View Full Version : Low Angle Block Plane

Tom Plesha
05-06-2003, 2:13 PM
I am in the market for a low angle block plane. I have found new Stanley and Record models in the $40 - $50 range and Veritas in the $90 - $100 range.

I have heard nothing good about the new Stanley or Record planes, and the Veritas is out of my price range.

The local (southeastern Arizona) old tool stores, swap meets, and yard sales have yielded nothing. I am not interested in the ebay route since I am a "touche/feely" buyer. I like to put my hands on it when I am going to spend my hard earned money on something used.

My question is, do I have any other choices for a good quality low angle block plane? TIA for your input.

P.S. I was able to pick up a nice Stanley # 4 1/2, type 15 and a beautiful Miller Falls # 9C, type 2 at a local old tool store.

Marc Hills
05-06-2003, 3:32 PM

I don’t think there are too many options for an inexpensive new LA block plane besides the Stanley or Record. It always boils down to making do with one of those two, or coming up with the extra coin for a Lie-Nelson or Veritas.

If you need a LA block plane now, I say buy the Stanley or Record, be prepared to do some tuning, and get working. Either of those planes will give you functionality. If you ever get to the point where you feel like you are missing something in performance compared to a Veritas, you can always upgrade to a better blade.

PS. Highland Hardware is selling the Stanley LA block for $29.95. Here’s the link:

Dan Clermont in Burnaby
05-06-2003, 11:02 PM
By the time you upgrade the blade to something decent you would have been better off buying the Veritas or Lie Nielsen. Lets not even get into the fact you are gonna have to flatten the sole and tune it which adds up to time and money.

Buying a used plane off EBay may be scary if the seller knows nothing about Old Tools or try somebody like Patrick Leach and see if he has any U-Clean Block Planes. You may not get your hands on it before buying it but at least you will know it will be functional and right.

Good Luck,
Dan Clermont in Burnaby

Doug Ball
05-06-2003, 11:38 PM

The Veritas is $89.00 and a beautiful tool that works well right out of the box. If saving up for it and delaying your purchase for a while is an option, I think you'd enjoy this plane for the duration.


Jim Becker
05-07-2003, 10:29 AM
Originally posted by Doug Ball
The Veritas is $89.00 and a beautiful tool that works well right out of the box. If saving up for it and delaying your purchase for a while is an option, I think you'd enjoy this plane for the duration.

I agree totally. I often tell folks that the most expensive tool is the one you need to replace prematurely because it is not adequate, appropriate or cheaply made.

While I'll plug the Lie Nielson low-angle plane that I own and love (I actually look for opportunities to use it and I'm a power-tool kind of guy), the Veritas is a great product that is multiple times the quality of the current crop of Stanley and Record planes. Save for an extra month or three if you need to get a good tool that will last you a lifetime. Handplanes are one of those things that need to feel right and work right in order for you to appreciate them.

Tom Scott
05-07-2003, 10:40 AM
Sorry Tom, but I have to agree with the others on this one. Stick your loose change in a jar for as long as you need to get the Veritas or L-N. Before I knew much about planes, I got the Record LA block plane. Fettled, sharpened, tuned for way too long and made due for several years. Recently received the L-N ($95) LA block plane as a gift. Night and day difference. While the L-N is always on my bench, the Record never sees the light of day any more (come to think of it, maybe I could sell it on E-Bay).
Save for the better plane and you won't regret it.

Dave Anderson NH
05-07-2003, 10:56 AM
That's because I agree with everyone about waiting a bit and saving. If you've never owned a new top quality plane like the LV or the L-N, you are in for a treat. Additionally, you can use the new one as a model for how a plane should work and how you should adjust and set up all your others. The LV or the LN should only need a slight flattening of the back of the iron ( a one time chore) and a final honing of the blade.

Paul Barnard
05-07-2003, 6:07 PM
I've had a Stanley for a few years now. Right from the box it was useless. The main issues were that the sole and bed were out of alignment. That required quite a bit of lapping to fix. The blade is adequate but doesn't hold a good edge. Continues end grain shavings required a very low bevel angle and a consequent fragile of the edge. An essential upgrade is a replacement iron. I fitted a Hock and it made a quantum difference. With the Hock iron the tool is acceptable in most situations. There are occasions where it suffered from a little chatter due to the very small bed and short cap. I did fix this by extending the bed with epoxy. In it's final modification state it performs as well as my newest L-N low angle toy.
The ‘but’ is a big one though. The cost of the Stanley plus the essential iron upgrade puts it up there cost wise with the LV and the LV will easily out perform it at that level of tune. The bigger bed is a free'ish upgrade but a hassle none the less. If you absolutely can't wait then Stanley will get you started. Sounds like your situation is similar to mine and I couldn't run to the LV so went the Stanley 'kit' route. I learnt a lot with the plane so have no regrets at all. Now I have the L-N I can feel the difference in the way the tool handles, and it's a big difference, but the results are comparable. I still use the Stanley for all the jobs where i think my very pretty L-N will get scratched or damaged.