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Millers Falls 18C - good choice for a newbie?

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Forum topic by jacobgerlach posted 08-30-2013 02:15 PM 1213 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jacobgerlach

29 posts in 1226 days


08-30-2013 02:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane milling

I posted here to get advice about lumber prices, tools to get rough stock ready to work, etc.

Part of my solution is keeping an eye out for good deals on planes.

I haven’t decided to jump fully into surfacing rough stock by hand, but my goal is to eventually be able to clean up one face of a board enough to then send it through the power planer. I’d also like to be able to edge joint – I don’t plan on buying a power jointer anytime soon.

I understand the basic idea of jack>jointer>smoother from other posts…

There’s a 1935 Millers Falls 18C on CL for $35 near me.

I’m assuming that this is useless for edge jointing both because it’s too short and because of the corrugated sole.

I’ve also heard some people recommend sticking to Stanley as a beginner since there’s more information out there.

I have no experience sharpening, but have read a little on scary sharp and watched some videos – seems like it fits my budget.

So what do you guys think? Good choice to start me down the hand tool path?


14 replies so far

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MaroonGoon

280 posts in 1418 days


#1 posted 08-30-2013 02:21 PM

I got a Millers Falls plane from BigRedKnothead and I really like it. Pics? Sounds good unless theres something wrong with it, can’t tell without pics.

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

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JustJoe

1554 posts in 1498 days


#2 posted 08-30-2013 02:23 PM

The price is OK, it’s the same size as a Stanley #6. All the parts are the same as a Stanley except one says Stanley, yours would say Millers Falls. Corrugated bottoms aren’t going to stop you from edge-jointing and while Mr. Leach talked about their lack of length and how it makes them so unsuitable for jointing, I notice that it doesn’t stop him from selling them on his monthly tool-list.

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jacobgerlach

29 posts in 1226 days


#3 posted 08-30-2013 03:01 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

The CL pics aren’t particularly helpful – there is a crack in the tote that is hard to see. Relatively little rust. I’ll make a final decision when I actually see it, but I have to drive about 30 min to check it out, so I want to see if it’s worth the trip.

Maybe a more specific question: Is a jack plane enough to prepare a rough board to send through a power planer? I’ve heard people talk about doing this, but not with specifics.

I suppose that the other option would be using a jointer plane (since I’m going to use the planer for bulk material removal)?

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JustJoe

1554 posts in 1498 days


#4 posted 08-30-2013 03:03 PM

You only need to get one side flat enough so it doesn’t rock, plane the other side flat and flip the board. So yes, any old plane will do. Or you could just skip the plane and tape wedges to the underside to make it stable until the top is flat.

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shampeon

1711 posts in 1643 days


#5 posted 08-30-2013 03:08 PM

$35 is pretty good for a type 2 Millers Falls 18C. It’d be like picking one up for $25 off eBay when you factor in shipping, which would be a good deal.

You will have no problems edge jointing with a corrugated plane unless you are jointing very thin stock. The length won’t be a problem unless you are working with fairly long boards (like 6+ feet). Paul Sellers uses a Stanley #4 for practically everything, and that’s much shorter.

I personally like Millers Falls planes, a lot. They’re just as good as the Stanleys, if not better.

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

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WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#6 posted 08-30-2013 03:16 PM

The price is not out of line and it could be restored. A #6 can be used for scrubbing boards if you camber the blade similar to what is recommended for jack although it is heavier.

Normally you joint one side of the board flat, joint an edge to 90 degrees, then plane the board to the correct thickness. The other edge would be cut to width on a table saw. You have to be careful if your only using a power planer that you do not make the board parallel but not flat (if that makes sense).

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

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jacobgerlach

29 posts in 1226 days


#7 posted 08-30-2013 03:38 PM

Wayne – my understanding was that you can flatten one face with hand planes so that you have flat and parallel faces after the planer. This is really what I was asking in my last post – will this plane get the board flat enough to achieve this or would I need to flatten further with a jointer plane?

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JayT

4772 posts in 1671 days


#8 posted 08-30-2013 03:46 PM

The length won’t be a problem unless you are working with fairly long boards (like 6+ feet)

+1. I have a couple #6 size planes and absolutely love them for flattening and jointing. They are long enough for most tasks and I only break out the #8 jointer if the piece is really large. One of these is set up with a cambered iron and works great for initial flattening of rough or warped boards. The other has a straight iron and is used for jointing and final flattening right before hitting with a smoother.

There are some that do not like the #6 size, but it is one of my favorites and I find them to be incredibly useful.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View Tugboater78's profile

Tugboater78

2446 posts in 1652 days


#9 posted 08-30-2013 03:47 PM

It should suffice, and millers falls are good planes

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

View TerryDowning's profile

TerryDowning

1053 posts in 1577 days


#10 posted 08-30-2013 03:49 PM

Lots of options for flattening stock if you have a power planer.

A jig to hold the board in reference to flatten one side then flip it flatten the other side.

Wedges as mentioned.

Prep one side by hand as mentioned by you. It doesn’t have to be glassy smooth or show quality, just flat enough to serve as a reference for the opposite side being planed.

Another name for the 18” planes like the #6 Stanley and the MF #18 is the fore plane who’s role in life is rough stock preparation. The #6 and MF#18 are much maligned planes, bigger and less maneuverable than a jack not as large or heavy as a jointer so the reference may not be as accurate and it doesn’t get as much momentum. Blah Blah Blah

I have a #6C and use it for jointing edges (I don’t have a Jointer plane yet). According to my straight edge the edges come out flat and true. Many itinerant craftsman like my Grandfather (the source of most of my planes) used the #6 in place of the larger jointers since it was less weight to lug around and did the job adequately. Please do keep in mind that Gramps did mostly construction grade work and not fine furniture. So using the #6 as a jointer was an “it’s good enough” situation. YMMV depending on your final project. I can’t complain about the results i have achieved with Gramps’ #6C.

Miller’s Falls planes are good solid user planes. I have a #9 (smoother), a #14 (Jack) and a #7 skewed rabbet block plane. MF -lanes typically have these desired qualities: Good steel in the blades that take and hold an edge; soles and sides typically have enough mass to be flattened and squared; the frog beds are machined; and the frogs are cast. I would welcome a MF #18 and happily put it to use. Depending on condition and location $35 may be a fair price. If there is damage or missing parts don’t be afraid to haggle.

Good luck.

-- - Terry

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jacobgerlach

29 posts in 1226 days


#11 posted 08-31-2013 12:15 AM

I ended up picking this up. Thanks to all who replied with advice.

The tote looks like it was epoxy repaired at some point – a crack runs all the way around.

The japanning is pretty much 100%, but I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between original and a restoration somewhere along the way.

Everything else looks pretty nice – very little rust, a little dust and dirt on the frog.

I can already tell that the blade will need some work – a couple small dings at the edge, uneven from left to right:

I stopped by Lowe’s on the way home to get a granite tile to try sandpaper sharpening. Even though I asked the guy in the tile dept, I found out when I got to the register that you have to buy them by the carton. As an apology, the guy gave me an 18×18 sample from a discontinued line that he had saved from the dumpster!

I know there’s a wealth of information about scary sharp out there (I’m about to start reading more of it), but if anyone has recommendations on what grit to start and finish with, I’d appreciate hearing those. Looks like Lowe’s tops out around 600 grit. Do you guys get the higher stuff exclusively at woodworking stores?

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JayT

4772 posts in 1671 days


#12 posted 08-31-2013 12:20 AM

You should be able to get higher grit wet dry sandpaper at auto parts stores if the hardware stores don’t have it. Most will carry up to 2000 grit in with the body repair stuff.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View JustJoe's profile

JustJoe

1554 posts in 1498 days


#13 posted 08-31-2013 12:21 AM

ACE sells individual sheets much higher, and so do most auto parts stores.

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Don W

17955 posts in 2028 days


#14 posted 08-31-2013 12:24 AM

And read up on the paper. You’ll want wet dry. I know a lot of guys buy from Lee Valley.

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

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