Author Topic: Hand Planes  (Read 12993 times)

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Offline Loren Woirhaye

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Hand Planes
« on: December 02, 2007, 06:53 PM »
I have  to admit I am a hand-tool geek.   Planes are fascinating tools,
and used properly improve results and cut WAY down on sanding.

Among bench planes I find the most useful to be a #4 smoothing plane
and a #5 Jack plane.  Recently I acquired a Bedrock #8 and I'm
impressed with this big jointer.  I think I'll be using it a lot for
general work because its heft is an advantage to me.

I seldom use a block plane these days, reaching for a #4 instead
in most cases.  I also own a low-angle Jack which is just a big
block plane... I mostly use it for plywood.  I find the supposed
end-grain working virtues of block planes to be over-rated.  A
regular bench plane works fine in general for me. 

Planes for joinery: I prefer to have a shoulder plane on hand
when I am building furniture.  Mine is a big Record shoulder plane
similar to the one Lie-Nielsen makes these days.

I also have a couple of larger rabbet planes but don't use them
much.

All told I probably own about 25 planes right now but I could build
beautiful stuff with only a few.   Next to my chisels and a sturdy
bench, planes are the most indispensible tools in my shop.

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Offline clintholeman

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  • Sonoma County, CA
    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2007, 09:29 PM »
I, too use hand planes.  I used to make all of my furniture by hand.  Since I've acquired FesTools, I still have call to use my planes and chisels especially.  I love my Steve Knight Jack and Joiner - Purple Heart with Ipe soles.  I still use them to hand finish my tops.

Offline brandon.nickel

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  • Currently Peoria, IL - Eventually back to CO
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2007, 09:55 PM »
The only hand tools I own (other than mechanic's and framing) are a set of cheap HD chisels that just barely work well enough to live up to their name.  They don't take a great edge and they don't stay sharp very long.

That said, I've recently noticed a few occasions where a few quick swipes of a plane would have improved my furniture (face-frame mismatches mostly).  So, I'd consider myself in the market.

My little bit of research tells me that a #4 block plane is the place to start.  I hate buying cheap as I always regret it.  Sometimes I admit I'll buy the expensive version just because "it must be better".  So, I've looked at Lie-Nielson planes, but they're as much as my Festools.  Are they worth it?  What about their competition?  Where is the point of diminishing returns here?  I'm not a pro and I'll generally prefer power over hand, but I'll expect these planes to last my lifetime, so what should I buy?

Opinions welcome...
TS55, MFT1080, Domino, OF1400, LR32, RO150E, DTS400, Trion, CT33

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3327
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2007, 11:07 PM »
Here is a link to a previous discussion of hand planes. I include it here because we never got Greg Mann's review of the Blum plane (hint-hint).

Offline Eli

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2007, 11:09 PM »
My vote if you've never used them is to get a nice Stanley worker plane, something a collector doesn't want because it has a cracked tote or something and monkey around with that for a while before you drop big game like a Lie-Neilson. Unless you're going to buy a Tormek or send everything out to be sharpened.
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Loren Woirhaye

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2007, 01:44 AM »
More important than investing in collectible planes like Lie Nielsen (they are great... I own 4)
is to have a system for sharpening your blades. 

I use waterstones but a system with oilstones, buff and rouge,  or sandpaper will work as long
as you understand how to get a sharp edge.

I seldom use sharpening guides but they can be helpful if you are having a hard time
getting your tools sharp.

I agree that finding a #4 or #5 "user" plane is a great place to start.  Stanley Bailey
planes are all over the place and can be had for $10 a piece or less.  Check Ebay if
you don't have a local fleemarket.

Offline Timmy C

  • Posts: 462
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2007, 08:01 AM »
I am with Eli on the "user" Stanley's.  I have been dealing with this gentleman for years.  Only about 20% or so of what he has is listed on the web-site; further, you should go to the site and check out all the kewl schtuff on the site.  There are some very nifty salesman samples on there from time to time.

Patented-Antiques

Do your research!

Timmy
« Last Edit: December 03, 2007, 08:05 AM by Timmy C »

Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2007, 10:10 AM »
The only hand tools I own (other than mechanic's and framing) are a set of cheap HD chisels that just barely work well enough to live up to their name.  They don't take a great edge and they don't stay sharp very long.


I hear you Brandon.  I'm a nut for handtools and have a range of chisels that stay razor sharp.  But you know what gets used the most?  The POS Stanley I keep around for popping off dried glue, etc.  Go figure!

I agree with the advice below about going slow on expensive handtools to start with.  However, bringing an old Stanley back to grace takes a lot of work and skill.  For a first handplane, I would suggest a block plane from lie nielsen or Lee Valley.  They are already well tuned and will work right out of the box (though they will work even better with a little honing).  An out of whack plane can be very discouraging to a beginner, get something that will almost certainly delight you and then learn how to keep it sharp!

Offline Timmy C

  • Posts: 462
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2007, 10:17 AM »
Being a handtool user takes patience to learn how to maintain their tool.  I agree Jesse that a "crappy" plane can be very frustrating.  However, you nick a Lie and you are right in the same boat as you would be with a crappy Stanley.  Learning how to sharpen and tune the tool goes hand in hand with being a user.

t

Offline greg mann

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2007, 03:08 PM »
Here is a link to a previous discussion of hand planes. I include it here because we never got Greg Mann's review of the Blum plane (hint-hint).

Sorry, Michael, but I have not had much time to give it a good evaluation. It is a very nice looking plane, a jointer, and pics will be included when I get around to a review. I think a little time with it will be necessary to learn the nuances. I am not a plane virtuoso and this is my first wooden plane so that makes any review by me suspect. I can tell you this. I had ordered an extra blade, they are relatively cheap, and it somehow missed being shipped. I emailed Gary Blum and he responded by sending it and two more at no charge.
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Dan Clermont

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2007, 05:06 PM »
Hi Loren

The most important part of using an edge tool like a handplane is gtting to know how to get a good keen edge!

If you are going to buy a plane pick a sharpening method like sandpaper (Google scary sharp), Tormek, waterstones or oil stones.

I love Lie Nielsen handplanes and use mine allot. I own both Bevel up and Bevel down planes and prefer the bevel up cause I can adjust them while I plane and the edge stays sharp longer (I am not getting into a debate on this as I've been down that road way too many times)

Now knowing that I am a huge fan of LN's I'd recommend a #5 Bailey off Patrick Leach or the guy Timmy C mentioned.

WIth the arsenal of Lie Nielsen's I have you still like to have a Bailey or bedrock around you can abuse before pulling out your really expensive planes.

Just my two cents
Dan Clermont
Canadian Festool Dealer and User!!!
https://www.ultimatetools.ca/
604.291.9663

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2007, 07:19 PM »
As a complete hand tool rookie I might give some input on my own experience.
My first contact with handplanes was with an old 4 stanley. After hours a frustration (and blood drawn) I decided that handtools where just not for me. I put it aside and started my power tool collection.
Years later, I receive a LN block plane as a gift. The fact that the tool was ready out of the box allowed me to my amazment to get nice clean shaving within minutes. Within a week I had a LN smoothing plane and really started to get the feel of how a plane should behave. I have now learned to sharpen and tune  my tools and even resurected my old stanley.

The bottom line of my story is that a high end plane is not necessary a bad investment.

Emmanuel

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1833
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2007, 08:02 PM »
Given what you can sell L-Ns for on Ebay I would say a high end plane is never a bad investment. Once one has one, though, I don't really understand why one would want to sell it.
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Loren Woirhaye

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2007, 02:39 PM »
I've been using planes successfully for a long time now... and I have
just realized that I had forgotten that it took me awhile to learn
to sharpen and tune the tools.

These days I have a lot of well-tuned planes on hand and if one
if giving me trouble I can usually just pick up another and finish the
work I have at hand.

My first plane was a Buck Bros. clock plane with a gaping 1/4" mouth.
Later on when I learned to use adjustable mouth planes I saw
a big improvement in my results.

It took me awhile to wise up and invest in quality sharpening stones
and even then I struggled to quickly hone consistent bevels.

James Krenov refers to the plane as "these high-spirited tools" and
I would have to agree, especially with wood-bodied planes.

Even though I have owned and made several wooden planes I usually
use the Bailey pattern planes popularized by Stanley and Lie-Nielsen...
and the reason has to do with convenience.  If the mouth gets
clogged or shavings run under the chipbreaker its a simple matter
to take the iron off and fix the problem.

If your plane has a warped sole, thats a problem.  I haven't flattened
a plane sole in a few years but I used a 1/4" sheet of glass with sandpaper
on it a few times.  I also have some sanding screens used for sanding
hardwood floors that come in handy for lapping plane soles flat.... and
waterstones as well.

With a flat sole and a sharp iron, good results are had pretty quickly.

It has taken me years to learn how to read grain intuitively and know
how deep a cut I can take.  After a while you can feel the "give" and
resiliency of the wood fibers as you cut them and it gives you some insight
of where to plane and how deep to set the iron.

Lie-Nielsen (and probably Veritas) planes do come quite flat-soled out of
the box.  In my experience the irons need a little work to get truly smooth
surfaces, but its true that tuning up a LN plane goes faster than an old
Stanley.

In many cases with an old iron plane there is rust to be cleaned off both
the plane body and the iron.   

My procedure is basically to knock the rust off, hone the blade, polish
and wax the chipbreaker, cap lever and plane sole, and go to work and
see how the thing cuts.

Offline brandon.nickel

  • Posts: 241
  • Currently Peoria, IL - Eventually back to CO
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2007, 10:38 PM »
So, I'm still of mixed feelings.  It looks like there's a contingent that argues for finding a secondhand Bedrock or old Stanley plane and another that encourages my gratuitous spending on high-end tools. 

I fully understand the need for proper sharpening, despite the manufacturer of the plane.  I discovered years ago that I can't sharpen a pocket-knife at any cost.  I invested in a Lansky sharpening system and it has served me well for over a decade.  I suspect that I'll have to add the cost of a sharpening jig or machine to the initial cost of a handplane.  The Pinnacle jig looks like the woodworking equivalent. 

I'm still torn.  I'll have to go play with my new DTS400 while I try to decide...
TS55, MFT1080, Domino, OF1400, LR32, RO150E, DTS400, Trion, CT33

Offline Fred West

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2007, 12:11 PM »
I have 9 Lie-Nielsen planes and all of their chisels. I swear by them and NEVER at them. The quality is identical to Festool and although their are many cheaper tools out there I would not use them. Thomas Lie-Nielsen and his company also give terrific service if needed. Prejudiced am I but Yoda told me about LN and Festool. ;D Fred
Domino,TS 75, Trion PS 300, RO 150, ETS 150/5, DTS 400, RS 400, LS 130, RS 2, Deltex 93, CT 33 CT 22, CT Midi & 3 MFT 1080s, OF 1400, C 12, RAS 115, MFK 700, MFT/3 :o)

Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2007, 12:20 PM »
So, I'm still of mixed feelings.  It looks like there's a contingent that argues for finding a secondhand Bedrock or old Stanley plane and another that encourages my gratuitous spending on high-end tools..... 

Hey Brandon,
I'll amend my comments.  The important thing for a newbie is to get a first plane that works.  That can be an old plane tuned by someone who knows what they are doing or a new plane that is 90% ready out of the box.  That's just to see what a good plane can do and not get discouraged right away.

You certainly will need to learn how to sharpen, but early success is the key in my opinion.

One more thing while I am on the soap box ::), pick a sharpening method and stick to it (scary sharp, water stones, etc).  When I was first learning, I wasted a lot of time and money trying different methods, when what was needed was practice with any one (and only one) method to build my skill.

Offline Fred West

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2007, 12:42 PM »
Brandon, I would NEVER consider buying a LN plane as gratuitious spending. They are great planes and work right out of the box. Fred

Jesse, after much searching I ended up using the Veritas MK II sharpening system and love it. I tried over and over sharpening by hand but seem to have some kind of mental/physical block on it whereas with the MK II I get great results in no time at all. Fred
Domino,TS 75, Trion PS 300, RO 150, ETS 150/5, DTS 400, RS 400, LS 130, RS 2, Deltex 93, CT 33 CT 22, CT Midi & 3 MFT 1080s, OF 1400, C 12, RAS 115, MFK 700, MFT/3 :o)

Offline richard.selwyn

  • Posts: 631
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2007, 04:07 PM »
My first plane nearly put me off woodworking for good.  It was a very small Stanley block plane.  The casting was very rough and the blade blunt when I took it out of the orange cardboard box new at the age of 10.  My poor father who bought it for me didn't know any better and I knew even less.  30 years later I became hooked on Festools and realised that even I could achive satisfactory results when the tools were doing all the work. 
Now that their superb engineering has enabled me to make advances in my wood butchery, I have rediscovered hand tools.  I still have the old stanley - in a drawer somewhere in the orange box -  but use Veritas planes when I can't use a machine.  The revelation of using a Veritas plane was almost like the first time I cut up a panel with the ATS 55 and a rail - I really could get an accurate result inspite of being left handed!
The Veritas planes are not up to Lie Nielsen quality, but they seem to be well designed and well made and since I bought them in the US and not here in France, they were quite good value.  They have worked reasonably well "out of the box".  Sharpening is another story I'm still reading!
PS - I've seen someone in Scotland making handplanes for $2-3,000 a pop - who said Festool were expensive?

Offline The Woodentop

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  • Buxton, England
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2007, 03:54 AM »
Fred West

You and your fetish! Yours seems to be expensive planes, something you'll need to make up for a lack of ability? The one I best remember was of a namesake in Gloucester, the police dug up the gardens and cellar in Cromwell Street and found all sorts! I would suggest you seek therapy before your problem escalates?

Anyway, I thought this group was for Festool nutters.
Never assume you know....only know you know

Offline Eli

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2007, 03:18 PM »
Fred West

You and your fetish! Yours seems to be expensive planes, something you'll need to make up for a lack of ability? The one I best remember was of a namesake in Gloucester, the police dug up the gardens and cellar in Cromwell Street and found all sorts! I would suggest you seek therapy before your problem escalates?

Anyway, I thought this group was for Festool nutters.

Larry, I'm not sure if you have a great sense of humor that doesn't translate well to print, but you always seem to be right on the verge of insult. 1st, the title of the thread is hand planes, so I think everybody has license in this specific place to focus (fetishize? fetishtoolize?) other than Festool, which we usually concentrate on. 2nd and 3rd, you not only seem to be calling Fred a serial killer, but you're also saying he's talentless and needs therapy? I mean throw a smiley in  there at least! Something like:

Hey I think you're a moron ;D
or
I think you're a serial killer :o ;D
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline The Woodentop

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  • Buxton, England
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2007, 05:34 AM »
Yeah, it was a joke!
Never assume you know....only know you know

Offline Eli

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2007, 07:36 AM »
You mean:

Yeah, it was a joke! ;D

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
This is us playing nice.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2007, 07:37 AM by Eli »
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Tinker

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2007, 08:29 AM »
Thanks, Eli, for your replies to woodentop. You are right on.  Having grown up in the Green Mountain State, You are very familiar with "friendly" sarcasm. 

Woodentop, you could learn a little from what Eli has said. Your "friendly sarcasm" just does not seem to come across that way.
no  ;D ;D ;D faces here
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline The Woodentop

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  • Buxton, England
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2007, 11:40 AM »
Keep your hair on!
Never assume you know....only know you know

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2007, 11:45 AM »
Keep your hair on!

This is kinda funny next to the little picture that appears in you post  ;)

Offline The Woodentop

  • Posts: 238
  • Buxton, England
Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2007, 11:58 AM »
At last, someone with a sense of humour!
Never assume you know....only know you know

Offline Corwin

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2007, 04:51 PM »
Keep your hair on!

This is kinda funny next to the little picture that appears in you post  ;)

Michael, You're all right!    ;D ;D

Got me laughing anyway.   :D

Corwin
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)

Offline Eli

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2007, 05:07 PM »
This guy has some nice stuff usually, for used. Not too expensive:
http://www.sydnassloot.com/tools.htm

And this one seems like a good one in the UK, haven't bought from them. Shop around, some of their stuff seems expensive:
http://www.antiquetools.co.uk/tools.htm

Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Fred West

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2007, 06:46 PM »
Woodentop, thank you for you amazing insights but given your name hear on FOG I am thinking that your insights are in opposite proportion to the thickness of your head. ;D Fred
Domino,TS 75, Trion PS 300, RO 150, ETS 150/5, DTS 400, RS 400, LS 130, RS 2, Deltex 93, CT 33 CT 22, CT Midi & 3 MFT 1080s, OF 1400, C 12, RAS 115, MFK 700, MFT/3 :o)