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View Geologist's profile

Affordable hand plane for the beginners

by Geologist
posted 04-22-2009 03:32 AM


27 replies so far

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3190 days


#1 posted 04-22-2009 03:38 AM

Any Stanley plane will be a good start. The trick with a cheap plane is to sharpen it more often. They often use softer grade steel, or lower quality. Keep that blade sharp, and you’ll do fine for a few years, until you can afford an upgrade. Most of the local home centers got cheapies. if you get a good cheap one not a cheap cheap one. check it out, make sure it’s rugged, and built well. find one with a good blade lock, some are cheap and the blade will move on you when you use it.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3227 days


#2 posted 04-22-2009 04:07 AM

Keep your eye at craigslist….with lots of people unemployed, many are selling everything trying to survive the situation…..last week, I saw a Lie NIelsen BP like new there and bought it for $70!!! ($165+tax new)

It’s particular to me, that a Block Plane , as small it is, is one of the planes more affected in performance by its quality construction.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View cmaeda's profile

cmaeda

205 posts in 3388 days


#3 posted 04-22-2009 06:48 AM

What was wrong with the first plane you bought?
I thought for a long time that my planes were broken or bad until a friend of mine tuned up my block plane and showed me the proper steps to get a plane planning really well.
I bought most of my planes at garage sales and estate sales for less than $10 each. Estate sales are especially good to find these kinds of bargains although you rarely see anything other than #5s and block planes.
It does take a long time since there may only be one estate sale a week than even has hand tools.

View Geologist's profile

Geologist

27 posts in 3170 days


#4 posted 04-22-2009 11:57 AM

I guess that could be the case, me not knowing what I’m doing. And it probably is the case since I’m new to it. I have watched several videos on how to tune a plane, and I thought I was at least decent with sharpening, but what do I know. I guess what I really need is for someone to show me what I’m doing wrong…. Hmm…If only I knew someone in this field of expertise.

Thanks for the advice everyone!

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1879 posts in 3825 days


#5 posted 04-22-2009 01:30 PM

To address your most recent post there might be a lumberjock nearby who would be willing to help in person. However, I’ll leave the revelation of your location entirely up to you….

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View JimBuchanan's profile

JimBuchanan

27 posts in 3183 days


#6 posted 04-22-2009 02:56 PM

I bought several planes on eBay that I’ve been happy with. I took a hand tool class at Woodcraft that helped me a lot with regard to sharpening my chisels and planes and using them properly. I would recommend it.

There are a ton of resources on the internet to guide you towards the right plane if you’re looking at older stuff. Restoring them to working condition is a lot of fun, too.

-- Jim

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7784 posts in 3209 days


#7 posted 04-22-2009 03:31 PM

Before giving up on the $25 block plane, what are the symptoms you’re getting that keeps it from functioning properly? Someone here might have some ideas to make it work. If it’s really a basket case from the get-go, it’d be a service to others to tells us the brand and model if it’s a new plane.

I’m getting good service from a couple of older reasonably priced planes…a Craftsman 9-1/2, a Record 09-1/2, a Record 060-1/2, and a Stanley 220. The end performance is usually determined by setup and sharpening.

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

View JimmyC's profile

JimmyC

106 posts in 3236 days


#8 posted 04-22-2009 04:36 PM

I use old Stanley’s and Records exclusively. Just buy Garrett Hack’s handplane book and it tells you how to tune old planes up so they work better than new.

http://www.amazon.com/Handplane-Book-Garrett-Hack/dp/1561587125/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240410870&sr=1-1

Good Luck.

-- -JimmyC...Clayton,NC- "Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave"

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8532 posts in 3482 days


#9 posted 04-22-2009 05:22 PM

I’m with knotscott on this one – before going and spending any more money on another block plane that will give you the same performance (I can almost guarantee you that…) why dont you share with us what’s wrong with your current one? what are the symptoms? whats wrong with it?

we can help you tune it, or at least give you some ideas.

I’m still using my stanley BP that I got from Lowes for $19.95. it works SUPER GREAT!!!!! (sure it’s a bit heavier and bulkier than LN/LV, but for $20, and my current needs, is more than plenty). my point is that even the lower cost planes can prove to be a great tool , if tuned properly.

Heres another great tool I recommend for you: The Handplane Book

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

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

13751 posts in 3931 days


#10 posted 04-22-2009 07:45 PM

I’m in the show us some photos of what you got camp. Hopefully, we can get the value of your $25 back.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View treeman's profile

treeman

208 posts in 3283 days


#11 posted 04-22-2009 09:27 PM

Most of the old and often called cheap handplanes will work just fine ONCE you really learn how to tune and sharpen them. I’m pretty new to handplanes myself. I had my father’s old Stanley #5 that would even scrape up sawdust. I had tried to use it a few times over the years but mostly it sat on a shelf for over 20 years.

I finally got the bug and deciede to learn how to use it. I read and watched everything I could get my hands on about sharpening and tuning a plane. I tackeled the #5 with mixed results at first. While it was better it was still difficult to use. I re-read and re-watched the tuning stuff again. I paid closer attention and worked on the #5 some more. This time I think I got it right. It will shave a see through shaving from red oak the full width of the blade. The sole is true and slick and it works like a dream.

Since then I have purchased 6 more “cheap” planes from eBay and spent the time to true them up. Every one of them now works as well as the #5. Most of these purchased planes are Stanleys that were sorely in need of attention. One was purchased for only $5 and $4.95 shipping. That was for a Stanley Bailey #3. I believe this one may turn out to be my favorite plane.

I believe that most can be made to work unless it is broken or has some type of mechanical problem. Like everything else in woodworking, you have to keep at it until you are satisfied with the results.

Good luck.

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

13751 posts in 3931 days


#12 posted 04-22-2009 10:45 PM

If you were looking for a $70 dollar option….

http://www.woodcraft.com/product.aspx?ProductID=149381&FamilyID=21170

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Geologist's profile

Geologist

27 posts in 3170 days


#13 posted 04-23-2009 02:39 AM

I posted an update on the plane, and pics can be found on the links. It looks like a sharp plane and it is very heavy. I believe after reading all of your posts that this plane can be made into an awesome plane, I just, at the moment don’t yet have the experience to do so. Although, I just purchased the book all of you suggested and I should receive within a week! Thank you all for taking some of your time to help me out!!!!!

Cheers.

Oh, one more thing, if you have any extra time, I posted another thread with some questions on my first woodworking project!!! So if you would be so kind to check it out and offer any possible advice you may have to help me along!

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/7787

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8532 posts in 3482 days


#14 posted 04-23-2009 02:48 AM

looks like a good one… no need to go anywhere and spend anything to get anything else….. yet.

from the sound of it (the problem you described) it’s not a matter of unsharpened blade – the front throat opening, should be as small as you’d like the shavings thickness to be. if you want thin shavings – leave only ~1/32” opening in the throat (yours has an adjustable toe- thats a nice thing to have). leaving the throat too wide allows the blade to dig into the wood too deep, causing large chunks of wood to break off, and the plane to chatter.

either way – worth mentioning , make sure your blade is not sharp – but super sharp, there are many good tutorials on here and on the web how to accomplish that – aim for mirror finish on the blade, both back, and beveled edge.

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

View Geologist's profile

Geologist

27 posts in 3170 days


#15 posted 04-23-2009 02:53 AM

Thanks PurpLev!

I feel kinda relieved about not having to spend more money on a slightly better plane! I’ll definitely give that a try tomorrow! Someday I look forward to purchasing a LN or Veritas, but before that there are many other tools for my monies to go too. If anyone else thinks of something I should try I look forward on reading your comments! I’ve only been on this website for 2 weeks and I have already learned sooo much.

View Geologist's profile

Geologist

27 posts in 3170 days


#16 posted 04-23-2009 02:54 AM

Do many of you LJs have experience with Woodriver planes? How do they compare to other planes (both cheapies and pricies)?

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3227 days


#17 posted 04-23-2009 03:12 AM

Geologist….
When ready to use the plane, try this:
Place the plane up side down in front of your face, your eyes in the same level line of the plane sole….
you’ll se how much is the blade sticking out from the plane….
Make sure the blade edge is parallel with the sole and I would say 1/64” or 3/128” is enough to make good shavings…..hard to get with the camera, but gives you the idea

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7784 posts in 3209 days


#18 posted 04-23-2009 03:57 PM

Your plane looks a lot like a Simmonds that a friend of mine has….which is really pretty well made compared to the Chinese and India made alternatives. He loves it. The body is cast in Sheffield England, the blade is from North Carolina, the brass parts are from Rockford, Il, and it’s assembled in Maryland.

Like PurpLev suggests, once there’s a bevel, just get it super sharp by honing it. The biggest error I used to make was trying to take off too much wood with each pass….you want to take off just a smidge.

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

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

13751 posts in 3931 days


#19 posted 04-23-2009 04:55 PM

I agree that your plane looks fine and would go back to the suggestion to buy one or both of the books listed above. They are excellent. To make it work, you need to be able to sharpen the blade, tune the plane, set up the plane and use the correct technique (e.g. skew the plane).

I have a blog where I was collecting reference materials related to hand planes. Might be of interest.

http://lumberjocks.com/WayneC/blog/series/43

Another good book is Making and Mastering Wood planes. There is good information in this book on how to tune a block plane like yours and techniques for useing planes (in addition to how to make one)

http://www.amazon.com/Making-Mastering-Wood-Planes-Revised/dp/140272022X/ref=pd_bbs_3/103-4157343-8985443?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175403394&sr=1-3

There are also a number of videos available on the topic. I’m running out of time to post links, but you can find them in my blog link above.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Geologist's profile

Geologist

27 posts in 3170 days


#20 posted 04-23-2009 05:16 PM

Thanks for the tips LJs! I am currently in the process of trying them out right now. And so far I see improvement but nothing promising. I am still getting some chattering on the face grain side of the board. On the edge grain I am finally getting some good thin sheets planed off. Mind you I’m trying this on a pine board and so the wood is really soft. I tried planing some on the end grain of a red oak board and got poor results from that. Probably due to the blade not being sharp enough. I’ll keep trying and researching and trying again. Thanks!!

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

13751 posts in 3931 days


#21 posted 04-23-2009 05:23 PM

Are you planing with the grain?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 3598 days


#22 posted 04-23-2009 05:50 PM

Good call Wayne, I was wondering that myself. It’s a adjustable block plane, used for end grain.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8532 posts in 3482 days


#23 posted 04-23-2009 06:14 PM

if you get poor results from end grain – your blade is probably not sharp enough! do some research, there are plenty of good resources around for that – again – aim for mirror shine finish on the blade, to the point where you are afraid to touch it! slicing end grain with a sharp blade (even if not in the plane yet…) should result in smooth shiny cut surface if your blade is sharpened properly.

as far as chattering on the face frame – you might also have been planing against the grain… try reversing direction. think of the grain as waves in the ocean, and your plane as a surfboard… you wanna surf the wave, not go against it.

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

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3227 days


#24 posted 04-23-2009 06:41 PM

Woodchuck1957, you can use a Low Angle ~ Adjustable Block plane everywhere, along the grain, end grain, smoothing sharp edges, chanfering, as a spokeshave to make round shapes, sharp your pencil…..Pretty much a Swiss Army Knife!

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

13751 posts in 3931 days


#25 posted 04-23-2009 07:48 PM

I’m in agreement about the versatility of the low angle block plane. I would suggest sticking to edge grain until your consistently getting see-though shavings. Then move to the face of the board. End grain requires specific techniques. e.g. getting endgrain wet, knocking down edges before plaining, etc.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Tony's profile

Tony

982 posts in 3864 days


#26 posted 06-22-2009 01:53 PM

I had a similar problem with a cheap plane I bought – the problem is; the planes are not tuned up when you get them.

Flatten the bottom of the plane, clean all the swarf and paint from the moving parts, apply a drop of oil (light machine) to any moving parts and of course set and sharpen the blade.

After I did this, the plane started to cut properly and I could get very thin, even shavings. Do not expect to get the same performance as a Veritas or Lie Nielsen – but you should get more than acceptable results.

If the plane is a little hard to push along the board, try applying a little candle wax (natural wax if possible) to the sole of the plane (a few stripes only), this will make the plane glide effortlessly across the wood, repeat as necessary.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi)

View garratti's profile

garratti

7 posts in 2786 days


#27 posted 05-06-2010 03:48 AM

I bought the cheap 40 buck stanley block plane from Lowes, works great after I tuned it. The factory machining was pretty good out of the box. After I lapped it a bit, and honed her up, she was planing great.

Cheers

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