Stanley Bailey plane knobs: high or low?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 08-09-2012 05:48 PM 2993 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2647 days

08-09-2012 05:48 PM

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


10260 posts in 3612 days

#1 posted 08-09-2012 05:54 PM

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.

View cabmaker's profile


1720 posts in 2773 days

#2 posted 08-09-2012 08:50 PM

I prefer the high knob myself, but have both.

View ShaneA's profile


6909 posts in 2563 days

#3 posted 08-09-2012 08:55 PM

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


19723 posts in 2648 days

#4 posted 08-09-2012 08:56 PM

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


651 posts in 2342 days

#5 posted 08-09-2012 09:07 PM

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

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3323 days

#6 posted 08-10-2012 04:27 PM

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

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2962 days

#7 posted 08-10-2012 04:41 PM

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


4050 posts in 3253 days

#8 posted 08-11-2012 02:15 AM

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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