Planes - Anyone want to shop for me?

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Forum topic by pete79 posted 02-18-2011 02:08 PM 1452 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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154 posts in 3136 days

02-18-2011 02:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane

Hey guys – I’ve took a short break from the site for a while and am just getting back to thinking about the shop and getting it in order for the spring (un-insulated detached garage in cold climate means no working in winter).

Anyhow – I am looking to buy myself a plane for the shop and am not quite sure what to get. I currently only have a small Stanley block plane, but I’m starting to be fascinated by hand tools and really want/need to get myself some sort of bench plane. I’m not sure if I need a #4, #4 1/2, #5, #6, low-angle, jack plane, etc. So I need some help. I also am not real excited about shelling out $150-200 for a brand new plane if I can find a good used one on ebay. I just read through the following forum post:

This got me to thinking that maybe the fine folks here at LJ’s might be able to point me to a good listing for a serviceable plane. I don’t mind having to do a little tuning/honing/sharpening to get something useable, but I don’t really know the basics of what to look for in something used.

Can anyone please point me in the right direction?

-- Life is a one lap race.

8 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3105 days

#1 posted 02-18-2011 02:33 PM

Pete, I won’t do all the link searches for you :) but I can offer the following -

First Plane – Make it a Jack Plane (no. 5). They are long enough to work as a halfway decent jointer and can be set smooth enough to be a decent smoothing plane. It sets in the middle, the proverbial Jack of all trades. Stanley Baileys from late 1800s – 1940s make excellent users and should be able to be picked up for around 25-30 dollars.

Things to watch out for – Heavy rust leading to pitting on the sole of the plane. Some pitting on the last inch or at the very front of the plane is not as big a deal as pitting in the middle. Avoid anything with pitting or breaks around the throat of the plane. Avoid Stanley Handyman planes and the newer Record planes.

The best resource I know of on purchasing handplanes was put together by knotscott and can be found here.

Hope this helps,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3191 days

#2 posted 02-18-2011 02:57 PM

Get a no 5 like david said for starters. That will cover a lot of tasks. That is my most used plane. Also helpful is a #4 smoothing plane for final planing. If you deal with lots of end grain or burls or woods with tough grain that tear out, get a low angle. If you keep a watchful eye, you can get some REALLY good deals on old Stanleys on ebay. I was able to get Stanley #4, #5, and a 115+ year old antique Stanley No 7 all in very good shape for under $50 a piece.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3284 days

#3 posted 02-18-2011 04:15 PM

I would have to agree with the whole ebay idea they do have some good deals on planes I got a lot of planes from there for cheap. I would go for the #4-#5 all the 1/2’s are just a little bigger than the others me personaly I like the 1/2’s just because the size and feel. Heres a link too,

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3070 days

#4 posted 02-18-2011 04:19 PM

Many people will tell you that the older Stanley Bedrocks are the best planes and they are probably right. However, the Stanley Baileys are almost as good. The only difference that I know of is a slight variation in how the frog is attached to the body that, IMO, has virtually no effect on functionality.

The demand for Bedrocks is higher and the supply is less. Therefore, they are more expensive.

I recommend a good Bailey. On e-bay you can search “Stanley Bailey Planes” and many will appear. Based on what I could see – - This looks like a good lower priced #5 that just needs some cleaning – -

I only offer this as an example of what I would look for. As you will see, there are many like this on e-bay.

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

View TJU's profile


72 posts in 2652 days

#5 posted 02-18-2011 04:20 PM

I started out just like the previous posteres mentioned. I got an old stanley #4 and #7 and fixed them up and I also picked up a box of old plane and parts off of craigs list. I managed to get an other #4, a #5, and a block plane out of it. It taught me how to take care of planes and sharpen the blades. It also gave me a real appreciation for my Veritas, Lie Nielson, and even my wood river planes (all new in the last year). I still use the stanley #7 with a hock blade and it works great. You can’t go wrong with a #4 or #5. A nice after market blade to go with it will make a big difference.

-- Although the voices aren't real they have some pretty good ideas.

View pete79's profile


154 posts in 3136 days

#6 posted 02-19-2011 03:22 PM

Thanks everyone. I ended up doing a LOT of reading and watching videos yesterday and then picked up a Type 11 Stanley Bailey #5 on ebay for $24.00. Can’t wait to get it and see if I made out ok. After a lot of reading, i’m thinking of getting a new Hock blade and cap iron. The restoration process seems like a lot of work, but a lot of fun too – so i’m really looking forward to that. Maybe i’ll take some before/after pictures once I get going. If anyone has any pointers or lessons learned on that, feel free to throw them out as I’m going off a combination of many internet articles and videos. I’m pretty sure i’ll pick up a book on hand planes that covers a lot of this, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Thanks again for the guidance.

-- Life is a one lap race.

View kowtow's profile


20 posts in 2653 days

#7 posted 02-19-2011 03:44 PM

I think it was in the Woodcraft magazine that they did a whole piece on refurbing old planes. Personally I disagree with the #5 comment. My first planes were 3, 4, 5. I use the #3 more than anything. The 5 is great for tables and… well anything else that’s long and flat. The #3 is amazing and has good use for just about everything in the whole world. But that’s a stupid personal preference thing. Like anything else in the world, buy for the 90% of it’s use, not the 10% you might do with it. If you make a lot of boxes, the #5 is going to be too big. If you make coffee tables, or bigger the #3 might be too small.

I have had good luck with ebay, and antique stores. I love Lie-Nielson and Veritas but there is thing called a recession and we are in the middle of it (maybe you heard), so ebay for me. Miller’s Falls is also a brand that I have had good luck with. I have a MF block plane, (as well as two stanley’s and a LN).

They’re fun, get used to them and try doing new stuff with them.

View helluvawreck's profile


31044 posts in 2862 days

#8 posted 02-19-2011 08:30 PM

I say get 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. You don’t have to get them all at once. Get 3, 4, and 5 first and then 6 and 7. Get them on Ebay. Sometimes you might bid on 2 of the same and end up getting both. That’s ok. Pick the best one and sell the one you don’t want. Be patient and don’t get in a hurry. When I was collecting my planes on Ebay I would bid on the cleanest ones that looked like they would be good users. Sometimes I ended up with more than I needed but you can get rid of them. Right now I probably have two sets but I wasn’t in a hurry and got good deals and anytime I want to I can get rid of them. When you sell don’t be in a big hurry to sell. Put a good price on it and make sure it’s nice and clean and take some good pictures. They will sell. Whatever you do don’t misrepresent them and if there is a problem show a good picture of it and mention it. There is a demand for them. I have found that sometimes the best way is to get in early on the bidding and bid what you want to pay. Sometimes you’ll get it and sometimes you want. But you will eventually build a nice little collection. Just don’r get anxious and stick to what you want to pay.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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