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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am in need of some advice on what planes to purchase for my upcoming projects.

I recently finished up making a butcher block table top for an end table and have decided to move towards some more ambitious projects. I am going to be making table tops and bench tops from reclaimed wood. I have been practicing with my Stanley Handyman plane and realize that I will really need to upgrade if I want to have confidence in my tools and hone my abilities.

So, recently I purchased Garrett Hack's Handplane Book and joined this forum to get some more knowledge. I'm in the process of reading the book and combing this forum for information but would be really thankful if someone could lend some advice to me. I will be smoothing wood, with the grain. The wood is 100yr old hickory. They are boards about 5-6' long. I plan on using the Handyman to just remove a lot of the imperfect surface. From there I think I need two planes. From what I have gathered so far, I need a smaller plane, like a #4 to shape and remove high spots and then a larger plane to flatten, like a #6. I was looking at WoodRiver planes on woodcraft.com and they seem to have really good reviews. I don't mind spending a little extra to make sure I get a tool that will last a lifetime but I don't have an unlimited budget.

So, does this seem like a good starting point? Or does anyone have any suggestions or words of caution they're willing to lend?

Thank you,
-jordan
 

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Normally a scrub plane to remove the high spots, then a longer plane, e.g. No. 6 or No. 7 to flatten, and finally a shorter plane to smooth, e.g., No. 5 or No. 4. Some folks prefer one plane, other prefer a different plane.

Good luck with the Handyman, not my preference for a hand plane.

Woodriver seem to have good reviews. If I am getting a new plane, I prefer Veritas (Lee Valley). If I am getting a vintage, I prefer Stanley - Bailey.

Where in PA are you located? There may be local flea markets if you want to go vintage.

Look back at other threads on the forum. A rich source of information. Your questions are likely not new.

Examples.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/hand-plane-advice-47335/

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f11/hand-plane-advice-hand-tool-rookie-52028/

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f11/first-try-truing-using-hand-plane-41906/

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f11/plane-tune-up-sharpening-questions-52834/
 

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Welcome to woodworking and this forum. First point I would like to make is make sure your planes are tuned. Second point is I hate Handyman planes. They can be very difficult to tune, so don't get discouraged, if it doesn't work properly (and some of them do) get a vintage Stanley or other name brand. Third, hickory is a terrible wood to make tour first planing project. It is very hard and stringy. Your tools need to be sharp. Keep them sharp (again, harder with a handyman)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies and the links to helpful parts of the forum. I'll probably relegate the Handyman to paperweight duty once I get my new planes in.

I'm currently in central PA in Happy Valley. I might start checking out some flea markets for some quality vintage pieces. I know there are plenty enough flea markets and antique stores around here.

Thanks again,
jordan
 

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For flattening/smoothing, I use three planes.

1) A #5. The blade isn't quite as cambered as it possibly should be, but I can still take a pretty thick cut. This takes off big areas of waste, especially when it runs across the grain.

2) A try plane. Mine is a transitional (wood sole, metal adjustment for the blade) made by Siegley, and is about 24" long by 3" wide. I mostly use it for jointing edges of boards, but I've done a little bit of face flattening as well. It will take a moderately thick cut, or I can set it very fine and get a surface almost as good as my smoother leaves. It's a lot more awkward to use, though.

3) A smoother. I have both a Stanley #3 and a Wards Master #4. I used the 4 for a long time, but, like your Handyman, it's not a great tool. I figured out recently that part of the problem I've been having is that the frog isn't quite square to the body. So I've started using the #3, and I'm actually finding I like the smaller size. If I find a higher quality #4 I'll give it a try, but I don't expect to like it that much more. Actually, I technically also have a coffin plane wooden smoother, but the blade needs to be seriously reground... the previous owner used it as a scrub plane, and really mangled the edge.

If you can find all three types in a range you can afford, I'd recommend it. If not, I'd buy the try plane (#7 or equivalent) and a jack (#5), and get a second blade for the jack. Sharpen one with a significant camber, and use it for large scale stock removal, and the other almost perfectly straight and use it for smoothing.


And once you have those, you can get into the fun world of rebate planes, plows, molding planes, and all sorts of fun stuff!
 

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Hey Jordan,

If you can wait that long, there is a pretty significant tool auction and sale in York, Pennsylvania in January 2014. It's part of the Brown Tool Auction and the url for more info is: http://www.finetoolj.com/brownAuctions/current.html.

I have gone to the sale two or three times have found a few gems here and there. I have never attended the auction, though the preview is going on at the same time.

You are not going to find flea market prices, but on the other hand, the quality and selection is going to be much better. Next to no rusted, broken or derelict tools.

Greg
 

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Most of my planes have already lasted for someone's lifetime. Some I bought new over the years, but most came off of ebay. I am set up to tune one though. All my regular planes are either Stanley or Record, and I've never felt the need to "upgrade" an iron in any of them.

I say to start, 5,7, and 4. The five should have a good camber to the blade to take off a good sized shaving to remove material quickly. The old standard arc for the camber is an 8" radius on the 5. 7 to flatten with a shaving of a thousandth or so, and the 4 to finish with as thin a shaving as you can set the plane up for.
 
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