Talk Me Into a Wooden Jointer Plane

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Forum topic by jonah posted 09-26-2013 12:19 AM 3510 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1908 posts in 3495 days

09-26-2013 12:19 AM

I’ve been spending some time acquiring and rehabbing some old Stanley bench planes lately, and the only thing I’m missing is a Jointer. I’ve seen some decent-but-not-great prices on ebay, so I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I have also seen some wooden jointer planes there, but I’ve never used a wooden plane before.

Basically, talk me into a (cheaper, I think) wooden jointer plane over a #7 or #8. I understand the wooden ones are much lighter. Any other benefits? Any major drawbacks? Are they harder to tune properly? More finicky?

What should I be looking for in a wooden jointer? For example, is this a good one?

Thanks for any help.

20 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2235 days

#1 posted 09-26-2013 12:23 AM

That’s not a wooden jointer plane, it’s a transitional plane – halfway between a woodie and a metal plane. It’s missing some pieces and the far-away shot doesn’t tell you anything about the condition or what faults it’s hiding.

I like the heft of metal, but if you’re looking for a reason to go with wood:
1. If the sole is worn out you can put a new one on.
2. If it’s too long for that spot on the shelf you can cut a couple inches off either end.
3. yea, that’s all I got. Like I said, I prefer metal.

Edit: Tuning means flat sole and tap the iron into just the right position and tightening the wedge. That’s it.

-- 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 Don W's profile

Don W

19003 posts in 2764 days

#2 posted 09-26-2013 12:34 AM

fellow LJ Rhett sells Nice Ash planes. There are several reviews here. I did one of his first. He’s made some minor modifications since then, but they were and are a well made wood bodied plane.

You can also make your own. There is even still time to join the Plane swap.

Like Joe mentioned, the one you linked to is a transitional. I find the transitionals a little finicky.

A few shop made jointers to ponder over
Click for details

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

View Mosquito's profile


9532 posts in 2489 days

#3 posted 09-26-2013 12:57 AM

I wasn’t sure if I’d like a wooden jointer either. Then I got one from my grandfather, and it was a joy to use. Decided to make my own (Don linked to it above) and it’s great. I love using it. I made shavings for about an hour and a half when I finished the plane, for no reason more than because I enjoyed it lol

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2581 days

#4 posted 09-26-2013 11:52 AM

Advantages of a wooden Jointer:
-easier to flatten the bottom than a metal plane, in fact over-all quicker tune-up compared to sanding and filing a bunch of metal.
-feels nice
-looks better
-less expensive

-more difficult to adjust the depth of cut, until you practice a bit… (This is the biggest disadvantage, in my opinion…)
-The easier to flatten sole also means it will wear faster, and need flattening more often.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View JayT's profile


5957 posts in 2408 days

#5 posted 09-26-2013 12:49 PM

Nothing wrong with wooden planes, but I will throw a couple things to think about out there.

If all your other planes are metal and your bench is set at a good height for using them, then a wooden plane could throw you off a bit. Since the body of the plane is much thicker, it effectively raises your working height by that amount.

Is that a deal breaker? Not for me, but someone with back problems, for instance, might notice the difference and prefer to stick with all similar bodied planes.

Second thing is adjustments. A transitional will adjust much like your metal bodied planes, but if you go for a true woodie, such as Don’s or Mos’, then you will need to learn to make all adjustments with a mallet. Again not that hard to do or learn, but something to think about.

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

View jonah's profile


1908 posts in 3495 days

#6 posted 09-26-2013 01:03 PM

Thanks for the feedback. The ash planes look nice, but are way, way out of my price range. This is sort of a low cost project to tide me over until we move out of our present apartment. I got a pretty nice-but-rough Stanley #3, 4, 5, and 6 separately on ebay for peanuts (in some cases the shipping was more than the item itself). There’s no way I’d pay more than all those planes put together for a jointer.

The one I linked is out. Any others that I should look at?

View jonah's profile


1908 posts in 3495 days

#7 posted 09-26-2013 01:05 PM

I should add that it’s not possible for me to make a plane at the moment, due to my living situation (I’m not living near my shop at the moment and have no space for any quantity of tools here). That’s part of why I decided to finally look into adding a few hand planes to my repertoire.

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2581 days

#8 posted 09-26-2013 02:47 PM

I’ll have to say I lucked out and found a good old wooden jointer plane in really good condition at a local flea market… it was $28, I think…but I passed over quite a few others that were not in good shape…so you have to be picky, but if you’re like me, spending a lot of money was not an option, and old planes were the way to go. I’ve seen quite a few at local antique stores and flea markets that range between 20-30 dollars.

That’s another advantage to a wooden plane, you can find a wooden jointer for 20-30 bucks…but an old Stanley #7 or 8 will likely be 75-100, or more…no matter what condition it’s in.

So like you, I have a Stanley #5, #3, & block plane, but couldn’t find a cheap jointer plane, so I went wooden.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View jonah's profile


1908 posts in 3495 days

#9 posted 09-28-2013 12:28 AM

Would this transitional be a better example of what I should be looking for?

It seems to be complete. The price is a little higher than I’d like, but it does include free shipping.

View WayneC's profile


13783 posts in 4294 days

#10 posted 09-28-2013 03:33 AM

Personally, I’m not a transitional plane fan…. You should be able to find one of these in a local antique store in the $20-30 range. Look for one without cracks where the blade is close to the front of the mouth with the blade set to planing position.

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

View Jack Bott's profile

Jack Bott

3 posts in 1898 days

#11 posted 09-28-2013 10:54 AM

A woodworking plane is a tool that is used by a carpenter to shape and smooth wood. Hand woodworking plane were first used in ancient times and they are just as precious to the craft of wood working today.

View woodenwarrior's profile


238 posts in 2391 days

#12 posted 09-28-2013 10:56 AM

I would suggest you rummage through antique shops and antique “malls” near you. I purchased my Stanley #8 for $30 and a #4 in mint condition from around 1920 that was still in the original box for $20. They’re out there.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View jonah's profile


1908 posts in 3495 days

#13 posted 09-28-2013 11:37 PM

Popped over to a local antique mall-type-thing and saw a few jointers, but they were either a) way overpriced, b) missing an iron and/or wedge, or c) cracked all to hell. One was the trifecta of bad-ness. It was basically a block of hardwood with a handle and a slot in it.

I’ll keep looking, I suppose. I checked out that plane WayneC linked, and plan to take a stab at it.

View WayneC's profile


13783 posts in 4294 days

#14 posted 09-29-2013 05:10 AM

There are a lot of them out there. Just need to look till you find a good one.

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

View jonah's profile


1908 posts in 3495 days

#15 posted 09-29-2013 10:50 AM

I just don’t want to have to spend a lot of time and money on whatever I find. I don’t mind doing a little lapping and tweaking – that’s what I’m doing with the old Stanleys I bought recently – but I just don’t want something that’s going to be even more of a project to get functional, especially since I know absolutely nothing about using wooden planes.

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