Marty Backe

Unboxing and tuneup of a $10 Harbor Freight bench plane

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Some of you guys might appreciate this video where I inspect a $10 impulse purchase from Harbor Freight. The plane was awful out of the box, but after spending maybe 2 hours over a couple of days, it now takes whisper thin shavings. It'll be great for when I need to plane the edges of plywood, MDF, etc.

 

 

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I keep seeing this plane pushed in public forums. It is not a bad plane. That said, if you have large hands, plan on dragging your knuckles on the adjustment knobs. I also bought one on impulse. 

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7 hours ago, Lee Bussy said:

You mention making a scrub plane out of it at one point.  Have you seen the Stumpy Nubs vid on the same plane?

<snip>

badly shaped the iron was. You could turn this plane into anything you wanted, including a boat anchor ;-)

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I had one but it was too light to be a scrub plane. yes it works if you put the time into it but the constant tweaking and poor feeling in the hand make it a poor plane. for the same money you can get an old Stanley at a garage sale and with the same amount of work or less have a better feeling plane that will require less maintenance and last so much longer.

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21 minutes ago, Marty Backe said:

I just jokingly said that maybe the manufacturer intended it to be a scrub plane, because of how badly shaped the iron was. You could turn this plane into anything you wanted, including a boat anchor ;-)

Oh I figured ... It just reminded me of that vid and I was not sure if you'd seen it.

2 minutes ago, James Wright said:

I had one but it was too light to be a scrub plane. yes it works if you put the time into it but the constant tweaking and poor feeling in the hand make it a poor plane. for the same money you can get an old Stanley at a garage sale and with the same amount of work or less have a better feeling plane that will require less maintenance and last so much longer.

The weight is a really good point.  

The best use I could think of was the plywood as the OP said, or some of that ugly pallet wood my wife wants me to do something with.

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Is it really lighter than a scrub plane?  My #40 is fairly light, which is beneficial when you're making your initial passes to scrub off the sawmill marks. 

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I have a Stanley scrub.  This HF is much heavier and holds settings better. If you want a scrub as discussed, you might need to move to the #4. Not many #3 can be had for $10. The HF is not a bad option if the bigger longer plane is not desired. 

4 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

If i have a Stanley No. 5 is there any point to going after this guy?

5 is kind of big for making a board narrower but this is up to personal preference. 

 

2 minutes ago, Gilgaron said:

Is it really lighter than a scrub plane?  My #40 is fairly light, which is beneficial when you're making your initial passes to scrub off the sawmill marks. 

Scrubs are often only 1.25" or so wide. They are not really for removing mill marks. That is usually more efficient with a jack or fore plane. 

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Thanks Marty..Most guys here no allot about planes but I dont and liked the information .For $10 I may get one and If my tuneup goes bad than Im not out much..

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For the guys that own this plane, how's the iron? After getting it into shape, does it take and hold an edge? I've been considering making a little wooden smoother just for fun.   This made me think I could just drop $10 on the plane,  and harvest the iron. 

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19 minutes ago, Immortan D said:

Looks like a PITA to use with that "simplified" frog or lack thereof.

As I showed in the video, in reality it's quick and easy to adjust the iron.

8 minutes ago, Brendon_t said:

For the guys that own this plane, how's the iron? After getting it into shape, does it take and hold an edge? I've been considering making a little wooden smoother just for fun.   This made me think I could just drop $10 on the plane,  and harvest the iron. 

I obviously don't have enough time with it yet. But that's a great idea, buy the plane for the iron. You can obviously buy better irons but it'll cost you $30 - $50. On the other hand, you could probably find junk beater planes for only a few bucks and harvest their blades.

For me it's just fun to play around with tools.

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32 minutes ago, Brendon_t said:

For the guys that own this plane, how's the iron? After getting it into shape, does it take and hold an edge? I've been considering making a little wooden smoother just for fun.   This made me think I could just drop $10 on the plane,  and harvest the iron. 

Chung King Chop Suey can's recycled into plane irons...

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4 hours ago, C Shaffer said:

Scrubs are often only 1.25" or so wide. They are not really for removing mill marks. That is usually more efficient with a jack or fore plane. 

I usually traverse with the scrub and then go with the grain with a #6 set as a fore. 

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Brendon, note the iron in this plane is more like a spokeshave iron than a typical plane iron. I have one, and it can do a pretty decent job, with a bit of setup. The advantage I see over searching CL or Ebay for old Stanleys, is that these planes are on the shelf at HF, anytime you want one. If you do make simething with one if the irons, please share. I'd love to see how it turns out.

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Still considering but will do. 

The whole searching CL for planes out here doesn't work. Everyone out here thinks their 20 year old Stanley #4 is a collectors item and price them accordingly.  I've seen as high as $400 for a relatively late model miller falls smoother all beat to hell and rusted into oblivion.

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I bought this plane many years back when I was woodworking in a college apartment. I didn't like it but it did the job until I could afford a better one. Now the handle is on another plane and will never be used again.

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1 hour ago, Brendon_t said:

The whole searching CL for planes out here doesn't work. Everyone out here thinks their 20 year old Stanley #4 is a collectors item and price them accordingly.  I've seen as high as $400 for a relatively late model miller falls smoother all beat to hell and rusted into oblivion.

This. Pretty much sums up any attempt to use CL to find decent tools in southern california...

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(Thread jump:)Apologies OP...CL is the blind pig. Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then, especially if he is the first one under the tree. 

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10 minutes ago, JosephThomas said:

This. Pretty much sums up any attempt to use CL to find decent tools in southern california...

I too live in Southern California. If you're interested in old tools, it sucks to live here. The center of the 'old tool universe' is east of the Mississippi. It's EBay for us.

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I've had good luck with power tools on CL but I'm a mechanic type and don't mind a fixer upper.  I've bought 2 delta table saws,  brand new mitre saw,  8" jointer and a bunch of others. Hand tools are just a no go. 

Heck there's a brand new 8" grizzly long bed jointer on cl now for $650.

 

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