Best first New plane

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Forum topic by ChrisCarr posted 04-22-2012 03:07 AM 2090 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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196 posts in 2924 days

04-22-2012 03:07 AM

I have an old stanley no 4 from the 60’s but am considering buying a new one to use since i cant afford a jointer for a couple months. I might get a hand plane but only want a quality one, ready out the box (minus honing).

What is the best plane to flatten and smooth boards with if you can only have 1?

8 replies so far

View DocBailey's profile


584 posts in 2386 days

#1 posted 04-22-2012 03:48 AM

I’m a little confused by your question. Generally, when someone says “flatten and smooth” they’re talking about taking the wind/twist/cup out of the face of a piece of wood. But you first mention jointing. If it’s the former that you’re talking about, then you already have the best all-around tool. (there are bigger and smaller smoothers like the #3,or the #4 1/2).
But if you’re talking about jointing, then the choices are a 7 (22” length) or 8 (24”). Some guys use a No. 6 for this task on smaller jobs.
If you can only own one jack with which to do everything, the you’ll probably want a No. 5—that’s why it’s called a jack (as in “of all trades”)

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3401 days

#2 posted 04-22-2012 12:01 PM

A #5 jack plane is the best “do-all” choice IMO. “Ready out of the box” usually leads you to Lie Nielsen or Veritas, but be forewarned they cost enough that it could put a big dent in your jointer fund. I’ve had several good #5 planes from Bailey, Record, and Millers Falls that were < $50 and didn’t need much help….

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3779 days

#3 posted 04-22-2012 03:24 PM

A Veritas #5 will cost you almost as much as a 6” jointer.
A Lie Nielson will cost you more than a 6” jointer.
A used Stanley off Ebay might cause you fits….. or not.
A WoodRiver #5 costs about $160.00 and is a very decent plane.

V/R….. John

View ShaneA's profile


6956 posts in 2624 days

#4 posted 04-22-2012 03:46 PM

#5 is probably the first choice for only one plane. Budget will dictate the rest. If it has to be new, and on a budget WoodRiver is a good choice. If no budget concerns, well then….it is looking like LN. However, there are LJs who sell restored, and tuned vintage that will be ready upon delivery. I bet you could get a #5 and a #7 ready to go for the cost of a new WR. Lots of ways to skin this cat. Good luck.

View jdmaher's profile


430 posts in 2605 days

#5 posted 04-22-2012 11:26 PM

Hmmm…. There are LJs who sell restored Stanley #7s? Is there a Stanley that’s comparable to the LN? And an LJ that will sell one restored and tuned?

I just went to a Lie-Nielsen tool event yesterday. I managed to resist buying a #7 (actually, my buddy pulled me away before I could get my wallet out).

If there’s an LJ that can get me something comparable to a LN for a good bit less, I’d be interested to hear more. This sounds prudent, no? How do I find such a opportunity?

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2644 days

#6 posted 04-22-2012 11:37 PM

Jim, look up Don W here on LJs. If he doesn’t have one, he can get one and will work it up for you. An outstanding restore guy, for sure.

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

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Don W

18754 posts in 2593 days

#7 posted 04-23-2012 11:49 AM

Thank Smitty. What a lead in!

I love the LN planes, except for the price. I can’t image starting out and look at needing a set. I have a LN #62, you can read my review. Its great.

Vintage planes can be made to work just as well with a little work. Let’s face it; they’ve been the tools of craftsman’s for decades and decades. Plus, in tuning and restoring you learn a lot about how they work.

So to answer your question Chris, I think Shane is as close as you’ll get. Either a #5 (with 2 blades) will do a fair job on both smoothing and flattening. I’d rather have 2, because I hate changing the blades, which also means moving the frog. That and almost any $10 no-name #5 will work well for a jack plane. My first choice would be the #62, either new or vintage.

I’ve said this before thought; I don’t buy into the “if you can only have one” prophecy. Hot some antique shops, flea markets, ebay, or garage sales and find some nice old plane pretty cheap.

I love restoring vintage planes. Each is a little different. I do resell some, but only because I run out of room. I’d keep them all if I could.

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

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8207 posts in 2603 days

#8 posted 04-23-2012 01:32 PM

+1 for Don W, he’s trustworthy.

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