How to tell a good plane from crap

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Forum topic by EricTy posted 11-20-2012 06:46 PM 730 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 1717 days

11-20-2012 06:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane hand

I have some old planes that I bought from a nearby town. Some are wood. One is iron. I know a shop needs a good plane or two (or more).

My question is how to tell the good from the crap. The old wooden planes had a tapered block to lock the blade in place. The iron ones can have all the adjustment arms for the blade. There’s Stanley among others.

So, what makes a good plane? The blade steel? How would one know? Do ergonomics come into play?

Is there a planes for dummies (or beginners) website?

Or, perhaps, there is a selection of a couple-three planes that each shop should have to help with standard tasks. If there is such a selection, what would be the three ideal planes to have?

Thanks everyone.

-- Only you know the mistakes were intentional...

4 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2034 days

#1 posted 11-20-2012 07:14 PM

It’s pretty hard to explain in a paragraph or 2. We discuss it often on this thread,

There are volumes of books written on the subject. Post some pictures of what you got and you’ll find lots of help and opinions.

It also depends on what you want to do. There are many different types of planes made to do many different task. Just start reading and asking questions.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View knotscott's profile


7224 posts in 2842 days

#2 posted 11-20-2012 07:17 PM

My blog has some tips to help tell the econo planes from the better ones.

There’s really no right or wrong way…whatever works for you is fine. If I were to narrow the herd down to 3 planes, I think I’d want a block plane, #5, and a #7….or maybe a #4.5 instead of the #5. Get ‘em flat, sharp, and adjusted, and most will work well.

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

View EricTy's profile


62 posts in 1717 days

#3 posted 11-20-2012 09:29 PM

Your blog was very useful. I did some other looking and seems like one plane to have is the Stanley #5.

I have a Dewalt 735 and an Grizzly jointer, so I’m not interested in planing boards by hand. I have had to rough in some that were twisted or cupped first that were much too wide for the jointer.

I’ll post some pics of the ones I have and then go from there.

-- Only you know the mistakes were intentional...

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2034 days

#4 posted 11-20-2012 09:42 PM

I’ve got a delta jointer, but still use my jointers a lot. first they do a better job when gluing up panels, and second, they are sooooo much quieter.

A Stanley #5 is a jack, used for sizing timber, but it can be sharpened as a smoother. Its not the best smoother, but it will work fairly well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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