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Are premium hand planes worth it?

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Forum topic by dschlic1 posted 09-25-2017 05:31 PM 2176 views 0 times favorited 54 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dschlic1

391 posts in 1750 days


09-25-2017 05:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane

I have been thinking about getting a low angle jack plane for some time. There are several alternatives:

Stanley #62 $123 (Amazon)
Woodriver #62 $213 (Amazon)
Lie-Nielsen #62 $245++ (LN)
Veritas $245++ (LV)

The Stanley is receiving mostly very good reviews. My question is are the other planes worth twice the price?


54 replies so far

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AUswimKC

27 posts in 1728 days


#1 posted 09-25-2017 05:37 PM

In a word. Yes.

WoodRiver is not a premium plane in that for an extra $30 the difference is exceptional.

You can have my LV LA Jack when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

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Redsoxfan

26 posts in 1406 days


#2 posted 09-25-2017 05:53 PM

i like my stanley.

-- Brian, Western MA

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ColonelTravis

1592 posts in 1674 days


#3 posted 09-25-2017 06:01 PM

I own a L-N LA Jack and all I know is that it arrived flawless (like everything else I’ve bought from them and Lee Valley. Both companies are truly great.) I’ve read the reviews of that Stanley on amazon and there were enough who were disappointed in the quality to steer me away. $123 for a plane isn’t chump change. Never used one but I didn’t seriously consider buying it.

I dropped a L-N plane on the ground last week and smashed the knob. L-N sent me a free replacement knob. Good luck getting that kind of service from Stanley.

Is the extra cost worth it to you? Only you can answer that question. It was for me.

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Tim

3595 posts in 1742 days


#4 posted 09-25-2017 06:16 PM

I wouldn’t buy a new Stanley currently, I’ve heard too many bad things about them. That’s too much money to spend on something that’s not very good. I don’t have any premium planes like LN or LV, but since vintage isn’t a great option for the #62, that’s a great plane to go to LN or LV for.

On the other hand I hear mixed reviews of low angle planes in general. There are people that will say they don’t do any better than a well tuned up standard angle plane or a high angle frog.

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ColonelTravis

1592 posts in 1674 days


#5 posted 09-25-2017 06:40 PM

On the other hand I hear mixed reviews of low angle planes in general. There are people that will say they don t do any better than a well tuned up standard angle plane or a high angle frog.

- Tim

I don’t know how the LA Jack got a reputation for being a magical plane that can do most anything. It took me a while to get one, but now that I have one I know for a fact that it’s irresponsible to promote them as some sort of wonder plane. I don’t see the manufacturers doing that, I see people who’ve never really used one much doing that. The only hand plane you need? Ah, no. C’mon Marc Spagnuolo. It does some things terribly and can rip out chunks of a board face easily. I use mine for end grain and to mill down boards with a toothed blade because it doesn’t destroy the wood like a scrub. It is a terrific milling machine, but if you don’t do this sort of thing by hand then you’re eliminating a big reason to get one.

Honestly, it should be classified as a specialty plane and not a jack. It does not do what my high angle frog smoother does. Or a regular #5.

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Dwain

456 posts in 3639 days


#6 posted 09-25-2017 06:40 PM

In this case, I would strongly suggest going with the LN or the LV. The only way I would see going another way was if you could by vintage. Those are really hard to find, so I am guessing you won’t have any luck. Save your money and get the best made plane. You won’t be disappointed. Although there is discussion about which is better, LV or LN, there is no doubt that both are much better than the Wood River and the Stanley.

As far as value, they may not work as well as a $300 LN or LV plane, but they do very well, and you can swap out the blades and get even more flexibility for end grain or exceptionally figured grain.

I will be getting a 62 soon, and I am sold on the LN. I’m saving for the plane and the additional two blades.

DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME ON THE STANLEY OR THE WOOD RIVER. The new Stanley isn’t made as nicely and the Wood River is good tool with some fettling. For an extra $30.00 you get a plane that needs no work… NO WORK to get started. Of course, a quick lapping of the blade is always suggested.

Go LN, go LV. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment!

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

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Loren

9422 posts in 3428 days


#7 posted 09-25-2017 06:47 PM

I have a LN low angle jack. It’s a nicely made
plane but I don’t use it very much. I prefer
a bevel-down iron with a chipbreaker most of
the time.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

14725 posts in 2399 days


#8 posted 09-25-2017 06:49 PM

“Yes” to cutting across the grain [or] for use on knurly cross-grained wood where the ordinary block plane would be too light.

http://www.timetestedtools.net/2016/01/27/the-stanley-62-low-angle-block-plane-1905-1942/

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

491 posts in 529 days


#9 posted 09-25-2017 06:57 PM

I have a Veritas low angle 4, a LN bronze 4, and a new (we’ll,,not that new) Stanley 4. The Veritas gets reached for first. I have the LN set for real smoothing, and the Stanley is set for a heavier cut. The Stanley, even with a Hock blade, just isn’t in the league with the other two, though once set up properly it is a decent plane. If I didn’t want to spend the money for Veritas or LN, I could get along fine with the Stanley.

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bbasiaga

980 posts in 1775 days


#10 posted 09-25-2017 07:13 PM

One thing I will throw out….when I did my research in to these planes, I had heard that the original Stanley 62s had a weak spot in the casting behind the mouth and they could Crack there. Both LN and LV beefed up their planes compared to the original, so there may be some truth to the thought there is a weakness in the original design. I am not sure if the new Stanley fixed this.

I got the LN and I love it. I use it for basically everything, but I am mostly a power tool user. So everything, in my case, means fitting up parts, smoothing, and light dimensioning.

Brian

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

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Manitario

2506 posts in 2663 days


#11 posted 09-25-2017 07:44 PM

I have the LV low angle jack and it is my go-to plane 90% of the time despite having a full stable of other planes. I like having the ease of adjusting the mouth opening without having to adjust the frog, and the quick ability to change blades if I want to use eg. a high angle blade on difficult grain or a low angle blade on end grain.

As others have said, almost any plane regardless of price can be made into a user. LV and LN planes you pay for quality which means a flat sole, smooth castings and smooth adjustment with little slop. Also with LV you can get their PMV-11 iron which is fantastic.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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mramseyISU

516 posts in 1326 days


#12 posted 09-25-2017 07:47 PM

Here’s what this boils down to for me. Is the LN or L-V plane twice as good as the new Stanley? From the reviews from the gang over on the Unplugged WW facebook page the answer seems to be no so far. There’s a couple guys over there who have bought both the new Stanley and a LN version and it sounds like the Stanley is 75% as good as the LN and L-V. On the other hand if you buy one and don’t like it the LN and L-V are going to have much better resale value so that’s something to consider.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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WayneC

13718 posts in 3878 days


#13 posted 09-25-2017 08:11 PM

I had both Old Stanley 62 and the LN. I sold the old one for about $325 and kept the LN. The Stanley was not as well made.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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PPK

745 posts in 590 days


#14 posted 09-25-2017 08:13 PM



Here s what this boils down to for me. Is the LN or L-V plane twice as good as the new Stanley? From the reviews from the gang over on the Unplugged WW facebook page the answer seems to be no so far. There s a couple guys over there who have bought both the new Stanley and a LN version and it sounds like the Stanley is 75% as good as the LN and L-V. On the other hand if you buy one and don t like it the LN and L-V are going to have much better resale value so that s something to consider.

- mramseyISU

I agree!!

One more thing that I’d add though, is that the LN and LV planes are much heavier, and I really prefer the added weight. That adds value for me.

-- Pete

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PPK

745 posts in 590 days


#15 posted 09-25-2017 08:15 PM

PS, full disclosure: I do own a Lee Valley low angle bevel up smoother plane, and it’s the one I reach for almost always… I bought it on Ebay used for only just a little less than new from Lee Valley.

-- Pete

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