Planes and chisels

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Forum topic by willhime posted 11-13-2014 01:10 AM 1463 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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107 posts in 1536 days

11-13-2014 01:10 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane chisel joining

what are some brands I should peruse when searching for good planes and chisels? As in the best for their value? I bit the bullet on my block and bought a LN, low angle bronze. It’s extremely nice. Now, I am looking for a low angle jack plane, a shoulder plane, a router plane, etc. I really like the idea of a low angle jack to smooth huge surfaces that when glued are about 2x wider than my 12” Delta planer. Kind of in the same vein of Global knives before Anthony Bourdain wrote his best seller, Kitchen Confidential. He said to get global because they were high quality and for a 10” chef knife, about half as much as the 2 main German brands. Problem was, after he published it, Globals flew off the shelves and they jacked the prices up to match the Germans.

-- Burn your fire for no witness

15 replies so far

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373 posts in 2602 days

#1 posted 11-13-2014 01:20 AM

Ashley Isles bench chisels often get some really good comments.

For planes Lie Nielson and Veritas are the most common by far. After that you tend to deal with custom makers.

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116 posts in 1377 days

#2 posted 11-13-2014 03:38 AM

For planes you can’t go wrong with the old Stanley’s. Maybe not as pretty as LN or Veritas, but if you don’t mind tuning it up, it’s a lot more affordable.

I just picked up some Narex chisels from ?Lee Valley. Loving them so far.


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Troy Cleckler

385 posts in 1368 days

#3 posted 11-13-2014 12:09 PM

Still in search of planes myself but I’ll agree with Chris on the Narex chisels.

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....

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174 posts in 3393 days

#4 posted 11-13-2014 01:04 PM

If you are looking for really good chisels, try Blue Spruce

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387 posts in 2373 days

#5 posted 11-13-2014 02:06 PM

If looking for planes to use out of the box, the Woodriver planes from Woodcraft are by far the best value for a new plane. A good refurb Stanley can also be a good value, not as guarantied as the Woodriver but can be just as good or even better. I believe several members of this board sell refurbished planes. For a first plane I would avoid buying a used plane to refurbish, save that for later once you know how a plane should work and what to look for when buying.

The Ashley Isles chisels are very good chisels at any price point with good high carbon steel blades and very nice balance in hand. The Narex chisels are cheeper, use a different steel and look, and I expect fee,l a little unbalanced but many folks swear by them. The new Stanley 750s are also a pretty good chisel, bullet proof handles, nice balance, with irons of about the same steel as the Narex.

Used chisels are a crap shoot, they can be as good or better than the best new chisels but by the time you pay the sell price of the chisel, shipping, and the burn rate of on-line buying a new Ashley Isles is usually a better deal. BTW, I have a wall full of pre-war chisels some are irreplaceable because no modern maker makes chisels with the same style iron and/or balance.


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179 posts in 1469 days

#6 posted 11-13-2014 07:20 PM

Say what you must about planes made in china but Woodriver planes from woodcraft offer about 90% of the quality in LN at about half the price. I have a #5 and a shoulder plane from Woodriver and I like them more than most of my vintage models. That being said pre-WWII Stanley planes can’t be beat when it comes to price, and most of the time they can be brought back to their former glory with some TLC.

-- "If you wait for it to rain, It will"

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3446 posts in 3181 days

#7 posted 11-13-2014 07:51 PM

I like my Woodriver #6 just as much as my Veritas and LN planes. Aside from a slight hollow on the back of the blade (which was easy to remove), the machining is perfect and it performs flawlessly.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

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Don W

18711 posts in 2564 days

#8 posted 11-13-2014 07:54 PM

I like the vintage for most tools. A little TLC and you’re good to go.

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

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Richard H

489 posts in 1677 days

#9 posted 11-13-2014 08:11 PM

I like vintage tools as well but some of the rarer ones get too expensive for a person wanting a tool and not a collector item. I wanted a older low angle Stanley and I bid on a few of them but one that can be used ends up being more expensive than a new Lie-Nielsen so I ended up going that route instead. The LN low angle Jack is a wonderful plane. I have no experience with the Veritas or Woodriver versions although I own other tools from both companies and like them overall.

As for chisels I find vintage ones are very much a crap shoot. Sometimes you get lucky and get a well maintained one and others you end up with backs that are warped or hollowed out or worse steel that has had the temper drawn out of it or never was really good to begin with. After years of spending way more time than I would want to admit working on vintage chisels I just went out and bought a set of LN socket chisels and I love them. They where easy to setup and took/hold a edge like a dream. My only complaint is the sides of those things are sharp compared to the old Stanley 750’s and will cut you easily if you don’t adjust how you hold them but if you have a place in your heard for Socket chisels the LN’s are hard to beat quality wise. I ended up putting a lower angle on my 750’s and keeping them around for paring chisels and using the LN’s more for pounding on although they do work great for paring as well even with a 30+ degree angle.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1768 posts in 1891 days

#10 posted 11-13-2014 08:16 PM

Agree with Don. Bringing an old forgotten rusty tool back to life makes me appreciate more. All my chisels except one are vintage T.H. Witherby, they’re great. All my planes except for one are vintage. Bought a L-N rabbet block that I love.

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2424 days

#11 posted 11-13-2014 08:52 PM

I cannot complain about my Marples and Stanley 750 chisels as for planes I only go for old Stanley and Bedrock planes which are so plentiful on ebay.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

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10384 posts in 3645 days

#12 posted 11-13-2014 11:16 PM

I’m not a big fan of bevel up bench planes for a
variety of reasons. Though I own and use 2 rather
nice ones, I consider them speciality planes and
use standard smoothers and jack planes for
most of my hand plane stuff. The standard
planes are simply more forgiving, easier to camber,
not so prone to wear bevel dulling, and 45
degrees with a chipbreaker gives quite a range
of easily adjustable performance for planing
wiley grain.

It took me many, many years to grasp how
useful the chipbreaker is.

You can buy millwright’s socket chisels used
on ebay for a few bucks each. Make new
handles and some of them are said to be really
superior chisels compared to the drop-forged
ones most commonly available today. Old
laminated Japan chisels can now be got
pretty cheap too these days. They have
a slightly different geometry from western
bench chisels. I have both styles.

With new chisels there is a real improvement
in the over $50 each class of chisels. The
edges stay keener longer in use. Whether
such chisels give you joy or save you time
when working wood is a personal matter. Some
professionals who chop a lot of dovetails
and things like that have found fine modern
chisels to be a good investment due to
the good edge retention.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1333 days

#13 posted 11-16-2014 05:22 AM

Old Stanley Baileys can be found at decent prices. Bedrocks have become so expensive. My Veritas LA jack is awesome. I really like my old style Marples bench chisels with the blue handles as they are inexpensive and hold an edge reasonably well.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View OSU55's profile


1667 posts in 1986 days

#14 posted 11-18-2014 04:01 PM

Stanley Bailey planes, even the newer ones, are the best value if you have the time and desire to tune them (see my blog for tuning). All of my bevel down bench planes are tuned up Stanley Baileys of various vintages. New or old Stanley block planes work very well. For the more premium end of the spectrum, Veritas is my choice. They have a lot of added design features that make them superior to the competition. Probably my favorite plane is the Veritas BU LA jack. It’s excellent for a shooting board, flattening large panels, as a jointer, end grain on table top ends, etc. I have multiple blades at different cutting angles. Wear bevels are a bit of a pita with BU, but the flexibility overcomes that limitation.

I too am in search of best value chisels. My cheap ones just don’t hold an edge for long.

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23 posts in 1918 days

#15 posted 11-19-2014 10:09 PM

Depends if you are looking for something to work out of the box or not.

Out of the box: Veritas planes and chisels will serve you well. Just a little honing on the blade and you’re ready to go. I can’t comment on LN as I don’t have experience

Narex chisels will not be suitable out of the box; the backs will require flattening and that can be alot of work depending on your skill and toolset. Same goes with used Stanley planes.

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