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How many #4 and #5 planes does one man need?

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Forum topic by 1tacoshort posted 11-09-2018 01:58 AM 1164 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1tacoshort

20 posts in 1052 days


11-09-2018 01:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane

Hi all,

I inherited some woodworking equipment from my dad when he recently passed. I have 3 #5 planes and 2 #4 planes. Is there a reason why I shouldn’t pick the best example of each of these for myself and just sell the others?

Thanks!

-- Wade


30 replies so far

View Johnny7's profile

Johnny7

387 posts in 1264 days


#1 posted 11-09-2018 02:01 AM

There probably is no good reason you shouldn’t simply keep one example of each.

Others will tell you to keep mulitple versions and set them up differently—most often, the advice given is to make one of the jacks into a scrub plane.

There is something to be said for having two smoothers tuned and sharpened, so that there is no interruption caused by stopping to sharpen, but the same thing can be accomplished with a second iron.

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KYtoolsmith

33 posts in 33 days


#2 posted 11-09-2018 02:34 AM

Funny you should ask… I actually have in my users/shop… Two 3s, five 4s, one 4 1/2, two 5 1/4s, three 5s, two 5 1/2… 6, two 7s, two 8s… To say nothing of the 39s, 40, 190, 192, 78, 62, 289, 45, 90, 92, 248, 112, 80, 81… And all get frequent use. The bench plane duplicates are each set differently…

Seems like hand planes are like rabbits, first you get two, and the next time you go to the shop there are twenty…

Keep em all, you’ll find it nice to not have to reset your only No 5 between roughing and finer work, or stopping to hone or change the iron on your only No 4.
Regards, the Kentucky Toolsmith!

-- "Good enough" is just an excuse. Good workmanship needs no excuses.

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ColonelTravis

1917 posts in 2067 days


#3 posted 11-09-2018 04:19 AM

The reason I think multiples are a good idea is when you use very different types of wood. I use wood with normal grain and I use bizarro wood with bizarro grain. Repeatedly altering the bevel (even if it’s just the secondary bevel) on a single blade is dumb to me. Having multiple blades is better than one blade, but then I will need to alter the plane slightly. But having, say, two planes is simply the easiest option so you don’t have to fiddle with the setup. You see people with multiple power routers all the time, some people have two bandsaws, etc. There are valid reasons for having extras.

Turns out I use my 4 1/2 with a 55 degree frog on almost everything so I don’t go back to my normal 4 very much, but there are some things that I cannot smooth with my normal 4, which is what I owned first. I needed a second smoother. I have a LA Jack and a regular jack that do two different jobs.

I say keep everything for a while and see how you use it. If you never use it, you could sell it. Or, since it’s your dad’s stuff maybe you’d want to keep it, just because.

There is no wrong answer about what to do.

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1tacoshort

20 posts in 1052 days


#4 posted 11-09-2018 05:47 AM

Thanks, everyone!

Edit: I’ll probably set the #4s up differently and get rid of the other duplicates (with a bunch of other stuff). I’ve got lots of stuff from Dad in my shop (I kept a rabbet plane and brace from Dad, kept a block plane from Grandpa, I even have a double dado plane that’s who-knows-how-old). I really appreciate the help!

-- Wade

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CaptainKlutz

528 posts in 1668 days


#5 posted 11-09-2018 09:48 AM

+1 If you really are going to use hand planes, it helps to have a couple set up differently.
I have (3) #5’s: (1) 30 degree, (1) 50 degree via back bevel, and (1) radius iron/large mouth used for scrub work.

+1 Find that I work on large enough panels that I use my 4-1/2 and 5-1/2 more than regular width planes, especially for straight grain planing with 30-35 degree bevel; this reduces need for a couple of narrower versions.

One last comment:
You are not going to get rich selling a couple of common #4/5 planes. Might do ok, if they they are early type 1-5 from 1860-1880 in great shape? But used #4 & #5 hand planes from 1900’s sell really cheap. I can find neglected planes that need a tune up for less than $20 locally (garage sales for $5-10), and everyday users for less than $35.

Cheers.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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Smirak

76 posts in 692 days


#6 posted 11-09-2018 04:53 PM

I think handplanes, clamps and guns all follow the same formula of N+1 = number you need, where “N” is currently the number owned.

View JayT's profile

JayT

5926 posts in 2384 days


#7 posted 11-09-2018 05:27 PM

I’m with Smirak.

The correct answer whenever asked how many planes one needs is . . . “One more”

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

4384 posts in 3908 days


#8 posted 11-09-2018 05:55 PM

Great question, 1tacoshort!

Today’s Poopiekat answer is 512 planes. Ooops a Union 5-X just came in, so 513 is my answer.

Though I don’t presume to speak for everybody…

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View DBDesigns's profile

DBDesigns

157 posts in 171 days


#9 posted 11-09-2018 07:31 PM

Keep all of your planes and get more. “He who dies with the most tools wins.”
Plus they don’t make decent old tools anymore. If you look on EBAY you will see that common Stanleys don’t sell for very much so in the long run “its cheaper to keep her”.

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead

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DBDesigns

157 posts in 171 days


#10 posted 11-09-2018 07:36 PM

BTW, looks like Poopiekat is winning! Clearly, he and KYToolsmith are American Heroes. My current count is about 75 planes and 90 chisels but I rehab them and resell them so lots of classic iron has passed through my shop. I am currently on an exhaustive search for a 5 1/4 c. Needle in a haystack!

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead

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corelz125

552 posts in 1149 days


#11 posted 11-09-2018 09:53 PM

I have 8 number 8 sized planes and will get another if the price is right. So I agree with kytoolsmith can never have enough

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ColonelTravis

1917 posts in 2067 days


#12 posted 11-09-2018 10:16 PM



I have 8 number 8 sized planes and will get another if the price is right. So I agree with kytoolsmith can never have enough

- corelz125

Funny. Where I live those are extremely hard to come by. I own the only one I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. Love mine, will never get rid of it. Good to know about those #8 fans out there.

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corelz125

552 posts in 1149 days


#13 posted 11-09-2018 10:32 PM

ColTravis we seem to be a small group that like the 8’s. I think most are scared of the size but i think there awesome.

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CaptainKlutz

528 posts in 1668 days


#14 posted 11-10-2018 12:21 AM

+1 Per Smirik – one more would be OK ….......

+1 Poopiekat and KYToolsmith are American hand plane heroes
Paint me green with envy, or as Homer says:

.
@corelz135 – 8 number 8?
Whoa.

+1 I almost never find #8 in wild for sale.
Always in hands of collector or over priced antique store,
and never see one cheap enough to pick up as spare.

Love them, have two:
- type 16 #8 with grooved bottom I use for large panels.
- type 6a Bedrock 608 flat bottom I use for jointer work.
Only reason for 2nd boat anchor is I needed a 608 to finish my collection of Bedrock planes. :-)

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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KYtoolsmith

33 posts in 33 days


#15 posted 11-10-2018 12:35 AM

Oh…do non users count? guess I didn’t mention the planes I have in the house… Planes so old & in such good condition or so rare that I don’t dare use them. A full set of Stanley bench planes, 1 through 8, (including a 5 1/4C), scarce Stanley edge rebate and other specialty planes, and a full set of nineteen No. 4s as examples of the Stanley Plane type study.

Over the years I picked these up for comparison showing the changes from the original Stanley made Bailey design of 1867 to the last changes in 1967.

Is that enough planes?
Regards, the Kentucky Toolsmith!

-- "Good enough" is just an excuse. Good workmanship needs no excuses.

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