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Forum topic by Gambrell posted 03-04-2016 05:04 PM 1234 views 1 time favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gambrell

19 posts in 275 days


03-04-2016 05:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hand planer ln lie neilson woodriver stanley

I am wanting to get deeper into the woodworker hobby, and I am at the point where I need hand planes.

I have narrowed down my options to the following:

(1) I could get a Lie Neilson #62 set with 3 blades for $500 and use it for chipping and in place of a #4 and #6 for now until I can afford more.

(2) There is a woodcraft store close-by, so I could purchase a #4 and #6 for about $315 (and purchase some sharpening tools to get it ready for use after I purchase).

(3) I could go on eBay and purchase a #4 and #6 pre-WW2 Stanleys and spend a few hours on each to restore them to use. This would cost about $150.

What do you all think would be the best use of funds? Would the Stanleys be as good once restored as new WoodRivers? Does the x2 cost of LN make it work getting one plane and making due instead of 2 for now?


38 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3927 posts in 1953 days


#1 posted 03-04-2016 06:25 PM

Only my opinion, and I am not the hand plane expert a lot of guys are. But the pre war Stanleys are very nice and will do everything you want once the are brought to life (if needed). I’ve never seen a Woodriver in person, so I’ll leave that alone…but a recent review I read didn’t favor them at all. The LN is also a very good plane (I have the equivalent Veritas) but you will spend quite a bit more, and still need your sharpening tools. But you left out another option for buying Stanleys: check forums such as these for folks that rehab and put them up for sale (another good one to watch is Woodnet). If you buy from a respected source, you will get a turn key plane that lets you get right to work…and the price may well be much better than what you would pay on e bay.

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

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sepeck

314 posts in 1601 days


#2 posted 03-04-2016 06:50 PM

If you are on a budget, watch the Paul Sellers YouTube channel and his blog posts. Note, I do not agree with all of his philosophy, I do not dispute his having successfully made his living in wood working primarily with hand tools.

He has various videos on sharpening, restoring hand planes, tuning hand planes. His contention is that a refurbished #4 off ebay is fine for starting out and using.
https://paulsellers.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/paulsellerswoodwork

There are tons of other resources in the forums for how to do this as well, and as mentioned some members who sell restored planes. Paul has one contention that a #4 can do most of what people need. Having said all this, if I could afford a LN #4, I’d have that but budget and needs must. I am just starting out in playing more with hand tools myself as well. I have a new Stanley Sweetheart #4 that seems to work well but I am still learning how to use it and it seems to have mixed reviews from folks though mine seems fine.

I am glancing at Craigslist and ebay for a Jack Plane now. If I continue down this road, I may well one day save up for the LN stuff. In the meantime play play play.

-- -Steven Peck, http://www.blkmtn.org

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BurlyBob

3650 posts in 1726 days


#3 posted 03-04-2016 07:03 PM

You need to hit a few antique store, swap meets or pawn shops. Stanley 3’s,4’s, & 5’s are the most common out there and if you can’t dicker for on under $35 you need to find an old horse trader to learn you. A #6 might take a little more work to find but they are not impossible find. ALso find some folks who do yard sales. One of my last planes was #10 rabbit plane, paid $25 for it. Sure it’s not real pretty but a little TLC and I’ll turn it for well over $100. It can be done, educate yourself, read everything you can find, watch the YouTube video and you’ll get enough background to go out there and score those treasures. It’s positively addicting.

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TheFridge

5764 posts in 946 days


#4 posted 03-04-2016 07:04 PM

Between woodriver and Stanley I’d go Stanley.

If you have the money, LN.

That being said. I’d start with the Stanley baileys and learn how to fettle a plane. When you learn how to fettle an older plane into working great for you then a LN will be a breeze.

Regardless of woodriver testimony they are the grizzly of handplanes. Hit or miss. Great value. Still have to fettle but not as much as vintage.

Edit: hit or miss is probably a bit much but they still take a bit of work (only what I’ve heard) to work like it should.

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

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onoitsmatt

225 posts in 636 days


#5 posted 03-04-2016 07:05 PM

Though I can’t tell you what you should do, I can tell you what I did (and why) when faced with the same issue.

I decided that at some point any plane was going to need some level of honing and fettling, no matter how much it cost on day-one. So I decided to get the high-end stuff like the LN’s was not a great option. Though the LN’s hold their value fairly well, if you are new to hand tools (as I was), there isn’t much reason to spend that much money not knowing if you are going to stick with it.

There is lots of advice out there to get one really good plane, just so you know what a really good plane should “feel” like. I think this is sound advice (which I chose not to follow). I have since spent a lot of time at antique stores and garage sales and checking craigslist for old tools. I have bought a LOT of tools over the last 14 months or so since I started. I have cleaned up a lot of planes and though still not great at sharpening, I am good enough to get good shavings (2/1000 of an inch).

It is frustrating learning to hone plane irons. But again, at some point your LN’s will need honing too. So it is a skill you’ll have to learn at some point.

There are also sellers here on LJs who will sell you an old Stanley for a fair price and will have it all set up for you to use. This gives you the benefit of less money out of pocket for a good tool and it is already in shape to use. This may be a good option for you.

If you have more money than time, you may want to just stick with ebay. But if going that route, keep the budget low, as many of these planes will have issues and if you are new to them, you may not be able to spot the issues. I have bought a few bad planes myself out of ignorance. They are nice to have for parts, but wouldn’t buy them again if given the opportunity. :)

If you have more time than money or an interest in looking for them “in the wild”, antique stores are full of these old planes and usually can be had for $20 or so. I picked up a No. 6 and No. 7 for $12 each. I’ve never paid more than about $25 for an old stanley plane, typically much less than that.

Good luck either way!

(Edited to add):
One other thing to consider is that you’ll need to get some kind of sharpening system. Sand paper and a thick piece of glass or granite will work. Oil stones or water stones or diamond stones will also work and will last much longer but carry a steeper price up-front. You may want to consider this as part of your budget. Which may mean getting an LN first may be a good option as you can defer the cost of sharpening until later when the LN plane iron gets a little dull.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

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TheFridge

5764 posts in 946 days


#6 posted 03-04-2016 07:11 PM

Speaking of spare planes. I have a couple of ready to go 5s and maybe a 4 I could part with if your interested. Pm me if so.

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

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jmartel

6565 posts in 1610 days


#7 posted 03-04-2016 07:23 PM

I’ve come to the decision that I prefer the new planes (about 2/3rds of mine are old Stanley). That being said, I would buy a couple old Stanleys and clean them up. If you decide you don’t like using hand tools, you can sell them for what you paid, minus your time and maybe cost for cleaning supplies.

Spend the money on some decent sharpening stones and maybe a honing guide. Don’t try and get cheap stuff. The biggest revelation for me came when I switched from using sandpaper to a good set of water stones. The sandpaper worked, but the new stones resulted in a way sharper blade and an almost polished surface left behind on the wood. Do a bit of research on the type and brand of stones you may be interested in, and get a couple good ones. Everyone has different requirements/preferences, so there’s no perfect set out there. Diamond, Oil, Water, Ceramic, etc. I have a package of ceramic ones I ordered from toolsfromjapan for about $260 including shipping.

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

View JayT's profile

JayT

4772 posts in 1671 days


#8 posted 03-04-2016 07:25 PM

New woodworker and handplanes on ebay can be a bad combination. Not that there aren’t good planes and even some deals available, but you have to know what you are looking for and looking at. Even then, you can get burned.

This is the route I would go to start.

There are also sellers here on LJs who will sell you an old Stanley for a fair price and will have it all set up for you to use. This gives you the benefit of less money out of pocket for a good tool and it is already in shape to use. This may be a good option for you.

- onoitsmatt

DonW is the LJ member that probably does the most buying and selling. He has a list of tools available for purchase on his website:

http://www.timetestedtools.net/2016/01/28/planes-for-sale/

If you don’t find what you want, contact him to see what else is available.

The biggest advantage to this route is lower up front cost for ready to use planes. Buying off ebay, you may not get one that is really ready to go and if you’ve never fettled a plane before, it’s tough to know when it’s right. Even new planes many times need a bit of tuning before use.

Would the Stanleys be as good once restored as new WoodRivers? Does the x2 cost of LN make it work getting one plane and making due instead of 2 for now?

- Gambrell

A vintage Stanley may or may not be as tight as a new WR and definitely not as much as an LN, but they make fine users and are capable of doing anything you need. My whole set of users is vintage, mostly over 100 years old, and I’m not at a point where it’s the planes holding me back from better woodworking. Probably never will be.

There’s nothing wrong with buying new if you can afford it. IMHO, however, you would be better served starting with a couple affordable vintage planes and then if and when you decide to venture further with hand planes, you can decide whether to buy new or not. At least you will have some experience and a better idea of what you are looking for and needing before plopping down the money.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

651 posts in 401 days


#9 posted 03-04-2016 07:29 PM

I’m pretty much in your position. New to hand tool use. I’ve recently assembled a pretty nice arsenal of old Stanleys purchased on the Bay, save one that was a “found tool”. Yes each has taken some time to clean up and though two were “new”, a #3 & #4, they are vintage as well and needed to be cleaned just as those that were users thru the years. They all also needed to be flattened and the blades sharpened. However I think this was a good route for me as I learned quite a bit about them and how they need to be dressed. I got an education along the way and spent a fraction of what these would have cost in terms of LN or Veritas. Those are certainly beautiful tools and maybe I’ll graduate to them, but I think this was a fun and educational way for me to go. Oh they also seem to be working as intended. Never tried LN or Veritas planes, so I cannot compare, but I can’t imagine how much better they are. I think a fine shaving of wood is a fine shaving of wood :)

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

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builtinbkyn

651 posts in 401 days


#10 posted 03-04-2016 07:30 PM


I m pretty much in your position. New to hand tool use. I ve recently assembled a pretty nice arsenal of old Stanleys purchased on the Bay, save one that was a “found tool”. Yes each has taken some time to clean up and though two were “new”, a #3 & #4, they are vintage as well and needed to be cleaned just as those that were users thru the years. They all also needed to be flattened and the blades sharpened. However I think this was a good route for me as I learned quite a bit about them and how they need to be dressed. I got an education along the way and spent a fraction of what these would have cost in terms of LN or Veritas. Those are certainly beautiful tools and maybe I ll graduate to them, but I think this was a fun and educational way for me to go. Oh they also seem to be working as intended. Never tried LN or Veritas planes, so I cannot compare, but I can t imagine how much better they are. I think a fine shaving of wood is a fine shaving of wood :)

- builtinbkyn

PS If anyone has a #604 1/2 flat bottom they no longer need, I’m in the market ;)

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

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HokieKen

1735 posts in 599 days


#11 posted 03-04-2016 08:16 PM

IMHO, a hobbyist new to hand tools dropping $500 on a LN as their first plane is not a great idea. If you decide hand tools aren’t for you, it’s one thing to have a $30 Stanley collecting dust. It’s another to have one that cost more than a decent table saw on the shelf.

Get a Stanley, learn to fettle it, learn to use it, then if you take to it and think a LN is a worthy investment, go for it. IMHO, Woodriver and vintage Stanley are about on par. Woodriver costs a lot more though.

Some sharpening system is an absolute must so include that in your budget whichever option you choose. A dull plane won’t cut butter and even a LN has to be sharpened periodically.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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Vindex

16 posts in 282 days


#12 posted 03-04-2016 08:20 PM

I was in your position less than a year ago, Gambrell. Although I am new to all of this, I would like to chime in with my experience and recommendation.

Experience:

I started off buying a new low-end Stanley, and despite reading and watching everything I could on tuning up hand planes, I could not make that thing work properly. Last May, a colleague of mine offered to lend me her well-tuned, vintage Stanley #4, #5, & #7 to laminate my workbench top. Using those tools was an absolute revelation! It felt nothing like the POC I had been trying to make work. I also discovered that a jack, jointer, and smoothing plane felt more different in use than I had anticipated.

Once my workbench was complete, I went on eBay and bought a vintage #4 and #5 of the exact same types as the ones I was borrowing (my colleague encouraged me to keep them for comparison until mine were in good shape). When my eBay planes arrived, I tuned them up until they worked as well as the ones I had borrowed. Honestly, I don’t think I could have tuned up an eBay plane until I was comfortable using those borrowed ones because I did not know how a tuned plane should feel.

Recommendation:

Based on this experience, I agree with Fred and Matt: buy an already tuned vintage Stanley (or Millers Falls, Record, Sargent, etc.) from another LJ member or a reputable source. Once you get a sense of how a good plane is supposed to feel, you can go find bargain planes to restore on eBay. I haven’t used the high end ones (Veritas, LN), so I cannot comment on those. However, I would advise against buying the Woodcraft plane or an eBay Stanley as your first plane.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide to get!

Edit: If it were me, I would probably take the Fridge up on his offer and get a #5.

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TheTurtleCarpenter

823 posts in 526 days


#13 posted 03-04-2016 08:35 PM

Start out with older Stanley’s,. Shoot me a message if your interested in buying something used as I have ten times what a man needs, Yes I am a glutton for old tools and helping someone starting out in hand tools.

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle",,,,,member MWTCA area K. Kentucky

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knotscott

7208 posts in 2836 days


#14 posted 03-04-2016 09:14 PM

The older Stanley planes are very good, and will be worth what you paid for them after you buy them…if anything, they may increase in value. I’d aim for pre WWII era. A new Woodriver isn’t likely to hold value as well. You don’t have to limit yourself to older Stanleys either….Record, Millers Falls, Union, Sargent VBM, and others are pretty comparable.

Good Quality Hand Planes on a Budget

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

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5764 posts in 946 days


#15 posted 03-04-2016 10:05 PM

#4 type 10, #5 type 12 and 13 fer sale

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

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