Robert Larson Planes? looking for decent mid level planes

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Forum topic by maljr1980 posted 09-07-2011 04:09 AM 4132 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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171 posts in 2656 days

09-07-2011 04:09 AM

I’m getting ready to put together a set of bench planes, probably a number 4,5, and 7. Heres some info on me, i work in a high end AWI millwork/cabinet shop. I wont be using them to much, but it would be nice to have for the times i could use them, most of our milling is done by machine, we have cnc beam saws, computerized sliding tablesaws just to name a few. Im a bench carpenter, and a bit of a tool snob, but not to the point where i have to own a kapex, my dewalt scms works just fine. i really dont want to spend big money for some LN’s givin the fact i dont really need them, other than to add to my arsenal of tools i have available if needed, but want something a step up from a buck brothers. been looking at old stanley baileys on ebay, when i come across some robert larson planes for cheap. did a little google searching and i believe these ara anant planes. i know robert larson pretty much just imports things and buts it in a box or bag with their name on it, but i generally associate them with better than average products, like the ulmia miter clamps or two cherries chisels they sell as their own. The new stanley/buck bros/groz planes are out of the question, and i think footprints fall into this lower catagory. restoring old stanleys seem to be a viable choice. also i like the woodrivers for the price but they dont make a no 7. LN, LV, clifton and kunz seem a little pricey. so is there a good mid level plane maker out there? are the anant any good?

5 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3198 days

#1 posted 09-07-2011 05:42 AM

I have never seen one in person but the Anant planes have had good reviews. More recent ones especially.

I have not bought from Robert Larson in a while but when I did, it was a good experience.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3171 days

#2 posted 09-07-2011 11:16 AM

My experience with Anant is mixed, from bad to worst.
I bought an Anant Kamel (supposedly their top line) spoke shave and an Anant bullnose rabbit plane recently.
I would be just as satisfied if I had burned a $100 bill.
This crap was not worth the cost of shipping.
I mean when, holes are drilled and tapped 7 degrees out of plumb, can you expect the rest of the plane to be quality?

I also bought a “New Stanley” sweetheart shoulder plane and a low angle jack plane and they are fantastic. I have absolutely no reservations about making another Stanley purchase. All they needed was a little honing and put to work.

You also mentioned Groz in the same category as Buck Brothers. I beg to differ. Buck Brothers is more like Harbor Freight quality. The Groz planes are patterned after the old Stanley Bailey and Record planes. The fit and finish is not great, but the design is sound. A couple hours of tuning and a Groz plane is not bad at all. At least in my experience. I had one Groz plane where the chip breaker got bumped against a grinding wheel and gouged during manufacture and had to be replaced, but otherwise, they just need flattening and sharpening. A Groz with an aftermarket iron, like a Hock or Pinnacle, makes a nice tool as well, but by the time you buy the plane and the replacement iron and factor in your labor, you might as well have bought a LV or LN..

LV Veritas is a very, very good tool for the money. I only have one, a bevel up smoother, but it is awsome. The most satisfying plane purchase I have made. When I can afford it I will be purchasing a LV bevel up jointer.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18390 posts in 3876 days

#3 posted 09-07-2011 11:43 AM

I thought about buying an Anant a few months ago. I googled for reviews and didn’t find anyone saying anything good. I just get old Stanley’s and Miller Falls from the early 20th century. They seem to work well, but I don’t have much experience, yet ;-)) That is a #7 jointer in my hand saluting the LJs of the world. I was able to straighten 8’ of oak in short order with it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Don W's profile

Don W

19009 posts in 2767 days

#4 posted 09-07-2011 03:38 PM

I’m in the older plane and restore group. Even a lot of the older no name planes work very well once tuned. I’ve got more than I’ll ever use because I enjoy bringing them back to life, but I do enough woodworking to know they will do everything you need and do it very well. Most of my planes come very cheap, but then most need a lot of work. Something in the middle would be more appropriate if your not as insane as I am.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3486 days

#5 posted 09-07-2011 05:41 PM

I have some Anants. For the price they are fine, but understand, they will take some work.
If you want a user out of the box, suck it up and get a Lie-Neilsen or Clifton, or something equally as pricey.
You can’t have it both ways. I spent considerable time tuning the Anants and they are now good planes.
Robert Lason is a good company. I met he and one of his daughters at the Atlanta Tool show about three years ago. They are great to deal with.

My problem with my Anant is I also have a Clifton the same size. Compared side by side—well there is no comparison. Like most tools, if you can’t by quality, don’t ever use the great tools. You can get spoiled quickly.

I agree with those suggesting vintage planes. If you are going to do the work anyway, they make a lot of sense if the price is right. It is very satisfying to restore and use what looked like a piece of junk.

I have blogged on some of my recent restorations if you are interested


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