So this is what hand planes are all about... (Now with Pictures!)

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Forum topic by FaTToaD posted 08-29-2013 02:36 PM 2747 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 3316 days

08-29-2013 02:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: refurbishing sharpening plane stanley beginner 4 7 4c 7c mahogany hickory

Just wanted to share my recent discovery of hand planes with everyone:

I have a couple planes, mostly block planes, that I have occasionally played with over the last couple years. A few months ago I bought a Stanley low-angle block plane in good condition from an antique store. I took it home and sharpened the blade to the best of my ability and it worked pretty good. I’ve only really used for flushing plugs, chamfers, etc because I never could good, clean shavings from it.

A few weeks later I bought a Stanley #4C (circa 1918) and a Stanley #7C (I haven’t tried to date it yet) and they both need some serious work but are in overall decent conditions. The #4C did make some shavings right away but I could tell it needed some serious work. I mainly bought them to restore with the hopes of getting into more hand tool work.

Now, I love the idea of using more hand tools but they never seem to work that well for me. I really would like to become more of a “hybrid” woodworker but have always struggled with my hand tools. I was pretty sure a lot of it had to do with my lack of sharpening skills so I asked my wife for a Work Sharp 3000 for my birthday.

Well, I got my Work Sharp the other day and after sharpening a few chisels I decided to take out the blade of my low-angle Stanley and give it a go. After flattening the back (which was not as flat as I thought) and working the bevel up through the grits I put it back in the plane and took a big stroke down the edge of a piece of figured maple.

HOLY COW! Beautiful, thin, curly ribbons came out like I had never seen before! I was just dumbfounded at how much difference it made. So this is what hand planes are all about…

Well that got my excited so I removed the blade from the #4C, which by the way is rusted, dirty, and has a cracked tote, and sharpened it up. I took it along the face of the figure maple and BAM, more beautiful, thin shavings! I haven’t so much as touched this tool other than to adjust the blade depth since I bought it.

Next thing I knew I was running around the shop look for scraps of different wood I could practice with. I found a beautiful piece of hickory about 2” wide. I stuck it in the vice, and ran that #4C across the face. Man, I couldn’t believe the beautiful shavings coming out of that plane. That hickory felt like butter under that #4C. I immediately ran inside and grab my wife to show her. She obviously wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was at first but I stuck the plane in her hand and made her give it a try. After a few stocks she said she was amazed at how easy it was to get big, almost paper-thin shavings with that beat-up old plane I had bought.

Needless to say, I’m hooked! I felt like I had discovered the secrets of the universe. I was so excited and so proud that I spent the rest of the night planning down random scraps until they were toothpicks. I can’t wait to get these planes cleaned and tuned-up so they can really shine!

Thanks for listening!


Here’s some pictures, as promised!

Stanley #4C with some mahogany…

Stanley Low-Angle Block Plane with some hickory…

Oh my, look at all those shavings!

-- David

36 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3823 days

#1 posted 08-29-2013 02:38 PM

Yeah. Planes are fun.

View grizzlymunchin's profile


47 posts in 1918 days

#2 posted 08-29-2013 02:44 PM

get the veritas jig and you will be happy happy happy!!!!!!!!!!! it will get those planes razor sharp with the help of 2000 grit sandpaper

-- woodshop by the cornfeild

View JayT's profile (online now)


5926 posts in 2386 days

#3 posted 08-29-2013 02:47 PM

She obviously wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was

That made me laugh. Totally my experience, too, except my wife won’t try them. She also can’t understand my excitement when we go to an antique store and they have a hard to find plane or an ebay purchase shows up in the mail.

Welcome to the slippery slope of hand planes, your life will never be the same. Luckily there is a good support group …..... uh, enabling group, right here on LJ.

Edit: The hand plane guys here like pictures. We NEED pictures to keep the addiction in check.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 3316 days

#4 posted 08-29-2013 02:52 PM

Haha, I kept telling myself that I needed to wait until I got home and could take some pictures. I’ll update the post later today with some pics!

-- David

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3673 posts in 2426 days

#5 posted 08-29-2013 03:01 PM

Congrats and welcome to the slope! That was a really good idea to get your wife to try out the plane and make some gossamer shavings herself. You might have created/recruited an elf that can help you find some good vintage tools.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Mosquito's profile


9494 posts in 2467 days

#6 posted 08-29-2013 03:06 PM

She obviously wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was
Another agreement here lol My Fiance has actually tried though. Still don’t think she gets why I like it so much. I guess unless you like it, you won’t understand why you would lol

Congrats, and like Don said, welcome to the slope

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8542 posts in 2157 days

#7 posted 08-29-2013 03:06 PM

You’re in good company….I think;)

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View canadianchips's profile


2609 posts in 3172 days

#8 posted 08-29-2013 03:38 PM

slip…..slip….sliding…...the slippery slope of hand planes. Sounds like your hooked now.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Tugboater78's profile


2757 posts in 2367 days

#9 posted 08-29-2013 04:30 PM

Welcome to handplanes anonymous… Hi I am Justin, i have an addiction to old tools, mainly hand planes…

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

View TerryDowning's profile


1102 posts in 2292 days

#10 posted 08-29-2013 04:43 PM

FYI and fair warning.
Hand plane discovery inevitably leads to the following
chisels (which leads to mallets)
and saws (which leads to mitre boxes)

Of course you need to layout old school now to use all of the tools properly
so – marking gauges and Measuring tools are called for

And of course That workmate (although very useful) just doesn’t work well for planing or joinery so now you need a proper workbench which needs to have dog holes so you discover hand drills and bit braces.

and all of these tools need a proper place to be stored when not in use so a toolbox is called for.

last but not least you will to learn how to restore and show off the restoration

Slippery slope? More like a cliff with a greased edge!!

Welcome to the fun, it’s only just begun!

P.S. don’t forget to keep us informed on the state of your shop!

You have run into some of the most high powered enablers in woodworking!

-- - Terry

View WayneC's profile


13776 posts in 4272 days

#11 posted 08-29-2013 05:01 PM

Welcome. Sharp blade, some tuning and a quality plane (pre-war or post war from a good manufacture) gives awesome results. Looks like you’re off and running. :)

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

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2951 days

#12 posted 08-29-2013 05:02 PM

Yeah – once you get hooked, give your wife all of your credit cards for at least a year. If you don’t, you could easily become a starving woodworker – your wife will leave you and you will fill your house with tools.

I’ve seen it happen – its not pretty!

-- David in Damascus, MD

View shampeon's profile


1859 posts in 2358 days

#13 posted 08-29-2013 05:07 PM

Terry just wrote my recent biography.

Welcome to the sickness.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View TerryDowning's profile


1102 posts in 2292 days

#14 posted 08-29-2013 05:10 PM

It’s autobiographical as well. :)

SWMBO just doesn’t get it which prevents David’s observation from happening since she’s also the CFO of the household.

-- - Terry

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3215 days

#15 posted 08-29-2013 05:21 PM

Where’s the Pics !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

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