Best hand planes?

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Forum topic by stevef22 posted 01-15-2011 05:00 AM 10440 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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35 posts in 2905 days

01-15-2011 05:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: planes hand wood

I was wondering what the best hand planes are? I was watching Rob Cosmans video on dove tailing, He uses a plane to clean up his dovetails that cuts like butter! I bought a cheap hand plane at Harbor Freight and its rough.

Video: I was eating bread. at 4:40 I was eating toast.

What are some of the best bargain hand plans. Local woodworking shop recommended Stanley # 9 hand plane from the sweethearts era. Any other models? What qualities should I look for in used planes?

Thank you< Steve

8 replies so far

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3315 days

#1 posted 01-15-2011 05:12 AM

Me the only thing i can say from experience is that all the planes i got used but in real great shape work alot better than the new ones i got well the Stanley’s anyway. I just go fro the ones with the frog adjuster and the orange cap lock. I do have some record planes too these are very nice used or new. I’m just getting around to upgrading the blades to either hock or pinnacle from woodcraft, I also got the pinnacle that rob cosman endorses expensive but it does what he says it does well the one i got anyway. I want to get a bedrock stanley but their expensive like lie Nielsen or lee valley. To me personally it’s how it feels in your hand after tuned up to do what you want it to do. ;) GOOD LUCK!

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View cabmaker's profile


1735 posts in 2836 days

#2 posted 01-15-2011 05:16 AM

I dont know anything about a stanley #9 but I use quite a variety of vintage stanleys including a complete line of bench planes with exception of a 5 1/2. But to answer your question, I don t know, stanley is all i ve used. I have seen and touched LN s and a few others but never had the need to fix what aint broke. I have never even touched a #9 (cabinetmakers plane) but I can t imagine that it would do anything that I cant do now.If your new to handplanes I personally would recomend that first you invest in a bench plane or two along with maybe a 60 1/2 block plane. You will get a lot of perspectives on this. Depends greatly on your style and methods. Good luck in your plight JB

View swirt's profile


2786 posts in 2999 days

#3 posted 01-15-2011 05:22 AM

I have an affinity for pre-war Stanley’s but there are a lot of other knock-offs out there too. A block plane like the #9 is handy for all kinds of things and so is a Smoother like the No4 Stanley and a Jack like the No5. And of course a rebate plane, and fillester, and tongue and groove planes, and a router plane….. The next thing you know you’ll have a bunch.

-- Galootish log blog,

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3308 days

#4 posted 01-15-2011 05:35 AM

The very best old planes are British wooden planes from the mid 1700’s. Hand planes, regardless of cost, have gone down hill since the last quarter of the 18th Century because of compromises in production costs. Good luck finding any in good condition.

I suggest you start out with old Stanley planes. A #3, #5 and #7 would be a good start and would represent pretty good equivalents to wooden smooth, fore and trying planes. I strongly suggest you get Stanley planes of an early enough era that would have the low knob because you can use them in such a way that you can still use your body’s natural sense of plumb and level. The later high knobs encourage a grip that will disconnect your hands from your natural senses.

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407 posts in 3265 days

#5 posted 01-15-2011 07:18 AM

My old #6 Stanley from the 1930’s works real nice. Got it at an estate sale for $10. Had to clean it up and get the rust out, sharpened it and it works nice. I also have a Blum #4 wood plane that is nice. Not a cheap plane but in the price area of LV and LN stuff, but wooden body. I got mine in mesquite. He has several choices and a different way of planning wood.


-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3402 days

#6 posted 01-15-2011 12:43 PM

I’m partial to the older Record, Millers Falls, Stanley Bailey, Stanley Bedrock, Winchester, Keen Kutter, and Sargent VBM planes, to name a few. Here’s a link to my blog about buying older planes.

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

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4541 posts in 3101 days

#7 posted 01-15-2011 05:39 PM

This is one of those topics where we will have a wide variety of opinions. I also like old Stanleys but I may have a slightly different opinion than most.

The best old Stanleys are the Bedrocks. However, the Baileys are also very good planes. There is a slight difference in how the frog is mounted to the base but, other than that, they are virtually the same. You will find a lot more Baileys on the market and they cost quite a bit less.

I’d suggest buying a reasonably good used Bailey (it will probably cost between $40 and $80), tune it up if necessary, sharpen the blade and try it out. Then decide what you want to do next.

As I write this there are 236 Baileys listed on e-bay and 50 Bedrocks. Some are junk and some are overpriced, but there are some good looking planes in the $40 – $80 range. I would recommend starting with a 4 or a 5.

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

View stevef22's profile


35 posts in 2905 days

#8 posted 01-15-2011 06:05 PM

Lots of useful info and in-depth knowledge. I have a lot of reading to do. All this advice is great. Thank you.

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