I need some planes, and advice on planes

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Forum topic by lumberjoe posted 11-30-2012 01:20 AM 2049 views 1 time favorited 58 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2899 posts in 2241 days

11-30-2012 01:20 AM

I’ve been a hardcore power tool guy, but the more reading and experimenting I do, I am changing my tune. I did invest in a nice set of chisels (and made myself a mallet), I am getting a set of saws for Christmas (dovetail and carcass), and have picked up a few crappy planes to play with. My problem is I know what I want to do, I am just not sure what I need.

I really need a better way to flatten wood. Rather than buy a jointer, I would like to do this by hand. I’ll send it through my planer to clean it up as much as I can first, then smooth it out with a plane. What do I need to get? If I get a ”#6” sized jointer/smoother is it going to be too cumbersome? Also can someone explain bevel up vs bevel down? I think I know what it means (blade orientation) but I want to be sure, and understand which fits my needs best.

I would also like a plane to clean tenons. Block plane and shoulder plane?

Lastly and important, I want to purchase new. I know there is a lot of used stuff out there for a lot cheaper, but I’d rather spend my time woodworking than on ebay and refurbishing old stuff. I also like shiny new tools, and realize I will be paying a premium. I’t just a personal preference. My budget is more Woodriver/Veritas than LN.


58 replies so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


15341 posts in 2611 days

#1 posted 11-30-2012 01:28 AM

Jack, jointer and smoother: course, medium and fine. Pick three bench planes of your choice in this order and you’ll process stuff with the best of ‘em.

Shoulder. But you’ll get a low angle block someday, too.

Veritas over Woodriver, from what I’ve read. It’s no contest.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2560 days

#2 posted 11-30-2012 01:33 AM

You need a smoother. A #4 is probably the best.

Although I disagree about the vintage versus new, you can’t go wrong with veritas.

Edit: after reading Smitty’s post I re-read your post. So I’m now not sure what you want to do. Are you looking to joint or smooth?

To joint, you’ll want a #7 or #8. To smooth a #4.

To flatten, Smitty’s way is best.

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

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4861 posts in 3041 days

#3 posted 11-30-2012 01:49 AM

‘I would also like a plane to clean tenons”
To clean tenon get yourself a Veritas router plane, nothing beat it guarantee.
There are soooooooooooo sweet and not expensive.( I mean for the beautiful quality),41182,48945

Do not buy a new Stanley 92, I have one and I do not like it.
Buy Veritas, they are the best for the price, no contest.( no I do not work for Veritas but i had the opportunity to use them and to compare to L.N, I much prefer Veritas)

-- Bert

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2945 days

#4 posted 11-30-2012 01:53 AM

If flattening is one of your main tasks, a #5 jack plane is a good start. I also recommend a jointer as the jack plane is going to leave a rough surface that needs to get flattened. If you want to smooth the boards without using sandpaper or sanders, a #4 would be a good investment also. I suggest you make or purchase some winding sticks. If you don’t get the surface flat without wind in it, you will be frustrated after you send the wood through a planer and the board won’t lay flat.

For planing tenons, you can get away with a rabbet block plane and forgo the shoulder plane. I use my rabbet plane for finishing tenons all the time and do not own a shoulder plane. Frankly, I have no use for one. When you measure and mark shoulders correctly on tenon joints, a shoulder plane will not be necessary. LN makes a very nice rabbet block plane (I suggest getting the one with nickers).

Lastly, I will make a plug for LN. Their tools are only a little more expensive the Veritas. Plus, you will be buying American and supporting an American company. Nothing against Canada, I just prefer to buy American when I can. Plus being a native Mainer, I doubly enjoy supporting a Maine company.

-- Mike

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3641 days

#5 posted 11-30-2012 01:57 AM

This all really depends on what you want to do with hand planes, but here are a few scenarios and their associated hand planes:

1. to flatten wood = jointer (#7), you’d actually be better off flattening it with a hand plane, then running it through your planer to clean it up and not the other way around.

1B. if you have REALLY messed up wood to flatten = scrub plane + jointer plane

2. to clean tenons = rabbet plane , or shoulder plane, shoulder plane would work better to clean up the shoulders, while the rabbet plane would work better when cleaning the cheeks (so, both would be ideal)

Bevel up vs. Bevel down will remain a debate forever, both will serve you well, each has their pros/cons and I think it’s a tie between which one has more pros vs more cons. but don’t let this one be the deciding factor.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2241 days

#6 posted 11-30-2012 02:02 AM

All great tips. For my immediate need I am looking to joint. My planer does a pretty good job at smoothing. In addition I currently use a router for edge jointing. That is kind of a pain, especially with pieces longer or significantly shorter than my straight edge. This is why I was looking for something like a #6.

In the not so distant future, it would be nice to sand a lot less, or not at all. I have a card scraper I have been playing with. Getting a consistent bur is a challenge, but I am confident I can do it with enough practice.

Don, I know vintage can be a lot cheaper, and A LOT better than some new ones, but I have to be honest with myself. I don’t think it’s enjoyable restoring old equipment or hunting for the perfect one. Woodworking is a hobby for me. If I don’t like to do something, I won’t do it.

LN is from Maine? I could sneak that pass the boss then! She is a born and raised Mainer.


View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2241 days

#7 posted 11-30-2012 02:07 AM

Lev, by clean it up I mean get the shag off or skip dress it. I have tried hand planing my way though that and it is no fun at all. Granted I am using the Windsor Design plane (which I think equates to a #4). The mill I go to cuts really thick. The 4/4 stock skip dressed is still 1 1/16”. That gives me plenty of room to joint one side flat and plane it down to 7/8 or 3/4.


View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3796 days

#8 posted 11-30-2012 02:35 AM

Agree on the #7 or #8, or maybe a Bevel-Up Jointer equivalent.

One point – you are probably better served using the hand plane to prepare the bottom of the board for the planer.

paratrooper – I am Canadian, and a big fan of both companies. I don’t think it really has to come down to ‘buy American’. I agree that the price difference is marginal. My rule of thumb is basically bevel-up, Veritas, bevel-down, L-N. I love my Veritas LAJ, one of several Veritas I have. I actually have far more Veritas than L-N, for quality the two are at the absolute top. But for a classic rendition of a #4 or the like, Lie-Nielsen has soul. Maybe not everyone cares, but the aesthetic and the quality combine to make a tool I love to use. I don’t think anyone who buys a L-N hand plane regrets it, and their grandchildren won’t either.

Back when ‘Made in America’ meant made by companies like Lie-Nielsen, ‘Made in America’ meant something.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2241 days

#9 posted 11-30-2012 02:40 AM

The Veritas jointer plane is about 300$. The L-N is about 425. That isn’t a huge difference. I didn’t realize LN was in Warren Maine. I’m actually going to be about an hour from there right after Christmas as the in-laws live in Northern ME. I think I may stop in.


View CL810's profile


3784 posts in 2981 days

#10 posted 11-30-2012 02:46 AM

A great resource that will answer all of your questions is Christopher Schwarz’s DVD “Handplane Basics.”

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2139 days

#11 posted 11-30-2012 02:47 AM

Have you looked at these two sets?


View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2103 days

#12 posted 11-30-2012 02:58 AM

I’ll toss out a bevel UP jointer. I use mine a lot.

Why? A bevel up jointer can easily be set up with a high angle iron. I often use my jointer planes to “match joint” boards that have been machine jointed. This often results in grain reversals. NOTHING works as well against the grain as a high angle cutter.

The downside is that a high angle is harder to push. Extra, lower angle, irons can be quickly installed for situations where the grain is agreeable and you’re taking a full-width cut.

I have a nice, vintage, bevel down Stanley #8, upgraded with an LN iron and chipbreaker, as well as a Veritas bevel down #7. I use the #7 far more often, as it’s so much easier to get perfect edges.

Bevel up plane irons wear on the back (flat) side of the iron. With my A2 irons, this has not been a problem for me. If it were, a bit of grinding would take me back to the flat section of the iron. This means I might wear out an iron in 25 years, instead of 50… ;^)

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2945 days

#13 posted 11-30-2012 10:09 AM

Hey Arminius, if it makes you feel better, my heritage and family roots come from New Brunswick. But that doesn’t mean I am not going to plug for supporting my country.

Sorry if you don’t like reading that I say support my country. Don’t ever expect me to change my tune. If you don’t like that, pass over my comment and move along.

Cheer up your country, but do not tell me not to cheer up mine. Go back to woodworking and don’t ever call me out again. I am not here for that BS.

-- Mike

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3796 days

#14 posted 11-30-2012 10:34 AM

Wow, para, I don’t think you took that comment at all the way I meant it. It was not at all meant to ‘call you out’. Read it as meaning you don’t have to be American to respect and value the combination of traditional values and modern precision that Lie-Nielsen represents – and be willing to pay that little bit more for it.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2241 days

#15 posted 11-30-2012 01:05 PM

Barry, everything you said is completely greek to me :). I mostly worth with heavily figured wood or wood with interlocked grain, so do I want to consider a high angle cutter? I see veritas has a 38 and 50 degree iron, is that what you are referring to?
It looks like I have a lot more reading to do. In addition I know I wanted to stick with a new plane, but if anyone has a line on a perfectly functional user that isn’t going to require much tweaking (except maybe a new iron) I would be open to that.

I really want to get one of these soon. I have a few hundred BF of hard maple and a benchcrafted kit to make myself a bench. My first task will be flattening the top


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