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Forum topic by TRHeath posted 02-10-2014 09:56 PM 1370 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TRHeath

75 posts in 1053 days


02-10-2014 09:56 PM

Well I decided to buy an enexpensive $30 bench plane from Lowes. The sole appears to be fairly true and flat. I’m going to keep track of how much time it takes me to get it lapped, tuned and sharpened and then I’ll decide if it was worth it. What are your thoughts? Is a $ 200 or $300 plane really worth it in the end? I’ve never had an expensive one so I wouldn’t know.

-- So much to learn....so little time.....


18 replies so far

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14606 posts in 2149 days


#1 posted 02-10-2014 10:07 PM

Have the same plane

MAKE sure the capiron/chip breaker mates up with the iron. It was made to match an out-of flat iron. So when the iron is flattened, a gap shows up between the two.

Iron does need a bit of work, anyway. Sole on mine was flat. Not too crazy about the “rib” under the lever cap. It rest on the chipbreaker. It is not milled, just a rough casting. I sanded away the rough stuff, but not the entire rib. Might yet, anyway.

Not too bad a plane, for $30. About the same amount of work that I would put into those vintage planes that come in the mail, or fropm a Rust Hunt.

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

View Minorhero's profile

Minorhero

372 posts in 2071 days


#2 posted 02-10-2014 11:14 PM

I buy used planes off of ebay and then restore them. The hardest part is lapping the sole and it sounds like you are already prepared to do that.

Here is a picture of a No 3 I bought for $38.

And here it is after about 3 or 4 hours of restoration.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2084 days


#3 posted 02-10-2014 11:22 PM

Why lap the sole if it’s fairly true and flat? Have you sharpened and honed the iron, checked the mating surfaces between frog and iron and mating surfaces between frog and sole? All those things done, still not do the job? What job are you asking of a Lowes plane, smoother or jack or ?

For $30 you could have a pre-war jack plane that’s sharp and ready to go, no work or worries.

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

View TheWoodenOyster's profile

TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1401 days


#4 posted 02-10-2014 11:35 PM

Two things:

1. Please let us know how it works out. I have seen those planes and I am always very curious as to how they would perform if tuned up properly.

2. Smitty—- Where do you find pre-war jack planes that are sharp and ready to go for $30? Not trying to have an attitude or anything, but all of my used planes are in decent condition when I get them for $50ish and I spend 2 or 3 hours tuning them up. From what you said it sound like you are finding classic stanleys that are ready to work for $30? Is that true?

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2084 days


#5 posted 02-11-2014 12:20 AM

Check out DonW here on LJs. He rocks, he’s Don Yoda, and he offers planes that are completely refurbed, often in that price range. Not everything is that price, but often enough to make me cringe when I hear of folks considering new Piece o’Crap planes costing that much.

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

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1625 posts in 2098 days


#6 posted 02-11-2014 12:31 AM

I bought a Stanley “Contractor” Low angle block plane from Lowes. Works nicely.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile

TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1401 days


#7 posted 02-11-2014 04:53 AM

Oh wow! I didn’t know Don sold anything. I knew he was the guru, but I was unaware that he sold stuff too. I guess that makes sense, it does seem like he must go through planes like candy in order to know as much as he does. I’ll keep an eye on his website. Thanks for the heads up!

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View TRHeath's profile

TRHeath

75 posts in 1053 days


#8 posted 02-11-2014 04:29 PM

What’s the best general purpose solvent to remove the gumming and machine oil from the plane before I tune it up. I don’t want to damage anything

-- So much to learn....so little time.....

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

15673 posts in 2472 days


#9 posted 02-11-2014 04:32 PM

Try some WD40, simple green or some mineral spirits to remove the goo. Youll have a tough time ruining a jappaned finish with most mild solvents.

-- rock, chalk, jayhawk

View TRHeath's profile

TRHeath

75 posts in 1053 days


#10 posted 02-11-2014 04:41 PM

I was thinking mineral spirits but just wanted to be sure.

-- So much to learn....so little time.....

View jordanp's profile

jordanp

1086 posts in 1406 days


#11 posted 02-11-2014 05:04 PM

+1 On the mineral spirits, it has worked for me in the past.
+1 On DonW he doesn’t always have a hefty inventory, but i’ve seen the planes he has sold in the past and know some owners of his refurbished user planes, Good Stuff.

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1154 posts in 1100 days


#12 posted 02-11-2014 05:10 PM

I spent 3 weeks of solid work lapping a Record #7, I should have sent it out to a machine shop.
After that I started buying expensive planes from both Lie Nielsen and Lee Valley. But I also started buying old stanleys and refurbing them.

It just all depends on the level of quality at the manufacturers side. Same with combo squares.
I have a Starrett, but just bought an empire. The first the blade was out by 4 thou on the blade width, the replacement was good on the blade, but needed work on the head. I use the Starrett for accuracy and length, the empire is a 6” model needed for lighter weight. Also my Starrett is so old it does not have a satin blade.. so not as nice to read, but definitely more accurate.

-- Jeff NJ

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TRHeath

75 posts in 1053 days


#13 posted 02-11-2014 07:39 PM

Well I took it all apart, cleaned it up. Flattened all the mating edges on the frog, chipbreaker, etc. The blade came with a 25 degree angle so I sanded that bevel with 320 grit paper on glass. Then I honed a 30 degree bevel with 600 grit, 1000 grit and 2000 grit. And the back of the blade as well. The sole is fairly flat but not perfect. I can get a .003” feeler gauge under a straight edge both front to back and side to side but it only appears that its about the outer 3/8” and about 1 1/2” on the ends that I have to bring down. It does cut pretty good as is but i’ll lap the sole flat anyway. I’ve probably spent about an hour and a half on it. Not too bad so far. I would like some input from someone who uses expensive planes though. Are they ready to use out of the box?

-- So much to learn....so little time.....

View jordanp's profile

jordanp

1086 posts in 1406 days


#14 posted 02-11-2014 08:23 PM

LN planes are ready to go out of the box, Scott Meek Planes are ready to go out of the box.
Not sure about Veritas.
I know Woodriver planes usually need a little work but not much..

I’ve been on a kick making my own wooden planes here and there for the past 8-9 months.
You might check out www.niceashplanes.com he has the best blades i’ve used in wooden body planes.

I use scraps i have laying around the shop + about 4-5 hours and a $30-$40 blade from Nice Ash Planes.
and the end result is a nice little plane.. the Krenov style planes are the easiest to make from my very limited experience..

Building a 26” Jointer plane out of Beech right now.

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2033 days


#15 posted 02-11-2014 08:31 PM

Lets say you have a better chance that the expensive planes are ready out of the box. It also depends on what you mean by expensive. Buy a Ron Breese or Philip Marcou (or similar) and its probably out of the box ready. Buy a LN or Lee Valley, you’ll usually need some work on the irons (although my LN didn’t need much) and that’s about it. Even less often the sole may need flattening. Buy a new Stanley and I’ve known several woodworkers who have sent their new Stanley’s back 3 times to get a good one. From what I’ve heard Wind River is some where in between Stanley and LN.

If you look through reviews, you will see the occasional bad LN or LV being bought and Wind River to, but they seem to have decent customer service, so they take care of it. Is it worth the frustration? Its all up to you.

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

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