Author Topic: Pro or Cons on the Veritas Skew Block Plane vs. normal low angle block plane?  (Read 27512 times)

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Offline Reiska

  • Posts: 1162
  • Hackers build things, Crackers break them.
I've been looking at acquiring a low angle block plane for finishing work and stumbled on the Veritas Skew Block Plane while browsing their website.

After reading their manual for it and with the little knowledge I have about hand planing I thought I'd ask your opinion on this tool.

Am I correct in my assumptions that:
 1. Having a skewed blade in a hand plane = cleaner and easier cutting just like it does on the motorised EHL-plane?
 2. Having the blade run the whole width of the plane open more use cases with rabbet planing capabilities missed in a normal block plane?
 3. Having the fence enables precise depth adjustment of rabbets and a fully manual workflow if wanted
 4. Having the scoring blade for cross grain work enables again a fully manual workflow if wanted

What I'm wondering is could I get a better and more versatile tool with the skew-bladed one than a standard low angle block plane? Or by turning it around will I need to eventually get one anyway in the long run i.e. getting both?

I know it's more expensive but if I don't need two planes to do the same jobs it's cheaper in the long run and possibly a nicer tool to handle I presume?

Is there something (outside of blade setup & sharpening) that a skewed blade block plane is not good at or more cumbersome to use than the standard low angle block plane?

What about the blade options between O1 vs. A2 steel? What is the main difference practically between these two? Would one or the other fit a scary sharp -sharpening 'system'?
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

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Offline woodguy7

  • Posts: 2727
I have many planes & i use the scary sharp system.  I can sharpen A2 blades no problem but i do have a Tormek as well.  Obv the A1 blades are easier to sharpen, just have to do them more often.  I'm interested to try the new blades & chisels that Veritas has.  Kinda the best of both i believe ?

I don't have the Veritas planes you mention but do have them in the Lie Nielson versions.  The skew block plane is great for certain applications, i use mine mainly for cross grain work like flattening tendons etc.  I don't think it would work as your only block plane.  I find when planning long grain i get more tear out on certain woods.  When i go to the normal low angle block plane it works fine.  

If you are on a budget, i bought a Quangshai low angle block plane for on site use.  Don't want to take the Lie Nielsons out the shop.  It is a very good alternative for the price.  Certainly worth a look.  Think i bought mine from Workshop Heaven.  Comes with a spare blade ground at a different angle also.

Woodguy.
If its made of wood, i can make it smaller.
Shirt size medium
p.s- ive started reading these too

Offline Nigel

  • Posts: 641
I have many planes & i use the scary sharp system.  I can sharpen A2 blades no problem but i do have a Tormek as well.  Obv the A1 blades are easier to sharpen, just have to do them more often.  I'm interested to try the new blades & chisels that Veritas has.  Kinda the best of both i believe ?

I don't have the Veritas planes you mention but do have them in the Lie Nielson versions.  The skew block plane is great for certain applications, i use mine mainly for cross grain work like [sup]flattening tendons[/sup] etc.  I don't think it would work as your only block plane.  I find when planning long grain i get more tear out on certain woods.  When i go to the normal low angle block plane it works fine.  

If you are on a budget, i bought a Quangshai low angle block plane for on site use.  Don't want to take the Lie Nielsons out the shop.  It is a very good alternative for the price.  Certainly worth a look.  Think i bought mine from Workshop Heaven.  Comes with a spare blade ground at a different angle also.

Woodguy.

Ouch  [blink]

Offline RL

  • Posts: 3039
I have the Veritas low angle block plane. It was my first hand plane. It it now my least used plane. I prefer the Lie Nielsen low angle block plane, even though it's not got an adjustable mouth, which is unimportant to me in a block plane. If I need a finishing pass on end grain, I reach for the Lie Nielsen. The Veritas plane is really heavy. I don't like this in a block plane. It is also 30% more than the Lie Nielsen (Lie Nielsen also makes an adjustable mouth block plane).  

Lots of people like the skewed block plane but I think it's hard to sharpen so I avoided it. I also find the fence is too short to provide stable registration. If you are planning on cutting rebates in long grain, then a plough plane is much better and the blade is set at a more suitable higher angle. For cross-grain rebates I use a shoulder plane, but this is where the skewed block plane would excel. For me, it's not worth getting this plane for such a specific job. If I didn't already have a shoulder plane I'd probably get the rebate block plane.

All my plane blades are A2 steel. It holds an edge longer than O1 steel but takes slightly longer to sharpen. In a block plane the time difference is irrelevant. Go for A2 (or the new PM steel that Veritas invented, which they claim is the best of both worlds).

If I were you I'd go for this plane instead of the one you are looking at. Forget about the fence.

http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?sku=60_5R



Offline jeep jake

  • Posts: 247
Veritas makes great stuff but I like lie-nielsen. this is the block plane I reach for
http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?grp=1221
it's really small and light and I can get it razor sharp pretty easily, and it holds a edge longer then my vintage stanley's. I'am not a guy who like sharpening planes, and chisels, I would rather dull them.

Offline Reiska

  • Posts: 1162
  • Hackers build things, Crackers break them.
Thanks fellows. I'll have to see if I can find a source for LN gear around here. Veritas has a few importers at least.
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline hrrb

  • Posts: 187
Reiska I wouldn't be surprised at all if it's impossible to buy Lie-Nielsen in Finland...as it is here in Denmark.  [sad]

But you can buy them at Dictum  in Germany. But watch out...you could easily spend an awful lot of money at Dictum's! I have warned you now  [big grin]

If you want to try the Qiangsheng planes you can get them at Rutlands in England. Well...actually you could easily spend an awful lot of money at Rutlands too!  [unsure]

I can recommend both companies.

Kind regards
Henrik

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
I'm still a babe in the woods when it comes to hand planes. I also initially wanted to buy planes that wouldn't bring me to tears if my son dropped them on the concrete!

I've got a couple of Stanley low angle block planes (60 1/2) and I'm pleased with the results based on modest expectation. These are part of a family of Stanley and Record planes of various sizes).

This thread is interesting as I'd like to go to the next level, but I don't have the intimate knowledge of target blade angle and grain orientation specifics, etc. I'd love to know if there's some sort of application chart for planes ... with something like a list of task types and a range of planes identified from ideal to less ideal.

Anyone know of something like this?

Offline RL

  • Posts: 3039
I'm still a babe in the woods when it comes to hand planes. I also initially wanted to buy planes that wouldn't bring me to tears if my son dropped them on the concrete!

I've got a couple of Stanley low angle block planes (60 1/2) and I'm pleased with the results based on modest expectation. These are part of a family of Stanley and Record planes of various sizes).

This thread is interesting as I'd like to go to the next level, but I don't have the intimate knowledge of target blade angle and grain orientation specifics, etc. I'd love to know if there's some sort of application chart for planes ... with something like a list of task types and a range of planes identified from ideal to less ideal.

Anyone know of something like this?

Kev,

That's a really good question, but I doubt you will find an answer to it.

The reason is because there is a lot of overlap between planes, and much depends on user preference and experience or the wood itself. For example, my preferred smoothing plane is a 5 1/2 with a high angle frog, but many people opt for a #4 or #4 1/2. Paul Sellers favours a #4 for practically everything, Alan Peters like a #7!

Generally, the higher the angle of the blade or frog, the less tearout you will get (a scraper being the extreme end of the scale) but the harder it is to push the plane. So for each wood species, you find a balance between angle and resistance. Also, you may choose a lower angle for stock prep, but a higher angle for final smoothing. You wouldn't use a panther blade for a finish cut, but you probably wouldn't rip stock all day with a fine finish blade either.

Then again, end grain prefers a low angle, so there a bunch of planes with low angles for end grain work. A low angle block plane is often people's first purchase.

In my experience, this is the plane I wish I had bought first.

http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?sku=62


Offline j123j

  • Posts: 72
Simply put, I would not buy a skew block plane.

It doesnt excell at pretty much anything. A regular low angle block plane + a shoulder plane (or even a real skew rabbeting plane) would be a waaaay better choise for most applications where you might use skew block plane.

A router + a shoulder plane for final tweaking is a affective combo  :)

I use my low angle block for all kinds of levelling and tweaking where I need a slight camber on the blade, that wouldent work very well, if at all, with a skew block plane.

Offline Reiska

  • Posts: 1162
  • Hackers build things, Crackers break them.
Richard, I can easily understand that you didn't with a $500 price tag on the kit on that plane... Would you get the kit with the toothed blade and all or just the basic version?

And what would you use one for? Flattening stock, aggressive material removal with the toothed blade or something else?

I've got currently only a Stanley Bailey #4 so I'm looking for a hand plane to complement it for finishing type of work (ergo in my limited understanding that would be a low angle block plane of some sorts?) and possibly a longer plane for flattening one side of boards to be able to push them through a lunchbox thickness planer (once I get one) since I don't have a dry space to have a proper planer/thicknesser.

Thanks Henrik for the pointers, I noticed that Axminster carries LN planes too.
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
I'm still a babe in the woods when it comes to hand planes. I also initially wanted to buy planes that wouldn't bring me to tears if my son dropped them on the concrete!

I've got a couple of Stanley low angle block planes (60 1/2) and I'm pleased with the results based on modest expectation. These are part of a family of Stanley and Record planes of various sizes).

This thread is interesting as I'd like to go to the next level, but I don't have the intimate knowledge of target blade angle and grain orientation specifics, etc. I'd love to know if there's some sort of application chart for planes ... with something like a list of task types and a range of planes identified from ideal to less ideal.

Anyone know of something like this?

Kev,

That's a really good question, but I doubt you will find an answer to it.

The reason is because there is a lot of overlap between planes, and much depends on user preference and experience or the wood itself. For example, my preferred smoothing plane is a 5 1/2 with a high angle frog, but many people opt for a #4 or #4 1/2. Paul Sellers favours a #4 for practically everything, Alan Peters like a #7!

Generally, the higher the angle of the blade or frog, the less tearout you will get (a scraper being the extreme end of the scale) but the harder it is to push the plane. So for each wood species, you find a balance between angle and resistance. Also, you may choose a lower angle for stock prep, but a higher angle for final smoothing. You wouldn't use a panther blade for a finish cut, but you probably wouldn't rip stock all day with a fine finish blade either.

Then again, end grain prefers a low angle, so there a bunch of planes with low angles for end grain work. A low angle block plane is often people's first purchase.

In my experience, this is the plane I wish I had bought first.

http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?sku=62



Thanks for those pointers - as I understand it demands an empathy with the grain ... no real short cuts to learning eh?  [wink]


Offline RL

  • Posts: 3039
Richard, I can easily understand that you didn't with a $500 price tag on the kit on that plane... Would you get the kit with the toothed blade and all or just the basic version?

And what would you use one for? Flattening stock, aggressive material removal with the toothed blade or something else?

I've got currently only a Stanley Bailey #4 so I'm looking for a hand plane to complement it for finishing type of work (ergo in my limited understanding that would be a low angle block plane of some sorts?) and possibly a longer plane for flattening one side of boards to be able to push them through a lunchbox thickness planer (once I get one) since I don't have a dry space to have a proper planer/thicknesser.

Thanks Henrik for the pointers, I noticed that Axminster carries LN planes too.

No, I would just buy the plane itself. You may want to look at the low angle rabbet plane as well, they are very similar but the rabbet plane cuts along the full width of the plane.

http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?sku=1-610

There are two types of toothed blades. One is for roughing up a substrate surface prior to veneering if yo are using hide (or scotch) glue. The other is for removing a lot of material in difficult grain. You don't need the blades if you are not doing these two things. Another blade would be nice because you can prepare it with a different angle, but I would get it later if you feel you want it then. To start with I would just get the basic plane.

I use my jack plane for several things.

i) Flattening boards. It's light, fast and easy to sharpen. It's also long enough to get me relatively flat. I then follow it with a #7 jointer to get me fully flat, but by then most of the work has been done.

ii) End grain work. Chamfering edges. Occasional smoothing in something soft like pine.

iii) Straight edges where the wood is not long enough to require a #7.

Some people have lots of planes. I don't think it's necessary or desirable. You still have to sharpen the blades for each when you use them. Apart from the specialty planes, I have a #7, a #5 1/2, a #4, a low angle jack, and two block planes- one of which I rarely use. Those planes do all I need, and if you plan it carefully you can buy planes which share components and expand their capabilities. For example, I have a Lie Nielsen #7 and a Lie Nielsen # 5 1/2. They have interchangeable frogs and blades, so you can buy a high angle frog (50 or 55 degrees) with one plane and a standard 45 degree frog with the other. So two planes can give you six potential permutations.

Kev, David Charlesworth made some excellent DVDs about hand planes. Well worth looking up.


Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2352
Fine Woodworking Magazine just did a comparison test on those block planes.

Offline hrrb

  • Posts: 187
...I noticed that Axminster carries LN planes too.

Ahh...Axminsters yes! I forgot them.

Can anyone chime in on the quality of Axminsters own planes and the Rider planes they sell?
Axminsters No 60½
Rider No 60½

How is the quality compared to Veritas, Qiangsheng or the good old Stanley?

Kind regards
Henrik

Offline jeep jake

  • Posts: 247
I'm still a babe in the woods when it comes to hand planes. I also initially wanted to buy planes that wouldn't bring me to tears if my son dropped them on the concrete!

I've got a couple of Stanley low angle block planes (60 1/2) and I'm pleased with the results based on modest expectation. These are part of a family of Stanley and Record planes of various sizes).

This thread is interesting as I'd like to go to the next level, but I don't have the intimate knowledge of target blade angle and grain orientation specifics, etc. I'd love to know if there's some sort of application chart for planes ... with something like a list of task types and a range of planes identified from ideal to less ideal.

Anyone know of something like this?

I was taught to use a jack plane generally a number 5 or a 5 1/2 for your ruff work, your jointer number 7 or 8 to flatten your work, and the smother which is a 4 1/2 or smaller to finish it. however with smaller pieces you wouldn't need a huge plane to flatten it. Another thing you could do a back bevel to get 50 or 55 degrees.

Offline Reiska

  • Posts: 1162
  • Hackers build things, Crackers break them.
Thanks for all who answered & commented my questions.

Due to the great advice & options above I did procrastinate for the longest of time with indecision between the Lie-Nielsen Rabbet Block Plane, the Lie-Nielsen Low Angle Jack Rabbet and the Veritas Skew Block Plane and the Veritas Bevel Up Jack Rabbet.

I hear the valid points of the complexities related to sharpening a skewed blade, but since I already own the Veritas MkII jig with the skew registration add-on I figured how hard can it be, right  [cool]

In the end it came down to size and utility - I have a #4 Stanley already, but that can't get into corners so I was looking for some sort of rabbeting plane and as much as I'd love to have just one good plane to do-it-all just thinking of shaving tennon faces clean with one of the 15" Jacks doesn't sound very ergonomic or controllable. So finally I ended up pulling the trigger and ordering a right-handed version of the Veritas Skew Block plane with the A2 steel blade and hope it'll excel at getting to corners and cutting small pieces cross grain,  work well enough on end grain applications and, keeping my fingers crossed, if it could also be used successfully for small piece smoothing applications as well.

We'll see how it works out when it arrives - got a half a dozen drawer front rabbets waiting to be cleaned up [wink]

Now I just need to figure which plane to acquire for straightening twists out of boards and getting them ready for thicknessing - I can guess a Jack Plane of some sorts might be in my future to cover rest of the bases [tongue]
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline cliffp

  • Posts: 514
There is a good deal on at Axminster at the moment. You can get a Veritas low angle jack plane for £200 reduced from £280 and you can also get a further 10% discount off your highest priced item using the code HIGH04.
T15+3 set, CXS set, Centrotec set (2011), TS55REBQ, TS75EQ, 1400 rail, 1900 rail, 1400 LR32 rail, LR32 set, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, Guide rail adapter, edging plate, angle arm, chip catcher, small bore base, MFS400, MFS1000 profiles, RO90DX, RO150, ETS150/3, Domino DF500, Domino assortment systainer, CTL Midi, compact cleaning set, CMS GE, TS75 Module, OF Module, VL and VB extensions, LA Stopper, Sliding table, Carvex 420 Li 18 GG, core maker set, EHL65EQ, Syslite.

Offline Reiska

  • Posts: 1162
  • Hackers build things, Crackers break them.
Thanks Cliff, I got mine from Ax and did use the discount - it ran out last night though. [big grin]
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline cliffp

  • Posts: 514
I think it runs out at the end of tonight, in which case you could probably use it again  [smile]
T15+3 set, CXS set, Centrotec set (2011), TS55REBQ, TS75EQ, 1400 rail, 1900 rail, 1400 LR32 rail, LR32 set, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, Guide rail adapter, edging plate, angle arm, chip catcher, small bore base, MFS400, MFS1000 profiles, RO90DX, RO150, ETS150/3, Domino DF500, Domino assortment systainer, CTL Midi, compact cleaning set, CMS GE, TS75 Module, OF Module, VL and VB extensions, LA Stopper, Sliding table, Carvex 420 Li 18 GG, core maker set, EHL65EQ, Syslite.

Offline cliffp

  • Posts: 514
I am interested in getting a low angle jack plane and am torn between the LN LA jack and the LN LA jack rabbet. I note that Richard (RL) recommends the rabbet version. One thing that concerns me about the rabbet version is that it is a bit shorter at 12 3/4 " compared to the 14" of the standard jack.

I already have a LN no 4 and will get a no 7 of some sort but prefer not having to get anything in between (which I'm afraid I might have to do if I get a short jack). The other concern is that shooting with a rabbet plane is difficult I imagine? Presumably I would have to make up and attach a piece of wood to the side of the lane to keep the blade away from the shooting board? I was thinking that I might be better off getting the standard jack and later on, a shoulder plane (I haven't yet got into mortice/tenon joinery, using rabbets or using planes to create raised panels but it does look satisfying so buying a tool with these added features would be nice if the drawbacks are minimal).
T15+3 set, CXS set, Centrotec set (2011), TS55REBQ, TS75EQ, 1400 rail, 1900 rail, 1400 LR32 rail, LR32 set, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, Guide rail adapter, edging plate, angle arm, chip catcher, small bore base, MFS400, MFS1000 profiles, RO90DX, RO150, ETS150/3, Domino DF500, Domino assortment systainer, CTL Midi, compact cleaning set, CMS GE, TS75 Module, OF Module, VL and VB extensions, LA Stopper, Sliding table, Carvex 420 Li 18 GG, core maker set, EHL65EQ, Syslite.

Offline RonWen

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Thanks for all who answered & commented my questions.

Due to the great advice & options above I did procrastinate for the longest of time with indecision between the Lie-Nielsen Rabbet Block Plane, the Lie-Nielsen Low Angle Jack Rabbet and the Veritas Skew Block Plane and the Veritas Bevel Up Jack Rabbet.

I hear the valid points of the complexities related to sharpening a skewed blade, but since I already own the Veritas MkII jig with the skew registration add-on I figured how hard can it be, right  [cool]

In the end it came down to size and utility - I have a #4 Stanley already, but that can't get into corners so I was looking for some sort of rabbeting plane and as much as I'd love to have just one good plane to do-it-all just thinking of shaving tennon faces clean with one of the 15" Jacks doesn't sound very ergonomic or controllable. So finally I ended up pulling the trigger and ordering a right-handed version of the Veritas Skew Block plane with the A2 steel blade and hope it'll excel at getting to corners and cutting small pieces cross grain,  work well enough on end grain applications and, keeping my fingers crossed, if it could also be used successfully for small piece smoothing applications as well.

We'll see how it works out when it arrives - got a half a dozen drawer front rabbets waiting to be cleaned up [wink]

Now I just need to figure which plane to acquire for straightening twists out of boards and getting them ready for thicknessing - I can guess a Jack Plane of some sorts might be in my future to cover rest of the bases [tongue]

I suffer with a mild addiction to planes and sharpening systems (much better now thank you  [blink]).  I have several LV's, LN's, Bridge City, Stanleys, etc.  There is no doubt more information & technique lost from the days when tools didn't have tails than is available today although there are many very good books & DVD's on the subject.
There are still thousands (millions?) of great old Stanley planes available to be given a new life at a modest cost.  Most all of the LV's and LN's are based on the old Stanley models.  With some time and effort invested, you'll find a Stanley jack plane that with perform as well as any new one that will cost many times more.

Somewhere I picked up the idea of putting about a 8" radius on jack plane irons.  It works well and it's pretty amazing how fast a fair amount of stock can be removed when flattening a board.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 12:42 PM by RonWen »

Offline Connollyir

  • Posts: 45
  • Love what you do.
I'm still a babe in the woods when it comes to hand planes. I also initially wanted to buy planes that wouldn't bring me to tears if my son dropped them on the concrete!

I've got a couple of Stanley low angle block planes (60 1/2) and I'm pleased with the results based on modest expectation. These are part of a family of Stanley and Record planes of various sizes).

This thread is interesting as I'd like to go to the next level, but I don't have the intimate knowledge of target blade angle and grain orientation specifics, etc. I'd love to know if there's some sort of application chart for planes ... with something like a list of task types and a range of planes identified from ideal to less ideal.

Anyone know of something like this?

I was taught to use a jack plane generally a number 5 or a 5 1/2 for your ruff work, your jointer number 7 or 8 to flatten your work, and the smother which is a 4 1/2 or smaller to finish it. however with smaller pieces you wouldn't need a huge plane to flatten it. Another thing you could do a back bevel to get 50 or 55 degrees.

I agree with that, except for the comment on back bevels - it is a method some use with good results but for me it makes sharpening more difficult because you cannot fully lap the back of the blade with a back bevel. The "ruler trick" was popularized by David Charlesworth and I used that method for a year or so before going back to a completely flat back on all my irons... I also have a 55 deg. frog for my #4 so I get my higher cutting angle that way.

I worked for years without any power tools, mostly because I did not have room or the finances to purchase them, and I got by just fine with what I would consider a standard assortment for hand work.

My set includes a #4, #5, #7, adj. LA block, std. block, Clifton rebate/chisel/bullnose combo, and a large router plane. I have 2 irons for my #4 and #7, slightly crowned and honed at about 25-30 deg. each, and 3 irons for my #5 - 2 prepped the same way and the third with a 2" radius ground for use as a scrub plane substitute .

The bench planes were all well used by the time I got them, predating WWII, and required a SIGNIFICANT amount of work to rehab and get into service... probably on the order of 10 hours per tool for a complete strip down, rust removal, sole flattening, truing frog seat, replacement horn and tote (required for the #4), and finally lapping and sharpening the iron. Its a nice way to become very familiar with your tools if you have the motivation and time, but in my experience it cost me as much in labor as it would have if I just bought a LN/Veritas/Clifton etc. from the start.

I learned to hone free-hand and I would reccomend any serious woodworker do the same. I  can now hone all my irons in the same time it would have taken me to set up and hone 2 with my honing guide. It takes some practice but with a little patience and dedication you can get results almost as good as with a guide and at a fraction of the time.

-Ian

Offline RL

  • Posts: 3039
I prefer not to use a back bevel, but I do have a back bevel on two of my blades. One was a plane that I bought second-hand and the previous user had honed a back bevel. The other is my #4 and I was having trouble getting a sharp edge so I experimented with a back bevel. Now that I am proficient with sharpening and can get good results without a back bevel, I no longer use them. Eventually, the two blades of mine which have them will be honed past the back bevel area and I will be left with a flat back.

I think it's an excellent idea to experiment with different sharpening techniques and angles until you find the method that suits you. After all, you can always replace the blade if needs be.

Also, I have more than one blade for a couple of my planes sharpened at a different angle so I can use the right blade in the same tool for a particular job, for example instead of having a low angle block plane and a standard angle block plane, I just use the low angle plane with either a 25 degree bevel or the 35 degree bevel blade. Two blades ($35 each) for one one plane ($175).

You wouldn't buy a domino machine for each cutter size, would you?

Offline JayStPeter

  • Posts: 363
I am interested in getting a low angle jack plane and am torn between the LN LA jack and the LN LA jack rabbet. I note that Richard (RL) recommends the rabbet version. One thing that concerns me about the rabbet version is that it is a bit shorter at 12 3/4 " compared to the 14" of the standard jack.

I already have a LN no 4 and will get a no 7 of some sort but prefer not having to get anything in between (which I'm afraid I might have to do if I get a short jack). The other concern is that shooting with a rabbet plane is difficult I imagine? Presumably I would have to make up and attach a piece of wood to the side of the lane to keep the blade away from the shooting board? I was thinking that I might be better off getting the standard jack and later on, a shoulder plane (I haven't yet got into mortice/tenon joinery, using rabbets or using planes to create raised panels but it does look satisfying so buying a tool with these added features would be nice if the drawbacks are minimal).

Everybody, myself included, tends to overcomplicate which planes to get.  I've bought and sold a bunch of planes only to wind up liking a pretty standard set best.  I was hung up on low angle and being able to exchange different angle blades etc.   I'd say get a standard #5.  If you need the angle swapping capability, you'd probably be better off with it in a smoother.

The bench planes were all well used by the time I got them, predating WWII, and required a SIGNIFICANT amount of work to rehab and get into service... probably on the order of 10 hours per tool for a complete strip down, rust removal, sole flattening, truing frog seat, replacement horn and tote (required for the #4), and finally lapping and sharpening the iron. Its a nice way to become very familiar with your tools if you have the motivation and time, but in my experience it cost me as much in labor as it would have if I just bought a LN/Veritas/Clifton etc. from the start.
-Ian

Agree with that.  Depends on wether you enjoy the rehab process or not.  Rehab is not cost effective if you're "on the clock".  I also have a tendency to upgrade the older planes with new blades and chipbreakers, which makes it even less cost effective.
Jay St. Peter