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Hand planes…how to choose one, how to use one

This topic contains 219 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by  58Chev 2 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #477311

    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    Set fine I think you will be happy with it.

    So after about 3 minutes of watching videos, I realized that I had the dang iron upside down…after picking it up and playing with it numerous times over the past few months I finally figured out why I couldn’t get anywhere…I feel stupid.

    I can see how that would be frustrating, Jon.

    I need to get a pic or two of my record plane for JimDaddyO to have a look at and tell me if it’s worth restoring. I know it’s missing a part or two.

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it Dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

    #477323

    woodman_412
    Moderator

    After looking at the pics you posted Jon the planes are definitely on the lower end of the quality spectrum. Having said that if you give them a good tune up and sharpen the irons well you should be able to make them work decent for you. If you are planing mostly softwood then you shouldn’t have too much trouble, if you’re trying to plane things like maple then they aren’t going to work so well. One thing you want in a plane that you get in a lot of the more expensive ones is mass. The higher end planes use much thicker castings and heavier materials so that the plane has some heft to it. That helps keep the plane moving through the wood and also helps with chatter. The iron is the other thing that works much better being thicker, again helping with chatter. There have been a good number of videos posted so far on plane setup so I won’t go into all the details on that but I will say this about the tune up process. You want accuracy and consistency from start to finish with every part of the plane. The better all the surface mate to each other and flatter everything is the better. I’ve used planes very similar to what you posted the pics of and they have just been frustrating for doing any fine work. For doing rougher work on soft wood they are just fine so it really depends on what you’re looking to do with the planes. Let me know if you have any questions. Like Jeff said I used to work at Lee Valley and teach classes and do trade show demos on hand planes.

    Dan

    danpattison.com

    #477338

    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    Set fine I think you will be happy with it.

    So after about 3 minutes of watching videos, I realized that I had the dang iron upside down…after picking it up and playing with it numerous times over the past few months I finally figured out why I couldn’t get anywhere…I feel stupid.

    it happens, i’ve done it on my number 3, infact i lost the original screw that held the blade and the chipbreaker together, didn’t realize and was wondering why it was so hard to plane. lol.

    If you are buying a jointer, look at those low angle ones as i feel they work better then the regular ones. As for ease of use, i find the wood ones that you adjust by tapping with a mallet the easiest to use vs the metal ones. You set it, tap it tight and plane if it catches anywhere, generally there is a direction for you to tap till you get the right shave.

    #477500

    Check out at about 3:57 where I take a short time to touch up the blade and then use the small block of wood trick to set the blade square.

    I do most of my sharpening with a Veritas Mk ll as I mentioned, but I take short breaks “in process” to touch them up and I do it free hand. If I am planing by hand, generally the sharpening stone is out too. It is much easier to maintain an edge than try to create one.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #477515

    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    A lot of interesting comments on old hand planes. Seems to be a lot of thought given to the correct selection of the plane for the job.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #477524

    brianpeters
    Pro
    Murray, KY

    I have never owned a hand plane. They fascinate me though, and I look forward to learning more about them here. What would be recommended for a first plane?

    #477534

    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    I think I’m going to look at some used planes…the Lee Valley and Lie-Nielson planes are beautiful, but way overpriced for my current skill level. Yard sales, Craigslist and eBay I guess.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #477539

    I have never owned a hand plane. They fascinate me though, and I look forward to learning more about them here. What would be recommended for a first plane?

    A block plane generally.

    For bench planes, usually a #5, commonly called a Jack Plane (Jack of all trades). It is long enough to be put in service as a jointer, yet short enough to be used a a smoother. Some like to get 2 blades for them. One heavily cambered for rough work and one straighter for fine work.

    That being said, a #4 will do just fine at the same jobs. You can’t argue with the results Paul Sellers gets and he is a master.

    You can get by with 3 bench planes, but who would want to? It’s like a disease once you get going on them.

    A Fore Plane: Another name for a plane the size of the Stanley #5/Jack Plane described above.

    A Smoothing Plane: Generally the size of a Stanley #3 or #4 (There was a #2 but I doubt you will find one, they are rare. Built for schools for people with small hands. A #1 again rare, and smaller). In wood planes it would have just been called a smoother or smoothing plane. These are shorter and used for finer work such as getting a finished surface. I use the #4 mostly as I like the size in my hand. Often times old wooden smoothing planes were converted to what is called a Scrub Plane. After the sole had been flattened a few times the mouth would start to open up so they would put a heavy camber on the blade and use it for really rough stock removal across the grain. It would leave scallops in the wood.

    The Jointer: The long ones. Stanley had the #6, #7, and #8. As you would guess, their main purpose is for jointing the edge of a board. The long sole straightens an edge nicely. It works just as well on the face of a board. I use the #7 mostly, again for the size. I have it fairly well tuned. The #6 I use rarely and I am going to eventually tune it to be used on a shooting board. I don’t have a #8. It has a wider blade and is a longer plane and it is enough work using the #7. I don’t want to work that hard.

    Some planes you will see a letter designation or fraction after the number. It is indicating that the overall size is the same as the whole number overall, with some slight variation such as a wider blade or a “C” for a corrugated sole. For instance, the #4 is 9″ long with a 2″ wide blade while a 4 1/2 would be 10″ long with a 2 3/8″ wide blade. A 4 1/2 C would be the last dimensions with a corrugated sole. You don’t need them all. As I said earlier, I have 2 smoothers and use only one of them mostly. Just find one you like weather new or old.

    The best resource for Stanley planes is Patrick’s Blood and Gore.

    http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0a.html

    It is part of the Stanley Bench Plane Page at:

    http://hyperkitten.com/tools/stanley_bench_plane/

    I don’t have any new planes. I would like a couple, but I can’t afford it. I bought my bench planes, a block plane and a marking gauge from a guy for $115 CDN.

    He deals old tools as a hobby and has a few

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #477566

    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    I think I’m going to look at some used planes…the Lee Valley and Lie-Nielson planes are beautiful, but way overpriced for my current skill level. Yard sales, Craigslist and eBay I guess.

    If you’re after something a little less of an outlay of cash, look into Wood River (they’re sold through Woodcraft, either online or in store). I have found them to be of quite high quality, though I only own one (a #4 smoother). Rob Cosman shows an unboxing and initial tuneup in one of his videos, I think.

    A lot of interesting comments on old hand planes. Seems to be a lot of thought given to the correct selection of the plane for the job.

    That’s for sure. What I found helpful was buying one new plane from a quality maker (Wood River, LN, or Veritas, or something similar). I’d recommend a smoother. You’ll never go back to sandpaper. Once I’d seen, held, and used a quality new product, it was easier for me to know what to look for in a used Stanley. Now, I have a few #4s, a few #5s, a #7, a few block planes, etc. Mostly old Stanley that I rehabbed. There are many good places to find info on rehabbing old planes, but if I may toot my own horn:

    http://lumberjocks.com/MrFid/blog/series/6550

    EDIT: Hmm. It looks like the pictures weren’t loading on my blog about rehabbing. Sorry! Don’t know why Lumberjocks took them down. This:

    http://www.majorpanic.com/handplane_restor1.htm

    was a resource for me when I was first starting with that process.

    Also, be sure to learn how to sharpen VERY WELL. You will be disappointed in results if your blade is not sharp, even if you paid half a grand for your plane.

    I have never owned a hand plane. They fascinate me though, and I look forward to learning more about them here. What would be recommended for a first plane?

    A block plane generally.

    Humbly and respectfully, I’ll disagree. I like a #4 as a learner plane because it gives the opportunity to learn proper bench planing technique, while being compact enough to learn on. It also provides better feedback to the user than a block plane does, which often has more adjustments/moving parts (mouth opening adjusters, etc). The bit of added heft can help the user get through some tougher grain than a block can. Yes, you do lose the versatility of being able to plane one-handed,and plane backwards (pulling), and to deal with end grain planing (although you should be using a shooting board for that if you can!), but I think those things can come later in the learning curve. Jim, you’re absolutely right that the block is the most versatile plane in the till from a job perspective, but for learning the ins and outs of planing and handplanes, I like the #4.

    #477570

    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    I think I’m going to look at some used planes…the Lee Valley and Lie-Nielson planes are beautiful, but way overpriced for my current skill level. Yard sales, Craigslist and eBay I guess.

    Same feeling here. Those are nice planes they sell but not for a novice.

    I am always hunting yard sales, KIJIJI and CL but people seem to know that a good plane doesn’t sell cheap.
    The few that I do own were inherited from my Dad. The closest to a #4 is a Stanley Handyman that I have.

    Lots of great info in this thread for a plane novice like myself, I appreciate all the knowledge you guys are dishing out.

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it Dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

    #477596

    I think I’m going to look at some used planes…the Lee Valley and Lie-Nielson planes are beautiful, but way overpriced for my current skill level. Yard sales, Craigslist and eBay I guess.

    If you’re after something a little less of an outlay of cash, look into Wood River (they’re sold through Woodcraft, either online or in store). I have found them to be of quite high quality, though I only own one (a #4 smoother). Rob Cosman shows an unboxing and initial tuneup in one of his videos, I think.

    A lot of interesting comments on old hand planes. Seems to be a lot of thought given to the correct selection of the plane for the job.

    That’s for sure. What I found helpful was buying one new plane from a quality maker (Wood River, LN, or Veritas, or something similar). I’d recommend a smoother. You’ll never go back to sandpaper. Once I’d seen, held, and used a quality new product, it was easier for me to know what to look for in a used Stanley. Now, I have a few #4s, a few #5s, a #7, a few block planes, etc. Mostly old Stanley that I rehabbed. There are many good places to find info on rehabbing old planes, but if I may toot my own horn:

    http://lumberjocks.com/MrFid/blog/series/6550

    EDIT: Hmm. It looks like the pictures weren’t loading on my blog about rehabbing. Sorry! Don’t know why Lumberjocks took them down. This:

    http://www.majorpanic.com/handplane_restor1.htm

    was a resource for me when I was first starting with that process.

    Also, be sure to learn how to sharpen VERY WELL. You will be disappointed in results if your blade is not sharp, even if you paid half a grand for your plane.

    I have never owned a hand plane. They fascinate me though, and I look forward to learning more about them here. What would be recommended for a first plane?

    A block plane generally.

    Humbly and respectfully, I’ll disagree. I like a #4 as a learner plane because it gives the opportunity to learn proper bench planing technique, while being compact enough to learn on. It also provides better feedback to the user than a block plane does, which often has more adjustments/moving parts (mouth opening adjusters, etc). The bit of added heft can help the user get through some tougher grain than a block can. Yes, you do lose the versatility of being able to plane one-handed,and plane backwards (pulling), and to deal with end grain planing (although you should be using a shooting board for that if you can!), but I think those things can come later in the learning curve. Jim, you’re absolutely right that the block is the most versatile plane in the till from a job perspective, but for learning the ins and outs of planing and handplanes, I like the #4.

    I suppose I ought to have said “The most common” and not alluded to being “the best”. Thanks for drawing my attention to that.

    My opinion is that a #4 or #5 sized would be the best place to start. For the same reasons you stated. Of the two, I would say get one of each in your hand and pick the one that feels right. For me, the #4 feels really good in my hand on the tote end, but the #5 with it’s longer snout feels better on the knob end. It will be personal preference between them and also considering the type of work you want to do with it.

    I got lucky and bought all mine in one shot on a great deal so I can change back and forth as the mood hits me. I do that when one is starting to loose it’s sharpness and I have just a little to go and don’t want to stop as I am “in the moment”.

    Warning:

    Again I must draw your attention that this can be quite the rabbit hole. I am one of those afflicted with planeogatherupsium. It is a horrid thing to have and leads to watching many many videos and looking through catalogues and websites and believing you need one of everything. My wife has to hold the credit card and I am not allowed to be unattended at visits to Lee Valley. 🙂

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #477609

    I agree, handplanes can be an addiction, but like most tools quality does show through in the end, I love my Veritas planes even though I do have others (some older ones with new Veritas blades).

    Will

    #477712

    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    Here is one that I’d like to restore and get to a usable state.

    let me know what it is I need. I will have to watch @jimdaddyo‘s video again but I think I’m missing some parts.

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it Dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

    #477717

    Here is one that I’d like to restore and get to a usable state.

    let me know what it is I need. I will have to watch @jimdaddyo‘s video again but I think I’m missing some parts.

    You have a 78 WITH the fence? Never seen the fence before

    #477724

    Here is one that I’d like to restore and get to a usable state.

    let me know what it is I need. I will have to watch @jimdaddyo‘s video again but I think I’m missing some parts.

    I think you just need the rod for the fence. Looks pretty much the same as my Record 078. The full name of it is Record 078 Duplex Rabbet & Filletster Plane. A Rabbet (rebate) is with the grain and a Fillester (filletster) is across the grain. Without the fence it can function as a shoulder plane too. Yours looks like a fairly recent one. The paint is hardly even scratched or worn. Sharpen it up, check the sole for flat, and give it a whirl!

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #477740

    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    I think you just need the rod for the fence. Looks pretty much the same as my Record 078. The full name of it is Record 078 Duplex Rabbet & Filletster Plane. A Rabbet (rebate) is with the grain and a Fillester (filletster) is across the grain. Without the fence it can function as a shoulder plane too. Yours looks like a fairly recent one. The paint is hardly even scratched or worn. Sharpen it up, check the sole for flat, and give it a whirl!

    Jim, ThanX..

    Would you have an measurements on the rod for the fence? Length, Diameter, Thread and the length of thread?

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it Dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

    #477741

    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    Here is one that I’d like to restore and get to a usable state.

    let me know what it is I need. I will have to watch @jimdaddyo‘s video again but I think I’m missing some parts.

    The only thing I see that you seem to be missing is the fence rod. It can be had for a healthy sum of $3 here:

    http://www.stjamesbaytoolco.com/stanley.html

    Scroll down to the #78 section. Looks like it’s already in great shape! Even cleaner than mine!

    EDIT: I see Jim has told you what you need. Looks like you know where to find it now too!

    #477750

    Here is one that I’d like to restore and get to a usable state.

    let me know what it is I need. I will have to watch @jimdaddyo‘s video again but I think I’m missing some parts.

    The only thing I see that you seem to be missing is the fence rod. It can be had for a healthy sum of $3 here:

    http://www.stjamesbaytoolco.com/stanley.html

    Scroll down to the #78 section. Looks like it’s already in great shape! Even cleaner than mine!

    EDIT: I see Jim has told you what you need. Looks like you know where to find it now too!

    Cool link…thanks!

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #477753

    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    I agree, handplanes can be an addiction, but like most tools quality does show through in the end, I love my Veritas planes even though I do have others (some older ones with new Veritas blades).

    I can already tell that I’m going to end up with a collection like this. They are beautiful tools…and I need to hoard them.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #477771

    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    Here is one that I’d like to restore and get to a usable state.

    let me know what it is I need. I will have to watch JimDaddyO‘s video again but I think I’m missing some parts.

    The only thing I see that you seem to be missing is the fence rod. It can be had for a healthy sum of $3 here:

    http://www.stjamesbaytoolco.com/stanley.html

    Scroll down to the #78 section. Looks like it’s already in great shape! Even cleaner than mine!

    EDIT: I see Jim has told you what you need. Looks like you know where to find it now too!

    That site does not show up for me. Not even from my phone.
    I’ll tomorrow from work.

    This webpage is not available

    ERR_CONNECTION_RESET

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it Dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

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