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View WadeHolloway's profile

Hand Planing Work Bench Top

by WadeHolloway
posted 04-25-2013 08:02 AM


18 replies so far

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6973 posts in 1338 days


#1 posted 04-25-2013 10:15 AM

Of the three, the Jack plane can get the most work done.

A “common” Jack plane, vintage Stanley #5, would set your back hip “back” maybe $30 on ebay.

set the iron up with a cambered edge, and one can flatten a rough board fairly quickly. Have a barely cambered iron for it, and

You can use it as a small jointer on a board’s edges. If you only “dub” the iron’s corners, to remove any “tracks”

You now have a long bedded smooth plane.

As for myself, I have three jacks in the shop, each set up just a bit differently. Total cost for these three? less than $60 delivered, and tuned. Ymmv…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Marty5965's profile

Marty5965

158 posts in 600 days


#2 posted 04-25-2013 11:13 AM

I agree with bandit. You can adjust a Jack to smooth and you can joint with it if you are careful where you plane (being shorter than a jointer, it can follow the hills and valleys instead of leveling them out). As to your brand question, I have LN, Record, Stanley and a couple of others. They can all be “tuned” to perform well, but a LN or Veritas plane will require way less “tuning” than the others. I actually ended up flattening my slabs with a router, worked great, if a little noisy <g>.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View Tim's profile

Tim

1268 posts in 616 days


#3 posted 04-25-2013 12:51 PM

I agree with the above too, but the time to learn how to tune up a flea market find is significant. There is some investment in materials too not to mention the time and gas to find them. If its not something you would enjoy you would be better off buying from one of the members here that sell already cleaned and tuned up old planes. For a couple hundred bucks easy you could get all three planes. Also, while you can flatten a large top with a jack plane, its shorter length means it would take a lot more skill to do so. It all depends on how much flat matters to you. Don W and Sikrap (Dave) can both set you up with good planes. Contact them and see what they have unless you’re interested in doing the restore.

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1309 days


#4 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

View StevieM's profile

StevieM

7 posts in 520 days


#5 posted 04-25-2013 02:38 PM

You can find decent stanley/bailey planes on ebay.

View WadeHolloway's profile

WadeHolloway

60 posts in 749 days


#6 posted 04-25-2013 04:10 PM

Thanks for all of the help and guidance it is really appreciated. Since I have never really set up a plane it sounds like it would be best to get one that is already set and ready to go and then as I learn more about them and how to set one up I could try the restore route. Man who would have thought that there so much to do with hand tools :) In the past my idea of hand tools were a hammer and a tape measure if you know what I mean.

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2127 posts in 1140 days


#7 posted 04-25-2013 04:21 PM

Wade, I recommend visiting the Hand Planes of Your Dreams thread. It’s pretty much the ongoing hangout for anything hand plane related. Any questions you have there will get plenty of expert answers. Show the restoration before and after is also worth a look.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

15030 posts in 1222 days


#8 posted 04-26-2013 12:19 AM

The problem with buying hand planes (at least good ones) is once you find out how well hand planes work, you’ll want more. Now I know that the flea market and ebay finds can be cheap, and can be great, its hard to stop once you get started.

I agree with the above. Find a good #5. For this particular instance you could even just get away with an extra iron, one with a camber and one without. That will get you reasonably flat. Then when you find a jointer just go over it again.

Several good restore and tuning blogs around including mine I linked to.

Best of all, there is nothing like sliding a nice sharp plane across a piece of wood!!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3971 posts in 1035 days


#9 posted 04-26-2013 03:58 AM

Since I have never really set up a plane it sounds like it would be best to get one that is already set and ready to go and then as I learn more about them and how to set one up I could try the restore route.

It’s not that complicated. Even $300 planes will need some tuning, just not as much.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Tugboater78's profile

Tugboater78

1020 posts in 847 days


#10 posted 04-26-2013 06:24 AM

I have maybe 125 dollars invested in my planes, have a #8,6,5,4,4,3 all but 1 required some tuneup, i learned how tp do that by reading many of the linked blogs above. I also bought a couple of chris shwarz vids about tuning handplanes which really were informative. Good luck, and like chris says in one vid, if you have more money than time, buy new. If you have more time than money one can have an old plane working as good or better than the new ones. (Roughly quoted). I have plenty of time but short on money myself.

-- Justin - the tugboat woodworker - " nothing changed me like the first shnick from a well sharpened, decent hand plane"

View WadeHolloway's profile

WadeHolloway

60 posts in 749 days


#11 posted 04-26-2013 09:30 PM

Brian it looks like we are neighbors, I live in Bridgeport, TX about 30 miles on the north side of Fort Worth.

Don thanks for the links and the advice. I was looking at some of your planes that you have on your site. I like the looks of that Jointer you have. We may have to talk about that one.

Tug- “like chris says in one vid, if you have more money than time, buy new. If you have more time than money one can have an old plane working as good or better than the new ones. (Roughly quoted). I have plenty of time but short on money myself.” Here lately I am short on time and short on money too. :)

View Tugboater78's profile

Tugboater78

1020 posts in 847 days


#12 posted 04-26-2013 10:18 PM

I hear yah on that, time is rather short for me too but i always have more of it than the money.

-- Justin - the tugboat woodworker - " nothing changed me like the first shnick from a well sharpened, decent hand plane"

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4984 posts in 637 days


#13 posted 04-27-2013 01:50 AM

Wade, i hear about wanting to buy one that’s ready to go. I bought nice, new planes to begin with. But once I learned my way around them, I love the vintage planes. It’s tough to ignore their value.
As far as flattening a benchtop, I would jump on DonW's #8 if you can swing it. Costs a little more to get one that restored nicely, but not near as much as an LN.
Same sort of plane I used to flatten my bench. Ohh that’s my $175 bench in the background. It was never really flat because I didn’t know how to wield a plane in those days;-)

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View WadeHolloway's profile

WadeHolloway

60 posts in 749 days


#14 posted 04-27-2013 03:02 PM

That is a nice looking bench you got now. I can see where this hand plane stuff can get real addictive real quick. But there are worse addictions to have, at least that is what I tell my wife anyway. :)

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6973 posts in 1338 days


#15 posted 04-27-2013 04:08 PM

The Number 5 jack planes I was talking about

Three are the 14” long #5 size, and the the fourth one ( on the right) is at least 15” long, and is a #5-1/2 size. I do have a couple Jointer?Fore planes, too

A big&shiny #8c jointer, and a pair of #6 Fore planes. Part of a small family of planes i have

Took about a year, buying and selling planes, until i got a few I liked. Most ever paid? About $60 for one plane. That includes Shipping and handling from Ebay. Most were LESS than $20…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4984 posts in 637 days


#16 posted 04-28-2013 12:09 PM

Thanks Wade. That pic was when i was flattening it. Mine wasn’t too bad. Slightly cupped. So I was able to start with the jointer. If you have to hog off some high spots, might wanna hit em with the jack.
I did it the way C. Schwarz described in his book, working at a 45 degree angle back and forth. Then smoothed it up with a no 4. Maybe I’ll go back and flatten my $175 bench now that I know what I’m doing;-)

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View WadeHolloway's profile

WadeHolloway

60 posts in 749 days


#17 posted 04-28-2013 06:56 PM

My bench top is cupped too, it looks like it is cupped about a 1/4 inch in the middle of a 30 inch top.

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4984 posts in 637 days


#18 posted 04-29-2013 09:49 PM

Cupped is better than humped. A jack would speed it up- hog a little off the high sides. But a good jointer will take care of that job for ya.

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

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