looking for a recommendation for a beginner plane?

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Forum topic by 2x4x10 posted 01-23-2014 02:50 AM 1439 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1722 days

01-23-2014 02:50 AM

I’m new and I’m trying to determine a universal entry level plan that will work… before I expand into specific planes

-- Jim

14 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3805 posts in 1958 days

#1 posted 01-23-2014 03:08 AM

What would you like to do with it? What types of projects, etc. Without any information a jack plane (#5 size) or a smoother #4 size are a decent start, but a block plane is probably the most useful if you don’t already have one.

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3062 days

#2 posted 01-23-2014 03:32 AM

I agree with Tim. It depends on your goals, but in general I’d pick up a good quality block plane as this will be useful in almost any aspect of woodworking. I am a fan of Lie Nielsen planes, although considering their price point you might not consider them to be “entry level”. If you can afford to go that route, it will give you a good introduction to hand planes, and allow you to experience the full potential of the tool and avoid some of the early frustrations that many of us have experienced.

-- PaulMayer,

View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2337 days

#3 posted 01-23-2014 03:51 AM

To buy a first new plane, I think you need to also consider also a sharpening system. It is no fun to go out and buy a new tool and find out that it can’t cut because it was not honed from the factory. So buy both and learn as you go. Lots of frustrations involved in sharpening. Patience is a good asset.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

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1862 posts in 2337 days

#4 posted 01-23-2014 03:53 AM


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Armandhammer's profile


235 posts in 1623 days

#5 posted 01-23-2014 04:01 AM

I just got my first plane…a #5. I love it. I’m now looking for a jointer, smoother, and block plane. Sharpening…I went with the sand paper method to start. Cheap initially and it’s actually not hard. Just watch a handful of youtube videos and then give it a try. I also bought a sharpening guide which for a beginner I think is extremely helpful. They are cheap enough.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1932 days

#6 posted 01-23-2014 05:33 AM

I got a jack plane first. Second was a block plane. Third was a #4 smoother. I wish I had gotten the smoother first. While the jack plane is more of a “jack of all trades”, that quality is really only a necessity if you are doing a whole bunch of dimensioning by hand. I have a jointer, planer, and tablesaw so I choose not to flatten or joint by hand. My planes are used to take off small amounts of material and to smooth. So for me a #4 would have been a better starting point. If you are a hand tool purist, a #5 probably is the best first plane. If you are a hybrid guy, consider the #4 or block plane first, as they will be more applicable to the situations where you need to use a plane.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View realcowtown_eric's profile


608 posts in 1934 days

#7 posted 01-23-2014 07:05 AM

Any type of woodbutcher needs a block plane.

next if I was starting all over again, it would be a number 4, common and cheap at fleamarkets. Cheap enuf to make mistakes on them….

and then a 7 or 8 jointer, but I would also learn to tune up a plane before I went whole hog. There’s lots of links out there and articles in FWW in tuning up wood planes

AND SO ON down the slippery slope

woodbutchery is my trade and craft and while I will use powertools frequently, the lessons learned from the study of old tools allow me to practice my trade better and cleverer, and it will you too.


-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Don W's profile

Don W

18711 posts in 2565 days

#8 posted 01-24-2014 09:09 PM

I would agree with a block, then a #4.

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

View LoriF's profile


119 posts in 1874 days

#9 posted 01-24-2014 09:32 PM

A low angle block or standard angle?

-- There's a crack in everything that’s how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4094 days

#10 posted 01-24-2014 09:33 PM

For the block plane I recommend looking for an adjustable mouth low angle block plane. Stanley Models would be a #60 1/2 or a #65. The #65 is the larger of the two planes. Other manufactures to consider would be Sargent, Ohio, Union, or Millers Falls.

Info on these planes can be found on the blood and gore hand plane site.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18711 posts in 2565 days

#11 posted 01-25-2014 12:37 AM

A low angle block or standard angle?

Both really, but a low angle if you’re set on only having one.

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

View Woodknack's profile


11621 posts in 2377 days

#12 posted 01-25-2014 04:15 AM

I would get the idea of a “beginner” plane out of your head, there is no such thing. There are better, good, and crappy planes; beginner or not you don’t want crappy. All the different plane types are designed for different purposes and I don’t believe there is one more useful than another although perhaps a #4 or #5 might fit the bill.

-- Rick M,

View Goodsh's profile


80 posts in 1917 days

#13 posted 01-25-2014 04:37 AM

Depends on what you want to do and what other tools you have. I started with a low angle jack plane based on a recommendation I read on Chris Schwarz’s blog ( – great explanation of different bench planes) and a FWW article by Christian Becksvoort (One bench plane can do it all). Easy to use for a beginner (at least the Veritas one is) and I also got different blades so I can use it for shooting end grain, jointing and smoothing. Part of the reason is that I don’t have a jointer so I can use the jack plane for jointing (I mostly work with boards less than three feet in length so the jack plane is fine for jointing them). It’s very versatile and I use it for a lot of things because I lack other tools. After typing that I just remembered that I started out with a adjustable mouth low angle block plane. It didn’t really do it for me. It’s great but I needed something that could do more jobs and the block plane isn’t great for general smoothing and not at all useful for jointing. Like I say, it depends on your needs. If you have a jointer and planer and just want something for general work I’d say get a smoothing plane (#4).

View realcowtown_eric's profile


608 posts in 1934 days

#14 posted 01-27-2014 06:59 AM

Ibid to the comments about the low angle, but if yer buying at the Flea, look carfully at the sole for cracks on either sides of the throat. Stanleys, particularly, Records not so much as a risk, as they had I think dang near 50% more metal south of the blade, not so prone to cracks.

Stanley would be a 60 1/2#

Sharpening system you can start off, and maybe stay with “scarey sharp” method without fear. Anyone teases you about it, and suggests you gotta spend hundreds to sharpen their blades, just laugh.

Besides, nowadays diamond stones are way cheaper than belgian whetstones!

Just my opinion.

Eric in Cowtwon

-- Real_cowtown_eric

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