Hand Plane ???

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Forum topic by WVWoodWorker1 posted 03-04-2013 06:34 PM 2087 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View WVWoodWorker1's profile


21 posts in 1905 days

03-04-2013 06:34 PM

Im just getting into woodworking and I want to know what hand planes I should buy in the order of most useful for building a bench now and cabinets later on? Where do you recommend buying them also? Thanks in advance!

-- If I'm workin with wood, then its all good!

17 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17311 posts in 2975 days

#1 posted 03-04-2013 06:46 PM

Id start with a #5 jack. Then a regular angle block plane. Then a low angle block plane. Then a #4 smother. Then a #7 or #8 jointer.

That would take care of all your stock prep. You could move on to others for fitting joinery after that.

Personally id go vintage used. Poke around the site enough and youll find a few guys that restore and sell or hit your local tag sales, flea markets, and antique shops to find what youre looking for.

Youll also need to figure out how youd like to sharpen the irons and tune the planes up. Tons of solid resources around here to read to your hearts content.

Good luck, its a darn slippery slope.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#2 posted 03-04-2013 07:36 PM

I would have a very slightly different approach from chrisstef in that I would start with the block planes and then get a #5 jack. Just because that’s the way I started.

I know the #5 would be the minimum for truing, leveling and working out joints, but for someone who has never used a plane I think the block is the better place to start. You really ought to start with a block and a jack because they do different jobs.

It would be hard to go wrong with refurbished old Stanleys.

For new but low expense I like the set of Woodriver block planes, both the low and regular angle with adjustable mouths. Woodcraft usually sells the set for about $160. Just realize that’s twice the price of vintage tools that are just as good.

Another source for great planes that are reasonably prices are Veritas, by Lee Valley.

Then, of course there are the Lie Nielsons. I don’t think anyone will argue with the point that they are top quality tools

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2883 days

#3 posted 03-04-2013 08:13 PM

The only thing I would add to the above would be to get a “good” medium size shoulder plane, like this one from Lee Valley Veritas:,41182,68490

Or maybe a Stanley #92 Shoulder Plane that also can be used as a chisel plane. I have to tell you that I use mine more for the chisel plane than as a shoulder plane. I also had to finaggle with it to get it to work correctly:

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Don W's profile

Don W

18686 posts in 2536 days

#4 posted 03-04-2013 08:24 PM

It depends what you plan to do with hand planes. I know you said build a bench, but what tasks? A block is essential even if you really don’t want to do hand work. From there I would think a smoother.

if you want to resize and level, then the jack is good. Eventually you’ll want a jointer to flatten the top.

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

View Loren's profile


10278 posts in 3617 days

#5 posted 03-04-2013 08:28 PM

For building a work bench, I recommend acquiring
an electric jointer. 6” is fine.

In terms of flattening the top after it is
glued up and for annual maintenance,
a #5 is good. You can buy a decent
used Bailey #5 for about $30, shipping
included on ebay.

For solid wood cabinets, a #5 and a #4
are useful. If working in hard woods,
a cabinet scraper like the Stanley #80
is most handy.

For joinery a medium to heavy shoulder
plane is nice to have. I don’t particularly
recommend cutting rabbets with hand
planes, but if you want to do so a
skew rabbet plane is the best tool to
do it. A standard duplex rabbet plane is
much cheaper generally.

I like side rabbet planes a lot when building
casework as they permit incremental
and even widening of grooves.

View bandit571's profile


19761 posts in 2652 days

#6 posted 03-04-2013 08:37 PM

Just a “Basic set” of planes

Including that big #6 small jointer, and a #5 jack plane. There are a couple smoothers there, in both the #3 and #4 sizes, and two block planes.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15283 posts in 2587 days

#7 posted 03-04-2013 09:11 PM

#5 jack, #7 or #8 jointer, #4 smoother, a low angle block plane and a shoulder plane like the #93. Those are the essentials, IMHO, and this list is pretty common across each of the responses above. Until you have these, the stable ain’t full. :-).

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

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2500 days

#8 posted 03-04-2013 09:14 PM

I’ll be a contrarian and suggest looking into making your own wooden planes…

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2921 days

#9 posted 03-04-2013 09:55 PM

WVWoodWorker1, you will get lots and lots of suggestions on what planes you should get to get started. I am not going to suggest what planes you should get because I do not know what type of woodworker you are. Are you primarily/solely a hand tool worker? Do you use machines and want to compliment your machine cut joinery? Will you use machines for dimensioning only and hand tools for joinery and finishing?

Hand planes are very personal to their users and most are going to tell you what to get based off their own experiences which could end up being being exactly what you don’t want or need. If you could provide more information, we will be better able to further define what would be most helpful for you. What do you want to accomplish with hand planes?

-- Mike

View WVWoodWorker1's profile


21 posts in 1905 days

#10 posted 03-04-2013 11:49 PM

I use machines and want a few planes to compliment that kind of work. Plus Id like to learn how to use them just for a little of the old school aspect of woodworking. Thank you all for your answers!

-- If I'm workin with wood, then its all good!

View iminmyshop's profile


284 posts in 1963 days

#11 posted 03-05-2013 12:06 AM

I use machines and want a few planes to compliment that kind of work

If you get a block plane and something like a #5 Jack plane and learn how to sharpen them really well you will likely be pleasantly shocked by how much you actually use them.

The “scary sharp” method of sharpening using sandpaper on a glass backing is easy, inexpensive to start with compared to sharpening stones and very easy to do. I love my Veritas sharpening jig. And I’ve learned to love using my planes.

The problem is if you get one that is of lower quality and out of tune If you don’t know how to tune it or if it is so bad it can’t be reasonably tuned you will hate it. But a well tuned, quality, freshly sharpened hand plane is just an absolute joy to use.


View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2921 days

#12 posted 03-05-2013 12:08 AM

Gotcha, well, my suggestions would be: a rabbet block plane to clean up tenons and rabbets and perform traditional block plane duties. Lie-Nielson makes a very nice one. I suggest a #3 or #4 smoother to clean up marks left by machinery. Those are a good start and you can learn a lot about planes with those. You will need something to sharpen them. Planes aren’t worth a damn if they don’t have razor sharp blades. Lastly, I suggest you buy at least one book about planes. There are many to choose from. A good one is the one written by Garret Hack. That book gets into all the minute details that can’t be covered in a forum like this.

Good luck in your venture into hand planes.

-- Mike

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3362 days

#13 posted 03-05-2013 12:09 AM

I built a workbench years ago and I only had at that time a cabinet saw and some power tools (Router). As I was working without a powered jointer, I got this jointer plane new with all the accessories that you see at the picture. An amazing tool! I was able to smooth parts, join long boards together and smooth the top bench dead flat at the end. One of the blades has a 50° Bevel, very very convenient when working with difficult grains and hardwoods.
I know it seems expensive, but it’s worth every single penny.

-- 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 Don W's profile

Don W

18686 posts in 2536 days

#14 posted 03-05-2013 12:22 AM

I’ve got a blog on restoring vintage planes, one on tuning bench plane and several fully restored for sale if your not in the mood.

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

View WVWoodWorker1's profile


21 posts in 1905 days

#15 posted 03-05-2013 03:23 PM

I am going to buy a Bailey Stanley #5 as my first Plane. My question is now Smooth bottom or corregated? Whats your opinion?

-- If I'm workin with wood, then its all good!

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