Looking to buy my first set of hand planes & Need advice

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Forum topic by SurfHunter posted 08-16-2013 01:14 AM 1211 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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31 posts in 1199 days

08-16-2013 01:14 AM

I’m looking to pick up a couple of hand planes for my garage shop, I feel so incomplete without even having one..

I’ll mostly be using them for small projects Blanket chests, small boxes, etc for the time being. M&T work as well.

I like to know what you guys would recommend that I start off with. I’m thinking that a good starting set for be would be:

Lie-Nielsen : Low angle jack plane, Low angle Adj block plane & Medium shoulder plane

Boy, I sure like the looks of that Veritas NX60 though..

At the moment my shop consists of :

Dewalt 735 Planer

Rikon 10-325 deluxe Bandsaw

Ridgid : Drill press, Oscillating Edge/Belt Spindle Sander and Ridgid 6 1/2” jointer

Bosch table saw, Miter saw I need them portable for jobsites.. love to have the room for a nice PM

Festool Domino 500

dewalt scroll saw


Freud router table system w/ 3 1/4hp..

and of course not including all my power hand tools,, routers, sanders, nail guns, saw’s, etc etc etc..

I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t own any Hand planes.. Well. except a couple of pretty rusted up Stanley that my Grandfather gave me back in the day… Cheapies..

So I ask for you guys to please help me in decision on what would be best to get me started…

So I can use it on the 200BF of Black Cherry I just acquired.
100+ BDF of QS White Oak
100+ BDF Walnut
150 Pecan
Chinaberry, red cedar, cypress.. lol… I need to build a shed just for the lumber that I have scattered everywhere, but that’s a whole new thread.


-- It’s not the hours you put in, but what you put into the hours that count.

19 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 824 days

#1 posted 08-16-2013 01:23 AM

I’ll mostly be using them for small projects Blanket chests, small boxes, etc for the time being. M&T work as well.

Doing what? cleaning the edges of joints? Low angle block plane.
Smoothing the face of the wood rather than running it through a planer/sander? Smoothing plane, or maybe even a scrub plane if you’re starting from rough lumber.
Jointing the long edges prior to gluing boards together? Jointer plane
Or is it something else like –
Cleaning the cheeks of tenons?
Making fancy profiles?
Dadoes or rabbets?
Curved tops for treasure chests?
Big sections of end-grain smoothing like on a cutting board?
Displaying on a shelf?
Defense against werewolves?
I guess it all depends on what exact task you think you’re going to do with them. You can’t just say “I’m building a blanket chest so I need Plane X” because they don’t really make a “blanket chest plane.”

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View bondogaposis's profile


2864 posts in 1137 days

#2 posted 08-16-2013 01:34 AM

I would go w/ a low angle block plane, I know it is the most used plane in my shop. Once you get used to using and sharpened it then it will be time to look at a jack.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MrFid's profile


588 posts in 690 days

#3 posted 08-16-2013 01:42 AM

I’d say you’ll definitely want a smoothing plane, almost regardless of what exactly you plan on doing. Others will certainly disagree. I also agree with block plane and jack plane, but a jack could be unnecessary considering you have a 735. Personally, I have a 735 as well, and:

smoothing plane (#4)
jack plane (#5)
“scrub” plane (#5 with heavy camber)
block plane (#60 1/2 LA)
Fillester plane (#78)
jointer plane (#7)

I am probably forgetting some of the others.

As Joe said, you really need to know what task you plan on using a handplane for, and get the appropriate one for that. Since you have a power jointer already, you probably won’t need a #7. Since you have a planer, you probably won’t need a #5. Don’t buy them because they are status symbols, buy them because you enjoy using them and they help you with a task. Or, buy them because they are status symbols. So, a better question would be something like, “I want to be able to…, what plane do I need for that?”

For defense against werewolves, I use a vintage Stanley #1 in my left hand, and a dull Buck Bros #4 in my right. Werewolves hate contrast. But I am left handed. Obviously, it would be flipped for a righty. That’s just what worked for me in the past.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View SurfHunter's profile


31 posts in 1199 days

#4 posted 08-16-2013 01:55 AM

Thanks for your reply Joe, I guess I should’ve elaborated a little more, but the phone rang and I hit the post button.

I’m surprised you didn’t mention shaping finger/toenails. ;)

I would most likely need it for pieces that I wouldn’t feel comfortable running through the planer..

and pretty much cleaning up edges for glue up’s, no radius’ or fancy edges.

yes, for flattening and smoothing cupped boards.. maybe the occasional rough lumber. I was thinking of the low angle package with the toothed blade set..

Since i’m limited with the jointer bed at 6 1/2 I’d like to be able to also smooth one side before using the planer.

-- It’s not the hours you put in, but what you put into the hours that count.

View Tim's profile


1507 posts in 747 days

#5 posted 08-16-2013 02:10 AM

Show us some pictures of those Stanleys. They may not be as bad as you think and you can clean them up into something usable as long as the rust hasn’t pitted too deep. There’s lots of advice here on LJ about cleaning up old rust buckets and ending up with gems.

View Tugboater78's profile


1241 posts in 978 days

#6 posted 08-16-2013 02:15 AM

+1 to what Tim said, lots of us with minimal effort have made some real users from rusties, with minimal effort.

-- Justin - the tugboat woodworker - " nothing changed me like the first shnick from a well sharpened, decent hand plane"

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


10551 posts in 1404 days

#7 posted 08-16-2013 02:21 AM

Start with a jack, then a jointer, then a low angle block, then a large shoulder plane. Smoother you likely have from grandad.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

15774 posts in 1353 days

#8 posted 08-16-2013 03:45 PM

I’d start with grampa’s Stanleys.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View TerryDowning's profile


1027 posts in 903 days

#9 posted 08-16-2013 04:31 PM

Go with Grandpa’s rusty oldies.
Even an old rusty handyman can be made into a decent user.

I know I have a #3 I rehabbed and it does the job. Not as nice or pleasant to use as my Miller’s Falls Smoother. But certainly a serviceable user.

-- - Terry

View JayT's profile (online now)


2770 posts in 997 days

#10 posted 08-16-2013 04:50 PM

Reasons to use Grandpa’s planes before getting others

  • You already own them, so there is no additional cost involved
  • Restoring a plane will teach you a lot about how they function and what to look for when buying others
  • Connection to family history
  • Free planes!!!
  • Preserving/restoring tools before they rust away is cool.
  • Lots of opportunities to post pics for us LJ planeheads to ooh, ahh &/or drool over.
  • Did I mention you won’t be out any money to start with those?

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

View WayneC's profile


12305 posts in 2883 days

#11 posted 08-16-2013 04:57 PM

I’m agreement. Before you invest a bunch of money figure out how to sharpen and tune. Also you will need to expend some money for sharpening supplies / jig / machines depending on what approach you choose. Even most brand new high end planes do not come shipped sharp.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View TerryDowning's profile


1027 posts in 903 days

#12 posted 08-16-2013 05:03 PM

And even if they do come razor sharp they won’t stay that way. You’ll need to invest in sharpening anyways.

-- - Terry

View SurfHunter's profile


31 posts in 1199 days

#13 posted 08-16-2013 05:48 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies, I’m going to have to climb into the attic and take a look to see Planes I have from Grandpa’s tools.. I have his handsaw’s that he built his house with, hanging on the wall in my shop that I look at daily.

I think I’m going to go with the LN LA Block plane & the LA Jack plane Complete package to start with..

I also forgot to mention that I barter work with a lot of friends and family. and one of my buddies wants to remodel a bedroom in his house, so I’ll have him pick these up for me..

Last year, it was the Domino 500 Q set w/ Systainer kit

-- It’s not the hours you put in, but what you put into the hours that count.

View chrisstef's profile


11714 posts in 1792 days

#14 posted 08-16-2013 06:41 PM

Id also like to see the handsaws that were Grandpa’s. Im half way cleaning and sharpening up my grandfathers old saws at the moment. Lot of pride invested in those old tools.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View BTimmons's profile


2221 posts in 1271 days

#15 posted 08-16-2013 06:52 PM

” I have his handsaw’s that he built his house with, hanging on the wall in my shop that I look at daily.”

That’s got to be both humbling and inspiring. Post pictures of the old man’s tools once you dig them out!

-- Brian Timmons -

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