Which plane to get

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Forum topic by tsdahc posted 06-08-2012 09:32 AM 1248 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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107 posts in 2550 days

06-08-2012 09:32 AM

So Veritas is having their free shipping right now and I been trying to decide which plane will be my next one. I am going to be building a bench here in the near future and right now I have a shoulder plane, block plane LA smoother and a Number 6 fore plane. All of them are veritas and have been ebay or craigslist finds. I been noticing thought that the LA jack and LA Jointer, when they do go up on CL or ebay they sell for almost the same price as new. So my quiestion is which one should be my next plane, a LA Jack or the LA jointer? I figure I could use the number 6 as a small jointer, but when building a bench would it be sufficient? Just looking for some opinions?

5 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3150 days

#1 posted 06-08-2012 10:44 AM

tsdahc, a #6 plane is often touted as a “Junior Jointer”. I strongly disagree with that label. The longer the body, the better the jointer it will be. I have #5s and #7, #8, and a 36” wooden bodied jointer. I have a couple of #6s that need to be restored, but haven’t gotten around to it because it is a size I do not need.

My point is, you can do the work of a #5 with your #6. You could even use the #6 for jointer small surfaces. But for jointing in the real world, you will greatly appreciate a jointer plane. If I were in your shoes, I would buy a jointer.

-- Mike

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15694 posts in 2817 days

#2 posted 06-08-2012 11:06 AM

IMO, you need a jack plane. Using the course, medium, fine approach, the jack handles getting wood into shape for jointing then smoothing, and that’s an obvious hole in the arsenal. A six is too big to heft around for jack work, unless maybe you’re Popeye’s alter ego. :-) my scrub wears me down at times! No opinion on BU / LA variety, ‘cept it’s not something I’ve mastered enough to find discriminate uses for LA vs standard frog tools yet.

Good luck!

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

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 4002 days

#3 posted 06-08-2012 11:35 AM

That LA Jack is a remarkably useful plane – at a stretch you could get by with it and a block plane on almost anything, particularly if you get the accessory blades (different angle and toothed). See FWW #217 for an article about exactly that, it uses the L-N but same points apply.

That said, if you are doing a bench, a big jointer would be very useful – and the Veritas BU Jointer is an excellent one.

FWIW, I own both (I live WAY too close to a LV store, I walk in and…), and love using both. The LA Jack may well be the plane I use the most, the only other contenders being a much-loved Type 11 #4 and the Veritas LA Block. The Jointer does not get out as much, but with the fence it is a very useful plane at times – and I have had to joint one very squirrelly-grained large panel. Simply no substitute, without that BU Jointer I would still be doing it.

So sufficient, yes. If the bench is your very next project and you will likely do a lot of jointing, you might still want the BU J. Not really a wrong answer here…

View jmos's profile


902 posts in 2568 days

#4 posted 06-08-2012 11:50 AM

I’d say it’s all about how you’ve got the planes set up. A Jack and a jointer would be a more typical pairing, but, as you have the 6, you could set it up to do the work of the jack (camber the blade and widen the mouth for more aggressive work) and get by until you can pick up a Jack.

I got the LN LA jointer and jack and have been very happy with the pair (I’m sure the LV would be great too.). Got some extra blades for the jack so I have a toothed blade, one set at 25deg and one sharpened to 40deg for highly figured woods.

For you bench build I think you would get more use out of the jointer. But you’ll want a jack eventually.

Just my opinion.

-- John

View 8iowa's profile


1587 posts in 3960 days

#5 posted 06-08-2012 11:54 AM

I’m far from an expert on hand planes, but I have been a “student” in two of Christopher Schwarz’s classes at the Woodworking in America conferences. Schwarz uses the #6 with a curved blade to rapidly remove material going across the grain. He then uses the #7, with and across the grain, for flattening the board. Finally he uses the #4 for final smoothing. His book, “Handplane Essentials” is very informative. Chris is a heck of a nice guy and very approachable. If you can attend one of his classes at the WIA conference….better yet!

That said, my first purchase of a hand plane was a Clifton #5 from Highland Woodworking. It is a beautiful tool that I often use. It’s especially handy to take off extremely thin shavings from the middle of long jointed boards in order to create a “spring” when gluing, making the ends tighter.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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