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Need help deciding between jack planes

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Forum topic by BalsaWood posted 09-30-2015 07:02 PM 1198 views 0 times favorited 56 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BalsaWood

29 posts in 622 days


09-30-2015 07:02 PM

I currently do not own a jack plane and I’m looking to buy one. I am having a tough time deciding between two:

Stanley No. 5 type 18 in good condition for 50 dollars
or
Lee Valley low angle jack plane for 250 dollars

I’m wondering if the LV low angle jack is worth the extra 200 dollars. Any opinions?


56 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3938 posts in 1957 days


#1 posted 09-30-2015 07:07 PM

I have both, and the #5 is my favorite hand plane. But the LA can be fitted with different bevels to do different jobs…and is arguably more versatile. But given the steep price difference, I would suggest getting the #5 and try it. You can almost certainly sell if you want to move on to the LA. The other thing about the LA is at this point I would wait for black Friday and see if they have a “second” on their sale list. But that’s the opinion of a true “non-expert” on hand planes.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 950 days


#2 posted 09-30-2015 07:08 PM

The LV LAJ is definitely worth it. I wouldn’t spend 50$ on a type 18. Maybe 50$ For a type 10-15 in good condition ready to work.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

1470 posts in 2102 days


#3 posted 09-30-2015 07:16 PM

I think you can get a No 5, type 18 more cheaply than that. I would think for $30 or less. You will have to clean, tune, sharpen, of course, but that’s easy and enjoyable.

-Paul

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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2512 days


#4 posted 09-30-2015 07:33 PM

You can find a Stanley in good conditionfor around $20.00 or less.
You will need to clean it , to flatten the sole and to sharpen the blade, things that I love to do, and you will have a very nice plane that you will know and like even more after working on it.

-- Bert

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bandit571

14583 posts in 2147 days


#5 posted 09-30-2015 09:18 PM

I have the Type 6 #5c Stanley…..and a type 4 Millers Falls No.14…..And will sell the Type 5 Sargent No.414 I have.

Love the No. 14…..getting used to the #5c, as it is set up with a cambered iron. The #14 has an almost straight edge to it…and makes see-through ribbons…

The 414? Never got used to it, as the No.14 got grabbed first.

Around here…I can usually find a jack plane for less than a $20 bill…....

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

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bandit571

14583 posts in 2147 days


#6 posted 09-30-2015 09:22 PM

Be careful about buying planes…

It can be addicting….
As for that Stanley T-6 No. 5c?

Might just work for my shop….

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

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

1470 posts in 2102 days


#7 posted 09-30-2015 10:05 PM

You didn’t have to go tell him about the addiction thing. OK, so I have 5 no 5’s, 4 no 6s, 4 no 7s etc.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4028 posts in 1815 days


#8 posted 09-30-2015 10:26 PM

Bet you can’t just buy one.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6570 posts in 1614 days


#9 posted 09-30-2015 10:44 PM

2 different thought processes on this. One is that you can find old planes like the Stanley #5 quite cheap. It will need some tuning though. How much depends on the individual plane. Removing rust, sharpening (sometimes removing a lot of nicks in the blade), fettling the chipbreaker, fixing a tote, flattening the sole etc are all things that may need done. Could take anywhere from 20 min to a half day.

The other is to buy a brand new plane like the LAJ you are considering, but it’s a lot more money. Tradeoff being that all it needs is a quick honing of the blade and off you go. You have a plane that is already set up perfectly and you don’t have to worry about whether or not you rehabbed something correctly.

I’ve got a mix of both. I find myself preferring to buy new now, however. If I have the money, I’d buy new over old.

If you are looking at buying new, also consider the Lie-Nielsen #62 (low angle jack). Same price as the LV one, but much prettier.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4822 posts in 2512 days


#10 posted 09-30-2015 10:53 PM

I forgot.
If you really want to buy a brand new plane, woodcraft has some excellent planes at a very reasonable price:

http://www.woodcraft.com/category/ht126-01/planes.aspx?gclid=CLWbkKTsn8gCFYdrfgodyMQGsg&

http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/brand/417http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3342#comments

You need to know that even a brand new plane will need some work before being really ready to work.

-- Bert

View PhillipsTed's profile

PhillipsTed

17 posts in 673 days


#11 posted 09-30-2015 11:07 PM

I really enjoy my Lie Nielsen LAJ. I’ve got several blades for it, sharpened at a couple of different angles. Higher angles for tearout-prone wood, lower angles for the shooting board. Plus I have a toothed blade for it that tears through weird grain and makes milling enjoyable.

TedP

-- Worry less...breathe more...

View Alster's profile

Alster

99 posts in 2678 days


#12 posted 09-30-2015 11:30 PM

I have a Stanley #5 that I bought for $20 and upgraded with a Lee Valley blade (another $30 at the time). Couldn’t be happier. It’s my go-to plane; does everything I ask and never breaks a sweat. Cuts just as nicely as my Lie-Nielsen #4, at a fraction of the price.

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6570 posts in 1614 days


#13 posted 09-30-2015 11:33 PM



You need to know that even a brand new plane will need some work before being really ready to work.

- b2rtch

Not the Lie-Nielsen or Lee Valley planes. Their blades are even sharp out of the box. Just need a quick honing on a high grit stone/sandpaper and it’s good to go.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View BalsaWood's profile

BalsaWood

29 posts in 622 days


#14 posted 09-30-2015 11:33 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. Tough decision. I have some experience using planes but no experience tuning or sharpening hand planes so I was thinking a new one would be easier to use one out of the box after some simple tuning if needed. I have watched some videos on tuning vintage hand planes but wouldn’t be entirely sure if everything is calibrated tuned correctly.

The Lie Nielson LA plane looks nice too and is an option if I choose the new plane route.

How do the Woodriver planes compare? I know they are made in China so am wondering about the quality. I do prefer getting something made in the USA or Canada but those Woodriver planes look like an option too.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3682 posts in 1729 days


#15 posted 10-01-2015 02:10 AM

Balsa, tuning and sharpening is not that hard. It’s labor intensive and time consuming. If you want to get into hand tools, you got to be willing to spend a little time with them. Hand tools come from a generation that did not understand the concept of; use once, throw away. Just stick with it, you’ll get the hang of it.

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