First plane, what to get? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-22-2017, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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First plane, what to get?

Hey all, I'm looking to get a hand plane but with all the options and such I'm a bit overwhelmed. What is a good decent quality plane? Also what should one start with? Surfacing plane, jointer plane? All advice is appreciated. Also, new or vintage?

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post #2 of 19 Old 09-23-2017, 01:38 AM
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You can't go wrong with a good old used Stanley (Bailey) #4 bench plane.
Check out the series by Paul Sellers on YouTube on planes. It's probably the most comprehensive stuff online about planes.. Here's one of his about sharpening and setting the plane, but he has many more videos about the subject. You can nab a fairly decent Stanley on ebay and other sites for around $30+. Beware of those going for hundreds as I'm not convinced they're worth that steep of price just because someone shines it up nice and pretty, but that's debatable. I mostly use the 4 and a 6 for longer pieces and several small planes for other purposes such as bevels and chamfering and some other things.

I pretty much hate the term 'vintage' in the used tool market. It's a marketing ploy for amateurs IMO.. It should be reserved for old grape juice.. lol
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-23-2017, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allpurpose View Post
You can't go wrong with a good old used Stanley (Bailey) #4 bench plane.
Check out the series by Paul Sellers on YouTube on planes. It's probably the most comprehensive stuff online about planes.. Here's one of his about sharpening and setting the plane, but he has many more videos about the subject. You can nab a fairly decent Stanley on ebay and other sites for around $30+. Beware of those going for hundreds as I'm not convinced they're worth that steep of price just because someone shines it up nice and pretty, but that's debatable. I mostly use the 4 and a 6 for longer pieces and several small planes for other purposes such as bevels and chamfering and some other things.
https://youtu.be/gE4yVgdVW7s

I pretty much hate the term 'vintage' in the used tool market. It's a marketing ploy for amateurs IMO.. It should be reserved for old grape juice.. lol
Thank you for the advice, I will start looking for a used plane the numbers you mention. What I'll be doing is using it for getting rough cut lumber into shape for use. Guess I should have shared that info in case that changes anything.

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post #4 of 19 Old 09-23-2017, 01:59 PM
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I think that if someone wants to own just one bench plane, the plane you should consider is a low-angle (bevel up) jack (or fore) plane like a number 62 1/2. With that plane, and an assortment of blades, you can do just about anything.

A standard bench plane is a bevel down plane. The angle of your cut is determined by the angle of the frog (the part that supports the blade and chip breaker). A standard pitch is 45 degrees which is great for general purpose use. But for cross grain work something in the 35-40 degree range works better. For difficult grains a higher pitch will reduce tear out, something in the 50-55 degree range.

With a bevel up plane, the pitch is determined by the angle ground into the blade. You want to change the purpose, you change the blade angle.

Lie-Nielsen teaches that Smoothing planes should be set up to take cuts up to .001, jointer planes should be set up to take cuts up to .003, jack planes can take cuts up to .010. Jack planes are better for rough work, and you can get toothed blades to make it work like a scrub plane. The jack plane is a do everything plane, can rough, joint and smooth, and the low angle allows for even more flexibility.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-25-2017, 06:05 PM
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I have a marginally heretical suggestion: Start with a jack plane, and use a single, simple set up. Let's be honest, here: a smoothing plane is a precision instrument, and if you don't know how to set one up you're likely to get frustrated when it doesn't work. Start with a #5 or so, and sharpen it straight across with some curve at the corners, to keep them from digging in.

With a reasonably set up #5, you should be able to get things smooth enough that sandpaper can finish it off, and learning to sand is a lot easier than learning to use a smoothing plane. Once you've got the #5 working and you're happy with it, THEN think about a smoothing plane. If, while you're working on the #5, you find a nice jointer plane selling for a song, pick it up. A jointer is hard to use on long boards, but (relatively) simple to learn to use on shorter pieces, and it's a nice thing to have if you don't have an electric jointer.

Also, while I can't argue with them, don't get too hung up on the thickness of your shavings: I've never gotten within arm's reach of .001 with my smoothing plane, but it still leaves a really nice surface. If you can get that thickness, great! That's a good thing, and it's something to aspire to. But in the end, what matters is the surface left behind, not what you've cut off it.
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-25-2017, 06:52 PM
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A Cessna 172 was my first plane LOL

Man I wish I would have kept it, it was a nice one
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-25-2017, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Great suggestions! Thanks so much I truly appreciate the guidance.
I think the Cesna may be out of my price range for now catpower

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post #8 of 19 Old 09-25-2017, 08:13 PM
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A #5 is fine, but for a FIRST plane, the #4 is the most used and versatile plane around. Just saying.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-26-2017, 11:24 AM
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Great suggestions! Thanks so much I truly appreciate the guidance.
I think the Cesna may be out of my price range for now catpower

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post #10 of 19 Old 09-26-2017, 11:37 AM
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A #5 is fine, but for a FIRST plane, the #4 is the most used and versatile plane around. Just saying.
Yup! And I'm certainly not going to knock the #4 as a first plane: it's absolutely the standard. I just happen to disagree with the standard.
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-29-2017, 01:56 PM
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A Cessna 172 was my first plane LOL

Man I wish I would have kept it, it was a nice one
Your workshop must be the size of an airplane hangar.

I'm always a fan of buying the least expensive tool that will get the job done. I have a couple hand-me-down Stanleys from my dad. Aside from that, my knowledge of planes is limited to what I've read. It seems one of the common complaints about inexpensive (cheap) planes is that the irons don't hold an edge. You have to sharpen them frequently.

Aside from frustration, this could be a good thing. You'll have to learn how to sharpen your iron.

If a plane is cheap enough, you'll eventually either destroy it or toss it--in either case you'll have a nice handheld scraper for paint, etc.
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post #12 of 19 Old 09-29-2017, 02:56 PM
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Your workshop must be the size of an airplane hangar.

I'm always a fan of buying the least expensive tool that will get the job done. I have a couple hand-me-down Stanleys from my dad. Aside from that, my knowledge of planes is limited to what I've read. It seems one of the common complaints about inexpensive (cheap) planes is that the irons don't hold an edge. You have to sharpen them frequently.

Aside from frustration, this could be a good thing. You'll have to learn how to sharpen your iron.

If a plane is cheap enough, you'll eventually either destroy it or toss it--in either case you'll have a nice handheld scraper for paint, etc.

LOL

I don't have hardly any hand tools, mine are all finger tools, it takes a finger to turn them on LOL
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post #13 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Bit of an update, I have a Stanley Bailey No.4 and 5 enroute. Nothing too pretty but both should clean up well and for the $ I'm pretty happy and excited. Thanks for all the input and advice.

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post #14 of 19 Old 10-07-2017, 01:48 PM
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Many woodworkers own several planes and canít use any of them well. The hand plane is one of the most difficult hand tools to master well. Old masters used wooden bodied planes and adjusted the blade angle and depth by tapping it with a mallet. Planes have come a long way but still require technique by the woodworker. This technique is not immediate. It requires practice. If you havenít developed the technique, even the most expensive planes canít help you. If youíre a seasoned woodworker and good with a hand plane you can do reasonably good work with even a cheap plane.
A base line for choosing which plane to use is:
Little work = little plane
Bigger the work = bigger the plane.
For the most part the molding planes have been replaced by the router.
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If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-07-2017, 06:12 PM
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I've got a variety of planes, the most used is old and has no manufacturer markings. A #4 with 2" iron and about 6" body length. I trued the bottom so the throat is sharp and it will break the chips nicely. The iron was probably from some other plane and is marked Stanley Rule and Level Co. My 2nd most used plane is a home made wooden scrub plane. Strictly crude but works well. I forged the iron from an old leaf spring. My least used plane was a jointer, sold it and use my shooting board instead. I have two nice power jointers, 8" & 16". My jack plane has a corrugated sole, seems to make it glide over the work easier. I have two German made, wooden bodied planes, don't care for either.
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post #16 of 19 Old 10-07-2017, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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I'm certainly hoping to be able to get the results I need from the 2 planes I ordered. I will most definitely be learning and have to learn to use them. I can't afford a power plane and I like the fact that it will be done the old way. Most hobbies I have i do alot by hand tools, simply do to cost. As I get the extra cash I buy tools here and there but to me items made by hand mean more and are worth more if done right and done well.
Thanks guys for your input.

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post #17 of 19 Old 10-07-2017, 11:16 PM
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I'm certainly hoping to be able to get the results I need from the 2 planes I ordered. I will most definitely be learning and have to learn to use them. I can't afford a power plane and I like the fact that it will be done the old way. Most hobbies I have i do alot by hand tools, simply do to cost. As I get the extra cash I buy tools here and there but to me items made by hand mean more and are worth more if done right and done well.
Thanks guys for your input.

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Here are a few tips for you once you receive your planes:
You want your blade razor sharp
Even if you need to cut a board down 1/2Ē, you want your shavings to curl out super thin. So thin they are Almost transparent.
Of course you always plane with the grain but holding the plane at a 20% angle works better than planing dead-on in line with the grain.
When you set the plane down, set it on itís side.
Planes will last a lifetime and then some.
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If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #18 of 19 Old 10-12-2017, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
Here are a few tips for you once you receive your planes:
You want your blade razor sharp
Even if you need to cut a board down 1/2Ē, you want your shavings to curl out super thin. So thin they are Almost transparent.
Of course you always plane with the grain but holding the plane at a 20% angle works better than planing dead-on in line with the grain.
When you set the plane down, set it on itís side.
Planes will last a lifetime and then some.
I agree with almost all of this, but I wanted to comment on the bits I don't. If I'm trying to remove half an inch, I don't want to be taking ultra-thin shavings: My jack plane is usually set to take about 1/32 of an inch, rather than the few hundredths my smoothing planes take. If I have a lot to remove I may go thicker, and accept the bad finish as the cost of doing things efficiently.

Also, there are times I go across the grain, when trying to remove a lot of stock quickly. It breaks the wood fibers more quickly, and makes it less likely I'll cut below my line by splitting the wood.

It's worth remembering that people do things different ways: I'm not saying Toolman is definitively wrong here. I just learned different techniques.
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post #19 of 19 Old 10-12-2017, 09:50 AM
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Yes. There are different planes for different uses. The #4 is a smoothing plane primarily.
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