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I have $500 and no hand planes...

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 531 days ago 780 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Marcus

1041 posts in 617 days


531 days ago

Just got a pretty good bonus at work and I’ve had it in my head for a while that I would like to start working w/ hand planes. Where I want to use them is for smoothing larger boards and then for cleaning up dovetail joints and giving a chamfered edge to boards that is so mechanical looking (hopefully that makes sense).

I am thinking about grabbing a Veritas #4 and a low angle block plane. This would leave me a little wiggle room to get a sharpening stone and other necessaries. Im debating on instead of the smoothing plane to start off w/ a jack plane as well. I just like the idea of the larger plane.

Thoughts?

A couple criteria in considering your suggestions…
I would prefer to buy new and not hunt ebay/craigslist for the deal of a century.
I like the idea of buying either veritas or lie-nielsen. The resale on these is great if it turns out that I dont end up using them as I envision.
$500 is the budget, $505 is out of reach.


17 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1550 days


#1 posted 531 days ago

Marcus, your plan sounds pretty solid. A couple of planes and something to sharpen the blades. I say go for it. Get the smoother and the block plane as you said you have a need for those two. Once you start to enjoy them, get a jack plane down the road.

Good Luck!

-- Mike

View Loren's profile

Loren

7230 posts in 2246 days


#2 posted 531 days ago

A fine and heavy smoother is the bench plane that will
improve your work the most. For most flattening and
jointing work old Bailey planes will serve just fine, but
for smoothing hardwoods the weight of a premium
plane assists in getting the pressure and momentum
to take consistent shavings at very fine settings.

A fine and heavy shoulder plane is good to have if
you intend to fit mortises by hand.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

4505 posts in 890 days


#3 posted 531 days ago

As Mike said, Smoother and Block are probably a good choice. If you subscribe to Paul Sellers school of thought, all you really need is a #4 (smoother). If you plan on doing significant thickness dimensioning, you’ll want a jack plane.

Given the choice between either LN or Veritas with no other options, 9/10 times I’d go with LN. But that’s mostly aesthetics, and American Made, coming in to play. Given any choice, however, I’d go vintage every time (except when buying vintage means paying more than a LN), but I also enjoy the restoration process, and I understand not everyone does.

I know you said you would prefer new, but the money goes a lot further with vintage. Don W here on LJ usually has a bunch of vintage already restored, sharp, and ready hand planes for sale. Just something else to consider.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

View jap's profile

jap

1224 posts in 652 days


#4 posted 531 days ago

sounds like a good plan,
have fun!

-- Joel

View crank49's profile

crank49

3337 posts in 1569 days


#5 posted 531 days ago

Clifton planes were rated a better value and best overall recently by Fine Woodworking Magazine.
Would be worth a look anyway. Similar price range I think.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View CL810's profile

CL810

1910 posts in 1586 days


#6 posted 531 days ago

Another plus with Veritas is the bevel up series. I have the BU Smoother and it is a great plane. I believe the bevel up smoother and jack planes have interchangeable blades which will give you more flexibility down the road.

Having said that, +1 to what Mos said. Vintage doesn’t mean it needs tons of work.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View rkober's profile

rkober

125 posts in 890 days


#7 posted 531 days ago

If you go bevel up I would recommend Veritas and CL810 is right about the blade interchange. I like a larger plane (#7) for cleaning up dovetails so I’d actually lean toward the BU Jack with a 25 deg and 38 deg. Unlike most others, I rarely use a block plane and like the #4-#7 size.

For bevel down I’d go LN (since you want something new). The newer Woodriver’s are pretty well reviewed though.

-- Ray - Spokane, WA - “Most people don’t recognize opportunity because it’s usually disguised as hard work.” - Unknown

View sikrap's profile

sikrap

988 posts in 1957 days


#8 posted 531 days ago

If you’re only looking at new, I’d suggest the Lee Valley bevel up smoother and the low angle block plane. The pair will eat up about $360 of you $500 and that is money you can spend on sharpening supplies. If you decide you’re interested in vintage, there are plenty of us around here that sell vintage tools.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1016 posts in 884 days


#9 posted 531 days ago

I believe the bevel up smoother and jack planes have interchangeable blades which will give you more flexibility down the road.

They do indeed, as does the BU jointer (#7) plane.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Don W's profile

Don W

14622 posts in 1165 days


#10 posted 531 days ago

I’d go vintage. For $500 you can have almost a complete set, and they’ll do anything new will do except eat up more of your budget.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1041 posts in 617 days


#11 posted 530 days ago

Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I was afraid this thread was going to turn into a “that plane is awful, get this one”, but instead it’s full of extremely helpful info for me.

A bit about my want for new instead of used (I do like the word vintage being used to make it sound fancier than user). I’ve watched ebay a bit and check craigslist regularly and it just seems like a world I shouldnt be in…yet. The idea of buying a LN or Veritas plane with no fuss appeals to me, especially since sort of a treat for me to celebrate a hard year’s work.

I have no objection to used tools, and in fact a good number of the tools I have are second hand. When it comes to hand planes, I just dont have the time, patience, and (most importantly) knowledge to dive into the second hand plane market. I dont know the difference between a $40 no 4 stanley and a $200 no 4 stanley (I’m not sure I want to at this point). If I did get a used plane, I am guessing my refurb skills on it would not be to the level that I could get it in tip top shape either.

View camps764's profile

camps764

771 posts in 958 days


#12 posted 530 days ago

Marcus – Lot’s of solid info here. I totally understand the ‘spoil myself with a year of hardwork’ philosophy. I think you have a solid plan in mind already, just make sure you get the right stuff to tune up and flatten/sharpen everything. From what I understand (I only own used) even brand new LN/Veritas planes need a little work out of the box. – Less than most, but some still.

I can’t tell you which brand/model will do, but I can tell you as someone who has taken the plunge into hand tools you will cuss and want to quit if you can’t get it set up right. A finely tuned tool – regardless of brand – is a joy to use. A dull tool will piss you off and send you running for the power jointer and random orbit sander.

You may want to get your planes, get your sharpening stuff – and find/subcribe to the Chris Schwartz videos on popular woodworking so that you can learn how to set up/sharpen the tools.

Regardless of choice – good luck! Make sure you check back in and let us know which ones you went with!

-- Steve. Follow me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/campbellwoodworking or check me out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/campbellwoodworkingne

View sikrap's profile

sikrap

988 posts in 1957 days


#13 posted 530 days ago

Just to clarify, when Don W or I suggest vintage tools, we aren’t suggesting tools that would need to be refurbished. Both Don and I sell tools that have already had the work done. Again, I’m not trying to talk you out of buying Lee Valley or Lee Nielsen, but any planes that I sell are ready to go to work when you get them. As for Lee Valley or Lie Nielsen, the only work either of them should need is polishing the back and honing the bevel. Good Luck and have some fun!!

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Don W's profile

Don W

14622 posts in 1165 days


#14 posted 530 days ago

I agree with Dave and will add a few points. Its good to plan on a mix. I’ve got vintage, lots of them, but I own Veritas and LN as well.

For new, I tend to lean toward LN just because of the traditional design. I bought a LV scraper because vintage are pricey and the LV had the best reviews. I should mention I did eventually find a #12 and a#112 for a good price at a flea market, so now I’ve got 3. I can’t sell any because I like them all equal.

I also bough the LV skewed blocks because they went on sale at Xmas and the price was really good. The vintage #140 doesn’t have a fence and I was looking for something with a fence.

I bought an LN #62 because its an improvement on the original. Again, I went LN for the design. Vintage #62 are expensive and very collectable. They also have a tendency to crack around the mouth.

I’m also thinking about a LN #164. Vintage 164 are better left to collectors.

Sorry for the long winded response, but I believe a mix of vintage and new will get you a better overall collection of good user hand planes at a much better price than all new.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9576 posts in 1216 days


#15 posted 530 days ago

Marcus, you are right. There is a ton of information out there regarding vintage tools, and trying to sort through it all before getting to work just doesn’t make sense. ‘Buy cheap, if it doesn’t work, upgrade.’ That’s a path, but not a very attractive one.

I’m not a plane seller, but seriously, for $500 I could outfit you with a near-full set (as Don suggests) of pre-war Stanley bench planes consisting of a smoother, jack and jointer, as well as a pair of block planes and a sharpening system. Heck, maybe even add a #50 plow plane to the mix, too, for dado and rabbet work. That’s the thing some of us think about as a frame of reference when ‘I’d like a pair of planes for $500’ comes up.

I bought my first LN plane last month, and couldn’t be happier. I know fellas with LV tools that also swear by them. Either of those choices are top-notch. Good luck in your foray into hand planes; using these tools has brought me immense satisfaction, and I hope it does for you, too.

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

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