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Forum topic by toddbeaulieu posted 02-28-2011 09:34 PM 1228 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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toddbeaulieu

781 posts in 2468 days


02-28-2011 09:34 PM

Hi all,

I’ve been reading up on planes. I’d like to purchase the essentials to get me started.

I read one posting that listed:

Block #5 jack #4 smoothing #92 shoulder #7 joiner #8 joiner #80 scraper #112 scraper

I went on ebay, and amazon. So, are these all still made? Should I be buying new or used? I’m not afraid of cleaning them up and truing them. Are the oldies better? How do I know what’s old and what’s modern? Yikes!


21 replies so far

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2157 days


#1 posted 02-28-2011 10:00 PM

Wow, you’re going to get about 50 full-page replies on this one. Plane preferences vary but I think most will agree that the earlier-type Stanleys, a select few Records, and modern Lie Nielsen & Veritas planes are all very functional. If money’s no object, you could even start off with some glorius English infills! I’m an early Type Stanley guy myself & tend to prefer larger planes. I also own some modern planes & some safe-queen English infills. I’ll tell you what I did & maybe others can point out the virtues & mistakes.

I started off with a cheap modern Stanley #4 from Ebay. I did everything I could manage but never got it working correctly. I learned this by using a friend’s modern Lie Nielsen #4 which set my reference for what a #4 could/should do. I went back to the well (Ebay) & purchased an early Type #4 & refurbed it. Once I replaced the badly pitted natural blade with a modern Hock, I was off to the races. Memorable purchases thereafter include a standard 220 block plane, then a low angle block for endgrain. Followed by a #7 for jointing. This was a monumental discovery for me & i quickly got the #6, followed by the #8. In love with low angles, I found a Stanley low angle jack. So, my advice would be to first see how a plane should act, then buy the best quality starter plane you can afford. Consider replacing the blade from the start. In order of importance, I (personally only) would buy in order:
1) Block plane (Stanley 220 or rough equivalent) Ebay $30-50
2) Smooth plane (Stanley #4 or equivalent) Ebay $50-70
3) Jack plane (Stanley #5 or equivalent) Ebay $30-50
4) Jointer plane (Stanley #7 or possibly #6/#8 or equivalent) Ebay $70-100
5) Low-angle block plane (Stanley 65 or equivalent) Ebay $50-80

I think this would be a reasonable way to introduce yourself to planing. Don’t forget sharpening! You’ll spend more time doing this than planing. Congratulations on starting a rewarding journey that may last a lifetime.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2157 days


#2 posted 02-28-2011 10:03 PM

I almost forgot, Patrick’s site for Stanley planes has been most valuable to me on my search

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

Other type studies are easily found on the internet. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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toddbeaulieu

781 posts in 2468 days


#3 posted 02-28-2011 10:06 PM

Perhaps you could help with a single example, and that could steer the rest of the purchases?

For instance, if you search for item # 300529802094 on ebay (“Vintage STANLEY BAILEY #4 Plane USA”).

He’s got a #4 and a #5. Would you recommend this? Is it the right idea? I ask because it’s buy now, yet nobody’s grabbed it. Meanwhile, others has recently sold for more $. It seems good to me, but what do I know?

I’ll search for the 220. I’ve got a block plane now (starter).

Thanks!

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toddbeaulieu

781 posts in 2468 days


#4 posted 02-28-2011 10:07 PM

Oh, I’ve been reading through his stuff for the past few hours!

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2157 days


#5 posted 02-28-2011 10:32 PM

Lol at you reading Patrick’s already. OK, well the plane you linked me to wouldn’t be desirable to me but that doesn’t mean it’s not desirable. The pictured plane has a high knob (front handle) & raised knob ring. The frog (what the blade sits on) is a less desirable configuration & the lever cap is chipped. The iron is also a lower quality iron. So, not for me but might work just fine for you. I’m worried that you might get frustrated with that lower quality iron & end up spending $100 for a replacement iron when you could apply that money to a nicer plane with a usable iron. Let me look real quick. Here’s a very expensive early Type Bedrock #4 (http://cgi.ebay.com/type-1-STANLEY-BEDROCK-No-4-not-604-smooth-plane-RARE-/310298747520?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item483f3f2280). Notice the flat surface of the frog & the earlier stamping on the blade? I’m not suggesting you buy this overpriced plane but it gives you a general idea. Now look at this Sweetheart #4 (http://cgi.ebay.com/STANLEY-BAILEY-WOOD-PLANE-4C-SWEET-HEART-TYPE-12-1921-/260744720319?pt=LHDefaultDomain0&hash=item3cb598afbf). This would be a desirable plane to me & I doubt it will fetch much for than $50 or $60. The blade looks to be in good shape & I’ve had good luck with sweetheart era and earlier blades.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2157 days


#6 posted 02-28-2011 10:36 PM

If you’ve already got a quality block plane, consider looking at the older low-angle stanley block planes. I’ve got the knuckle joint varieties and really love them. They go through cycles but I’ve purchased them for $60 or less.

If you want to skip the auctions & get yourself a guaranteed plane, Lie Nielsen is still a consideration. $350 for a bronze #4 (http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?grp=1261). It doesn’t get the style points with a vintage Stanley guy like me, but it’s a plane of undeniable quality right out of the box.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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toddbeaulieu

781 posts in 2468 days


#7 posted 02-28-2011 10:54 PM

I would have responded sooner, but I had to change my undies after seeing the price on that first plane. ;)

I’m at a point where I need so many things that I just can’t afford to spend $300+ for a hand plane. If I good at this stuff, I can consider precision tools like that, but for now I have to work on core competencies on a budget. I do hate to buy crap, only to later buy the real thing, having wasted my money, but extra cash is ellusive at the moment.

I’m going to have study your comments some more, comparing these auctions. The differences aren’t as clear to me as it obviously is to you! Someone should come up with a business of helping newbies purchase tools for a flat fee … so there’s no commission or conflict of interest involved. I know I’d be willing to pay for hand holding.

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2462 days


#8 posted 02-28-2011 11:00 PM

A good starter set would be a Jack plane #5, and a regular and low angle block plane.

Scraper planes are nice but a luxury. Get a card scraper until you figure out what you want or find a good deal on one.

A #7 and a #8 both would be pretty redundant not much different unless you are getting the collecting bug. Flip a coin. But I advise waiting for a good deal. You can to a lot with a jack plane and careful cutting.

A good block plane will do anything that a smoother would do for a lot less money. Again, a dedicated smoother is a luxury.

If you are buying new and money is no object, splurge and get the veritas or L-N skew block planes. Ohh-so-sexy.

If money is an object, the little $40 wooden rabbet plane lee valley and others sell is a bargain. A #78 is a workable solution but I hate the feel of mine. I don’t like the cast iron tote (handle). The #92? eh, I guess they are “OK” but I don’t have one and don’t feel deprived.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2157 days


#9 posted 02-28-2011 11:17 PM

As David rightly mentions, the jack is definitely a great all-purpose plane. As I generally like planes one step larger than I should, I do “smoothing” work with the #6 & 5. I’l have a #7 set to a relatively thick cut & work at the board surface until it’s relatively flat. I’ll follow it up with a #6 or 5 set to a very thin shaving to smooth with the grain. I might hit it up later with a #4, #64, or scraper but usually it’s pretty close to smooth. I’ve got fancy scraper planes but they’re definitely a luxury to me & I reach for the $10 card scraper more often. A #8 is my choice for jointing but I’ll use the #7 on occasion. With a skilled hand, you can do limited jointing with a smaller plane. I don’t use a plane fence & I’ll drift out of square with anything but the jointers. A low angle jack might get you even closer to a dual purpose plane (like David mentions, e.g. block v. smoother). Like David, I don’t like the #78 for anything other than rabbeting. Like he says, it’s got an awkward handle pitch for me. I got by for a long time without a shoulder plane & they’re quite expensive. I’ve used a bullnose plane, a wide chisel, etc. until I could afford the Clifton I wanted.

I wouldn’t suggest a $300 first plane but I’d spend $80 on one over $20. Like you, I only like to “cry once” but sometimes you just have to assess your needs. I wouldn’t buy a 12 inch jointer as my first machine, only to find that the 6” works just fine for my needs. I think a nice unrepaired, chipless Stanley sweetheart #4 or #5 with a good blade life would be an excellent launching point for under $100. How ever much you spend, don’t get discouraged and stick with it. I value my time handplaning over all other shop time & I nearly gave up early on.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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knotscott

7214 posts in 2839 days


#10 posted 02-28-2011 11:46 PM

If you’re going to buy new, I’d buy nothing less than a Lie Nielsen or Veritas. If those are out of your price range, I’d be a good quality vintage plane like a Record, Millers Falls, Stanley Bailey, or Stanley Bedrock. There’s more info about buying older planes on my blog

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

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2157 days


#11 posted 02-28-2011 11:56 PM

^Knotscott’s right. I neglected Millers Falls. I also forgot Clifton. His blog is an excellent read.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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toddbeaulieu

781 posts in 2468 days


#12 posted 03-10-2011 04:34 AM

I read through all the posted material. You guys are great. I have so much to learn.

I missed the sweet heart plane on ebay, but I found a local guy on CL that had two older stanely planes (4/5) for $90. Hopefully you won’t throw up and tell me I’m an idiot. Attached is a photo. He had a Bedrock, but wasn’t about to sell it for $50.

I think I’d like to try the scary sharp method. I do have a nice veritas jig, but I’ve never tried it on a plane blade. Again … so much to learn!

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2157 days


#13 posted 03-10-2011 02:51 PM

I think you did quite well. You could have probably saved a few bucks on Ebay but it’s not worth the time & headache. These are pretty close to the type of planes I prefer; I like the unadorned keyhole (rather than kidney bean) lever caps, simply for their pleasing appearance to me. They look ready for some good times. I have the Veritas jig, as well, but I prefer the inexpensive Eclipse jig. It may just be that I’ve had more time with it. Good luck with those nice planes & advice on Scary Sharp abounds here on LJ.

I think you did very well & I’m excited for you to get started with thiese fine planes.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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toddbeaulieu

781 posts in 2468 days


#14 posted 03-19-2011 01:27 PM

Back when we were discussing this, I replied to a CL listing for some planes. He didn’t give much detail or even asking prices, so I figured I’d ask. He just responded last night (over two weeks!).

Do you think this stuff sounds like I should take a look? Are wooden planes any good?

”i wanted 2 get 100 for the 5 wooden planes & 100 for the bailey #3 bench plane, the champion #9, plus 2 #4 bench planes & I wanted 40 each for the squares.”

Thanks!

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2157 days


#15 posted 03-19-2011 01:45 PM

I love wooden planes but they require a bit of patience. I’m having a hard time understanding his prices but $100 for a #3 is pretty steep. I think it’s worth a look.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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