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Moses Yoder
08-06-2014, 7:49 PM
A question was asked yesterday that led to this post. I volunteered to send a plane for a little less than I paid plus cost of shipping to someone that was just starting out (the plane cost me $3). The caveat is not spending a bunch of money. I have a type 14 #5 with I think rosewood handles, a nickle lever cap, sweetheart iron, lightly rusted. If I had the time I would most certainly put it through an electrolysis bath. I suggested he clean up and tune this plane and get 2 more irons for it. One would be a strong camber, the second a mild camber, and the third would be straight. I would recommend starting with cheap Stanley irons to learn sharpening and planing. Thus you could make do with one plane to start out.

Below is the plane I offered to send him. It is missing the front screw for the tote right now but I am sure I have one. How would you feel about the one plane plan, and tackling this plane as a beginner? Are there any options for the same price that would be better? Where would you buy starter irons?

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Judson Green
08-06-2014, 7:57 PM
I've bought and use ones that were in worse shape, going from the pictures. Its a very fair price for a 5 especially with the coveted sweetheart iron. When first starting out the missing screw might have made me pass on it, but not now that I've got a few parts planes.

Edit: With a scotch bight pad, bar keepers friend, a little oil, a little wax and an hour it would look just fine. Is the totes horn broke? That would take some skill (that he may or may not have yet) and more time, if its not badly broke I'd use anyway.

Mel Miller
08-06-2014, 8:13 PM
Those handle toe screws seem to be frequently missing. A simple work around is to use a frog screw, which is easier to find, and has the same thread.

don wilwol
08-07-2014, 7:17 AM
I hate taking the time to change the blade, reset the frog and adjust for the cut. #5s can typically be found reasonable. When you can find the whole plane for $3, why would you go through the hassle?

David M Anderson
08-07-2014, 9:57 AM
Moses I agree with you 100%, what better way for a beginner, than to restore or clean up his plane.
It will teach him about planes, and what better way to start to learn how to sharpen a iron, is on a lower cost acquisition.
Front tote screws can be found on-line, sure they are inflated price wise, but still money ahead even if he paid 20 dollars for the plane.
I seriously doubt this would be (he or she), last plane purchase after a successful rehab.
I can see, "slippery slopes" ahead for this individual. ;)

don wilwol
08-07-2014, 10:13 AM
I can see, "slippery slopes" ahead for this individual. ;)

As much fun as a water slide in a amusement park!!

Daniel Rode
08-07-2014, 10:39 AM
It's a little bit like giving a new driver a car to repair as a way to learn to drive. Learning to repair a plane is not the same as learning to use a plane. Don't get me wrong, I do think it's beneficial to learn how a plane works and fixing up a vintage plane is a great way to get started without spending much money. I've learned a lot that way recently but at first it was a wreck.

When I bought my first plane, I knew nothing about using planes, tuning planes or metalwork in general. I also did not know anyone who did. Turns out I bought a recent (new) Stanley #4. These planes are awful quality and require a ton of work to get them to do anything that resembles shaving wood. I didn't know how to fix it. Heck, I didn't even know how to sharpen the iron. I bought a block plane and had slightly better results but it never became a useful tool to me.

The result was that I gave up on hand tools for several years. I assumed they were finicky beasts that required unobtainable knowledge and skill to use and had the precision of an axe.

If you grew up around hand tools or metalworking, rehabbing and using a plane may seem simple and obvious. To some of the new folks, it may be a complete mystery and, like me, will need some remedial lessons.

David Weaver
08-07-2014, 10:45 AM
Have him buy one of the irons from LV - one of the ones that are already flat on the back, and he can buy another iron either from home depot (the $3 buck irons are usable and easy to flatten).

The first plane I ever bought was a plastic handled 5. I'd be FAR ahead to have gotten something like that instead. The second plane I ever bought, IIRC, was a Lie Nielsen 60 1/2, and then a Lie Nielsen #6 after that.

I like to send planes to beginners assembled and ready to use, but I've never had a $3 plane to send to someone. I no longer buy planes when I'm out, I just don't have much interest, but I think a decent service by every experienced user would be to buy a #4 or #5, clean it up and get it sharp and use it for a little bit to check it out, and then provide it to a beginner for the cost of shipping on the condition that they cannot do anything with it other than use it or give it free to someone else.

It takes me less than an hour to get a plane like that in shape with the bottom lapped, the wood cleaned up, and the iron flattened and sharpened - and I'm sure it takes the beginner longer to do it and they would clean or sand or try to lap a bunch of parts of the plane that don't need any of that to work well.

don wilwol
08-07-2014, 10:56 AM
It's a little bit like giving a new driver a car to repair as a way to learn to drive. Learning to repair a plane is not the same as learning to use a plane. Don't get me wrong, I do think it's beneficial to learn how a plane works and fixing up a vintage plane is a great way to get started without spending much money. I've learned a lot that way recently but at first it was a wreck.

When I bought my first plane, I knew nothing about using planes, tuning planes or metalwork in general. I also did not know anyone who did. Turns out I bought a recent (new) Stanley #4. These planes are awful quality and require a ton of work to get them to do anything that resembles shaving wood. I didn't know how to fix it. Heck, I didn't even know how to sharpen the iron. I bought a block plane and had slightly better results but it never became a useful tool to me.

The result was that I gave up on hand tools for several years. I assumed they were finicky beasts that required unobtainable knowledge and skill to use and had the precision of an axe.

If you grew up around hand tools or metalworking, rehabbing and using a plane may seem simple and obvious. To some of the new folks, it may be a complete mystery and, like me, will need some remedial lessons.

While I agree being a mechanic may not make you a better driver, it will make you a better car person. I think the theory (or at least in my mind) is learning to tune and restore a plane will make you a better plane person. If you get tear out, you know to look at the chip breaker setting, the mouth opening or the sharpness depending on the situation, and the plane in hand.

Couldn't you're situation been the same had you bought a new LN, got a really bad grain, dulled the plane, couldn't make it work because you didn't know how to sharpen or set it for the grain? The more you learn about any subject is going to make you closer to an expert on that subject. Not being able to make it work the first few times and giving up can happen in any situation.

Maybe in the several years between buying the first plane, you learned about wood, wood direction and how to cut it, and that contributed to your eventual success just as much as the plane itself.

Just a thought!

Daniel Rode
08-07-2014, 11:11 AM
Couldn't you're situation been the same had you bought a new LN, got a really bad grain, dulled the plane, couldn't make it work because you didn't know how to sharpen or set it for the grain? The more you learn about any subject is going to make you closer to an expert on that subject. Not being able to make it work the first few times and giving up can happen in any situation.


A LN or Veritas comes out of the box generally ready to use, They are made to tight tolerances and pass thorough QA. While I might have struggled with one of these as well but odds are I would have had more success. All I would have had to do is learn to sharpen the iron and learn to slice wood. That's a lot less to take on.

Jim Koepke
08-07-2014, 12:26 PM
It's a little bit like giving a new driver a car to repair as a way to learn to drive.

That is a 'right of passage' I have seen many a youngster go through.

My education in woodworking was minimal when I took up the hobby. I kept with it and learned a lot about fixing up old planes and other tools. I am sure there is even more for me to learn.


Below is the plane I offered to send him. It is missing the front screw for the tote right now but I am sure I have one. How would you feel about the one plane plan, and tackling this plane as a beginner? Are there any options for the same price that would be better? Where would you buy starter irons?

As Mel pointed out a frog screw is a good substitute for the toe screw. One of my planes still has one with the head filed round to look more like an original.

If the new owner wants inexpensive blades for different planing jobs my suggestion would be to stick with the blades from Home Depot. Not a lot of outlay to get started.

Hopefully the person who is just starting out has someone they can ask questions if they get stuck. Or maybe you can encourage them to join us here.

jtk

Andrew Pitonyak
08-07-2014, 1:39 PM
And that is why my first hand plane was a LN. It was simply too overwhelming to even consider all of the things that I needed to figure out how to do before I could even consider starting to use the plane. It might help in that he has already found a community that will answer each question along the way, however.

David M Anderson
08-08-2014, 7:35 AM
And that is why my first hand plane was a LN. It was simply too overwhelming to even consider all of the things that I needed to figure out how to do before I could even consider starting to use the plane. It might help in that he has already found a community that will answer each question along the way, however.

I agree a new LN or LV is nice, you still have to take it apart clean the shipping oil off and depending on your infatuation for sharpness lap the new blade even further.
Also with "new LN or LV" your hand are the first to touch it outside the factory, the only thing it helped make is what you use it on, yep use it pretty much "right out of the box".

An older quality plane on the other hand, depends on what side of the corral you stand on. Not worth you time to fiddle with, or hours of extreme pleasure to put it back to working order. I also can imagine, who used it before me.

Take the new plane in hand and ponder "what can I build"?
With the vintage, I can ponder the same and wonder what did it help build..?

Just a thought

Prashun Patel
08-08-2014, 8:12 AM
I strongly agree with andrew. Its hard to learn how to sharpen, let alone adjust and use a plane properly. Walk before you run.

If you decide you want the romance, do it on your next plane. Trust me, planes are like potato chips.

don wilwol
08-08-2014, 8:28 AM
It really depends on the person. I love cleaning and tuning. I have since the first one several years ago. If you enjoy bringing things back to life, then do it. If you'd rather go straight to wood working, look to LN or the like.

Jim Koepke
08-08-2014, 2:21 PM
I strongly agree with andrew. Its hard to learn how to sharpen, let alone adjust and use a plane properly. Walk before you run.

If you decide you want the romance, do it on your next plane. Trust me, planes are like potato chips.

There are many different levels of motivation and abilities among people who want to do some woodworking.

Most of my experience about wood came from my folks having a furniture and appliance store. Most of my knowledge consisted of how to unpack and assemble factory furniture. There was a little knowledge of different types of joinery.

My education was fairly eclectic. There was my main studies in college consisting of electronics and graphic arts. Some of my life was spent working on mechanical things.

This was before SMC and other resources were available. My first plane purchase was a wooden plough plane, $10, sold as a decorative item in an import chain store. After that a friend gave me a couple of planes. It was quite awhile before I actually had some good stones to put a good edge on the blades.

Taking things apart and putting back together was one of my favorite ways to pass the time for as long as I can remember. Trying to figure out how things work has always been one of my passions.

For someone like myself buying an old piece of junk and making it work like new is a part of life.

Surely others have taken different paths encountering other experiences. Some folks will be entirely outside of their element trying to buy a plane and clean it up. It surprises me, but there are actually households that do not have a set of tools or even a screwdriver.

It is always easy to spend other people's money, in my case if my first plane 'had to be an LN or LV' there would likely not have been any planes in my shop.

My suggestion is if a person wants to know 'the feel' what a properly set up plane can do they should attend a tool event, see if a local woodworking store has items to test drive or try and find someone close to home who will let them test drive a working tool. Otherwise one can seek help on one of the forums like we have here at SMC.

Some seem born to fuss and fettle.

It all depends on the person and what they feel they can accomplish. Some will have problems figuring it all out from the start. For them maybe it is better to buy a plane set to go out of the box.

Some are more adventurous and will not be deterred by having to clean off a bit of rust and figuring out how things work.

jtk

Shawn Pixley
08-08-2014, 2:45 PM
Like David, I would advocate for the first plane to be ready to go. That way they have a reference point of how a plane should work. From there, they should be able to rehabilitate other planes.

A Bailey pattern #5 is an excellent place to start.

Jim Koepke
08-08-2014, 3:04 PM
Just saw this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tedtalks/david-kwong-ted-puzzle_b_5662349.html

David Kwong says all humans are wired to solve.

jtk

Shawn Pixley
08-08-2014, 3:10 PM
Most of my experience about wood came from my folks having a furniture and appliance store. Most of my knowledge consisted of how to unpack and assemble factory furniture. There was a little knowledge of different types of
Taking things apart and putting back together was one of my favorite ways to pass the time for as long as I can remember. Trying to figure out how things work has always been one of my passions.

My suggestion is if a person wants to know 'the feel' what a properly set up plane can do they should attend a tool event, see if a local woodworking store has items to test drive or try and find someone close to home who will let them test drive a working tool. Otherwise one can seek help on one of the forums like we have here at SMC.

Some seem born to fuss and fettle.

jtk

I see that. Seeingly there are people more interested in tuning the tools rather than making things. There is nothing wrong with that. However, these days I don't even look for old planes to rehabilitate. I have enough where I can make what I want to make. I've tuned and rehabilitated enough planes and want to focus on making my projects. I know this seems like sacrilige to say, "you don't need more tools."

On the other hand I have two planes that I have been given that should not see the light of day. There is a MF jack with plastic tote that is no more than a plane shaped object. No amount of effort will help this plane. The other is a '70's Craftsman also with a plastic tote. After tuning, and getting a Hock blade for it, it makes a barely (adequate may not be the right term but it will cut wood) adequate jack - in no way equivelent to a Bailey. I won't even give these away because no amount of work will make them right. I won't subject others to the aggrevation. Moses' gift seems incredibly generous. A nice plane that can be made to work.

Like you, my brother and I grew up taking things apart and putting them back together. We were constantly working to keep the family car running, the washer working, etc. We worked along side my grandfather and father. I have absolutely no interest in car repair anymore. My brother still does. He is also restoring a lot of old 'arn metal working and woodworking equipment (Clausing, Walker Turner, etc...). He uses them afterwards. I repair, improve my house, and build furniture. I don't pick up things just to restore them. To each, their own.

Jim Koepke
08-08-2014, 3:34 PM
Seeingly there are people more interested in tuning the tools rather than making things. There is nothing wrong with that. However, these days I don't even look for old planes to rehabilitate.

These days I don't spend much time looking for old tools either. Though if one comes into view it is hard not to at least pick it up and look. Just a couple of days ago we visited the Restore's new location locally. There was an old Stanley 8" swing brace that had to come home for $6.50.


I have absolutely no interest in car repair anymore.

I was hoping to get away from this myself. The experience of having other people work on my vehicles was a disappointment. So now I am back to doing my own oil changes and other minor repairs I would rather not do, but no one has shown a lot of competence to get me to pay them to do for the job for me.

jtk

Daniel Rode
08-08-2014, 3:44 PM
My woodworking hand tools are mostly vintage and all have required some rehab but I've tried to buy tools that did not require too much work. New tools are either expensive or poor quality and I'm both cheap and exacting. I rehab tools because I want a good quality tools but I do not want to pay the price of new premium tools. It's not a hobby for me. I enjoy the result but I'm ambivalent toward the process of rehabbing tools. Whereas with woodworking, I enjoy the process and the result is secondary. Unsurprisingly, the more tools I rehab, the more I enjoy the process.

I've often bough vintage tools that only required minimal effort to get them in working shape. My woodworking time is limited so it's worth it to me to trade a little more cash for a little more time woodworking.

I think this forum is a great equalizer. When I bought my first hand plane, I'd never heard of SMC or the Neanderthal forum. I'm sure I would have had much more success if I could have explained what I was trying to do and asked some questions. That's essentially all I've done this time and I'm making strides every week.

Joe Tilson
08-08-2014, 3:50 PM
I have really enjoyed refurbishing planes and saws, but as of yet to make anything with them because I just can't get it right. I would really be nice if someone could help with this, and I mean someone with good skills in this area of wood working. While having the desire to learn, I just can't come up to speed and am getting tired of trying. I have read books on fettling and sharpening which gets one started, but to do a really nice job, it takes a teacher. I'm afraid I have already taken to many bad habits.

Jim Koepke
08-08-2014, 3:56 PM
I have really enjoyed refurbishing planes and saws, but as of yet to make anything with them because I just can't get it right. I would really be nice if someone could help with this, and I mean someone with good skills in this area of wood working. While having the desire to learn, I just can't come up to speed and am getting tired of trying. I have read books on fettling and sharpening which gets one started, but to do a really nice job, it takes a teacher. I'm afraid I have already taken to many bad habits.

Joe,

It might help if you started a new thread or two. You could take some pictures of the tool in question and explain the steps you have taken and the problem(s) you are having.

Someone here may be able to help. There may also be someone near to you who would be willing to mentor you in getting started.

jtk

Judson Green
08-08-2014, 4:40 PM
born to fuss and fettle.


jtk


Love it!!!!!

Shawn Pixley
08-08-2014, 5:12 PM
These days I don't spend much time looking for old tools either. Though if one comes into view it is hard not to at least pick it up and look. Just a couple of days ago we visited the Restore's new location locally. There was an old Stanley 8" swing brace that had to come home for $6.50.



I was hoping to get away from this myself. The experience of having other people work on my vehicles was a disappointment. So now I am back to doing my own oil changes and other minor repairs I would rather not do, but no one has shown a lot of competence to get me to pay them to do for the job for me.

jtk

I don't even pick them up anymore. Unless it is a tool I need, I don't even look.

For the cars, anymore the only thing I have had to have done is the oil change, tires, and windshield wipers in the last 17 years. I am not equipped for tires and the dealer was cheaper than Tire Rack (go figure). Typically, we keep cars until they get 120K to 150K miles on them. Most of the maintenance is included anymore when you buy the car.

Now when I had my boat, I did everything on it myself. Of course it was finest of 1970's technology (350 Chevy small block [carburetor, distributor, coil and points] and Penta outdrive) and boat mechanics are really expensive yet unreliable.

Daniel Rode
08-08-2014, 5:20 PM
I work on my motorcycle but not my autos. I have auto mechanics that I trust and are reasonable. MC mechanics here are expensive and arrogant but not very good.

I don't even pick them up anymore. Unless it is a tool I need, I don't even look.

For the cars, anymore the only thing I have had to have done is the oil change, tires, and windshield wipers in the last 17 years. I am not equipped for tires and the dealer was cheaper than Tire Rack (go figure). Typically, we keep cars until they get 120K to 150K miles on them. Most of the maintenance is included anymore when you buy the car.

Now when I had my boat, I did everything on it myself. Of course it was finest of 1970's technology (350 Chevy small block [carburetor, distributor, coil and points] and Penta outdrive) and boat mechanics are really expensive yet unreliable.