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Thread: Which plane to get

  1. #1

    Which plane to get

    Hi all,
    I'm trying to decide which plane to get. My two choices are either the veritas LA Jack, or a lie-nielsen rabbet block plane..

    I currently have a cheap, Kobalt (Lowe's brand) block plane, a Stanley no 4, 5 and 7. The 4 and 7 were planes I won at an auction. They aren't in great condition, but work. The 5 is a newer style, plastic handle.. kind of junky sadly. Bought this one before I really knew what I was looking for/doing.

    What do y'all think?

  2. #2
    Ryan,

    If you could describe what type of work you are doing or expect to be doing with your planes, it might help guide the inputs you get.

    Firstly, those are both really nice planes but theyíre very different from each other. How youíll use them may drive you towards one or the other.



    On another note, you can replace the plastic tote and knob with a shop made wooden version. Veritas/Lee Valley has a free plan for making a No.5 tote. Follow that plan, and itís actually quite easy. The Veritas plan has you drill the first hole while the block is still square. Thatís one of the techniques that makes their plan easier.

  3. #3
    Simple, just get both.

    Only you can answer this question really. Which are you most frustrated by? Upgrade that one. Personally my LN block plane is one of the most used planes in my shop. I'd like to get the rabbet version at some point as well.

    Alternatively, if you find the kobalt and no 5 are passable, you might also consider some joinery planes. A shoulder plane and router are very useful and will help you accomplish tasks you cant do with your current collection.

    The LA Jack works decently as a shooter, and having several blades with different bevel angles is nice for difficult grain. All depends on what you want to do though.

  4. #4
    Welcome to the forum, Ryan. I don't think you want to buy either of these tools. They are each a lot of money for something that is just a gimmick. I would recommend a wooden jack plane, or a t least a double iron plane. And instead of a dinky rabbet block plane, get a Stanley 78 or equivalent, something you can really hold with both hands.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Hampshire View Post
    Ryan,

    If you could describe what type of work you are doing or expect to be doing with your planes, it might help guide the inputs you get.

    Firstly, those are both really nice planes but they’re very different from each other. How you’ll use them may drive you towards one or the other.
    Hi Ryan. A belated welcome to the Creek. Glad you've joined us! I agree with Kevin. Please tell us a bit about what kind of work you like/want to do.

    I own both of those planes. The Jack is a nice all-around capability tool. You'll get different opinions on the rabbet block. I like mine and use it for joinery. Others don't see it as all that useful. Some of that depends on what other tools and skills one has, as well as personal preference. I do sometimes use the rabbett block as a "normal" block plane - there are just times it's width and heft make it the right block plane for the job. But for a general-use block plane, I usually reach for my LN102. (Lee Valley makes a couple nice, small blocks too, but I don't own one.)

    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    DuBois, PA
    Posts
    1,632
    I've got many, many handtools (wife of nearly 40 years buys me stuff for holidays that I like, but don't always use). I havea LN low angle jack, used it for a few years, and now it gathers dust. My most used planes? A LN #4, a jointer and lately, either a Bedrock #5 or Bailey #5-1/2. Also, my block planes, my 78, router plane and my Clifton #3.

    Look for what commonly apears at flea markets or yard sales: these are the planes that were mostly used and now available for re-sale.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, NE
    Posts
    123
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    Welcome to the forum, Ryan. I don't think you want to buy either of these tools. They are each a lot of money for something that is just a gimmick. I would recommend a wooden jack plane, or at least a double iron plane. And instead of a dinky rabbet block plane, get a Stanley 78 or equivalent, something you can really hold with both hands.
    I'd tend to agree. These, if not gimmicky, I'd sure call specialty. Save the specialty stuff for much later, down the road.

    An "apron" block plane would be a better pick. This is a low angle plane you can stick in an apron or pocket, ready to use all the time. A large shoulder plane would be a consideration too.

    There's not a plane I'd want a plastic handle on less than the jack. That's a plane you'll get hot and sweaty using and will surely get blisters. What would concern me more is what else is fundamentally wrong with a plane with a plastic handle. I imagine there are exceptions. What brand is it? If it's a Millers Falls "Buck Rogers" era, for example, it's probably fundamentally sound. (Not sure there was such a thing in a No. 5.) How about some photos?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Inkerman, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    351
    You can buy all of the planes in the world, and they will all be on no use to you at all if you don't understand the principles of how and why a plane works. Or you can take a $50. flee market junker plane and make it work like a custom made $5000. exotic dream plane, if you understand planes.

    I suggest you take an old smoother and learn how to set it up and use it, then maybe a small block plane. You may find that you don't need any more. At least you will know which ones you need for doing the work that you do.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    Howdy Ryan and welcome to the Creek. Your location isn't shown in your profile. If you are in the Portland, OR area you are welcome to come give a test drive on my low angle Jack even though it is a Lie Nielsen version.

    My main reason for purchasing the LA Jack was for shooting.

    As others have mentioned it is next to impossible to recommend your next plane. As to your current fleet of planes you mention:

    They aren't in great condition, but work.
    Many of my planes look like they were on the loosing end of a street fight. But they can hold their own up against any other when it comes to the work they can do. If yours are any less than great at their job, this may help:

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?114373

    Many times the problems encountered with a plane can be cured by sharpening the blade.

    Both of the planes you mention are useful planes but are both rather specialized. The LA Jack is often favored by folks who work a lot of gnarly grained wood for the ease of changing blades for a different angle of attack. For me a standard plane seems to do pretty well for my work.

    The swirling grain around knots create some of the most difficult areas to smooth without tearing out hunks of wood. With care, a very sharp blade and a plane set to very light cuts the area can be smoothed:

    Knot Here.jpg

    This is a piece of local fir 3"X8"X7' from a tree my neighbor took down and then milled with a chainsaw.

    You also may live near another member who would be happy to have you visit to test drive their planes and maybe even be able to help you set up the ones you already have to their full potential.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
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    7,431
    Corsair C-5 Jack plane, in pictures..
    Corsair C-5.JPG
    Just a jack plane...
    Corsair C-5 sole.JPG
    Cambered iron peeking out of the wide mouth...even a Hock iron would fit through...sole is flat enough for use as a Jack plane..
    Corsair C-5, cambered iron.JPG
    Cambered iron....NO, I do not shape the chipbreaker to match....works quite well as is...
    Corsair C-5, Cyclops.JPG
    For some reason, I had no trouble with this frog being not square to the opening....

    Hey...for about $8 out the door, made a great cambered jack plane, never intended to be a smoother, was no need to. It can flatten rough lumber, or cupped/bowed lumber quite well.

  11. #11
    Wow, thanks for all the info everyone...

    I'm still young in the wood world.. so I'd like to get into more traditional joinery, which is why I was thinking the rabbet block. Currently, I make things for friends and family, nothing specific. I'm trying to get away from the pocketholes and into classic wood working.

    It won't let me upload any pictures yet sadly.

    Also, I live in the Houston area, north of town.

    All of my current planes are Stanley/Bailey and the block is a Kobalt from Lowe's

  12. #12
    20190412_232556.jpg

    The rusty one in the middle is a mystery plane. I haven't cleaned that one up yet

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    85
    I'm going to suggest an alternative, to wit, the LN 60 1/2 low angle block plane. I have many hand planes, from standard to specialized, but find myself reaching for and using the 60 1/2 on almost every project. The adjustable mouth makes changing the cut very quick and easy. While it excels on end grain, it's very useful on long grain as well, especially when chamfering an edge. While it certainly is important to match your tools to the work you do, you'll find that the 60 1/2 will be a plane that is integral for whatever it is you're doing.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Rosenthal View Post
    I'm going to suggest an alternative, to wit, the LN 60 1/2 low angle block plane. I have many hand planes, from standard to specialized, but find myself reaching for and using the 60 1/2 on almost every project. The adjustable mouth makes changing the cut very quick and easy. While it excels on end grain, it's very useful on long grain as well, especially when chamfering an edge. While it certainly is important to match your tools to the work you do, you'll find that the 60 1/2 will be a plane that is integral for whatever it is you're doing.
    So help me with this.. the rabbet block plane I'm looking at is the LN - 60 1/2, what's the negatives between the rabbit and the standard block? I would think the rabbet is "a little better" since it can be a block and a rabbet plane..?
    Last edited by Ryan Haugle; 04-20-2019 at 1:20 PM.

  15. #15
    The rabbet block is intended for any application where a shoulder plane can be used, in fact you could think of it as a very wide shoulder plane. Itís my go to for tuning up tenons over 2Ē

    The only issue using is like a block plane is you will get plane tracks on wider surfaces. Other than that it can be a dual purpose tool.

    That said, I have both the planes youíve listed.

    Of the two, the rabbet block plane is more useful to me personally.

    I originally bought the la jack with hotdog attachment for use with a shooting board, but alas I find it too lightweight and too hard on my hands even with attachment.

    Aside from those two have you thought about a 4 1/2? I really live my LN 4 1/2 especially for smoothing faces.
    Last edited by Robert Engel; 04-20-2019 at 2:31 PM.

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