What hand planes should I get

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Forum topic by Peteyb posted 03-31-2013 09:59 PM 1531 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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131 posts in 2550 days

03-31-2013 09:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hand planes

I am starting to want to work with hand planes. Which would be the basic planes to start with? Which brand would be the best to start with and which are the best to have?


15 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


8187 posts in 2572 days

#1 posted 03-31-2013 10:13 PM

Welcome to the slippery slope. The above thread will shorten the learning
curve for you and will introduce you to some fine folks who can help
you get started as well.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2014 days

#2 posted 03-31-2013 10:45 PM

Hey Pete. I was recently in the same spot. I went with a good block plane and a no. 4 smoother. I found that the no. 5 is more to my liking though. The block plain and i are pretty much jointed at the hip.

I went with a Lie Nielsen and paid the premium for my first purchase. Whether its worth the difference in price over an old used stanley is probably debatable, but I do not regret the purchase. I’ve since acquired a few older stanley planes and they’re great users.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2562 days

#3 posted 03-31-2013 11:42 PM

a block plane should be first. As to brand and vintage it depends. I am a vintage guy. A nice restored, #60 1/2, #9 1/2, #220 or any of the vintage blocks would be a good place to start.

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

View JohnChung's profile


408 posts in 2069 days

#4 posted 04-01-2013 03:23 AM

It depends on what you want to build. If it is a small cabinet then I would go for a Jack plane. Small boxes then a block plane or #4 . It really depends on what you want to do.

View bandit571's profile


19965 posts in 2678 days

#5 posted 04-01-2013 03:44 AM

Maybe just a basic set?

A couple block planes, a #3 and a #4 smooth plane, a #5 jack plane, and a #6 small jointer plane.

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

View felkadelic's profile


218 posts in 2535 days

#6 posted 04-01-2013 04:06 AM

Depends on the extent to which you’ll be dimensioning wood with a plane vs by machine. If by hand you’ll want jack, jointer, smoother (and possibly scrub), and a block plane. If by machine you could probably omit the jack and jointer.

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3370 days

#7 posted 04-01-2013 09:49 AM

It’s a matter of opinion, but I think a #5 jack plane and a block plane are a great place to start. I prefer the older Bailey, Record, Millers Falls, Sargent, or Unions over cheaper imports. If you must have new, Lie Nielsen or Veritas are top shelf.

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

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2830 days

#8 posted 04-01-2013 01:02 PM

Agree that a block and a 5 are a good place to start. The five can do some basic smoothing requiring only light sanding after and can joint small boards while the block cleans up a lot of small annoyances.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3354 days

#9 posted 04-01-2013 01:26 PM

I would pretty much echo Don’s advice. I think a good block plane (or two) is essential. Once you start talking about bench planes, it really depends on what you’re going to do with it, although you’re always going to need a smoother (#3, 4 or 4 1/2). I’m also a vintage guy and I believe you can buy a nice old plane for a LOT less than you can buy a new LV or LN. I’m not suggesting ebay or CL, I’m suggesting buying from someone who refurbishes planes and sells them. There are several around here that do that. If you’re not sure who to ask, ask :))

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Robert Tutsky's profile

Robert Tutsky

58 posts in 2045 days

#10 posted 04-01-2013 05:42 PM

Hi Pete!
Welcome to the hand plane itch. After learning how to tune up and sharpen a hand plane to shave see through curls of hard wood you’ll be hooked. First off I would get two block planes, a Stanley adjustable mouth plane and a Stanley 60’1/2 low angle plane. I got mine off of ebay and couldn’t be happier with them. If you search online you’ll find places on how to effectively tune them up. Next would be a #4 or 4-1/2 Stanley smoother. Once you get the hang of using it you’ll find yourself with a big smile on your face. A #5 Jack plane would be the next choice, then finally a #6. You could certainly go further but those will get you started with the hand plane experience. Good luck.


View Tugboater78's profile


2743 posts in 2187 days

#11 posted 04-01-2013 06:36 PM

thw thread linked above will give you a great start to understanding, and Don W and others that post in that thread, have great informative blogs on different aspects of hand planing. They got me hooked.. i started with my grandfathers war era Stanley #5 and some clunky block planes.

Now have these, all but the 8 and 5 are rusty rehabs bought off ebay

Stanley 8c, Craftsman(Sargent) 6c, Stanley 5c, Craftsman(Sargent) 4, Craftsman(Millers Falls) 4, Stanley Handyman 3

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View Peteyb's profile


131 posts in 2550 days

#12 posted 04-03-2013 07:17 PM

So would this be a good set to start out with? At this price this might be a good start for me.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2014 days

#13 posted 04-03-2013 07:41 PM

Petey -

That looks like a great set for the price, definitely get you shaving some wood. I personally think the No 6 is a bit too big for me as a daily user though. You can probably go to any woodworking store and handle each of these planes, see what feels nice in the hand to you.

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3124 days

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


I have had vintage Stanleys and horrible modern Stanleys and nice Lie-Nielsens. I have found the Woodriver v3s to a be great value. The v3s may be all you need. They come dead flat and need very little, if any, fettling. That set your looking at is a very traditional set. The idea being that you joint with the #6 and smooth with the #4 and clean up mill marks and ease edges with the block. In real life, I have found that I joint with my power jointer and don’t use a jointing plane too much (though I have the v3 #6 and it works great). You can, and people often do, grind the #6 fore for smoothing. I have also found that a straight ground #3 works much better than any block plane for removing mill marks. So as some already pointed out it depends on what you do. If you are using hands tools in place of power machinery this set would be a good start. If you are supplementing power machines then you might find you don’t need a #6 fore plane as much as a nice #3 for clean up. So its a matter of which planes and how you grind the edges for a specific purpose. Time will tell you what you want. The v3 series you are considering are real nice and as good a starting point as any I can think of. If your like the rest of us you WILL be adding more later, but with the v3 price you can afford to.

View Peteyb's profile


131 posts in 2550 days

#15 posted 04-03-2013 10:30 PM

Thanks for the help. I think that if I am going to start using them in my woodworking that it would be better to get three of them for about the same price as some of the real nice ones. It looks like they get great reviews and when I get better and know what I like I can purchase the more expensive ones.


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