Harbor Freight Wood Planes - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 19 Old 08-04-2015, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 40
View tchara's Photo Album My Photos
Harbor Freight Wood Planes

Does anyone have experience with the Harbor Freight planes. I haven't seen a lot of reviews on them. Just wondering if they would be ok for a novice wood worker.
tchara is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 19 Old 08-04-2015, 09:06 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,883
View woodchux's Photo Album My Photos
Most of HF tools and their other equipment is just OK for starters, but IMO most of it would not last, and cannot be re-sharpened or repaired at a reasonable cost. Best to save more $ and buy a much better brand name, or find a "gem" at a garage sale/craigslist. Be safe.
woodchux is offline  
post #3 of 19 Old 08-04-2015, 09:51 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Maine
Posts: 1,931
View Hammer1's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by tchara View Post
Does anyone have experience with the Harbor Freight planes. I haven't seen a lot of reviews on them. Just wondering if they would be ok for a novice wood worker.
Almost any handplane you buy will need to be tuned, old or new. How much that entails depends on the plane but it can be significant. A lot of amateurs venture into restoring planes without any knowledge or experience either using or restoring. It's a big mistake.

Starting out, I would recommend buying a low angle block plane from Lie Nielsen. You will get one of the finest planes available, made in USA, fully guaranteed, ready to work, no restoration, fiddling or sharpening. You will need sharpening equipment. Put your time and money into that for the time being. You can get into restoring planes after you know what one should work like.
Hammer1 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 19 Old 08-04-2015, 12:08 PM
where's my table saw?
 
woodnthings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 25,264
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
here's a review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFBnTOGc-2w

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 08-04-2015 at 12:12 PM.
woodnthings is online now  
post #5 of 19 Old 08-04-2015, 03:47 PM
Village Idiot
 
epicfail48's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Springfield MO
Posts: 4,547
View epicfail48's Photo Album My Photos
Like most everything, they'll work if you put some work into them. That said, if you've never touched a plane before I'd go with one that doesn't require as much work to get working, because the work you need to get them working is work you don't really know needs doing unless you've worked with a plane before

I need cheaper hobby
etsy.com/shop/projectepicfail
epicfail48 is online now  
The Following User Says Thank You to epicfail48 For This Useful Post:
OnealWoodworking (08-06-2015)
post #6 of 19 Old 08-04-2015, 07:10 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Garland, TX
Posts: 4,232
View Toolman50's Photo Album My Photos
Hand planes

The hand plane is the most complicated of all the hand tools in the shop.
Toolman50 is offline  
post #7 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 07:06 AM
Senior Member
 
timetestedtools's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 699
View timetestedtools's Photo Album My Photos
I wouldn't recommend it. There are so many good vintage planes available. Do a little research, figure out what to look for and get something that will be with you forever.

Its a little extra work up front, but worth it in the end.
timetestedtools is offline  
post #8 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 07:28 AM
Moderator
 
Steve Neul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,727
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
What the OP is wanting to know is if anyone has first hand experience with this particular plane, not the usual HF propaganda. With HF this plane may be as good as any other and it could be a piece of junk. Only someone with experience with it should comment.

Last edited by Steve Neul; 08-05-2015 at 07:31 AM.
Steve Neul is online now  
post #9 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 08:03 AM
Senior Member
 
timetestedtools's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 699
View timetestedtools's Photo Album My Photos
so for the remainder of the post, should they start with "yes, I've had experience with HF planes?

Has woodworkingtalk really come to this?

I don't even know if this was referring to me an I was offended.
timetestedtools is offline  
post #10 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 40
View tchara's Photo Album My Photos
Sorry guys....didn't mean to start anything.

While I was specifically looking for others experience with the HF plane, the advice and guidance I received was very much appreciated. I don't own any planes yet, and seem a bit pricey for the name brands. I thought HF might get my foot in the door. I also was not aware that the plane was that complicated to tune and sharpen. I understand buying a first cheap plane may cause more harm then good to my woodworking education. I'll ponder it for while.
tchara is offline  
post #11 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 08:32 AM
Moderator
 
Steve Neul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,727
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
This is what I meant. You can get junky tools anywhere by most any brand today. There are just too many people that get on here and say everything a HF sells is junk. This couldn't be further from the truth. Every company has specific items that is junk and without first hand experience with the HF plane you just don't know. I have bought some items from HF that were junk but the majority of tools were as good as anybody elses. Lets just be fair. I have bought selected Bosch, Delta, Porter Cable, Stanley and other brands that were every bit as bad as Harbor Freight bad items. It would be wrong though just because I bought one lemon say everything the company sells it bad.
Steve Neul is online now  
post #12 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 08:43 AM
Moderator
 
Steve Neul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,727
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by tchara View Post
Sorry guys....didn't mean to start anything.

While I was specifically looking for others experience with the HF plane, the advice and guidance I received was very much appreciated. I don't own any planes yet, and seem a bit pricey for the name brands. I thought HF might get my foot in the door. I also was not aware that the plane was that complicated to tune and sharpen. I understand buying a first cheap plane may cause more harm then good to my woodworking education. I'll ponder it for while.
Sharpening a plane is a little difficult if you don't have a guide to keep the blade on the right angle. If every stroke against the stone is at a different angle you end up more or less rounding the edge over instead of making it sharp. If you don't think you can hold the blade at an exact angle each time you might look into getting a sharpening guide. You would have to do this regardless of which plane you buy.

To me the HF planes look too short. The #4 jack plane is only 9 13/16" in length. What kind of work do you intend to do with the plane"
Steve Neul is online now  
post #13 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 09:16 AM
Senior Member
 
timetestedtools's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 699
View timetestedtools's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
This is what I meant. You can get junky tools anywhere by most any brand today. There are just too many people that get on here and say everything a HF sells is junk. This couldn't be further from the truth. Every company has specific items that is junk and without first hand experience with the HF plane you just don't know. I have bought some items from HF that were junk but the majority of tools were as good as anybody elses. Lets just be fair. I have bought selected Bosch, Delta, Porter Cable, Stanley and other brands that were every bit as bad as Harbor Freight bad items. It would be wrong though just because I bought one lemon say everything the company sells it bad.
If I misinterpreted your statement Steve, I do apologize. It just seemed to strike me wrong. Maybe I just need to finish my second cup of coffee. I find my self getting somewhat grumpy in my old age.

You are correct, almost any brand can have some issues. Harbor Freight, Kobalt from Lowes, Buck from Home depot, etc. They can be made to work, sometimes. Some will argue all of the time. I have heard several occasion of Lie Nielsen planes that had to go back.

I hate Stanley Handyman planes. I have had some that took an enormous amount of work. I believe these were the worst planes Stanley ever made.

There are a lot of folks who buy the HF plane and turn them into scrubs. For that type of task I'm sure they are fine.

I do have some Harbor Freight tools that have served me well, so I wouldn't trash HF for the sake of trashing Harbor Freight.

I don't believe tuning a plane is all that complicated. There are countless resources to turn to, and most give a fairly consistent message on the tasks needed. A lot of vintage planes work as is. Remember back then, woodworkers only bought them to use them, so they had to work. Obviously that's not always the case, but I've tuned hundreds, and most can be completed in a couple of hours or less.

Sharpening on the other hand is a different story. Sharpening is like a religion, mostly driven by (my opinion coming up) those trying to sell expensive sharpening equipment. Sharpening doesn't have to be complicated. Polish the back to get a consistent straight line, and sharpen the angle. The degree is a lot less important than most believe, and yes, it takes a little practice.

I think the most important thing to remember is this is a hobby for most, so its important to have fun. If turning your hand black from working the metal isn't your thing, you're not going to like fettling planes. I personally buy the citric soap by the tub. I love this crap!!
timetestedtools is offline  
post #14 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 40
View tchara's Photo Album My Photos
The reason why I'm investigating planes, is I'm currently building a dedicated wood working bench for my shop. The top will be made from a 1 1/4 inch piece of plywood, and a 3/4 inch of plywood- giving me a 2" top. The 3/4 inch will be on the top. While it is a brand new sheet I bought at Lowes, I want to get a good flat surface. After viewing several videos of other benches being built, There seems to be a a lot of emphasis on the flatness of the top. So I'm weighing my options. Perhaps on electric planer would be more practicle.
tchara is offline  
post #15 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 11:29 AM
Senior Member
 
timetestedtools's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 699
View timetestedtools's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by tchara View Post
The reason why I'm investigating planes, is I'm currently building a dedicated wood working bench for my shop. The top will be made from a 1 1/4 inch piece of plywood, and a 3/4 inch of plywood- giving me a 2" top. The 3/4 inch will be on the top. While it is a brand new sheet I bought at Lowes, I want to get a good flat surface. After viewing several videos of other benches being built, There seems to be a a lot of emphasis on the flatness of the top. So I'm weighing my options. Perhaps on electric planer would be more practicle.
If you mean a hand held electric planer, you definitely don't want to go that route. They are ok for trimming down doors, but flattening with them is next to impossible. For that I think you'd want a 6, 7 or 8 size plane, and well tuned and sharp.

Remember the thickness of a plywood veneer is pretty thin.
timetestedtools is offline  
post #16 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 11:46 AM
Senior Member
 
BZawat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Posts: 1,455
View BZawat's Photo Album My Photos
Yeah I would not waste my time trying to plane plywood. If you want a really solid bench that you can make dead flat, build a solid top out of laminated stock.
BZawat is offline  
post #17 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 12:18 PM
where's my table saw?
 
woodnthings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 25,264
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
an all plywood top?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tchara View Post
The reason why I'm investigating planes, is I'm currently building a dedicated wood working bench for my shop. The top will be made from a 1 1/4 inch piece of plywood, and a 3/4 inch of plywood- giving me a 2" top. The 3/4 inch will be on the top. While it is a brand new sheet I bought at Lowes, I want to get a good flat surface. After viewing several videos of other benches being built, There seems to be a a lot of emphasis on the flatness of the top. So I'm weighing my options. Perhaps on electric planer would be more practicle.
I would not want a plywood veneer on my workbench top, it's too thin. So, if you want a nice thick top you can screw the 3/4" and the 1 1/4" together then add a layer of hardboard, particle board, MDF, solid pine boards glued together, solid hardwood planks glued together... etc. many options, just not a thin veneer. I have 3/4" particle board for my work surface, 2 coats of shellack and it's a great work surface.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
woodnthings is online now  
post #18 of 19 Old 08-05-2015, 07:20 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 198
View BigBadBuford's Photo Album My Photos
I have the HF #33 hand plane. I use it as a scrub plane and it is decent for that since it has such a large mouth. The adjustments are like a spokeshave - personally I'd rather have Stanley style adjusters but it works ok. The iron leaves something to be desired though - mine was very brittle and it chipped planing some poplar. I've heard their heat treating isn't very consistent though so the one you get may be fine. For less than $10 it really isn't a bad deal - but it wouldn't be the only plane I'd own.

I don't have any experience with the #4 they sell - but I think it comes in a set with a block plane and I know the block plane is a major POS. The body of the plane is thin stamped steel instead of cast iron - I've heard the sole has a lot of flex and it is basically worthless.
BigBadBuford is offline  
post #19 of 19 Old 08-06-2015, 01:19 PM
Senior Member
 
sawdustfactory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Bend, WA
Posts: 4,801
View sawdustfactory's Photo Album My Photos
If you want a new plane versus a classic and can't justify the price of Lie Nielsen or Veritas, look at Woodcrafts Wood River brand. They're modeled after lie nielsens and take very little work right out of the box.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
sawdustfactory is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome