garrett wade plane question

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Forum topic by ardbeg posted 03-29-2012 10:57 AM 3925 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ardbeg's profile


102 posts in 3049 days

03-29-2012 10:57 AM

I am trying to move from being a machine only type guy into using more hand tools. I fully realize that like machines, you get what you pay for, but 1) I can’t afford to buy anything LN At this point (no,wait, I can afford their card scrapers) and 2) I would like to get an assortment of tools to see if I like the method of work.

Obviously these planes aren’t of the highest quality but would they work to give me experience and a feel for the craft? They come with. A money back guarantee, so I can inspect and try them, what should i look for?


thanks guys,your input is always helpful

-- You may delay, but time will not. --Ben Franklin

10 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2589 days

#1 posted 03-29-2012 12:14 PM

Here is my 2 cents for whatever its worth.

I have absolutley no expirience with Garrett Wade tools, so I’ll speak generically.

They look cheap, right down to the plastic handles. Can they be made to work. Probably to some resemblence of OK.

My advice, go one of two other routes.

look for and buy vintage. A #3 or #4 stanley, millers falls, sargent, wards, craftsman, etc, etc, can be bought pretty cheap and will work as well or better than above, plus hold or increase in retail value. Others like jointers can come later. Block planes are cheap as well, and spoke shaves can be found extremely reasonable.

the second option would be to buy David Finck’s Mastering and Making wood planes and start making your own. Its a great learning expirience from how planes work to actual woodworking. There is nothing more satifying than using a tool you produced yourself.

For help with either option, just ask here like you already did. There are so many LJ’s ready to help you won’t believe it.

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

View bondogaposis's profile


4753 posts in 2372 days

#2 posted 03-29-2012 12:18 PM

I would start w/ a Stanley #5 jack plane. You can probably find one for $25 or so on ebay. May take a little work to restore it but then you will understand how it works. A jack plane is a lot more versatile than a smoother. The GW kit has a smoother a block and a spokeshave, of the 3 the block would be the most useful for all around work. You can pick up a Stanley #60 1/2 block plane for about $30 also on ebay. I don’t think I have ever made anything that I didn’t use my 60 1/2 on. So for a similar amount of money you would be better served w/ the jack and the block planes to get started w/ hand planes. Then later on you will want to pick up a smoother and jointer if this type of work suits you. You may never need a spokeshave.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ITnerd's profile


263 posts in 2621 days

#3 posted 03-29-2012 12:51 PM

If you are worried about buying dogs off auction, I would recommend you start perusing the sites of established antique tool dealers. You can find surprisingly good deals from most of them.

Patrick Leach also has a fantastic website called Blood & Gore that will teach you more than you can stand to know about Stanley hand planes. This will help you make sure you know what you’re getting if you go hunting around on your own.

Have fun sir!

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2992 days

#4 posted 03-29-2012 01:22 PM

I bought a brace (hand drill) from GW and was very dissapointed. In the catalogue and on line it looks like a quality tool. In person it looks like something from the tool section of the Dollar Store.

In defense of GW, they did ask me for an evaluation of the tool I just bought. When I told them what I thought about it, they said they were very sorry I was not satisfied and offered to pay return shipping if I wanted to return it.

Nice company to work with, but my experience with their woodworking tools is not great. I will still probably do busisness with them again; maybe some of their gardening tools.

ardbeg: If you don’t feel up to buying used and refurbishing, since you appear to be from Atlanta, why not go check out Highland Woodworking. I bet someone there would give you some good advice. At least get your hands on some quality tools so you know how they feel.

Or go to a Woodcraft store. Their line of planes get generaly good reviews and are middle of the road, pricewise.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2714 days

#5 posted 03-29-2012 01:26 PM

Although they might come across as harsh, Don’s words are true. I’d go with a used Stanley, like others have suggested. There’s a real risk of getting a bad impression of planes based upon a bad initial experience.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2589 days

#6 posted 03-29-2012 01:35 PM

i didn’t mean to come across as harsh. I apologize if it sounded that way. Like Al said, I just hate to see somebody buy an inferior tool and give up thinking its not the way to go.

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

View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2398 days

#7 posted 03-29-2012 03:35 PM

Generally good advice, I will just add that there is a huge difference between pre-WWII tools and those made during and afterwards. If you go used, buy from a respected dealer who will give info about the tool and will accept returns or if from eBay do your homework so you can recognize and date your planned purchase.

As someone mentioned Woodcraft is selling a line of planes that are very well made, with good iron, and needing very little work to set them up properly right out of the box. Usually the biggest problem you find is they over tighten the tapered screws that hold the frog at the factory and you have to get replacement screws which is not a big deal. You end up with a very good Bedrock clone for less cost than buying one from eBay or a dealer and doing a refurbish.

BTW, I have a tool jones and have planes of just about every description and vintage including ones I make my self and if you just want to work wood with minimum hassle and cost the new Woodcraft planes are hard to beat.

Now, if you have a tool jones your only hope once you start down the hand tool road is….my name is ken and I’m a toolaholic.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2714 days

#8 posted 03-29-2012 03:46 PM

That’s my bad, Don; using “harsh”. It looked bad when I typed it but I was too lazy to reword it:)

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

View ardbeg's profile


102 posts in 3049 days

#9 posted 03-29-2012 10:48 PM

Thanks for the advice gentlemen. I just picked up what looks like a relatively clean Stanley Bailey on Ebay for $28. I will let you know how it is when it arrives.

-- You may delay, but time will not. --Ben Franklin

View GWTech's profile


7 posts in 2993 days

#10 posted 03-29-2012 11:48 PM

Hi ardbeg,

I’ve used these planes myself, and I’ve spoken to other woodworkers and carpenters who have used them.
We’ve been selling them for about 6 months. These are my personal impressions of the tools, as well as some background which might be helpful.

Toolmaking in India has emerged in recent years to stand shoulder to shoulder in quality and value with the more familiar manufacturers that are mentioned above. Garrett Wade has closely monitored these developments. The advancement in the materials, fit and form of these premium hand planes has been remarkable, and Garrett Wade is excited to offer them to our customers.

Having sold planes at Garrett Wade (many of the models mentioned above, actually) for a over a decade, and having participated in the testing, review, photographing and (yes) marketing of these planes, I can tell you with confidence that they are not cheap – not even close – and they do not have plastic handles. (Ductile Iron, brass, hardwood).

My personal, subjective, nutshell assessment of these tools? Compare the Starter Kit and the Trimming Planes to Stanley, and the Block Planes closer to the performance of a L-N (especially for the mid-level skill set woodworker – a sub-set in which I place myself and almost everyone I know). You should expect some tuning up before using the Starter planes and the trim planes, while the block planes are pretty much good to go.

The assessment of the very highly skilled, professional cabinetmaker with an extremely cynical attitude to whom I sent the planes for testing? He was genuinely surprised and impressed. I haven’t gotten back the shoulder plane yet.( Yo, John!) My suspicion is that if the woodworkers here at Lumberjocks were to give these planes a try, many of you would likewise be impressed with the quality and value of these fine tools.

Is this the right tool for your needs? Gosh, I really don’t know. Since you mentioned a desire to try a variety of tools before making a big commitment, and the set sells at a very reasonable price for three tools, it might be.

If you would like more information on these or any Garrett Wade tool, call 800-221-2942 or email me directly at

I love Lumberjocks! It’s my favorite forum. Cheers all!


The Woodworker Starter Set
Premium Block Planes
Traditional Trim Planes


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