Which plane for panels?

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Forum topic by bigblockyeti posted 11-28-2016 11:32 AM 685 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5157 posts in 1772 days

11-28-2016 11:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane milling

I’m looking at either the Veritas #6 fore plane or the bevel up jointer and I’m not sure which will serve me better. Their both advertised as being good at flattening panels which is my primary objective but they do have their differences. The jointer I’m certain will be better for jointing duty which will be a secondary objective. The #6 is 18” long and the jointer 22” so a nod for the jointer in that department but I have no experience with a bevel up plane and I’m not sure what the difference in performance will be. I do know that with a bevel up the sharpening and micro-bevel angle is more important as it effects the cutting angle but again from a usage standpoint I have no experience. I’m guessing the weight is close but I didn’t see a spec given for the #6. The blade is a negligible amount wider on the #6 and the price between the two isn’t a factor. Advise?

15 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile


2997 posts in 1532 days

#1 posted 11-28-2016 01:13 PM

In my experience, the 6 will be a more versatile plane. I know my 6 is used as much or more than any other.

For flattening wide panels like table tops I start with a #6 and finish with a #7, but I think the 6 could get the job done.

My only experience with BU is a jack plane. For me, I don’t see a huge difference other than the plane is handier for cleaning up drawers and for a shooter. It is also lighter. For others, having multiple blades with different honing angles would be valuable.

Between the 2, I would go for the #6.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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5157 posts in 1772 days

#2 posted 11-28-2016 02:18 PM

If they offered a #7 or #8 that would be my choice. Kinda figured the 6 would be useful for different things but I’m hoping this will be the last I need. I already have a few spoke shaves and block planes and a nice #4 smoother and I’m looking to round things out so to speak. I’d really like to get some bench time with both before deciding.

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5569 posts in 1190 days

#3 posted 11-28-2016 02:27 PM

If you don’t have a jack plane, and only want to purchase 1, I’d go with the #6. Jointers are great for final flattening but are too long for the “grunt work” IMHO. I use a jack to get it dressed and near-flat then finish flattening with a jointer. You could do the whole process with a fore plane. I wouldn’t want to have work panels that weren’t pretty close to flat with only a jointer though.

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

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5157 posts in 1772 days

#4 posted 11-28-2016 02:38 PM

Yeah I see what your saying, I really wish I knew what, if any, the weight difference between the two is. Pushing a lot of weight back and forth to only take minor cuts could get needlessly tiring pretty quick. If I’m gonna get tired, I want to be making some progress doing it.

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5569 posts in 1190 days

#5 posted 11-28-2016 08:04 PM

I can’t speak to the Veritas but in vintage planes, the weight difference wouldn’t be that much. Both planes are the same width so you’re only adding 4” of sole basically. I don’t have a #6 but I can tell you my #7 can be quite a workout after a while.

I bet if you e-mail Lee Valley, they will provide you the weights on the planes.

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

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1735 posts in 2041 days

#6 posted 11-28-2016 08:50 PM

There are a couple of other options you might consider. The Veritas LABU jack about the most versatile plane available. Long enough to serve as a jointer, very good at flattening panels, very good for shooting board use, and can be used as a smoother on larger panels. Use blades with different bevels depending on the task. It would be the choice over the BD #6. Another choice would be a Veritas custom plane with 2 or 3 frogs at differernt angles to provide the same versatility as the LA jack – more $ tho.

The BD planes like the #6 work well for straighter grain wood, but if you use much reversing grain wood you will appreciate higher cutting angles that the BU or custom planes offer. Tear out can be an issue when flattening as well as smoothing.

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5157 posts in 1772 days

#7 posted 11-29-2016 02:13 PM

Thanks for the input, I hadn’t really thought about the ability to use whatever I end up with on a shooting board but that’s certainly something to consider. The custom route sounds like it would increase versatility but getting more parts to potentially loose is a bit of a drawback to consider. I’ve slowly become more proficient with a scraper to smooth knarly grain and I can sure see how a higher angle on a plane could help. I spoke with one of the guys in my woodworking guild and he has quite a collection and offered me a change to try a few to see what will work. Thanks again.

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167 posts in 724 days

#8 posted 11-29-2016 10:24 PM


-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3699 days

#9 posted 11-29-2016 10:53 PM

I use a jack plane. I dunno… if I’m going
to surface a panel by hand I don’t mind some
variations and the plane marks feel pleasant
to my hand.

I go to a smoother then scrape after the
jack. I have a low angle jointer I use for edges.
The gap in front of the moving throat
plate gets chips clogged in it.

View bandit571's profile


20446 posts in 2734 days

#10 posted 11-29-2016 11:57 PM

Why limit one’s options….

While I have both a #7 and a #6, I also have and use a #5-1/2. Depending on the size of the panel, I can also use a #5 or a #5-1/4 size. Sometimes merely a #4 or a #3 will do the job.

The only difference between a #6 and a #5-1/2? about 3” in length….same width.

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

View JohnChung's profile


412 posts in 2126 days

#11 posted 12-01-2016 02:43 PM

I have flatten a stock that was 6 feet long. The Veritas BUJ is what you want as it is long enough for such a panel. For shorter stock like 2-3 feet. The veritas LAJ is a better choice.

Both planes have their place. I have quite a few planes but not like Bandit571 :)

I would suggest the bevel up planes from Veritas as it is more versatile as you can use various bevels on the blade itself.

View bbasiaga's profile


1236 posts in 2046 days

#12 posted 12-01-2016 03:07 PM

That bevel up jointer has an adjustable mouth I think. If so, you could get a cambered blade and use it for rough work with an open mouth, and a second blade to keep straight and use with a finer mouth for flattening. The length and weight is not much different than a no 6…so I would go that way.

The bevel up jack is quite versatile too. I have one from LN and use it a lot more than my jointer plane. So if you don’t have one of those yet you might be better off going that way.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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Richard H

489 posts in 1732 days

#13 posted 12-01-2016 03:19 PM

The problem with having just a single #6 or any plane for that matter with two irons is you have to adjust the frog every time you swap from the heavily cambered iron for rough work to the lightly cambered one which would be a pain. If I was going to go with a single plane for both rough stock removal plus jointing/truing I would go with a bevel up plane with a adjustable mouth. The only downside with a bevel up plane is you have to put a much more aggressive camber on the iron because of the lower angle the iron is bedded at to be able to take deep cuts.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5157 posts in 1772 days

#14 posted 12-01-2016 04:59 PM

As I mentioned previously, I do have a #4 that in function would work much the same as the #6 just without the length, heft or blade width. Without first having hand on both right now I’m leaning a little more toward the bevel up jointer but that may change.

View OSU55's profile


1735 posts in 2041 days

#15 posted 12-01-2016 08:25 PM

I spoke with one of the guys in my woodworking guild and he has quite a collection and offered me a change to try a few to see what will work. Thanks again.

- bigblockyeti

Go try them out…..............spend all day, take your own various types/sizes of wood. It will be well worth the time and effort to road test as many as possible and have someone to discuss the pro’s and con’s of each.

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