Stanley Bailey plane knobs: high or low?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 702 days ago 1129 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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620 posts in 1268 days

702 days ago

I’ve been finishing the top to my Roubo bench, which requires a lot of hand planing with my No. 5, 7, and 4 planes. I own several planes in other sizes that have the older, low knob, but the three I actually use (which were the first three I restored) have the high knob. The high knobs leave a callous/blister/bruise in my left palm. Has anyone here done extended planing with jack planes or jointers with both types of knobs? If so, what are your thoughts about the merits/demerits of each?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

8 replies so far

View Loren's profile (online now)


7162 posts in 2233 days

#1 posted 702 days ago

I don’t like the low knobs. I’ll wear gloves sometimes if I need to
do a lot of planing or whatever and don’t have calluses built up.


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1279 posts in 1394 days

#2 posted 701 days ago

I prefer the high knob myself, but have both.

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5208 posts in 1184 days

#3 posted 701 days ago

I prefer the aesthetics of the low knob for sure, I really havent had long enough sessions with either to give one an ergonomic advantage.

View bandit571's profile (online now)


6548 posts in 1268 days

#4 posted 701 days ago

I have a bunch of Callouses on both hands, so it doesn’t matter. I do have a few of each though…

I just grab whatever is nearest to what I need to do…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View hhhopks's profile


550 posts in 963 days

#5 posted 701 days ago

I believe the low knobs are from older planes.
If you are into collecting, generally, low is better.
If you are a user, use your own judgement. Use whatever makes you happy :)

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

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985 posts in 1944 days

#6 posted 701 days ago

The low knobs are type 11 and older. If you prefer using the newer planes but dislike the taller knob, just swap them.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

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David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1583 days

#7 posted 701 days ago

I personally prefer the feel of the low knobs. On the other hand, If you are having pain or blisters from either, I think it is more due to technique or using the wrong shaped iron for the job. You shouldn’t have to push that hard. The knob is just for steering the plane. Take a less aggressive cut or switch to a more cambered blade and it should be better.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View bigike's profile


4030 posts in 1874 days

#8 posted 700 days ago

Some planes look so much better with the lows but others look nice with highs, me I like the lows.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

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