordered the scraper insert for Xmass. I have a #220 and a #9, both picked up for 25$ or less. I got the Veritas Sharpening jig, a old granite tile and some sandpaper. ? I have a wood Rebate plane of unknown origin.

I have attempted to use them, I’m still new at this and have no training, and find in some cases its just a hell of a lot faster and safer due to stock size than using my jointer or setting the saw up for a lap joint.

-- Brian

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2542 days

#11 posted 11-02-2012 03:42 PM

My recommendation is the veritas low angle jack plane. It’s a beautiful workhorse. Like a unicorn. Or Pegasus.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2252 days

#12 posted 11-02-2012 03:57 PM

I’m just getting back to hand planes and having just purchased a #3 Stanley and A Millers Falls #14 (like a Stanley #5 size), I think I can speak to the restoration of an older plane. Now…. not as thoroughly as Don W as I don’t have his expertise for the restorations, BUT to get from and under $20 eBay plane to a very serviceable usable plane, was a total investment of about an hour and a half each and less than $8 worth of waterproof sandpaper to get them “Scary Sharp” (I already had some and I already had the plate glass). That includes going back to them and REsharpening them because I wanted more camber on the blades of the #3 and #14. Very slight on the #3 and more pronounced on the #14.

So from this:

To this:

in about 90 minutes.

You want a prettier one, buy one from Don W. After doing these 2 I can tell you he’s not getting rich selling those planes at those prices. :) And from what I’ve seen of his work, you’ll have a real treasure. BUT… on a low budget you can have what you want, sharpened the way you want it, without a big investment in time or money. These aren’t sailboats. :)

View Loren's profile (online now)


10262 posts in 3613 days

#13 posted 11-02-2012 05:08 PM

I’m big on the standard Bailey #4 and #5. I have a low angle jack and hardly
ever use it. I have a L-N bronze #4 and use that a lot. I think the
added mass gives it an edge over iron #4 planes, but I don’t see
much advantage in the Bedrock-style frog.

I use a standard Bailey #5. Actually I prefer a corrugated sole #5,
but the preference is probably irrational.

I owned a #8 for awhile but it is a very heavy plane and I sold
it. In over 15 years of woodworking I’ve never owned a #7 but I intend to pick one up one of these days. I use
a 24” wooden jointer I made occasionally, but I generally
joint longer edges on a machine jointer and the #5 does
fine for shorter boards and is handy.

One thing I can say about the premium planes is they do
hold some resale value a lot better than power tools do,
so it’s hard to choose badly. If you only have experience
with low angle planes you may not know what you’re
missing out on with standard-pitch planes.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3124 days

#14 posted 11-02-2012 05:21 PM

Get something used.

New planes do not necessarily work out of the box.

You’ll need to learn proper setup of a new plane anyway, especially after you’ve dulled the blade the first time.

Like Don said, the only one that is guaranteed to work out of the box is a used plane from a reputable restorer. From what I’ve heard, Don himself is quite a good one.

But for me, I’d get a good block plane first. There’s not a time I’m in the shop when I’m not using it.

-- jay,

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2112 days

#15 posted 11-02-2012 05:26 PM

If you’re dead set on new, I’d recommend going with the WoodRiver planes. I don’t know that I would buy a #4 and a #6. Perhaps a #5 and a #3. For me, in terms of smoothing planes, there’s not a lot of difference between a #3 and a #4. I have both and tend to just grab whichever is closer. A #5 is about as versatile a plane as there is. It can be used for heavy stock removal as well as smoothing. Grab an extra blade for it. Put a camber on one and keep the other mostly straight across and you’re set. Woodcraft sells replacement 2” blades for their #4 and #5 for under 20 bucks. Or you could go with a nice Pinnacle or Hock blade.

If you’re open to vintage, you can get a lot more for your money. Don W has told you what he has ready to go. Or you can invest some time and elbow grease and get even more. I’d recommend looking for plane lots or lots of misc tools that include planes. For the $250 you’re looking to spend, I’ve gotten 2 Stanley Bailey #5s, 2 #4s and 2 Stanley Handyman H1203s (basically #3s). I’ve also gotten a bunch of braces, an eggbeater drill, some Yankee screwdrivers, a bunch of auger bits, and 5 vintage saws. Actually thinking about it, I’m pretty sure that’s cost me less than $250, more like $200. And the restoration process is enjoyable, and not overly expensive. I think I’ve spent about $30 on some Evapo-rust, sandpaper, Simple Green and valve grinder.

Whatever route you go, you’ll have to spend money on a sharpening system. Scary Sharp has a cheap initial buy in. Diamond stones can be had relatively cheaply. Good waterstones are a bit more. And then there’s Worksharp and Tormek and on and on. Good luck!


View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2112 days

#16 posted 11-02-2012 05:33 PM

I was real curious, so I went back and added up my ebay purchases. I’d also gotten a Mitutoyo 6” combination square and a couple of old Stanley folding squares. All for a total of $217.93. Throw in the cost of restoration supplies, and you’d be right at $250. For a LOT more than just 2 planes.


View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2542 days

#17 posted 11-02-2012 07:26 PM

I understand the recommendations for the older planes, but with veritas or lie nielson, there’s little work to be done out of the box aside from honing the blade.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2252 days

#18 posted 11-02-2012 08:15 PM

But ya still gotta buy the stuff to hone the blade. But let’s see…. Veritas #4. About $200. Stanley #4 off eBay. About $20. With shipping let’s call it $30. Now there’s a difference of about $170. So if it takes me 90 minutes to get that ebay plane into EXTREMELY usable condition. That’s about $113 an hour for my labor.

For a Lie Nielson it would be even more. :)

Now before anyone gets all slap happy on me, make no mistake about it. I’d LOVE to have Veritas and/or Lie Nielson planes. #1 because tehy are excellent tools and #2 because they’re NEW. Unfortunately I don’t have the budget for them. If you DO have a budget that they fit into, then I’d say, by all means, go for it.

If you really have to stretch your dollars though, the old planes CAN be absolutely wonderful to work with. Shop carefully so you don’t have a ton of cleanup and you CAN get the common sizes for attractive prices. And the only reason I know this is because I just did it.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2112 days

#19 posted 11-04-2012 02:26 AM

I reread your initial post where you mentioned having access to a planer. That being the case, why not just get a #4 and perhaps a set of card scrapers? You can joint with a #4 with a little effort, and having a planer takes care of the larger flat surfaces.


View djang000's profile


67 posts in 2098 days

#20 posted 11-05-2012 01:55 PM

Hey guys

thanks all for your comments and opinions. After much debate (both we fellow woodworker and with… the wife! :D), I’ve decided to go with a LV LA Jack, since everybody are raving about it. The idea is to start learning with this one, and eventually expand the collection with an used #7 and an used block plane. It will give me the time to learn what I like and not with something “pefect” (LA jack) and wait to find the perfect #7 on ebay or from any fellow here… :)

So hopefully, the Jack will be able to handle smoothing quite well, and a bit of jointing…


View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 2612 days

#21 posted 11-05-2012 02:15 PM

Buy vintage and do not forget a nice little low-angle block plane.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View waho6o9's profile


8165 posts in 2543 days

#22 posted 11-05-2012 03:23 PM

I’ve seen Veritas and Lie Nielsen on Craigslist before
and it’s worth a look see every now and then.
Good luck on your selection.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2059 days

#23 posted 11-07-2012 11:43 AM

I’d go for the Veritas jack. I’ve got one. It’s great. With the blade sharpened it can do a lot of stuff. I can slice end grain with better than I can with my block plane. It can take large or thin shavings. As far as I can tell it leaves a pretty smooth surface. And I can usually even power it through knots. Not having to deal with a chip breaker is a plus as well. The body is flat and so is the back of the blade.

All you’ll need to do to get it running is to hone the blade a little and wax the sole of the plane.

I’ve got an older plane that I tried to rehab. I like it but it isn’t anywhere near as good as the Veritas.

Above all I’d recommend the Veritas because of this: When I got my first hand plane I tried to save money. And I nearly gave up on planes and woodworking because I couldn’t get a plane to actually work. It made me hate planes. Then I got the Veritas and now I love planes.

By starting off with the Veritas your first plane experience will be a good one. And you’ll have a good reference plane against which to judge other planes.

Just my two cents

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