PDA

View Full Version : First smoothing plane?



Martin Shupe
09-13-2003, 1:44 PM
I feel myself be sucked in by the quiet side...

I am considering buying a smoothing plane. I want to use it instead of sandpaper. I will be using it mostly on cherry, but will also need it for curly cherry and curly maple. I don't see myself using "exotic" woods, but primarily cherry and maple for the forseeable future.

What brand and size of smoothing planes do you own?

How do you like them?

Would you buy them again?

What would you recommend for a beginner?

Thanks in advance,

Jim DeLaney
09-13-2003, 3:00 PM
I am considering buying a smoothing plane. I want to use it instead of sandpaper. What brand and size of smoothing planes ... would you recommend for a beginner?


Martin,
An older (WWII or earlier) Stanley #4 or 4, or a Bedrock 604 or 604 would be good. (Keen Kutter, Millers Falls and Sargent also made similar versions)

If you want to start new, then the Lie Neilson #4 or 4, or for a bit less money, the Lee Valley Veritas #4.

Martin Shupe
09-13-2003, 7:23 PM
Martin,
An older (WWII or earlier) Stanley #4 or 4, or a Bedrock 604 or 604 would be good. (Keen Kutter, Millers Falls and Sargent also made similar versions)

If you want to start new, then the Lie Neilson #4 or 4, or for a bit less money, the Lee Valley Veritas #4.

Thanks Jim,

I am leaning towards L-N, but I wanted to hear opinions before I made a final decision. I also didn't know what size to get.

I don't think I have time or skill at this point to refurbish an older plane, but maybe someday.

Of course, if I buy one plane, I will buy more down the road, and those L-N's don't come cheap. But then, you get what you pay for.

Ace Karner
09-13-2003, 9:14 PM
I have the Lee Valley 4 1/2 and it is a work of art, came tuned right out of the box, and costs less than LN.

Lloyd Robins
09-13-2003, 9:48 PM
What about a wooden coffin smooth plane. I just received one from Knight Toolworks. It feels wonderful. It had a long ribbon of wood already to show that it is well tuned. Just a thought.

Bobby Hatfield
09-13-2003, 10:20 PM
I feel myself be sucked in by the quiet side...

I am considering buying a smoothing plane. I want to use it instead of sandpaper. I will be using it mostly on cherry, but will also need it for curly cherry and curly maple. I don't see myself using "exotic" woods, but primarily cherry and maple for the forseeable future.

What brand and size of smoothing planes do you own?

How do you like them?

Would you buy them again?

What would you recommend for a beginner?

Thanks in advance,

Here's the one I want. Its a little pricy but believe it will do the job. Pictures shown of C John doing one of the jobs for which it was made. www.cjohnhebert.com/woodenplane.htm

Roger Turnbough
09-14-2003, 9:16 AM
In my best Homer Simpson "Ahhhhhh smoothing planes" :P

Seriously, what kind of work are you doing? Are you making all big projects like your gorgeous blanket chest or do you tend to do small projects like jewlry boxes.

Ive got pretty much the whole range of Stanley bench planes. And i guess my most used plane is probably a 4 1/2. Followed by a really spiffy #3. But then again, I've got a pair of 6's that see double duty as smoothers and fore planes.

LN planes are great tools. Pricey though. LV planes are great tools also if you can get around the fact that they dont quite look like what a bench plane used to look like. Old stanley planes require some work to get them to perform properly, but "most" probably would be useable in a couple of hours of tuning and sharpening.

Try this link to see about tuning an older plane

http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/plane_tune.shtml

Ok, lets talk price now.

LN 4 1/2 $300
LV 4 1/2 $179
Older Stanley $50-125
Knight Wooden Smoother Around $125
Clark and Williams Coffin Smoother $265

Wooden bodied planes are a whole nuther breed of cat. These definately have a learning curve to them. Personally, they are a little to fussy for me. Nice pieces though and well made.

Personally, I seek out old Stanley pieces, spend a few hours to tune them up and put them to use. Most you can pick up for between 10 and 100 bux. Ive spent less on the whole series of bench planes that I have, than what 2 LN planes cost. With the savings this makes,

(1) I procure more planes
(2) Buy more project lumber
(3) or End up taking the LOML out for dinner when that third box of planes hits the doorstep from the UPS guy.

In the end i guess its all mind over matter. If'n you dont mind, It dont matter. Buy something, tune it to the best of your ability and put it to work making shavings.

Holler at me if you want to talk more on this.

Roger

scott pollack
09-14-2003, 10:50 AM
hi all. im sure some may luagh at me but being on a family budget i cant afford the pricey l-n or lv planes. i did pick up a buck bros smoothing and jack planes and tuned and sharpened , they work pretty good for me. ive never had the chance to use the better ones yet and hope to soon. but for now, as long as i keep em sharp , they are reliable and servicable. i do almost everything by hand except ripping to lenghth or crossing to width so i depend on these alot. they havent let me down yet. its just my 2 cents for what it may be worth. i would start with a 4 or 4 1/2 and then keep going. ive already learned that you can never have enough planes!

scotty

Tom Scott
09-14-2003, 2:20 PM
My personal preference for a smoothing plane is the 4 1/2. I like the extra weight and width you get from these. They are also better if you are working on large pieces. If you intend to do small boxes and such, you'll probably end up with a smaller #3.
I have the L-N 4 1/2 with a high angle frog, which also works great for figured woods (like that curly cherry of yours). I have also used the L-V 4 1/2 my week at Homestead Heritage. It is a great plane, but I didn't care for the Norris style adjuster (personal preference).
I looked a long time for an old 4 1/2 or 604 1/2, but the prices always seemed too high when I was looking.

Martin Shupe
09-14-2003, 2:58 PM
Roger,

I think I may try to refurbish some old planes eventually, but I think I will start with one already pre-tuned, since I don't know what I am doing. I'll keep you in mind, though, for someday when I buy a "fixer upper". I guess I should get Hack's book and read up before I get in too deep.

Bobby,

The wooden coffin planes look beautiful, but I am not sure how easy it is to set the blade depth, so although I would like one someday, I am leaning towards metal for my first, maybe coffin for my second or third, after I get the hang of it.

Scott,

I do need to learn how to tune a plane. My dad had an old craftsmen, but it was coated with a quarter inch of rust, so I threw it in the trash. I really don't think it could have been saved, or was worth the time or effort.

Tom,

Please tell me more about Homestead Heritage... I don't live too far from Waco. I would like to hear your overall impressions of the school, and whether you liked it enough to recommend it.

Mostly I am planning on building furniture, as opposed to small boxes, so a 4 and a half seems like the place to start.

Thanks for all the feedback...I'll post again when I finally make a decision.

Tom Scott
09-14-2003, 3:16 PM
Martin,
I took the 6-day course at Homestead Homestead Heritage (http://homesteadheritage.com/woodworking) which combines all of their entry level classes into one (I figured I had a lot of learning to do). It was great. Paul, who frequently has articles in Woodworking magazine, and Stan are excellent instructors. The biginning courses are exactly like they imply...they are teaching you the basics of joinery with hand tools. You start out with sharpening of chisels and planes, and then you move into the actual joinery. Before each new skill, there is some discussion and demonstration of layout, marking, and technique. Then they send you off to practice on your own while they roam around to check up on you.
In my course we learned dovetails, dadoes, and mortice & tenon joinery, plus the associated skills of sawing, planing, scraping, etc. We also made a few little projects that highlighted each skill...a dovetailed box, a shelf unit using M&T's and dadoes, and a little side table out of walnut.
I would highly recommend it if this interests you. Another Creeker, Perry Schmidt, just went down there. Maybe he can chime in as well.

Tom