Shoulder Planes

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Forum topic by NicholasS posted 12-17-2011 06:34 AM 2148 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 2351 days

12-17-2011 06:34 AM

I’ve been trying to collect what I believe to be essential hand tools for a few months so I can have the tools I need to actually start making something. While not exactly essential, I would like to get a shoulder plane at some point but when I look on ebay they are all really expensive. Is there a reason for this? Are they really hard to make or come by one that is made well? I assumed they would be around 50 bucks but everything I’m seeing is around 2 to 4 hundred!

11 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


6929 posts in 2595 days

#1 posted 12-17-2011 06:41 AM

The stanley 90, 92, 93 are usually $75 to $100 from what I have seen. They are more than one would think, but the 92 I have has been useful in the short time I have had it.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15349 posts in 2615 days

#2 posted 12-17-2011 06:57 AM

Dito on the usefulness of the 92 and 93 of the ones you listed. Figure $125 in my experience to get a vintage us-made tool. Why? The ones out there get used, and they are specialty tools. Cerainly fewer of these than 5 and 4 bench planes, for example… Good luck!

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

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


404 posts in 3019 days

#3 posted 12-17-2011 07:05 AM

The stanley no 92 is currently going for $79 on Amazon with free shipping. Maybe not as pretty as some of the top of the line shoulder planes but keeping the extra $150 in my wallet buys a lot of forgiveness from me.

-- Greg, Severn MD

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15349 posts in 2615 days

#4 posted 12-17-2011 07:16 AM

There isn’t too much out there on the sw re-issue, so as long as it’s square upon arrival, sounds good to me!

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

View Loren's profile


10384 posts in 3645 days

#5 posted 12-17-2011 09:12 AM

The cost of shoulder planes is in their manufacturing. 3 faces of
the plane have to be ground square to each other. There’s
more precision inherent in their manufacture compared to
standard bench planes.

Shoulder planes also get a lot of their power from mass, so the
big 4 pounders are made that large for a good reason. Once
you get your hands on a big’un you’ll see what the fuss is

I had a Stanley 93 or something. I sold it as soon as I got a 4 pound
Record, which is much more plane in mass and in other ways
as well.

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2994 days

#6 posted 12-17-2011 03:17 PM

The extra cost is like because of the adjustment features a shoulder plane has. When you finally own one you still need to know how to sharpen and tune your tool to keep it functioning the way it was designed. I disagree with a shoulder plane needing extra “weight”, you are going to use this plane to trim any excess material to make the joint a perfect fit. (you can use a sharp chisel to do the same result ) The main work has already been done with another tool ! A shoulder plane is a nice CONVENIENCE.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Don W's profile

Don W

18711 posts in 2564 days

#7 posted 12-17-2011 08:38 PM

The second part of your question was about making one. Just search LJs for shoulder planes and you will see a plethora of shop made examples and directions.

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

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3741 days

#8 posted 12-18-2011 12:44 AM

+1 what Loren said. I know the “feel” or the ability to hold on to the plane is important. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend wasting your money on the Stanleys. They just don’t feel or work right. Shoulder planes are a specialty plane and basically just good for shoulders of tenons or rabbets. I have a large Veritas and a small Lie-Nielsen and love both of them. They both get a lot of use and I couldn’t do without them. I’ve tried the chisel method and you can save a lot of time and get better results with the plane.

View dunbarhamlin's profile


1 post in 2348 days

#9 posted 12-18-2011 04:57 PM

Erm, I’d down-rate a shoulder plane from not exactly essential to down right pointless for tenon work, and better off with a rabbet plane (with knickers) for rabbets.
I have a Cliffie shoulder plane, and can’t remember last time it was used. Sharp chisel better for shoulders, and a router plane more versatile for rabbets, grooves and cheeks.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2923 days

#10 posted 12-18-2011 05:56 PM

I have a few shoulder planes, use them for various work, find them as handy as a block plane for cleaning up edges, etc…

My preference is the older models made in England (Spiers, Norris, Clifton, etc.) but Lee Valley makes a nice selection of sizes.

A couple real nice shoulder planes will compliment your hand tools, even if you never use them on shoulders of tenons.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2690 days

#11 posted 12-18-2011 06:04 PM

^lol JusFine’s “a few”. I’m a vintage tool guy (no so much a collector) and my recommendation is to buy the biggest, best shoulder plane you can afford. The Stanley 9x’s are nice if they’re old. The new ones are not desirable to me (which includes the English ones). I’ve got the big Clifton and a bullnose record. I think the LN would be a consideration and although I don’t like them, the LV/Veritas come highly recommended. If it were me all over again, I’d save up for the LN.

JusFine is actually the guy you should talk to. He’s got more shoulder planes that anyone I know.

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

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