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Harbor Freight Surprise

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Review by shipwright posted 530 days ago 3628 views 2 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Harbor Freight Surprise Harbor Freight Surprise Harbor Freight Surprise Click the pictures to enlarge them

Sometimes I just can’t resist. If this plane set had been real junk, I’d have been out $11.99….............so I decided to live dangerously …. after all, I’m not even that much of a hand tool guy. I took the big chance and used a coupon and brought it home. I’m only reviewing the #4 here because the little block plane really is just silly.

Out of the bubble pack, with the copious oil removed, it actually cut and was sort of sharp. To me the test of a hand plane is how sharp can you get it and how long will it hold the edge….. so I gave it a preliminary sharpening, meaning about fifteen minutes on diamond stones, fine paper and a buffer.. just to polish the edge.

I haven’t had it long enough to pass judgement on how long it can hold the edge, but the sharpness I was able to achieve was impressive (to me at least). I planed the edge of a piece of 2” cherry and got a polished shine in a few fairly effortless strokes. It is a surface that feels glassy and I would not want to use sandpaper coarser than 320 on it , if I were to sand it at all.

It has a nice weight and feels better in my largeish hands that their smaller #33 that I bought last year. The fit and finish, plastic tote and knob, cheap adjusters and the fact that I haven’t really had it long enough to do a serious review are the reasons it doesn’t get more stars. The price and the smooth piece of cherry are why it gets as many as it does.

I would not recommend it for a hand tool lover, because it’s not really very lovable but for the practical part time hand tool user who is interested in how it works more than how it looks, it’s a bargain at under fifteen dollars and it will get the job done surprisingly well.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/




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shipwright

4829 posts in 1393 days



21 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

34852 posts in 2996 days


#1 posted 530 days ago

Paul: A great review. Thanks.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7617 posts in 2647 days


#2 posted 530 days ago

Thank you, Paul for the review…

What did you think of the little #33 that you mentioned?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2001 posts in 1428 days


#3 posted 530 days ago

Well, I’ll stick to the chisel-in-a-chunka-wood style plane for now.

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4829 posts in 1393 days


#4 posted 530 days ago

Joe, for nine bucks, the #33 works OK. It’s too small for my hands though and that blade is very small. The #4 is more than $3 better.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View sras's profile

sras

3777 posts in 1724 days


#5 posted 530 days ago

Hmmm, You’ve got me thinking…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View crashn's profile

crashn

517 posts in 1061 days


#6 posted 530 days ago

shipwright,
did you lap the sole and sides? How flat were they? If you needed to flatten them, might it be even better?

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4829 posts in 1393 days


#7 posted 530 days ago

crashn, No I’ll do that next. The first job was to find out if it was worth the effort.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View rance's profile

rance

4125 posts in 1756 days


#8 posted 530 days ago

Oh the lures of HF. I’m still liking my electric chainsaw from Christmas. Looks like a good loaner plane too. One of my biggest complaints on handplanes is the mechanism. If they ain’t smooth & operational, then I have a difficult time with them, no matter how sharp the blade can be sharpened. Looks like you have a working tool. I may have to check them out. Although I rarely use the Jack plane I already have.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2030 days


#9 posted 530 days ago

Thanks for a good review.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12525 posts in 1929 days


#10 posted 530 days ago

It sounds like you got lucky Paul. Sometimes it works out to take a chance. Your review will probably result in others getting the same benefit. I wasn’t so lucky. I bought a comparably priced cheap plane. I lapped the bottom, filed and smoothed the frog, got a good fit with the chip breaker, got it razor sharp, etc, etc. even after all that effort, it never performed well and I eventually threw it away.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View crashn's profile

crashn

517 posts in 1061 days


#11 posted 530 days ago

Thanks shipwright, was just curious how flat the sole was for the 12 bucks. Looks like a good working plane, not something that will sit in the til because it was too expensive to risk using! I dont have any of those, all my planes are CL or ebay finds.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View michelletwo's profile

michelletwo

2184 posts in 1611 days


#12 posted 530 days ago

I mean seriously, whodathunkit? :-)

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

View Julian's profile

Julian

486 posts in 1286 days


#13 posted 530 days ago

_it will get the job done surprisingly well I have found that you can take a cheap hand plane and make it work well. I have not purchased the HF plane but have on old, cheap Craftsman hand plane and with some tuning I can get a shaving .001. It all depends how much work you want to put into it. The HF planes are also a good source for parts and jigs.

-- Julian

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1680 days


#14 posted 530 days ago

The jack plane was about the same size as the Stanley Handyman plane that I have had forever, so I chose
the #33. It is small for my big hands, but the blade mechanism is what I was interested in. The blade on
the #33 looked like it was sharpened with a rough hacksaw blade, but after putting it in my sharpening jig
and running it from #40 through 400 sandpaper it did look decent. I have arthritis, so my big hands make
the regular height adjustment knob on a plane user unfriendly, but the adjustment knobs on the 33 work
great. Back off the tension screw a little and the two adjustment knobs move the blade easily to just where
you want it, then you tighten the adjustment screw and the plane produces nice shavings. Stanley did make
a plane and a scraper handle with the same adjustment set up for a while, but they are not readily available,
so I will have to make different handles for the #33 to make it fit my hand or keep fighting the adjustment
system that Stanley and the others are not going to change.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2172 days


#15 posted 530 days ago

Who would have guessed a HF plane worth having.thanks for the review Paul.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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