Hand Plane Comparison Question

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Forum topic by Mattador posted 01-06-2014 03:45 PM 1781 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1616 days

01-06-2014 03:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hand planes comparison question

Hey guys. I’m looking to get a set of hand planes. I’m a beginner with planes and have been looking at set of the newer Stanley Sweat heart planes or a set from WoodRiver.

Do any of you have any opinions on which are better quality or better overall set? The price range is in the same ballpark for the three I’m planning on getting.

If Stanley it would be a No. 4 Bailey, No. 60 1/2 low angle block plane, and no.62 jack plane.

If WoodRiver it would be their V3 No.4, No. 6, and low angle block plane.

With Stanley I can buy them as I please, but with WoodRiver it seems a lot cheaper to buy them all at once in a package.

If not these would you have other recommendations ( and not Lei Nielsen. That price range will be in the future for me ).

Look forward to hearing your advice.

14 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4097 days

#1 posted 01-06-2014 03:50 PM

My recommendation would be pre-ww 2 from a quality manufacture (Stanley, Sargent, Ohio, Union to name a few). The cost would be significantly less.

The #4, and the 60 1/2 would be as good in quality and much less in price. A #5 Jack would be a good option to start as well… Once you have tuned and sharpened them, you can consider specific LV or LN planes (e.g. Low angle Jack).

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18715 posts in 2567 days

#2 posted 01-06-2014 04:03 PM

+1 to what Wayne wrote.

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

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3358 days

#3 posted 01-06-2014 04:54 PM

+2 to Wayne’s advice. I’ll add that you might want to check with DonW to see what he has in stock. There are a few of us around here that sell rehabbed planes which means you’d be getting a plane that’s ready to go to work when you unpack it. Yes, you’ll still need to teach yourself (or look on YouTube) how to adjust the frog and set the mouth, but that would be about it.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 2257 days

#4 posted 01-06-2014 10:06 PM

Well I agree with what has been said. As I have slid so far down the slippery slope that I buy not only antiques but also new planes. I recently picked up the 62 and 60 1/2. The 62 had to go back because of NUMEROUS imperfections and the fact that the lever cap was machined crooked. The replacement should be here today. However saying that I was overly pickey on the finish because I intend to use it for a bit then but it back in the box to collect. I wanted one that looked great.

The 60 1/2 came in and was sweet out of the box. I didn’t realize that it is wider than the older 60 1/2 it is more like a 65 than a 60 1/2. And this thing is HEAVY! over 2 pounds!!!. Thats 8 oz. more than a typical block plane. This bad boy while a bit much for average planing makes short work of some endgrain. The blade is A2 and I put a little lower of an angle on it because I ONLY use it for end grain work. I put a 20 degree on it and it has held up pretty well. All I can say is that It is a monster. I will eventually pick a some wood river blocks but thats for later. I still need to buy the 9 1/2.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4097 days

#5 posted 01-06-2014 10:15 PM

Re: the 60 1/2. The 65 is a solid option if you like a larger block plane. I have a 65 with a Hock blade in it that I prefer to my LN 60 1/2.

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

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 2257 days

#6 posted 01-06-2014 10:45 PM

Just got my 62 in. Quick inspection shows this one to be much better. The only problem is that the paint on the lever cap is coming off and I just opened the box. I am going to try to contact stanley to get a replacement instead of returning it to amazon.

View Loren's profile


10401 posts in 3647 days

#7 posted 01-06-2014 11:06 PM

I’d go with a vintage bailey #4, a vintage Bailey #5 and
a standard 9 1/2 or #18 knuckle cap.

You’ll need sharpening gear if you don’t have it.

Just because they are expensive to get into, I recommend
passing on the low angle planes and starting with the
standard ones. The chipbreaker when carefully polished
and set allows a standard bench plane to mimic cutting
angles up to nearly 60 degrees. With low angle planes
you have to regrind an iron to plane at a higher bevel.

Also, cambering and setting blades for an even cut is
easier on higher angle planes. I have a couple of low angle
bench planes and the irons have to be ground dead
square to get an even blade protrusion. A standard
bench plane is far more forgiving in this regard with
the adjustment lever and quite a bit more room to
wiggle the blade so it’s where you want it with regrinding
seldom required.

View Mattador's profile


5 posts in 1616 days

#8 posted 01-07-2014 03:04 AM

Thanks for the advise guys. I actually ended up picking up a 1910 Bailey No. 7 for milling. From the pictures it looked to be in pretty good condition. I believe restored. I get the feeling I paid too much for it though :/.

Keeping my eye out for a number 4 now.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1772 posts in 1893 days

#9 posted 01-07-2014 07:37 AM

I bought a 4 once.
Then I bought a 220.
Then I bought a 9 1/2.
Then I bought a 6.
Then I bought a 5.
Then I bought an 8.
Then I bought another 5.
Then I bought another 4 and then about 30 minutes later I bought a very crappy 4 for parts for the 4 I just got.

When will it end?!!!!!!!!!??
I don’t know.

I just don’t know.

View redmosquito1's profile


26 posts in 1602 days

#10 posted 01-08-2014 07:11 PM

Your walking down a slippery slope. I started when I inherited my dad’s Stanley #5 and no name #7, rehabbed those got them working good. Found out about smoothing planes and before I knew it I had a #4c and a #4 coming. Decided that a #3 might give me a better surface than the #4’s so I found a late 1800s version I had to have, same finish too. Then I found a nice 1910 patent #5 I had to have. Then an early round top #7 bedrock for a steal, then I thought a 45 would be cool to have got one of those. Needed a good block plane so I got a L-N 60 1/2 for Xmas. Then I decided the finish on my #4 wasn’t up to par (it was and still is) so I bought a new blade for it, that didn’t work so I returned it and decided for $50 more I could walk out with a woodriver #4 v3, and since a user (read needs work) Stanley bedrock #4 would run me about the same price but then I’d have to put a bunch of time, work and effort into it plus a blade it’d make more sense to just but the wood river. Then I saw a nice early 1900 #4 on eBay and decided I had to have that so that coming this week.

Not to mention the sharpening stones to keep then sharp, and the granite tile and mounds of sand paper to lap each sole flat, and the electrolysis set up to remove all the rust so I didn’t have to smell vinegar anymore. Lol.

It’s a sickness. I still want to get a L-N #4 in bronze too.

But, to answer your question. If you’re buying them new I didn’t like the quality I saw in the Stanley planes I’ve seen compared to the woodriver. The newer v3 planes have gotten very favorable reviews on them and most people like them. I’m liking the one I got, I can take gossimer shavings with it with very little setup time. Fit and finish is good, machining looks tight. Only complaint is I wish it had a machined track to keep the frog square to the mouth at all times. The bedrock I have has something like that. But the woodriver doesn’t. It’s not tough to set it up though so it doesn’t really matter.

View OSU55's profile


1672 posts in 1989 days

#11 posted 01-08-2014 11:36 PM

You didn’t say how quickly you want to be productive with hand planes. If you have time to learn, I highly recommend type 19 or older Stanleys that you rehab. Stanley because they are most plentiful – other brands are good too but may be harder to find parts for, I’m not sure. While Bedrocks might be better, they are 2x-3x the price of Bailey versions, and the Bailey versions do wonderful work when properly tuned. Stay away from the “Handyman” version. You will learn a lot and not spend a lot of money.

If you want to get to work quickly and not rehab I would recommend the Woodriver planes. I think I would pick them over the newer Stanly bench planes. For a Low Angle Jack, Veritas is the pick of the litter. I’m a Veritas owner and pick them for any plane if money is not an issue. Next you start down the bevel up vs bevel down ….............never ending debate…...........

I recommend a 4-1/2 for smoothing, a 7 for jointing and panel flattening (Veritas has an excellent jointer fence that fits the Stanley form), and low angle block for misc. The 4-1/2 and 7 take the same blade. Many prefer a #4 because they are easier to push with the 2” blade. The factory blades, new or old, work very well when properly prepared – no need to spend a bunch on aftermarket blades or breakers. Spare blades for the LA block allow different bevel angles for the particular situation. The Stanly 12-960 is a very good plane after tuning and is fairly cheap. Only get a #5 if you plan to dimension your lumber by hand (I use power). The new Stanley Sweetheart LA block (12-139?) is very very good – not a Veritas or LN, but 1/2 the price. I have a standard angle block purchased early on that is not really needed – another LA plane or another blade at a steeper angle would have done the trick. By all means get a block plane with an adjustable mouth.

There are plenty of resources for rehabbing planes. I find Evap-Rust works great for rust removal. The rest is smoothing and flattening surfaces. Plate glass glued to MDF, masonite, etc. makes an affordable flat plate whatever size you want. IMO the #1 skill to develop is to reliably create razor sharp, durable edges on the blades. Search for Brent Beach sharpening – he has the most comprehensive information for sharpening I have found, and provides information for economical methods to get great edges.

Put a 70°-80° bevel on the chip breaker. Great help in preventing tearout. Search for Kato and Kawai cap iron research.

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 2257 days

#12 posted 01-08-2014 11:57 PM

I just got word back from stanley and after convincing them that I didn’t need to mail them the whole plane and they could just send me a new lever cap. They are sending me a new one in the mail with little fuss.

View Mattador's profile


5 posts in 1616 days

#13 posted 01-14-2014 01:35 AM

Thanks for all the advise. Since I last posted I’ve purchased some sharpening gear (I hope the right stuff, I ended up splurging on an expensive honing guide), a stanley number 4, and a 1910 stanley number 7. I’ve become somewhat addicted to looking for older planes already lol. I’ll take some pics when they all come in.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3358 days

#14 posted 01-14-2014 03:05 AM

It sounds like you’re taking a pretty sensible approach and that’s great. Trust me, that will change soon enough :)) Seriously, take your time and get comfortable learning how to adjust the plane and iron to do different things. You’re gonna luv ‘em. If you are serious about getting that one plane milled, there’s a guy named Tom Bussey (goes by the name Tablesaw Tom on other forums) that does very, very nice work. Not only does he mill the sole, he mills the sides to square with the sole AND flattens the back of the iron for you. Trust me, if you’re just getting into rehabbing older tools, having the iron done with the plane will save you a ton of time.

Good Luck and Have Fun!!

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

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