Hand Plane Pontification - Gloat

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 12-06-2010 12:20 AM 1579 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3274 days

12-06-2010 12:20 AM

Over the last several months I have become much more interested in hand tools and hand planes in particular. I have purchased a few used planes, including a like new L-N number 4. What a spectacular plane!!

Thanks to what I have learned from the PBS show “Rough Cut” I am not incorporating hand plane use into most the projects I work on and I really appreciate what they can do. Also, the simple act of using one of these planes is a pleasure. The L-N number 4 is the plane I reach for the most but I also use some other planes including one a built myself.

On e-bay I just bought a used Stanley Bailey Number 3C for $26 plus shipping ($13). It is in perfect, like new, condition. The description on e-bay said it was sharp and “ready to go”. I tried it out immediately after opening the box. WOW! It is a tiny bit smaller than my L-N #4 and a little bit lighter, but the feel of the plane is virtually the same. It made a perfect, clean cut on the first pass and every pass after that.

For those who have not discovered hand planes, I encourage you to give it a try. I also encourage you to look for good used planes on e-bay or elsewhere.

I have a theory on why I was able to get this Bailey 3C for such a good price. First, everyone things that Stanley’s Bedrock planes are preferable to Baileys. They are right but the difference is very small and not noticeable in actual use. Second, for a standard smoothing plane, everyone is focused on a No. 4. A number 3 is about 1/2 inch shorter and maybe 2 ounces lighter (I’m guessing at the 2 ounces). I paid $230 for the L-N (a great price considering a new one cost $350) and $26 for this Stanley Bailey 3C. Both look like new planes and both perform virtually the same.

There are some lessons in this. You can figure out what they are.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

11 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17761 posts in 3206 days

#1 posted 12-06-2010 01:38 AM

Im dying to get my mitts on a LN plane … one of these days i tell ya. Congrats on the purchase and here’s to thin shavings .. (holds my coffee up high)

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View DrewM's profile


176 posts in 3198 days

#2 posted 12-06-2010 01:56 AM

I can’t wait to get my hands on a low angle jack plane to use with my shooting board. There is nothing like the finish a well tuned hand plane produces. It amazes me what you can do with such a “simple” tool, I’m now thinking about making my own wooden planes. Oh boy this is dangerous haha.

-- Drew, Delaware

View CoolDavion's profile


436 posts in 4024 days

#3 posted 12-06-2010 02:22 AM

I’ve got a few planes, next I need to get some stones to sharpen them up.

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4251 posts in 3364 days

#4 posted 12-06-2010 02:45 AM

Rich, I don’t have the time to hunt for used planes or to tune them up, although it sounds like that Bailey didn’t need any. So, I will probably just gather up a few good planes when I start to need them. I have a good Veritas block plane, yet to be used, would you believe, got it last winter. I haven’t touched a piece of solid wood since then, but the time is coming.

Sherie is looking for links to get gifts for me, so I will throw in a couple of links to LN and Veritas planes. I am hard on the heels of ordering my band saw, but that she can’t give me as a gift, I have to order too many things with it.

Copying another recent comment of mine….......
I am in the briar patch with my table saw, doing the long overdue dust control project, which will probably include a new guard and using the micro splitter from Incra. I will probably make the guard which will include dust control as well. This saw sits just beside the entry to the house from the garage. It was spewing dust out the front, sides and back. Oh well…….this is taking forever, and it is not from lack of time spent. I am doing a good job, maybe too good, that may be the problem.

I am going to tune up only one plane, my old Stanley-Bailey #5, purchased new about 35 or more years ago. I’ll do that for the experience. Otherwise, I will purchase ready-to-go items…......there is not enough time in my schedule and in my life to do a bunch of grunt work (probably should have just bought a new TS, but it was nostalgia time, bought it new 20 years ago).


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View swirt's profile


3418 posts in 3171 days

#5 posted 12-06-2010 03:07 AM

Good find Rich. In the other details you mentioned, you said the no3 is shorter, I’ll also add that it is narrower too. Which can have a slight impact on what it does and how.

It’s fun to watch others slip down the same slope I’ve been sliding down. I’m glad you are still enjoying more and more hand plane use. ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View Marc5's profile


304 posts in 3541 days

#6 posted 12-06-2010 03:20 AM

I also have became very interested in using had tools for my projects and planes seem to part of every one. I have amassed a pretty good collection of hand planes in the last few years. I have some LN’s, BedRocks and Bailey’s from #8 all the way down to a #3 including a few block planes. I have recently added a couple spoke shaves to my collection and started messing around with them to see how best to use them. The best thing that has come out of using hand planes is I have almost completely eliminated the need to sand and that is fine by me. I have been kicking around the idea of ordering a Brese plane kit and see if I can do it. Maybe after Christmas, we’ll see.

-- Marc

View knotscott's profile


8146 posts in 3575 days

#7 posted 12-06-2010 03:37 AM

Sounds like a great buy Rich! Every once in a while opportunity knocks….you were smart to answer!

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

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 3080 days

#8 posted 12-06-2010 07:35 AM

Rich, I also just recently got a Stanley Bailey #3 off ebay. Mine was only 16 dollars but it looked like a solid chunk of rust. Thats what I look for though. I really enjoy the restore work… After soaking the plane over night in EvapoRust and a few hours of some detail work the plane was back to new or at least close enough. I don’t know if you have ever used EvapoRust but its a fantastic product. I use it for restoring planes and I have also soaked my router and drill bits in it and it cleans every bit of rust off.. I really recommend anyone who has not tried it to give it a try.

I first used a hand plane to try and flatten a table top that I built for my shop… I knew nothing about hand planes or using them. After hours of work I gave up and grabbed a power sander… I never did get the top flat and its since been taken apart and scrapped. However I was so upset at my poor planing attempt that I made it a goal of mine to learn how to use them. After about 6 months, countless hours of planing and a ton of scrapped boards I finally started getting good results and I can now flatten a board. It still takes me a while and I am still working the kinks out but there is nothing in the shop that I enjoy using more then my planes.

I have a Stanley Bailey #8 on the way now. I cant wait to restore it and try it out. I have not used a jointer plane yet.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3121 days

#9 posted 12-06-2010 10:42 AM

Well, I am glad that everyone above enjoys handplaning… I been addidcted to it already…. you will need a lot more for sure…. you will also make your own depending on your need. The best plane you need is the one that can use crosswise or traverse with the grain. This is the way how you test your skill in planing… Enjoy planing

-- Bert

View Beeguy's profile


179 posts in 3836 days

#10 posted 12-07-2010 02:42 AM

Good deal Rich. I am jealous. Everytime I start to bid on a plane, they end up going for at least twice what you paid. But if it is on my watch list and I am not around to watch the bidding it goes for less than you paid. I have not bought a lot on eBay so I have not put in automatic bids or any of that yet. But I am getting a better understanding of what items should sell for so I am learning.

Here is an open invitation if anyone wants to sell a plane. Just ask me to bid on it and I am sure the price will go higher than you expected.

Dan – thanks for the tip on Evaporust.

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3265 days

#11 posted 12-08-2010 01:31 PM

congrats on pursuing your interest in hand planes. they are a joy to work with. I love my #3 and reach for it often. Mine is also a Bailey, not a bedrock. I do like the bedrocks better in use, and find them to be more robust, particularly with figured wood (my #2 and #5 are bedrocks, and I have a #4 LN which is essentially a bedrock). But the older Baileys work great as well.

-- PaulMayer,

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