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Hand Planes 101

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Forum topic by crowlader posted 09-25-2017 07:56 PM 883 views 3 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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crowlader

21 posts in 151 days


09-25-2017 07:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question resource plane beginner tutorial reference

When it comes to hand planes I have ZERO experience. And as an outsider looking in it seems there is almost a cult following when it comes to these things. I would like to scratch the surface of these tools but I have no idea how. Can anyone out there take a minute and explain to me the basics of these? Something I can use as a reference. What the numbers mean, when to use the numbers, the names of them, the right brands etc… I just don’t think I know enough to even consider using them effectively.

-- Conner, Georgia


29 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

17031 posts in 2845 days


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

#1 – a block plane in full handplane styling

#2 – a little bigger than a #1. Used like a block.

#3 – smoother. Small

#4 – smoother. Lil bigger

#4 1/2 – smoother. Wider. Hefty.

#5 – jack plane. kind of a do all

#5 1/4 – jumior jack. not as wide

#5 1/2 – jack plane. wider.

#6 – fore plane. Kind of an in betweener.

#7 – jointer. Used to joint boards. Used to flatten larger surfaces.

#8 – jointer. Heft and hubris. joint board. Flatten large surface. Get swoll

If you want to be effective with any plane, learn to sharpen and learn to do it well. It makes up for a lot of other problems. Another thing to point out is the mating between the iron and the chip breaker. Chips get stuck in there and its all bad news. Clogs and chatter.

IMO the best place to start is with a small block plane (#220, #60 1/2, #18) and a smoother or jack.

As to brands … vintage – Stanley (no handymans), Sargent or Union. New … Lie Neilsen, Veritas, Wood River.

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

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

13751 posts in 3936 days


#2 posted 09-25-2017 08:23 PM

Ohio and Millers Falls are also good brands.

To add to above.

Basic operations are

Stock removal – Plane with a big camber 4, 5 or 6 are normally used for this. Also Stanley 40 or 40 1/2 Scrub Planes
Straightening the Stock – Jointer Plane number 7 or number 8.
Smoothing the stock – 1 to 5 1/2 with a fine set mouth.

Selection of plane depends on the size of the work piece ( a #5 will straighten an 18” piece of stock just fine. A #7 would be more appropriate for a 6’ run.) and also personal preference. Some people prefer large heavy planes and some prefer lighter planes. Depending on the size of your hands a given plane may feel better to you..

For block planes, I recommend an adjustable mouth plane (e.g. 9 1/2, 18, 19, 60 1/2 or 65 as examples). They come in low angle and standard angle. I prefer large low angle block planes so my favorite is a 65.

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

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1011 posts in 1834 days


#3 posted 09-25-2017 10:14 PM

If you have a local Woodcraft, you might find a class there on basic handplane use. Our out here runs them once or twice a year. Good way to go try stuff out and learn what you are doing, if its available to you. Or maybe visit a local woodworking club or something.

Brian

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

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

18634 posts in 2522 days


#4 posted 09-25-2017 10:22 PM

Dig back a few seasons on The Woodwright’s Shop…...Underhill and Chris Schwarz do a “Handplane Essentials” for about a half an hour.

There is also one by Roy Underhill about “Saw like a Butterfly, plane like a Bee” and has quite a few tips about using both. pbs.org has the full episodes.

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

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1681 posts in 1733 days


#5 posted 09-25-2017 10:51 PM

Frank Strazza is a good teacher, used to teach down the road from me in Waco, TX but he’s not with the Heritage school any more, on his own as a furniture maker.

His intro video to hand planes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LBbxC9KQBY

View Just_Iain's profile

Just_Iain

230 posts in 255 days


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

Search for local clubs, classes or even Lumberjacks. A couple of hours with hands on would be a great start. Or if you can’t do that, go to TimeTestedTools and buy a sharp, restored plane. I would suggest a #4 Stanley as a starter. Then go to the local lumberyard and get some pine. If the pine has planer marks showing, all the better. Your job is to learn how to set the plane so you can remove those marks. When you mess up it’s cheap and you will but who cares. If you like working with the plane, you’ll need to learn how to sharpen it. Check around and someone might have an old oilstone. Watch videos numerous times and go thru the motion by dragging and pushing your plane blade across a flat piece of glass. Hell, I’d get a friend or spouse or kid to video tape you doing it. Does it look like the sharpening videos on YouTube yet? If it does, grab the stone and oil take the YouTube videos recommend and you can get locally. Reassemble and see it is close to the plane you got at TimeTested. Don’t worry it takes practice. Go back at the pine and check it out. From there, its buy other tools like saws and actually make something (check out the 2×4 challenges on your online friend YouTube). Only then start figuring out what you want in additional planes.

So get out and have a great time. The $5000 planes can wait a while. :)

-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1426 posts in 1828 days


#7 posted 09-26-2017 12:05 PM

This might help you.. Start with learning the Stanley nomenclature since everyone references other brands back to the Stanley “system” (which gets twisted around by Stanley, but very good for bench and block planes). Proper mating of parts and sharpness (and nothing broken) are the key elements. Handplanes can be a bit like politics and religion – a lot of opinions…..

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

14857 posts in 2457 days


#8 posted 09-26-2017 12:49 PM

Conner – do you have a plane of any kind? Does your dad, or uncle, or cousin, or ? Getting a hold on even one bench plane, be it transitional, woody, infill, Bailey-style, etc., gets you a starting point to try sharpening and using a hand plane. I started with a jack / fore sized wooden plane my dad had on the shelf; once shavings were made, I was hooked and started devouring all in the information I could find on the interwebs.

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

View crowlader's profile

crowlader

21 posts in 151 days


#9 posted 09-26-2017 01:16 PM


#1 – a block plane in full handplane styling

#2 – a little bigger than a #1. Used like a block.

#3 – smoother. Small

#4 – smoother. Lil bigger

#4 1/2 – smoother. Wider. Hefty.

#5 – jack plane. kind of a do all

#5 1/4 – jumior jack. not as wide

#5 1/2 – jack plane. wider.

#6 – fore plane. Kind of an in betweener.

#7 – jointer. Used to joint boards. Used to flatten larger surfaces.

#8 – jointer. Heft and hubris. joint board. Flatten large surface. Get swoll

If you want to be effective with any plane, learn to sharpen and learn to do it well. It makes up for a lot of other problems. Another thing to point out is the mating between the iron and the chip breaker. Chips get stuck in there and its all bad news. Clogs and chatter.

IMO the best place to start is with a small block plane (#220, #60 1/2, #18) and a smoother or jack.

As to brands … vintage – Stanley (no handymans), Sargent or Union. New … Lie Neilsen, Veritas, Wood River.

- chrisstef


Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for. Now correct me if I’m wrong, when you say a #220 does that mean a #2 plane with some kind of modification or specific size? what are the additional numbers?

-- Conner, Georgia

View crowlader's profile

crowlader

21 posts in 151 days


#10 posted 09-26-2017 01:17 PM



Dig back a few seasons on The Woodwright s Shop…...Underhill and Chris Schwarz do a “Handplane Essentials” for about a half an hour.

There is also one by Roy Underhill about “Saw like a Butterfly, plane like a Bee” and has quite a few tips about using both. pbs.org has the full episodes.

- bandit571

Thank you! Those were great!

-- Conner, Georgia

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

14857 posts in 2457 days


#11 posted 09-26-2017 01:21 PM

Got to go here.

http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0a.html

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

View crowlader's profile

crowlader

21 posts in 151 days


#12 posted 09-26-2017 01:21 PM



Conner – do you have a plane of any kind? Does your dad, or uncle, or cousin, or ? Getting a hold on even one bench plane, be it transitional, woody, infill, Bailey-style, etc., gets you a starting point to try sharpening and using a hand plane. I started with a jack / fore sized wooden plane my dad had on the shelf; once shavings were made, I was hooked and started devouring all in the information I could find on the interwebs.

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

I do have one, and to be honest I have used it once or twice. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but have since learned I was using it for the wrong thing. Right now I couldn’t tell you what kind of plane it was, but its about 6 inches long and was the home depot special about a year ago. I’ve seen, through peoples work, that planes are quite valuable which is why I want to learn more about them and start utilizing them more.

-- Conner, Georgia

View TheFridge's profile (online now)

TheFridge

8332 posts in 1325 days


#13 posted 09-26-2017 01:38 PM

Anything you get from Home Depot or lowes is gonna be trash.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2565 posts in 2722 days


#14 posted 09-26-2017 01:55 PM

I started off like you several years ago. Handplanes were a giant confusing mystery. Start off with a good book that explains how planes work, how they cut, how to take one apart, what different planes do. The book I used is “The Handplane Book” by Garrett Hack. Good detailed book of different planes and how to use them.

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

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

13751 posts in 3936 days


#15 posted 09-26-2017 01:57 PM

220 is a non-adjustable block plane. The 220 is one of the better non-adjustable mouth planes but I still recommend you get an adjustable mouth plane. (e.g. 9 1/2, 18, 19, 60 1/2 or 65 as examples)

The web site link Smitty provided covers all old Stanley models. Other manufactures made similar planes but there numbers can vary by manufacture.

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

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