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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I would like to start using hand planes, preferable from Veritas, and need your advice to choose the right models.


I will mostly work with european oak, ash and pine. Both hard and soft woods.

I will use a power thicknesser for dimensioning, but I will use hand planes for removing twists, squaring and final smoothing.
I plan to use a block plane in a jig for squaring edges and endgrain.

I think I should get 3 planes: a jack plane, a block plane and a smoother.

The number of different models and the fact that some planes can be used both as block planes and smoothing planes confuses me.

Could you please help me choosing 2-3 planes for my use?
 

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There are so many options available to you that what you are going to learn here is that each of us hand tool guys will give you a different opinion.

A hand plane is no more than a jig to hold a chisel. It has to hold the cutter firmly so that it doesn't chatter. It should be easy to adjust. The sole should be flat (something we all check and deal with after purchase).

That being said - you get what you pay for. Cheap planes may chatter, be hard to adjust, or have poor castings and machining or not. Generally you spend more and things improve. When you get to the level of Veritas, Lee Nielson or Clifton function is no longer the issue it almost becomes appearance.

Then there are those of us that prefer to use old tools. We prefer to invest sweat equity rather than cash.
 

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In History is the Future
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These two things you mention really jump out at me when considering the planes you are thinking of going with.

mrkozmic said:
[...]but I will use hand planes for removing twists[...]

I plan to use a block plane in a jig for squaring edges and endgrain.
"removing twist" as you call it is called jointing. None of those three planes are very functional for jointing - assuming you are working with stock greater than around 18" long. Ideally you want a jointing plane to be as long as you can reasonably manage. Most of your jointing planes will be 18"-24" long but you can find much longer ones in a wood body. You want to joint one side of the board prior to thickness planing.

The second thing is "jigs" for squaring edge and ends. Ends can be squared quite effectively with a shoot (chute) board but the best jig for long grain is you and a square.

Having said that you might reconsider your above choices. Like Dennis, the guy posting above, I prefer refurbished older tools. You can take the right $20 flea market plane and have it performing very well with a bit of elbow grease. The fact is, it doesn't matter what brand or price given for a plane most of us still do quite a bit of tuning to them. So if I am going to spend time tuning a plane I had just as soon spend $50 on it as opposed to $200 being at the end of it all they'll perform pretty much the same.

With the budget your talking about on those three planes you could have a bench full of nice older tools.

Back to your initial question though. I'd suggest a jointer, a jack and a block if you were only to buy 3.

Edit: spelling
 

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These guy are right on the money. The problem that folks new to hand planes have is that they have an idea of what they want & how they will use it. But when you get into buying and using hand planes you might find out a lot of what people are trying to tell you here for yourself.

I love Veritas and Lie Nielson hand planes and I have one of each, but for the $$ I gave for those two planes, I got two smoothers (a Stanley #3 and a Stanley #4, a couple of Jack planes and all three Jointer Planes; a Stanley #6 (Fore Plane), a Siegley #7 and a Stanley #8 (the big 24 inch jointer plane that Fire Medic was talking about.

I have tuned them all up and found that I need them all almost every day. Now, my knowledge is in my hands and my muscles as well as in my mind and I find that as my eye sizes up the job my hand is already reaching for the plane that will work best.

The best way to start? Get three old Stanley's, a #4 Smoother, a #5 jack plane and a block plane. Learn to flatten the soles and the face of the plane irons and put a sharp bevel on those irons and then learn how to use them. THEN decide what other planes you might want to buy to make your collection complete. Yes, you will probably want several Jointers and maybe a bevel up Jack Plane, but you will make much better decisions after you have mastered those first three planes.

One last piece of advice: if you decide to try a couple of old Stanleys, make sure that they have plenty of plane iron. There are lots of planes out there that are fine except somebody ground off most of the plane iron making them difficult or impossible to sharpen and adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for your help guys. I like old tools and love the idea to restore old hand planes, but I just have too many projects going on in addition to small kids.
I live in Norway. Despite the fact that Norwegians where traditionally goods in woodcrafting building theirs boats and houses from wood they now all moved to power tools (or no tools at all).

Finding tools at flea markets is impossible. In the future I will probably buy old Stanleys for restoration, but for now I will have to go the easy way buying new good quality planes. If I keep and use those long enough I will end up with old good planes anyway :)

When it comes to $$ buying 3 Veritas planes in one go will probably turn out the same as buying 3-4 old planes on ebay taking the shipping cost from 3-4 different locations in account.

I have been using a cheap jack plane for a while and tried flatening the sole and the frog. But given the low quality of materials it bends and twists every time I put it away. At least I have mastered sharpening of the blade to a hair shaving sharpnes. I have been using chisels for a while so I now that part well.
 

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I pretty much had the same dilemma as yourself, and I did enough research to be satisfied with my decision to buy the WoodRiver series planes by WoodCraft.
WoodCraft's website suggested a 'package' deal of three planes; 1) low-level block, 2) #4 jack, and 3) #6 fore-plane. Called the "Ultimate Cabinet Makers' Kit".
I pretty much let this "suggest" for me which ones to start with and I have not been disappointed. The #6 fore-plane is a perfect "in-betweener" plane, excellent for smoothing and very good for jointing. Using the #6 for a while has given me the feedback I needed for understanding the use of a dedicated jointer like a #7, but if I had got a #7 first, I probably would have fought with it a bit.
I could ramble on about this, and the other two planes I got with the package, but I just wanted you to be aware of less expensive alternatives and other brands to investigate. Check the reviews on these if you might be interested, but ultimately, I found this combination of planes was perfect for my needs.
To quote; "I think I should get 3 planes: a jack plane, a block plane and a smoother." -You have the right idea, I think you are just confusing the issue that a "smoother" is a "smoother" and a "jack" is a "jack" but that's not the case here. For example, I use all of them for chuting (shooting) miters depending on whatever variables happen to be best for the job, letting feel and intuition help decide (or even which blade is sharpest at the moment!).

I hope this helps. Best of luck, and keep us informed. I'm excited for you in whatever your decision. Hand-planing is a wonderful experience.
 

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I have tuned up two new Record planes and an old generic smoother. I also was given a Lee Nielsen smoother by my wife. It was a good deal of work to true up the other planes and while they work well they still did not perform as well as the premium plane right out of the box. So if the hours spent tuning up a plane is not something you will enjoy as much as wood working it might be worth the $150 premium to go with a Lee Nielsen or Veritas. I love the look of of the Lee Nielsen and have loved the performance.
 
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