Best Value Hand Planes?


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Hey guys,

I'm 22 and pretty new to woodworking. I want to eventually get a power jointer and planer but I am looking at getting some bench planes to do the job until I can afford the power tools. I want to spend as little money as possible but for them to still function. I understand that I will have to spend a day to flatten the sole and sharpen the blade. I have an old Stanley 220 block plane that belonged to my grandfather that still needs some tuning up but does the job. Does anyone have any suggestions for some inexpensive bench planes? Thanks

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I am just getting into the hand tools but I scored all 5 of these Stanley's for $20 at a yard sale. The #4 in the middle and #5 on the right were in pretty good shape and sharp enough to play around with. The little 9 1/4 on the left is razor sharp. Must have been someone's go to.

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Darrel beat me to it - yard sale. Read up on what to look for in a plane (cracked irons or body, missing parts, severe rust) so you know how much work it would be to get them usable. Look into replacement irons too for ones that are too far gone. Let us know how your search goes.

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I've had a tough time finding old planes where I live (Oklahoma). Over time, I've found mine at antique stores (which are really more like junk stores or flea markets I think). I bought one - a block plane from Highland Woodworking.

All required the usual refurbishment but they work great now. I had to buy one replacement iron because of rust.

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RJ one thing you can try is get a groz handplane or some similar and learn to tune it. also woodriver has some nice new tools for decent prices. the groz wont be out of box ready but the woodriver will. I have one groz smoother and mostly a bunch of antiques.

I've had a tough time finding old planes where I live (Oklahoma). Over time, I've found mine at antique stores (which are really more like junk stores or flea markets I think). I bought one - a block plane from Highland Woodworking.

All required the usual refurbishment but they work great now. I had to buy one replacement iron because of rust.

greg i live in oklahoma too. one thing you can try is going to the buchanans antique flea market that is held once a month at the state fairgrounds. there is this one guy who deals only in antique tools. its the first weekend of every month.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I have been meaning to go to yard sales and flea markets to see if I can find anything but just haven't been able to get around to it. I have been thinking about getting the Groz plane set and seeing how that goes. My next big purchase will be getting some high value sharpening stones and lapping plate because my $10 oil stone makes my chisels look like a fun house mirror.

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look around on youtube for some tuning videos, the grozs arent terrible planes but are needing a tune up. flatten the sole if needed flattening the frog face and sharpen the iron. later on if you get some antiques that knowledge will be handy. also look at getting hock irons for replacements they are great irons.

plus learning how to do that can be done cheaply i bought a groz smoother for 18 bucks.

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The best value is a tool you'll use and enjoy using. Spending $40 on a plane that will sit in a drawer because it sucks is a bigger waste of money than a $200 plane that you'll actually use. And quality tools hold their resale value. If you invest in Veritas or Lie-Nielsen planes, but then decide hand tools aren't for you, you can resell them for nearly what you paid. And if you decide hand tools aren't for you, you'll know that it wasn't the frustration of using garbage tools that led you to that conclusion. Food for thought.

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The best value is a tool you'll use and enjoy using. Spending $40 on a plane that will sit in a drawer because it sucks is a bigger waste of money than a $200 plane that you'll actually use. And quality tools hold their resale value. If you invest in Veritas or Lie-Nielsen planes, but then decide hand tools aren't for you, you can resell them for nearly what you paid. And if you decide hand tools aren't for you, you'll know that it wasn't the frustration of using garbage tools that led you to that conclusion. Food for thought.

I agree. I would wait and save your money rather than buy cheap stuff. The most expensive tools you buy are the tools you buy more than once.

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The odds of going to a flee market and walking away with a really good plane is rapidly becoming a thing of the past -- the really good finds (ala, the 'Antique Road Show' before it was discovered to be a fraud) are just getting too infrequent for someone starting out. It's a lot different if you already have a plane or two, able to make some furniture and just looking to pick-up some new kit for your arsenal.

You can get a decent used Stanley on eBay, tune-it-up yourself and an aftermarket thick blade from LN or Hock. You'll end-up with 80% of a LN for 1/3 the price...

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I'll suggest the Harbor Freigth '#33'

http://www.harborfre...lane-97544.html

Under $10 and usable with minimal work. The handle is a tad small, so I keep thinking about making another larger one, but have yet to do it.

I have this plane and I do not care for it at all. I find the blade incredible difficult to adjust. My $9 thirft store Stanley blows this one out of the water.

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I guess results vary on the HF...

I bought a Wood River block plane (not low angle), and the ramp where the bade sits was not level. No matter how i adjusted the blade, the left side of the blade cut lower than the right. I spent some time with a file and some sandpaper and go it level. Now the only problem I have with it is that the lever cap that holds the blade will pop open if I don't hold it just right. This requires resetting the blade, trying to adjust it back to where it is. This may be unique to this particular model, but I wouldn't recommend this plane.

Honestly, I think my next hand plane will be a Veritas or LN. I'm leaning toward the "buy once, cry once" theory. They're a bit more (but not orders of magnitude) but seem to avoid a lot of the hassles, based on what I've read.

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