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If I were only to buy one block plane it would be a low angle block plane with an adjustable mouth. Examples are the Stanley/Bailey #60, 60 1/2, 65, 65 1/2. You can see some pictures and descriptions here: http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan9.htm

The low angle block planes have the blade bedded at a 12 degree angle while in the "standard" block planes it is set at 20 degrees. The lower angle helps with trimming end grain and also helps some in difficult grain.

The adjustable mouth lets you set the mouth close to the blade which helps produce fine shavings and prevents tear out.

Stanley is producing a modern version of the #60 1/2 low angle block plane which sells for about $90. I haven't used one nor do I recall reading any reviews on that plane.

In contrast, I bought my "classic" SB 60 1/2 for about $20 on ebay a couple of years ago. From what I've seen, the 60 1/2 appears a little more often than the other low angle block planes. If you want to purchase a vintage one I would think you'd be able to pick one up for $30 or less. Although, I must confess, I haven't looked on ebay for 6 months or more so prices could be different now.
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