Acquiring first hand plane tool...suggested sources? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 57 Old 06-03-2010, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Acquiring first hand plane tool...suggested sources?

I've already found a few instances where being able to hand plane would have helped. I have no such tools now and so I'm looking at various sources. Here are my options so far:

1) Brand new - most expensive (probably?), and there seems to be a favoritism for the older stuff
2) Auctions - they come up occasionally, and it'd take a lot of time and patience to end up getting one in good shape at a good price.
3) Craigslist - haven't seen any of them come up, unless they were part of some bigger lot of tools.
4) Ebay - There seems to be quite a variety there, and prices range all over, but some I'd consider cheap at their CURRENT bid, but with only a few hours to go (ya, I know...it always jumps way up in the last few seconds)

I guess the main question is...if I *did* go ebay, is there something in particular I should look out for? At least with auctions and craigslist I'd have the chance to look the tool over first, but even doing that, I really don't know if one tool is really much like the other and it doesn't MATTER if it's a Stanley vs. any other brand.

Hand plane, block plane, jack plane, aero plane....is there one in particular at this point I should make my focus for acquiring that will probably be suitable for most of my needs?

Thanks
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post #2 of 57 Old 06-03-2010, 09:59 PM
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If you are just now getting into hand planes I would reccomend two.

A number 4 jack plane and low angle block plane.

Lowes sells a Stanly Bailey low angle block plane for about 30 bucks. Its a great little plane to grab to learn the ins and out of planeing.

Older Stanley Bailey #4s can be found on ebay for around 40$, and they seem to be the best overall value in used planes. There is a wealth of information available on the web about Baileys, so you can kind of get a feel for what you are buying.

Lie Nielson, Footprint, Sweethearts, and other expensive planes are nice, but I wouldnt get an expensive one first. I would start with something more affordable.

Whatever you end up getting, they aren't worth a damn unless they are razor sharp, and the sole needs to be flat. I sharpen my planes on my Diasharp sharpening stones, and I flattent the soles of planes with my 6 inch belt sander and my sharpening stones.

And honestly, any inexpensive used plane you come across can be made usable with some simple cleaning, sharpening, and flattening. So, if you come across some an unfamiliar brand for a few bucks, don't discount it. Like just about any tool, you can tell by looking at it if its junk, usable, or high quality.

I would definitely avoid ones with plastic handles and warped soles.
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post #3 of 57 Old 06-03-2010, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks very much for the info and suggestions.

If there's a danger of getting a warped sole, then I should avoid ebay maybe, unless I can ask them specifically if the sole is warped? Is a warped sole something that can't be flattened?

That was the other question I had, since I know all tutorials I've seen on hand planes stress the flattening and sharpening....can you recommend the basic minimum of what I'd need for that? Stones, or spray adhesive and sand paper? I need to find a belt sander...
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post #4 of 57 Old 06-04-2010, 08:02 AM
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Thumbs up

For the budget minded, I favor the older planes. There are some pitfalls to avoid, but here are some links that might be helpful.

Good quality hand planes on a budget

CianPerez.com


Rexmill.com


Oldtoolheaven.com

record-planes.com

recordhandplanes.com

The dangers of a warped sole apply to any plane except the very best new planes. I've never witness one that was warped badly enough to be unusable. You're likely to find that the soles of the older planes have already been fettled at some point....possibly even decades ago. This may be becoming a lost art in our era, but hand plane tuning was pretty common knowledge 50-100 years ago. I wouldn't avoid Ebay over the remote chance of getting a warped sole...check feedback, research the plane and the type. Check the free classifieds on places like Sawmillcreek.org, woodnet.net, or here for used planes from fellow woodworkers.

Last edited by knotscott; 06-04-2010 at 08:07 AM.
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post #5 of 57 Old 06-04-2010, 01:03 PM
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Knottscott offers good info.

Even my brand new Stanley Bailey low angle block plane needed a little flattening. You can flatten even the worst of block planes simply using sanding paper, a flat surface and elbow grease, I just wouldn't want to be the one providing the elbow. My belt sander and expensive sharpening stones make quick work of flattening soles.


Good sharpening stones are essential.

A Norton double sided Whetstone, in my opinion, is the best overall value in sharpening stones available. You can get them in 6" or 8" models.
I currently use DiaSharp 3"x8" diamond stones in extra coarse, coarse, fine, and extra fine to facilitate all my sharpening needs. These are pricey, heavy, but extremely nice stones. Arkansas stones are also really nice expensive stones to have. I would avoid inexpensive whetstones. If you are on a budget, cheaper diamond stones are a better buy in my opinion.
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post #6 of 57 Old 06-07-2010, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Well, for good or ill, I now own 2 #4 planes for a total of $40 in. They are old and will need some cleanup, and have various mainly cosmetic flaws, but seems a good enough place to start.

I've seen at least a few tutorials on cleaning/tuning these things, and for flattening the sole, I saw the guy use spray adhesive and sandpaper on a flat surface. In fact, I think he used his table saw surface.

1) I don't have a table saw surface I can use for that. I've heard of using a piece of slate, I assume at a big box store. Is that the next best alternative for having a piece of flat surface available for this?

2) If I spray adhesive on and glue down a piece of sand paper for this...how do you ever get the sand paper up?? I assume it must be pretty easy to do or you'd never do it to your table saw top!

I'll look into the stones next.
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post #7 of 57 Old 06-07-2010, 03:45 PM
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For my block planes and smaller planes I use a granite tile to flatten the bottom. Usually a couple of bucks at the box store. A granite sink cut out works for larger planes. I use roll sandpaper and tuck it under the granite.

Spilling wine on oak does not make it purpleheart!
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post #8 of 57 Old 06-07-2010, 03:55 PM
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I have been extremely leery of buying planes, any planes, new or used sight unseen, and second hand planes are extremely rare around here. Combine that with my being cheap, and I ended up with 3 hand planes in my tool list. All from Groz, a low angle block plane, a #4, and a #5. A little bit of tuning and they cut great.

Interested in my woodworking, workshop and whatnot? See http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com, want to see my other interests such as hunting, fishing, off roading, and camping? See http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com
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post #9 of 57 Old 06-07-2010, 06:38 PM
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The planes I have are old Stanley's I found on Ebay. A few hours of elbow grease and they cut like a knife through hot butter.

Spilling wine on oak does not make it purpleheart!
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post #10 of 57 Old 06-08-2010, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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John, that's my situation...2 planes coming from ebay. Do you have a particular favorite source for reconditioning/tuning information that I can follow, or do you have your own method just by practice?

I'm thinking of calling around to countertop makers and asking if they have "scrap" pieces of granite I can buy as a flat surface to do the sole sanding on.

Then I have to decide on what sharpening system to go with. It never ends...
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post #11 of 57 Old 06-08-2010, 02:54 PM
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Or a piece of good, 1/4 " thick glass will work as a flat surface for your glued down sandpaper.

The Pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity while the Optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty...
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post #12 of 57 Old 06-08-2010, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Is that the float glass I keep hearing about? I was just leary of pushing down hard on *glass* while flattening this thing.

I called a local countertop shop and he said for the size of granite I'd be wanting (about 4" X 1 ft) he guessed about $50. He said they really didn't have any "scraps" of a suitable size (maybe 3" X 7" max)

I mean, I know woodworking is expensive, and for most of the tools, it's pretty justified...but I hate spending large money on the peripheral stuff. I mean, I just need a FLAT SURFACE. Grrrr.

I know lowes sells glass, I'll see if they have 1/4" and they should be able to cut whatever size I need. Hopefully they soften the edges too?
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post #13 of 57 Old 06-08-2010, 10:25 PM
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1/4 " glass at lowes will be expensive.

my sharpening stones cost me nearly 200$. But I can sharpen anything I want now :)

A 4" belt sander at harbor freight is 74$.
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post #14 of 57 Old 06-08-2010, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Ya, belt sander is definitely on the radar....long range radar, though.
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post #15 of 57 Old 06-09-2010, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beelzerob View Post
Is that the float glass I keep hearing about? I was just leary of pushing down hard on *glass* while flattening this thing.

I called a local countertop shop and he said for the size of granite I'd be wanting (about 4" X 1 ft) he guessed about $50. He said they really didn't have any "scraps" of a suitable size (maybe 3" X 7" max)

I mean, I know woodworking is expensive, and for most of the tools, it's pretty justified...but I hate spending large money on the peripheral stuff. I mean, I just need a FLAT SURFACE. Grrrr.

I know lowes sells glass, I'll see if they have 1/4" and they should be able to cut whatever size I need. Hopefully they soften the edges too?
You don't need to push down too hard to remove rust or sharpen -- the harder you push the less likely it is that you're going to be holding the blade/plane flat, anyway.

I found a glass door from a cabinet of some sort in my basement, left behind by the previous owners of my house. If you watch yard sales and flea markets you might be able to find something similar... it's big enough for two sheets of sandpaper, and it's pretty solid. One of those old A/V cabinets, or one of the all-in-one stereo cabinets for really cheap stereos would probably work well.
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post #16 of 57 Old 06-09-2010, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beelzerob View Post
John, that's my situation...2 planes coming from ebay. Do you have a particular favorite source for reconditioning/tuning information that I can follow, or do you have your own method just by practice?

I'm thinking of calling around to countertop makers and asking if they have "scrap" pieces of granite I can buy as a flat surface to do the sole sanding on.

Then I have to decide on what sharpening system to go with. It never ends...
I clean off rust first. Start with a wire brush then sandpaper. I've tried electrolysis but it's messy and not as effective. If the plane needs repainted do it after cleaning. I lap the bottom as I said above with 180 and 220 on granite. Check cl or ask at a new home site. I have a sharpening setup from HF. It has a wet horizontal wheel and a dry vertical one. I couldn't find it on the new site so they may not carry it any more. After all that work just set the blade depth so the shavings come out easily.

Spilling wine on oak does not make it purpleheart!
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post #17 of 57 Old 06-09-2010, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the tips John. I noticed some paint and general darkening on the knob and handle of the planes. What is the easiest/safest way to clean up that wood so it looks like wood again, and then should I seal it again with something?
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post #18 of 57 Old 06-09-2010, 12:09 PM
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Remove the handles and refinish em. Clean with mineral spirits, lightly sand and varnish. Polyurethane will hold up well under use.

Spilling wine on oak does not make it purpleheart!
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post #19 of 57 Old 06-09-2010, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent, thanks!

I actually found a craiglist ad for pieces of granite for $8/lf, but it's 80 miles away. Grrr...nothing is ever easy.

Isn't MDF considered generally pretty flat? I mean, it's a staple of fence construction in these forums, and that usually requires a certain amount of flatness.

Maybe I can just glue some sand paper to our slide glass door and use that.
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post #20 of 57 Old 06-09-2010, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Success! I called a local glass shop and dropped by and walked out with a 3/8" thick piece of glass, 6" X 24" for around $13. I'm pleased enough.

I figure I can use the spray adhesive to put 180 on one side of the glass and 220 on the other.

Since using spray adhesive is somewhat popular method...how do I go about removing the adhesive when I'm ready to replace the paper? I noticed on the botton of elmer's spray adhesive I bought that it had directions "for temporary hold", which involved spraying and then letting it sit for a minute or so before attaching. Then does it just peel off? I guess that and some citrus cleaner and it'll be all removed?
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