Planes on the Cheap

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Forum topic by seamus999 posted 01-30-2014 02:55 PM 1496 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1543 days

01-30-2014 02:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’ve been reading a bit and while I do know enough to get started I thought it’d be a good idea to just ask and get more info. To make a long story short, I’m broke and sick of not doing anything with my hands so I thought I’d bet back into woodworking. At the moment I’m basically just refinishing pieces and doing minor things but I thought about getting a few hand tools and actually building a few things.

Now the bad part, I’m broke and well, to be honest I’ve always loved the idea of hand tools but never really used any. So the way I see the situation it’s a lot like teaching a kid to drive. You don’t rush out and buy them what they want, you just get an old pickup.

Hand saws are easy, same with say chisels, both are tools I already know enough about and own. But hand planes. Well all I know about them was from when I was a kid taking woodshop in school so, not much.

Been looking around and thought about picking up some Anant planes. Sure, the polish and such might be lacking but they look serviceable (unlike the ones I can find for sell at home despot).

Any thoughts? Anyone know of a better brand that’s still cheap enough to afford?

Also, the blades that come with them, good enough to learn with or, chuck’em and get better?

16 replies so far

View Armandhammer's profile


235 posts in 1591 days

#1 posted 01-30-2014 03:21 PM

There’s loads of old Stanley planes for sale prices varying from very cheap to stupid expensive. Key is being at the right place at the right time (including ebay) and being willing to fix up a nice user. As far as cheap…depends on what your idea of cheap is. There’s folks on here that can buy a complete collection of Lie-Nielsen planes and not think twice about it and there’s folks like me that cringe even at forking over $30 for a nice user Stanley #4 plane. The advice I see on here over and over is fleamarkets and yardsales…might take some luck but I see a lot of people here claiming they find good usable tools for just dollars. Saws for $2-3…planes for $10-12, ect. Fleamarket season is a couple months away here so right now I’m kinda stuck paying higher prices for my tools since I’m not patient enough to wait.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15280 posts in 2583 days

#2 posted 01-30-2014 03:39 PM

To expand a bit on A&H’s great input: Learn to recognize rosewood knobs and totes of the pre-WWII stanley line and a whole world of decent quality, very affordable planes will open to you. A very good place to start is Patrick Leach’s Blood and Gore site; run through those pages a few times and you’ll have an idea what to look for in bench planes, certainly.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View bondogaposis's profile


4682 posts in 2316 days

#3 posted 01-30-2014 03:46 PM

Get a pre WWII Stanley #5 jack and an Stanley block plane, I recommend the #60 1/2. There’s lots of them on ebay, then learn to restore, tune, and sharpen and you will be well on your way to mastering hand planes. It’s a lot of fun to bring an old user back to life.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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1756 posts in 1859 days

#4 posted 01-30-2014 07:12 PM

I’m looking on amazon and see an Anant #5 for $57.95. In the past month, I’ve bought two vintage Stanleys and one Keen Kutter (that had a Stanley SW blade) for about that same price, and I know I’m getting better quality.

It takes some effort to know what to look for, get them in working order and learn how to use them. But get this – I’m a total idiot who knew zero about woodworking when I bought my first plane. I still don’t know as much as I’d like, but I’ve learned a ton from people on this site and books and videos in the past few months to feel semi-competent with planes, and if I – an absolute dope – can do it, you can do it.

Get an old one, fix it up – when you are forced to take it apart and put it back together you will better learn how it works and how to use it well.

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 1854 days

#5 posted 01-30-2014 07:16 PM

I have a #4 and #5 miller’s falls sharp and ready to go. Pay shipping and they’re yours. I was once in your situation. Woodworking is a truly satisfying feeling.

These are great users. One was rehabbed by our own DonW.

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5849 posts in 3550 days

#6 posted 01-30-2014 07:52 PM

I also reckon you should take your time and do your homework.At one time or another when starting out we all had to do that I guess especially as said when we started.Have a lot of inexpensive but safe fun.kindest regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Armandhammer's profile


235 posts in 1591 days

#7 posted 01-30-2014 07:59 PM

And stay off ebay…it’s frustrating to say the least. I am pissed right now but that’s the name of the ebay game I guess. Cruising along waiting on a nice Millers Falls 22 then with 20ish minutes to go…bidding war and the price soared to stupid levels. Makes it hard for those of us on a tight budget to collect tools to use.

View bandit571's profile


19723 posts in 2648 days

#8 posted 01-30-2014 08:18 PM

I went to Lowes a while back, and had the wife pick up a Kobalt #4 smoother hand plane. It was $29.99 + tax

Just needed some work to sharpen the iron up. Not too bad for around $32??

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Armandhammer's profile


235 posts in 1591 days

#9 posted 01-30-2014 08:56 PM

You can get a vintage Stanley #4 in user condition for $30-40 or less even.

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 1854 days

#10 posted 01-30-2014 09:01 PM

I’ve had luck recently on ebay. But i do agree. I tend to stay away from bids. Especially on items I’d really love, but know i’d be beaten. I started a bid on a Union #2, but KNEW it would far exceed what i wanted to spend so i stopped. Other times i set a max bid, and if it’s beat, i move on.

View Armandhammer's profile


235 posts in 1591 days

#11 posted 01-30-2014 10:52 PM

Yeah…I was just pissed because there was a Millers Falls No. 22 plane that didn’t have a single bid until just about an hour before the auction was over. Started at $50…sold for $92. Just ended up being a bidding war between a couple people to flex there muscle I guess.

View OSU55's profile


1630 posts in 1954 days

#12 posted 02-14-2014 03:27 PM

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2831 days

#13 posted 02-14-2014 03:42 PM

You can still find some decent buys at yard sales, flea markets and small estate sales. I’ve bought a few things on Ebay in the last few months at a reasonable price. You do have to be patient to get a good deal. You’re better off with an old Stanley user than any Anant plane. Be patient.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Pezking7p's profile


3217 posts in 1616 days

#14 posted 02-14-2014 03:50 PM

Paul Sellers is a big proponent of buying an old Stanley No.4 and using it for just about everything. Obviously not ideal, but it seems to work for him, and I’m guessing you would learn a lot about using planes by trying to stretch your No.4 to the limit. He also has a blog series about how to get started in hand tools on the cheap. You should check out some of his youtube videos, too. Paul is a very practical guy who loves hand work.

-- -Dan

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1900 days

#15 posted 02-14-2014 03:59 PM

Man, if I were you, I’d take up lateralus on that offer for the two millers falls planes. Those are good quality planes and give you a great starting point. You are not going to find anything cheaper than just shipping, especially ready to work. If you don’t take him up, I will :)

My first rehab plane was a millers falls jack and I liked it just fine. Used it yesterday, in fact

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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