Hand planes and the cost


Recommended Posts

I am looking into getting a couple hand planes for jointing, smoothing and flattening.

I am debating if the cost of 3 planes for just getting a used jointer and planer ....

Do get nice quality without spending $500 a plane ... Is that even possible? If I go with the cheaper plane will the quality be crap and not worth the hassle?

If it's worth looking into ... What brands/models should I be looking into to start with that will keep me happy?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 80
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Let's all remember that for some (many?), the price point of entry can make or break the decision to take up this fine craft. If someone wants to plane a board, and doesn't have the funds to drop on L

Wow, that got outta hand real quick. Carus, did you say "pissing", dude you were fired up . Nice to see log getting a mention too!   You know this is a tricky tightrope to walk, the crosswinds that

Reading this thread reminds me of why I reduced my participation in forums over the past few years.    My own experience lead me to brands like Lie-Nielsen and I've happily stayed there. I started

You can find old Stanley's at flea markets and thrift shops pretty easily and save yourself a ton of money.   Those are what I use daily.   I'd love to have a whole lineup of LN planes but I'm happy with what I have.

 

For example, my most expensive plane I bought was a Stanley Bedrock #5 which I stole for $40.  My other planes: smoothers, another jack, block, and jointer I paid about $9 each for.   They took a little elbow grease to clean up, but they all work very well.

 

Ebay is another good place for used planes. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good closing point kiki, it's a bold move to go all hand prep!

 

One thing we are lucky with in the UK is vintage stuff is everywhere and pretty cheap so it's a logical choice for us. Once customs and import duties whip your US products to high levels vintage is often a pragmatic choice.

 

Returning to kiki's point if machines are on your horizon for stock prep then go for them before the hand planes. I know they are not cool but Wood River are not so bad, I had a UK version and it was great. A Wood River #4 and a jointer/planer sound like a pragmatic choice for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A balanced mix of machine and hand tools serves well.  This is not meant to sound like a put down,[so, please don't take it wrong]  But, I've noticed that Americans tend to want instant gratification, without going through the process of learning who, what and how things get done.....  Don't rush into hand planes, get  a block plane and see what it will do for you, if you feel the need to add more, take a class and find out how valuable they are or aren't for your application.  Just owning a bunch of planes that gather dust is kinda pointless, unless they're vintage, in which case as one of our posters points out, you can leave a great estate sale!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Not mad for wanting to do some milling by hand, although if you do, I highly recommend ponying up a little extra cash when you buy your wood to get it milled S2S.

 

The three tools that I use from there to square up stock are a #5 ($35 Groz, Woodcraft), #7 ($50 Bailey, ebay) and a rip-saw ($40 Disston, ebay).

 

This is however just the beginning of a slippery slope down the rabbit hole of acquiring tools - whatever your budget it, it will eventually get spent.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Or you could follow Marc's suggestion and get a Lee-Valley low angle jack and a couple of extra blades and get started. Even if you get the power tools later, the plane will be valuable.

I actually got by pretty well with a jack plane for "rough jointing" and a DeWalt 735 for planning. I could get a 48" long, 9" wide cypress board flat enough on one side to start using the planner in less than 10 minutes. Plus I go a slight workout. A friend gave me an old Craftsman 6" jointer for free, so the plane gets less use, but I still use it for wide boards, plus all sorts of other minor tasks.

I admire those woodworkers that find good used tools, but I've never had much luck - I think it takes more of a commitment to hunting down the tool then I am willing to commit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently taking an unplugged hand tool only class and though I have all the main power tools I am loving this class! What I've been taught so far is a so so plane can work well with a great blade. So jump in that way and if you really enjoy the work then get a better plane to put your better blade in. You won't regret it!

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you’re just starting-out, I’d get the LN-LA-Jack with an extra iron or two: hone one a bit higher for squirrely grain (and a bit of smoothing) and put a decent camber (7”-8” radius – remember, it’s LA) on the other to hog some stock… If you don’t know how to sharpen, for heaven’s sake get someone to teach you… Take a ½ day class, join a club, whatever… Soooo many guys just needlessly bang their heads on rocks over this… You won’t enjoy a single second of hand tool use if the steel isn’t sharp….

 

Pick a project with small components… The LA-Jack is about 15”, so you’ve got the ability to flatten to about 30” – so until you make a larger project, you don't need to get a joiner plane. Don’t obsess about flatness… The reference (read as joinery) face/edge needs to be flat and true, but the show face doesn’t (it just has to look that way :)). Guys kill themselves getting stock 4-square with hand tools when it’s rairly needed. If you build a side table, bedside table, hall-table, glove-table, whatever and find you’re cool with hand-milling, then you’ve got your answer -- Neander… BTW: do yourself a favor, work in Genuine Mahogany for a project or two… It mills/works easily, looks great and it’s not outrageously priced… If you start with Tiger, we’ll just be reading your obit in a month or two… And if you decide hand-milling is for the birds, nothing’s lost – you’ve got arguably the single most useful plane in existence sitting in your tool chest – and BTW: even the most dedicated Normite usually has a Jack or smoother carefully hidden in some closet for those ‘little touchups’ (and yes, all Normites are a bit in the closet)... And when you get the Jack, get the LN-LA-Block at the same time. No matter what you do, you need a good block plane…

 

Oh, and about the chisels you’re going to buy: get the small set of LN-O1s /w (while no-longer in the LN catalog, a little bird tells me the set is still availabe -- but you've got to ask nicely), one ¾” PMV-11 to whack and Ray Iles’s ¼” English-pattern Mortiser… And if it’s starting to feel a bit pricy, substitute a Narex for the PMV-11… Boy it’s fun giving unsolicited advice while spending someone else’s $$... If budget’s still an issue, stick to the O1s (they are the best at what they do) and substitute a used pig-sticker for Ray’s… Mortising is low on finesse and tall on whacking – you don’t need a top-shelf mortiser to work in Mahogany – although D2 comes in handy with Black Maple… As for saws… Well, we’d be crossing into the realm of religious dogma, so we'll just have that sermon later :)  On a side note: WTO members must have noticed the reather dramatic reduction in offerings from LN... Just because it's not on the website, doesn't mean it's not available... If they've got the parts (which they do for repairs), they'll make-up an oldy but goldie for you... But spare parts are limited, so if you've always wanted that progressive pitch dovetail saw, they've got them even though 'officially' discontinued over a year ago... On the O1 set, alternate paring/bench handles as you move up in size...

 

BTW: Get yourself Schrawz’s video on Building a Shaker Table with Hand Tools… It just so happens that the tools listed above are exactly what you need for that project and the two others covered in his DVD series – wonder how that happened? If you order the Jack, block and chisels from LN, get them to throw-in their sharpening kit and CS’s DVD… Never hurts to ask… BTW, CH's DVD on handtool techniques is quite good for new Neanders...

 

So there you have one guy's take on buying the three basic starter bench planes (course, medium & fine) -- don't do it... Work on small projects until you develop hand tool technique Get yourself a single very versitle bench plane, a block plane, a couple of chisels and make some furniture... Now before we talk budget, I'll pass along one thing I learned the hard way -- get the best tool you can afford... Many, just as I did, figured that a plane is just a plane, a chisel is just a chisel and saw is just a saw... Many purchased 'value proposition' out of the gate and regretted to the extent that we had to buy again... and again... and again... Also, there is method to my madness: the brands I listed keep their residual value incredibly well... If someday you wake-up and decide woodworking isn't for you, then you can just eBay them and get 90% of your money back... Aside from that, these are quality tools that are intended to be passed-down, not binned by your kids when they clean-out your house...

 

Feel like building something?

 

PS: if you're stuck on sharpening, don't invest in high-end waterstones until you get some technique down -- they'll just frustrate you... Get a sheet of float glass, piece of granite countertop, whatever -- as long as it's flat. Then use lapping film until you're ready to move along...

 

<edit>

 

PPS: Before you plonk-down for the smoother and jointer, you'd be better served with a large shoulder plane and large router plane. Again, got yourself LN or LV's offerings. Actually, maybe the smoother before the router plane... 6-of-1... My order would be: LA-block, LA-Jack, large shoulder plane, smoother, large router plane, jointer plane.

 

PPPS: If you purchase new, get LN/LV... You can go vintage, but that's a completely diferent discussion. You can still find quality vintage, but it's much harder then it was ten (or even five) years ago... If you find a vintage becrock in good condition and retrofit it with a Ron Hock iron, you'ver got yourself a winner and saved $200 in the precess... But, as stated previously, the halcyon days of fininding a set of new-in-box bedrocks purchased pre-war are long gone... It still happens, but don't hang your hat on in...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, even Shannon Rogers owns a powered thickness planer. Knowinh how to mill by hand is a useful skill, but if you use anything harder than poplar, milling gets old in a hurry!

Anyway, the Lee Valley stuff is innovative and well made, I would lean that direction over LN as a better value for the budget conscience.

Heck, I'd say buy a good block plane, and a good #5. Go get one of those $9 'Windsor Design' #33 things from HF for scrubbing and other dirty work. Those are surprisingly well constructed for the price, although somewhat limited in capabilites.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just went through this myself. I bought a lunchbox planer ($600) which will no most of the hard work for me. Then I have a vintage no. 5 ($25) which I basically turned into a scrub plane for heavy stock removal. I have another vintage no 5 ($30) that I have set up for more delicate work. Then I have a vintage no 4 ($25) which I am about to put install a Hock blade and chip breaker ($65) which essentially makes it as good as LN or LV for 1/4 of the price. I also bought the new Veritas Custom Bench plane no 7 ($370). I went with the Veritas rather than getting a vintage one because a vintage no 7 can take a hell of a lot of time to flatten the sole by hand and I just didn't want to go through all that work. I also considered getting a power jointer but I want at least an 8" machine and I don't have 220 in the garage so that would have cost a lot more. I spent about $1115 to get set up to mill rough boards myself but you can get a used lunchbox planer for about $200 and a vintage no 7 for about $75 then your looking at just over $400. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

More to unpack in the OP than meets the eye. My recommendation is to unplug. Especially if it's a hobby. The workflow is completely different, but my shop is nearly empty now and completely silent. I don't have to worry about breathing or going deaf or cocooning myself in protective gear and torturing my girlfriend while she tried to work upstairs. Now she comes down to the shop to chat while I mill stock or watches me cut joinery. She appreciated the hobby but wouldn't come near it. Now she finds it relaxing to watch. 

 

Basically I get that milling boards can be strenuous and time consuming, but in the few projects I've made since selling off all my power tools I've barely noticed. My enjoyment has gone through the roof and my skills have advanced much quicker now that I don't have to fret over which way to try to accomplish something. 

 

Whatever tools you wind up with you'll figure them out, but I think any hobbyist should at least experiment with cutting out the power tools and see what it does for them.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Buy this DVD first http://lostartpress.com/collections/dvds/products/the-naked-woodworker

While Mike is a personal friend of mine, I don't recommend this dvd because of that. I recommend it because he is a no nonsense, lifetime woodworker who can show you how to get a good start without spending a ton of money. Trust me, this will be the best 20 you spend if you're just getting started.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Vintage Stanley planes, properly tuned and with a truly sharp iron, can be made to perform very well.  We all know why we like LN and LV planes, I have several of each, but my basic user set includes Stanley 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, and lots of good work is done with them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Vintage Stanley planes, properly tuned and with a truly sharp iron, can be made to perform very well. We all know why we like LN and LV planes, I have several of each, but my basic user set includes Stanley 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, and lots of good work is done with them.

Why do we like them?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am looking into getting a couple hand planes for jointing, smoothing and flattening.

I am debating if the cost of 3 planes for just getting a used jointer and planer ....

Do get nice quality without spending $500 a plane ... Is that even possible? If I go with the cheaper plane will the quality be crap and not worth the hassle?

If it's worth looking into ... What brands/models should I be looking into to start with that will keep me happy?

 

Read this:

 

http://tonykonovaloff.com/?page_id=53

 

Then this:

 

http://tonykonovaloff.com/?page_id=333

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, first they are new and shiny.  Both companies manufacture to far higher tolerences than Stanley (or any other manufacturer, i.e., Millers Falls, Sargent, etc.) did back in the day; iron bodies are made with ductile iron so if you drop them they don't shatter and they are machined flat; the stock irons supplied with them are made with modern steel, superior to most, but not all, vintage irons, plus they are thicker and come with improved versions of chipbreakers; LN improved the basic bedrock design, incrementally, but still an improvement; LV is quite innovative, taking design and function to a higher level than vintage.  But all this comes at a cost, a significant cost, and when you can get 95%+ of a LN or LV performance out of a vintage plane, you weigh the cost/benefit in your own mind.

 

For example, below is a Millers Falls #17 block plane, all stock, including iron, which is sharp and the plane properly adjusted.  I couldn't tell much of a difference between the resulting shavings from any LN or LV plane.  I can make the same thing happen with most any Type 19 or earlier Stanley bench plane.

 

DSCN0734_zps46e12353.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Found a picture of a Type 16 #4; again, properly tuned, properly sharpened.  It is not hard to get these results, most of the skill involved is in the sharpening of the iron and adjustment of the tool.  Not bad for a 70 year old plane, eh?

 

 

 

413631779554_32eb770729_k_zps0946da3d.jp

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.