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Forum topic by SouthernBoy posted 12-14-2010 11:35 PM 945 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SouthernBoy's profile


39 posts in 2184 days

12-14-2010 11:35 PM

Can anyone recomend a decent plane or set of planes that can do a wide variety of work. Mostly smoothing out small projects, but hope to grow into larger projects later.

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


8165 posts in 3070 days

#1 posted 12-14-2010 11:50 PM

Get a vintage Bailey pattern #4 and a #5. Stanley Baileys are good planes
to start with, as they were and are still made right. Some other brands
have a folded steel frog which is no good, in my opinion.

You can get them cheaply enough on Ebay. I’d buy from a seller who
seems to have a track record of listing and selling planes. That way you’re
less likely of getting a “bargain” plane with missing parts from a seller
who doesn’t know about planes.

A block plane can be handy. Most people prefer the ones with the adjustable
mouth. They’ve become kind of collectible, so bargains are rare, but the
old Stanley “knuckle joint” block planes have a really nice feel in your hand –
even though mine lacks an adjustable mouth it’s my favorite block plane.

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2302 days

#2 posted 12-14-2010 11:56 PM

I use my block planes all the time and they can be used for many different things… I am with Loren that a Bailey style #4 and #5 along with a block plane would make a good set to start…

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View DrewM's profile


176 posts in 2421 days

#3 posted 12-15-2010 12:13 AM

Since you said smoothing smaller projects I would try and find a #4 first then maybe a #5. The smaller blade size of a #3 is handy on small pieces with tricky grain. The larger #6,7,8 can be handy to have if you plan on jointing boards to make a panel, I prefer the #7 of those three myself. The old Stanleys of the pre-ww2 era are great planes that can be found at good prices on eBay. Don’t forget about the other brand from that time such as Sargent, Union, and Millers falls all of those are very similar and make great users. The down side is that most of the older planes require some work to get up to a good working order such as flattening the sole, reworking mouth opening, fitting the frog to the sole, reworking blade to proper bevel angle. Which is worth it if you have the time and materials to do it. If not look into the planes offered by Lee Valley , Lie-Nielsen , or Woodcrafts’ house brand Woodriver . I personally do not like the new planes Stanley has to offer, the castings aren’t as hefty and just seem “cheaper” when you hold them. Good luck finding the right plane for you, and be careful they are very addicting once you see what they are capable of.

-- Drew, Delaware

View SouthernBoy's profile


39 posts in 2184 days

#4 posted 12-15-2010 12:20 AM

Thanks for the help. I’ll start looking for them right now.

View Dave's profile


11394 posts in 2262 days

#5 posted 12-15-2010 12:53 AM

check this blog
you get what you pay for
i would start at mid range and learn how to tune one.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2432 days

#6 posted 12-15-2010 03:04 AM

There is an article in the current issue of Fine Woodworking that describes how a low angle jack plane (e.g. 62 or 62-1/2) can do A LOT of jobs when outfitted with different blades.

Combined with a good block plane, you’ve got a pair of planes that will let you do most tasks a combo (power & handtool) woodworker would ever want to do by hand.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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