What to look for in old wooden bodies planes?

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Forum topic by Ted78 posted 02-02-2013 08:32 AM 890 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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381 posts in 1995 days

02-02-2013 08:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood planes used tools antique old question plane

I have been frequenting antique/junk malls lately, You know the kind where each merchant gets their little corner they rent out. Invariably some merchant has big glass case full of overpriced Kodak Brownies and wood planes. Usually a big jointer plane for upwards of $150, a couple of weird molding planes a few unmatched hollows and rounds. All for way more than I’d ever consider paying, BUT, I find if I wander back into the dimly lit ‘low rent district’ and brush away some cobwebs, and look for the corner with the pink doilies a porcelain doll, a tiny china tea set, and every shape, size, and, color of glass trinket imaginable, then look DOWN, I find all kinds a low priced goodies. Socket chisels marked ‘Sharp Screwdriver $1.50, or scratch awls marked ‘short ice pick 50 cents’ etc.

Anyway, in my travels I have spotted several wooden bodied planes, a few coffin planes, a rabbet plane or two and quite a few trying planes. All with price tags under $25. My question is what should I look for in buying an old used wooden bodies plane? What makes a good user plane? a good project? What is junk suited for some old ladies fireplace mantle. Beyond missing pieces I’m pretty clueless. Any tips, hints, suggestions or insight is appreciated.

-- Ted

2 replies so far

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3388 days

#1 posted 02-02-2013 09:02 AM

I’m kind of ignorant when shopping for wooden planes but want to learn more….I have been very interested latelly about modern german planes such E.C.E / Ulmia / Primus …....I got last week an Ulmia rabbet Plane with adjustable mouth and Im so impressed about the quality and beauty of this type of planes….

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 2252 days

#2 posted 02-02-2013 09:57 AM

Well I would look for ones that didn’t need a lot of work. That it has all its parts and still has a tight mouth. After that I would look for cracks around where the wedge goes. On coffin smothers that means its not busted out on the side, most of them are, and on jacks or trys make sure the little spot of wood that pokes out into the throat of the plane is not cracked or can be easily repaired with some CA or epoxy. I find they work best, Epoxy for a clean break and thin CA to wick into the crack and then clamp it down good. If the plane passes all that, I would finally look at the blade to see if its salvageable and I would pay little attention to the pedigree of the plane. Plus anything that strikes my fancy is a plus!

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