Block Plane

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Forum topic by bhack posted 05-27-2008 03:41 PM 1447 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bhack's profile


349 posts in 3961 days

05-27-2008 03:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane question milling

Would I go totally wrong in buying a new Stanley Block Plane? I don’t know a lot about planes being new to woodworking. But I do know I need at least a block plane to do a little touch up now and then. I notice that most of the high end ones are three to four times more expensive than the Stanley. Would it suffice until I gain more expertise?

-- Bill - If I knew GRANDKIDS were so much fun I would have had them first.

10 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4063 days

#1 posted 05-27-2008 03:51 PM

A block plane is one of the more useful ones in the plane series. The Stanley plane works fine but you will need to sharpen the blade on it. Whether it be a chisel or plane, newly purchased tools do not have much of an edge on them.

But, as with most tools, you tend to get what you pay for. I have a two Stanley block planes that I use for general applications whereby I need to pare down wood quickly. But the use of these is extremely limited for furniture woodworking projects.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4137 days

#2 posted 05-27-2008 04:14 PM

Bill – I have the Stanley low angle block plane and it’s ok for general purpose use. As Scott said you’ll need to sharpen the blade. I also have the Veritas low angle block plane and it’s WAY better than the Stanley for fine work.

So—- if you are only going to use the plane once in a while – the Stanley properly sharped is ok. But if it will get more use – I’d go with a nicer plane.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View WayneC's profile


13812 posts in 4338 days

#3 posted 05-27-2008 05:18 PM

Also you could get an older used stanley plane. Look for one with an adjustable mouth such as a Stanley 9 1/2, 18, 60, or 65. Try to get at least one Standard Angle and One Low Angle. Info on different Stanley planes can be found here

There are a number of posts on how to restore one on the site.

My favorite is the LN 60 1/2 –

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View benhasajeep's profile


30 posts in 3910 days

#4 posted 05-27-2008 05:47 PM

I only have the less expensive planes right now. What I have learned is using one from the box. And then tuning one up as much as you can makes a world of difference! As mentioned before you may recieve the plane with a sharp edge. But its not truly sharp as it should be. Especially for light touch up use you are considering. After reading up on planes, I took my cheapies and flattened the soles (2 of them took quite a bit). Sharpened the irons to scary sharp. And squared the opening. They still have limitations, but the difference between recieving them and now is a big difference.

I have been looking at some older good quality planes on ebay but have not bid on one yet. There are some deals to be had if willing to spend time cleaning one up. The LV and LN’s are out of my price range at the moment.

-- Ben, Living the good life in Maine now (almost, just need to retire in 2 decades time)

View WayneC's profile


13812 posts in 4338 days

#5 posted 05-27-2008 06:24 PM

I’ve had better luck at flea markets for block planes. If you know what your looking for, you can find a deal here or there. The #65 in the photo beliow is a restored #65 that I purchased for about $20 and added a hock blade to. It’s performance is on par with the LN 60 1/2 it is shown with.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 4082 days

#6 posted 05-27-2008 06:58 PM

If you want something to start out with I would suggest the Stanley Low Angle Block Plane with the adjustable mouth.
When you take out of its package you first need to remove coating from the sole and on the blade. This is put on to stop rust while it is being shipped. I remove it with paint stripper. Then as Ben suggested tune it up. I use float glass and psa sandpaper I buy by the roll to flatten the bottom. You want the bottom to look like a mirror, then wax it. I would put a Hock blade in it, or at the very least do a really good job sharpening the blade it comes with.
There are a few other steps you still need to take to get it tune up all the way. There are some links above or you can contact myself or one of the other members to walk you through it.
Good Luck,

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View jcees's profile


1071 posts in 4040 days

#7 posted 05-27-2008 08:11 PM

Start from where you are. It’s the only way lest ye be in for an expensive and ultimately frustrating journey. To some extent, you can buy performance but nothing teaches you like earning performance. Lap the sole, make sure the mouth is square, sharpen the blade as best you can and let fly!

I’ve got a L-N #102 and a Stanley #103 and they both see a lot of use—the Stanley gets the rough work and the L-N gets the easy stuff. Ultimately, buy as much performance as you can afford and learn the tool.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View bhack's profile


349 posts in 3961 days

#8 posted 05-27-2008 08:38 PM

Thanks one and all for the comments. Sort of confirms my thoughts. I will probably start out at a lower price until I see what my requirements are, then progress as needed.

WayneC thanks for the links. They are very informative.

Gosh ‘o golly I love this site.

-- Bill - If I knew GRANDKIDS were so much fun I would have had them first.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4229 days

#9 posted 05-27-2008 11:28 PM

I have two Stanley low angle block planes. Keep them sharp and they work great.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View matter's profile


210 posts in 4010 days

#10 posted 05-28-2008 12:00 AM

I would never fault my Stanleys

I wore out the original irons, and had A2’s made up by a tool & die maker I know. Made a big difference

-- The only easy wood project is a fire

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