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Good beginner plane

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Forum topic by Gwjames posted 02-25-2015 05:29 PM 1176 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gwjames

87 posts in 777 days


02-25-2015 05:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip plane

Ok so I’ve been wood working for a little under a year and I want to get a good first hand plane to try my luck with hand tools. I’ve read some forums and reviews and I think a #4 smoothing* plane is a good bet for first plane but when looking at reviews I see a lot of them have to be sharpened and leveled and all kinds of other crap straight out of the box and I don’t know how well all that would go with having no experience. I really don’t know anything about planes the #4 plane is really just a guess. I bought a 15 dollar block plane from a big box store just to try it out and I think some of it is my set up but I can’t use that on freakin anything lol. Just looking for a little advise. Thanks jocks


39 replies so far

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DocBailey

584 posts in 1823 days


#1 posted 02-25-2015 05:50 PM

First things first—a $15 block plane from a big box store is not likely to be a quality plane. (I assume we’re talking Kobalt, right?)

Next up—the smoothing planes (in Stanley numbering terms) are #1-4
Next is the #5—referred to as a jack plane.
The #6 is a fore plane. #7 & 8 are referred to as jointers

go here and do some reading on these basic bench planes: http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan1.htm

At this point, the question you should really be asking yourself is why do I want a plane? What do you intend to do with it?

If you’re going to take rough stock and dimension it (flatten the faces and square the edges)—you’ll want a jack (a #5).
If you’re starting with finished lumber and you intend only to smooth it, then you want a smooth plane (like a #4)
Truing up long edges in preparation for a glue-up might call for a jointer. And so on.

These aren’t the only tasks each plane can accomplish, but I hope you get the general idea.

Lastly, it is possible to buy vintage planes which have already been “fettled” – our own Don W is one such source.

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6568 posts in 1613 days


#2 posted 02-25-2015 05:53 PM

A #4 is a smoother plane. A #5 is a jack plane.

You have 2 options: Buy used, or buy new. If you buy new, the cheapest I would go would be for a Woodriver plane, but it’s not much cheaper than a plane from Lee Valley which is better than the Woodriver. If that is too expensive for you ~$200, then you should buy a used, pre-WWII stanley plane.

If all you want to do is make it so you don’t need to use sandpaper ever again, get a #4. If you want to do some flattening as well, get a #5.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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Gwjames

87 posts in 777 days


#3 posted 02-25-2015 05:56 PM

I didn’t expect much from a 15 dollar plane, I had just never used one before and I wanted to play with one. I believe it was made by a company called buck bro. when I buy lumber it is rough, but I pay the shop I buy it from to use their planer and jointer. so I think starting off I would probably want a #4 just to smooth it after glue ups and such.

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bondogaposis

4027 posts in 1814 days


#4 posted 02-25-2015 07:02 PM

A $15 dollar plane is most likely a plane shaped object, that merely looks like a plane. For a first plane get a #5 jack. A new functional plane is going to cost some cash, see Lee Valley or Lie-Nielson. If that is too steep then look for a used pre WWII Stanley. Then learn to sharpen the iron and tune it. There are some good books that cover this.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3935 posts in 1956 days


#5 posted 02-25-2015 07:03 PM

You can sometimes pick up a nice plane from those who have already tuned it (flattened the sole, and cleaned it up; sometmes called “fettled”) and the #4’s I’ve seen are typically less than $100. Forums such as these are good sources for such a plane. I think that would be your best bet, nothing worse than having your first plane be nothing but aggravation. Another option would be to pick one up that is need of total rehabilitation and have it ground by a fellow named tablesawtom (member on several of these forums) who does this as a side business. He grinds the sole flat, squares the sides to the sole, and flattens the back of the iron….on a #4, I think he charges about $40.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Gwjames

87 posts in 777 days


#6 posted 02-25-2015 07:35 PM

what is the difference in a regular smoothing or jack plane and a low angle smoothing or jack. I get that the iron is lower but what is the advantage to this?

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2434 days


#7 posted 02-25-2015 07:42 PM


I didn t expect much from a 15 dollar plane, I had just never used one before and I wanted to play with one. I believe it was made by a company called buck bro. when I buy lumber it is rough, but I pay the shop I buy it from to use their planer and jointer. so I think starting off I would probably want a #4 just to smooth it after glue ups and such.
- Gwjames

I bought one of those “Buck Brothers” plane looking things once.
I got the larger #4 size for around $30, I think it was, from Home Depot. They work pretty well as door stops.

It can not be emphasized enough, you absolutely must learn the “sharpening and leveling and all kinds of other crap” part of plane usage or any money spent on a hand plane is just wasted.

Even if you purchased a $500 top line plane that comes with all the adjustment and sharpening done for you, after using it for a short while it will have to be taken apart and the iron sharpened and then re-assembled and adjusted.

I’m going to suggest, if you want to learn this in its simplest form, get a good block plane. It can be a refurbished used one or a new Wood River or Veritas and work with it and learn the sharpening and adjusting and technique. You will spend less than $100 and learn a valuable skill. I have several planes in my shop but I always have a block plane near by if I’m doing any kind of wood working.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14571 posts in 2146 days


#8 posted 02-25-2015 07:48 PM

None, other than putting YOUR money into someone else’s pocket.

A low angle Jack plane is nothing more than a overgrown block plane. Supposed to be better on gnarly grain and exotics. Seems to be a few other cutters can be used on it, too. BFD.

Good beginner plane would be a Millers Falls #14 Jack plane, and a Millers Falls #8 or #9 smooth plane. One could get a Stanley 9-1/2 block plane, too. These three will do about any plane-related job a beginner would come up against. And, these three planes would cost less than $100 at the most. Save the rest of the money for things to sharpen those planes, and maybe some lumber to make some shavings with.

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4451 posts in 3423 days


#9 posted 02-25-2015 07:53 PM

My first experience was that any “new” tool was ready to use.
Aside from wrenches (in most cases), that was an error on my part. Complete understanding of the purpose of the tool was needed.
Call it what you will, but planes are a tool that can be made useable if you have the ability to tune, sharpen, adjust. This might seem to be an overwhelming task until you know what the tool, plane, whatever, is supposed to do.
FIND A MENTOR.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6568 posts in 1613 days


#10 posted 02-25-2015 08:18 PM



None, other than putting YOUR money into someone else s pocket.

A low angle Jack plane is nothing more than a overgrown block plane. Supposed to be better on gnarly grain and exotics. Seems to be a few other cutters can be used on it, too. BFD.

- bandit571

Not exactly, no. Have you used one or own one and can make that judgement? Whether it’s worth the money depends on each person individually. For me, my low angle smoother has been worth every penny I spent for it. I don’t need that for every single plane I own, but on a smoother it makes a lot of sense. Especially when you add in better machining tolerances, better blade alloy, flatter sole, and better working movements.

The biggest advantage to a low angle plane, smoother or jack or jointer, is that you can have multiple blades set up for different angles. Lower angles result in better finish, but more tearout in figured woods. Higher angles require more force, and don’t give quite as smooth of a finish, but they are much less prone to tearout.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Grumpymike's profile

Grumpymike

1917 posts in 1778 days


#11 posted 02-25-2015 08:33 PM

I found a Stanley #4 and a Millers Falls #9c at a garage sale and paid $7.50 and $9.00 for them.
Being unfamiliar with hand planes at the time, but wanting to learn, I thought this was a good place to start.
The #4 I cleaned up, and sharpened the blade, then realized that the blade was installed upside down … put it back together correctly and put it to work with a bit of a learning curve.
The #9c Millers Falls is about the same as the Stanley #4 in size and appearance.
Cleaned up the 9c, sharpened the blade and put it to work … After a few unsuccessful attempts I learned how to adjust the blade and how to hold my tongue …
I have seen a lot of planes in the flea markets that have cracks and that are warped so bad you would have to send them to a machine shop to try to save them, so look over the potential purchase, remove the blade and look at the frog. sight down the sole and check around the throat.
That is just a few tips to buy a lessor expensive plane, learn how they work and even if you really mess it up your not out a couple hundred bucks.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Gwjames's profile

Gwjames

87 posts in 777 days


#12 posted 02-25-2015 08:55 PM

Is $20 reasonable for a Stanley #4 on eBay? I bid on one and it’s currently 10.50 but I put a max bid of 20. It looks like it needs some tlc but I think I can figure that out

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Grumpymike

1917 posts in 1778 days


#13 posted 02-25-2015 11:35 PM

If I did not have one I would pay $20 for a #4 Stanley (or a Record if you could find one).
Some of the Stanley’s say Bailey on the front and Stanley on the blade clamp.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

303 posts in 1925 days


#14 posted 02-26-2015 12:23 AM



None, other than putting YOUR money into someone else s pocket.

A low angle Jack plane is nothing more than a overgrown block plane. Supposed to be better on gnarly grain and exotics. Seems to be a few other cutters can be used on it, too. BFD.

Good beginner plane would be a Millers Falls #14 Jack plane, and a Millers Falls #8 or #9 smooth plane. One could get a Stanley 9-1/2 block plane, too. These three will do about any plane-related job a beginner would come up against. And, these three planes would cost less than $100 at the most. Save the rest of the money for things to sharpen those planes, and maybe some lumber to make some shavings with.

- bandit571

I’d disagree here. The 62 low angle Jack is a great tool, versitile and less expensive that most 5’s. You can hollow grind extra blades for different approaches and needs, it is also great with the low angle standard blade to shoot end grain. Lie nielsen makes a toothed blade that I’ve heard is great for heavier stock removal on fought boards.

For a beginner, it’s a great plane. There is really nothing I can’t do with my 62 that my 5 does, plus its a little light and I think just as easy to fine tune. To be honest, I reach for that tool more than anything outside of my 7

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bandit571

14571 posts in 2146 days


#15 posted 02-26-2015 12:34 AM

These are what I use

There is a Big one on the left, A DE6c and is my small jointer plane
Next to it, a Stanley #5-1/2 Jumbo Jack
Next a few #5 jack planes. From just the corners dubbed off to a full 8” camber
Next a Stanley 5-1/4 Household jack, lighter than the larger jacks, same width iron as a #3

The small planes are the #5 sizes, and the #3 sized planes

Hanging around at the top, are a few of my block planes, there is also a low angled one, in it’s original box, stashed in the tool chest.

Considering I started out with a Great Neck #4, a blue Stanley #110, and a wood bodied Jack plane ( #129) it is a wonder I even used planes back then.

That #4 on the Feebay? GET IT! It can be cleaned up, sharpened up and most importantly…USED.

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

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