Which of these planes are best?

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Forum topic by frostwood posted 11-13-2009 01:34 AM 6833 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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38 posts in 3187 days

11-13-2009 01:34 AM

Keen Kutter # k5 jack plane Stanley “Bailey” #5 jack planes Stanley “Bailey” #4 smoothing planes Stanley “Bailey” #3 smoothing planes Stanley “Bailey” #3 corrugated smoothing plane Stanley #78 rabbet & filletster plane
Miller Falls # 16 block plane Stanley #9 1/4 block plane Stanley # 91/2 block plane Sargent VBM block plane Sargent #107 block plane DeFrance by Stanley #110 block plane Stanley #103 very nice block plane Stanley #120 block plane Stanley #110 block plane Stanley Rule Co. 6” 3/8” long block plane Lakeside 7” long 2” wide block plane (Mont. Ward) unmark low angle block 7” long 2” wide block plane

I am trying to get a few planes to use that are known goodquality.


-- With each new day, celebrate life. Love God with all of your heart. Share Jesus with those around you and make a positive impact on those you meet. Bob

10 replies so far

View doyoulikegumwood's profile


384 posts in 3992 days

#1 posted 11-13-2009 02:33 AM

wow I’m almost hesitating to post a reply here simply because hand plans are very personal thing. i like my baily #5 but i have a friend hates the way it feels in his hands and prefers some unmarked plane he has that looks to be the same thing as a #5 but i have to say it dose feel different.

planes are like jeans if you ask me some like levi’s others prefer wranglers

if you are asking where a good spot to start is i would get your self a block plane and probably a number 5

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

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1389 posts in 3713 days

#2 posted 11-13-2009 02:44 AM

as gumwood stated hand planes are a very personal thing, i my self am very fond of the old baileys, i just like the feel and the wieght. which ever brand you chose i would start with a nice block plane and a good #4 smoother. just my 2 cents.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View knotscott's profile


8016 posts in 3375 days

#3 posted 11-13-2009 03:22 AM

The quality can change from year to year, plus there are different lines within a brand, so you really can’t just say one is better than another….it really depends on the year, condition, individual model, your preferences, etc. You’re gonna need some pics before people can even come close to answering with useful info.

These are both from Millers Falls, but the first one is their budget line:

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

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4097 days

#4 posted 11-13-2009 04:22 AM

Condition is also important. Check carefully for damage, cracks, amount of blade remaining. The Keen Kutter and older stanleys would be nice. Look for Stanley bench planes with 3 patent dates behind the frog (2 1902 and 1910 dates) or ones with a single 1910 patent date. Earlier and you miss the adjustment screw on the frog. Block planes – look for low angle adjustable mouth planes. (e.g. 9 1/2, 18, 60 1/2, or a 65.)

Stay away from wards, defiance, handyman, planes with sheet metal parts, planes with colored parts planes with any damage. Always check the mouth to ensure there is no damage.

I would look for 4, 5, and 7 or 8 bench planes (4 1/2 and 5 1/2 if you could find them instead of the 4)
For a block plane I would look for low angle block plane ( a 65, 18, 60 1/2, or a 9 1/2) in order of my preference.

The 78 is an ok plane. Not really a precision plane from my perspective.

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

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5423 posts in 3663 days

#5 posted 11-13-2009 09:16 PM

If these are vintage planes, the condition of the plane is a huge factor.

You can’t just go by the manufacturer and model number … my vintage Stanley No 5 (circa 1918) is a much better plane that my Stanley No 5 (circa 1947).

Another factor is the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into fettling and tuning your planes. If properly tuned and fettled, just about any plane can produce acceptable results.

That being said, I consider my vintage No 5 and my Stanley low-angle block plane to be indispensible.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3691 days

#6 posted 11-13-2009 09:20 PM

As above these are very personal tools as they become one with the woodworker so mine is my #5 bailey and my #41/2 bailey but i think many others will say different

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

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117094 posts in 3577 days

#7 posted 11-13-2009 09:26 PM

Fine Woodworking has a free down load on “The hand plane Book” this is for members but you can sign up for a free trial and still get it. The membership is well worth having anyway. This book covers any thing you can think of about planes.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View frostwood's profile


38 posts in 3187 days

#8 posted 11-13-2009 09:58 PM

Ok, it looks like I need to physically look before any purchase and do a lot more research before I plunk down dollars. I did look at the electronic version of The Handplane Book and saw enough that I went ahead and ordered the book for $13 bucks with free shipping thru FWW. ( This beats the $27 plus shipping from Mcfreely,( I’ll stick with mcfreely for screws) )I am more comfortable with a book in hand than trying to read the E version. Thanks to all for your help and great advise once again !

-- With each new day, celebrate life. Love God with all of your heart. Share Jesus with those around you and make a positive impact on those you meet. Bob

View knotscott's profile


8016 posts in 3375 days

#9 posted 11-13-2009 10:05 PM

Here’s some good info:

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

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3481 days

#10 posted 11-13-2009 11:07 PM

Any plane can be good, if you’re willing to put the time in tuning it properly. Though, the higher quality planes ususally don’t need to be tunned at all (i.e. – your old stanleys, records, lee valley, etc.). I’ve never heard of Keen Kutter so I can’t say anything to their quality, but you can’t really go wrong with a Stanley “Bailey.” If you’re buying used ones, be sure to check the sole for flatness and smoothness. It’s also a good idea, after you purchase it to take it completely apart to check for rust (you don’t really have to if the paint on the body is in good condition). In my opnion, a good #5 or #4 plane along with a rabbeting plane and a block plane are good ones to start a collection on and will get the most use. You may only need to use a long jointer plane a few times a year.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

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