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Thread: First Wooden Bodied Plane

  1. #1

    First Wooden Bodied Plane

    I'm thinking about trying out a new single iron wooden bodied plane from Old Street Tool just for fun and enjoyment. I have plenty of metal bodied planes so I don't need to fill a gap for any specific purpose. I was thinking a smoother would be a good choice because they are friendlier to my budget, but if I work in figured walnut, is this a smart idea? With no chip breaker, wouldn't this design be more prone to tear out?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    May I recommend ordering Steve Voigt's excellent smoother? It's beautifully made, works right out of the box and will be delivered before Old Street could begin.

    I have one and it gets me out of plenty of jams, including the figured Walnut I love.

    http://www.voigtplanes.com/

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM Martin View Post
    I'm thinking about trying out a new single iron wooden bodied plane from Old Street Tool just for fun and enjoyment. I have plenty of metal bodied planes so I don't need to fill a gap for any specific purpose. I was thinking a smoother would be a good choice because they are friendlier to my budget, but if I work in figured walnut, is this a smart idea? With no chip breaker, wouldn't this design be more prone to tear out?
    John,

    I have and use both metal and wood stock planes. While a good wood stock smoother is nice to use it would not be the first plane I would buy. Where the wood stock planes excel over metal planes is in the rougher work. The first two woodies I would buy would be a wood stock Jack and next would be a wood stock Scrub. . The reasons for those two is neither needs a cap iron and Woodies are lighter and the wood on wood interface has less friction vs. metal on wood. For mostly the same reasons the third plane would be a jointer.

    ken

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    May I recommend ordering Steve Voigt's excellent smoother? It's beautifully made, works right out of the box and will be delivered before Old Street could begin.

    I have one and it gets me out of plenty of jams, including the figured Walnut I love.

    http://www.voigtplanes.com/
    I agree with Jim, plus it has a cap iron.

    ken

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Howdy John, If you want some real fun and enjoyment you might try some hollows & rounds or other molding planes. They can often be found inexpensively, friendlier to your budget. They are fun and do provide some enjoyment. One problem is they can become addictive.

    They are also often in need of a bit of rehabilitation, at least sharpening the blade. Here is an old post of mine on rehabbing molding planes:

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?242156

    Another possibility is you may live close to someone who would be happy to let you test drive some of their wooden bodied planes.

    If you are in the area of Portland, Oregon you would be welcome in my shop. My smoothers are likely no where near the quality of an Old Street Tool plane. Most of my attention has been spent on rehabbing hollows & rounds and other molding planes.

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

  6. #6
    I have no doubts about the quality of Steve's planes. I've never had the opportunity to try one, but they look amazing. The only real reason I was considering Old Street Tool is because it is the closest maker to me (~4 hour drive) and since I've never had a chance to really try wooden planes, I'd like to spend a little time taking them for a spin.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Howdy John, If you want some real fun and enjoyment you might try some hollows & rounds or other molding planes. They can often be found inexpensively, friendlier to your budget. They are fun and do provide some enjoyment. One problem is they can become addictive.

    They are also often in need of a bit of rehabilitation, at least sharpening the blade. Here is an old post of mine on rehabbing molding planes:

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?242156

    Another possibility is you may live close to someone who would be happy to let you test drive some of their wooden bodied planes.

    If you are in the area of Portland, Oregon you would be welcome in my shop. My smoothers are likely no where near the quality of an Old Street Tool plane. Most of my attention has been spent on rehabbing hollows & rounds and other molding planes.

    jtk
    Thank you, Jim for the link. It looks like there is a lot of information there. I need to sit down and spend some time reading and digesting. I live in central Oklahoma - unfortunately, pretty much a hand tool desert. This is the primary reason I was looking at Old Street Tool - because it is drive-able to take them for a spin.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    San Francisco, CA
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    John,
    I recently purchased a Philly Plane coffin smoother from a fellow Creeker. Iím a Lie Nielsen guy with a few other metal planes thrown in and itís my first wooden plane. I bought it for a number of reasons: curiosity, the stellar reputation of Philly Planes, trust in the seller, virtually new and lastly, the fact that I use a lot of woods with difficult grain (the blade is bedded at 55* and the mouth is very tight). I havenít been disappointed in the least. My learning curve took less than an hour. Itís a very easy and comfortable plane to use.

    Would I buy another wood plane? Maybe, but with a stable full of metal planes it would have to be from an exceptional maker, new or close to it, and fill a need. Thereís probably none better than OST and by all means it sounds like a wonderful opportunity to test drive one, but to piggyback on Jimís point youíll need to live as long as Methuselah to get it.

    Good luck,
    Steve

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken hatch View Post
    John,

    I have and use both metal and wood stock planes. While a good wood stock smoother is nice to use it would not be the first plane I would buy. Where the wood stock planes excel over metal planes is in the rougher work. The first two woodies I would buy would be a wood stock Jack and next would be a wood stock Scrub. . The reasons for those two is neither needs a cap iron and Woodies are lighter and the wood on wood interface has less friction vs. metal on wood. For mostly the same reasons the third plane would be a jointer.

    ken
    I have a wooden jack and I agree. It really is a great plane. I think Steve makes a similar recommendation on his website.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Seattle (Lake Forest Park), Washington
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    There are several questions in your original post. If you are just looking for a wooden plane experience, I agree with Ken above that the wood:wood interface is the benefit and a jack or scrub would be where to start. Especially for dimensioning, that smooth interface is a real joy. I bought all of mine cheaply & used, tuned them up, and use them regularly. TBH, the one wooden plane that is always my first choice, however, is my 23" ECE 23 Ĺ" lignum soled jointer (for the same smoothness).

    if your query was really focussed on smoothing gnarly grain, then I would go with a higher-pitched woody (even considering a toothing plane). This can be also be a cheap experiment, although I eventually acquired an HNT Gordon version which works a treat. For looking into a "woodish" plane for less challenging wood, however, there is nothing like a wood-infill Mathieson or Spiers smoother (although a bit "metalish" as well.....).

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM Martin View Post
    Thank you, Jim for the link. It looks like there is a lot of information there. I need to sit down and spend some time reading and digesting. I live in central Oklahoma - unfortunately, pretty much a hand tool desert. This is the primary reason I was looking at Old Street Tool - because it is drive-able to take them for a spin.

    John; Don McConnell from Old Street Tool is a member of SMC. Send him a PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Washington, DC Metro Area
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    237
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    It's beautifully made, works right out of the box and will be delivered before Old Street could begin.

    http://www.voigtplanes.com/
    Having ordered planes from both Steve and Old Street within the last year, I found their delivery times similar (~a handful of months). Their designs are not similar (high-ish angle single blade vs standard angle double blade) and that’s a better basis for choosing one or the other.
    Mark Maleski

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    If looking at a wooden smoother, my first choice today would be one of Steve Voigtís double iron planes. I have not used one, but they come with a very high reputation, and the double iron (my preference) sets it apart from the (single iron) Old Street. I have also not used an Old Street (50 or 55 degree bed?), which equally has an excellent reputation. However - and this is my experience in Australia with Australian hard woods, so be cautious now - a 50-55 degree cutting angle is not high enough to control tearout as well as a 60 degree cutting angle. If one does not go double iron, then you need to go high angle. Both can and do work well. So my alternate choice to a Steve Voigt plane would be the HNT Gordon smoother (60 degree version), with which I am very intimately experienced. It is a superb smoother and capable of a very fine performance on interlocked grain.

    Ideally, try all three makers. All come recommended.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  14. #14
    For a first Woodie I would recommend choosing something that will take full advantage of the lighter weight and nearly non-existent friction of a Woodie relative to a metal bodied plane. So I would recommend going with a jointer or fore/scrub plane – things that would normally really make you sweat. That’s where you’ll experience the biggest difference. I don’t think there’s nearly as much advantage with a wooden smoother vs. a metal smoother, particularly with a single blade when smoothers are the one plane that really benefit from a double iron. I just looked at the Old Tool website and some of those planes are expensive. So if you don’t want to jump into the expensive end, I think an unfenced rabbet plane (the widest one) would still probably more beneficial vs. a metal fenced or unfenced rabbet plane than a smoother would. This is particularly so if you only have fenced rabbet plane(s) because with those it’s a real pain (or impossible) to switch directions if you are running against the grain. So that would be my suggestion: jointer or fore/scrub, or if wanting to spend less on a first Woodie outing, a rabbet plane.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Have you considered making your own woodie? I have made about 8-10 for various uses. Block planes, smoothers, jack, jointers, etc. I have three smoothers, one a 55 degree for difficult wood. Mostly figured walnut. (I have no knowledge of Australian woods) I use Hock blades/chip breakers for all my woodies. I make the Krenov style wood plane. Easy and quick to make. I have been very happy with my wood planes and Hock (double iron) blades. My 55 degree smoother is 7" long and is great with difficult wood. The nice thing about making your own is that if it doesn't work work out, modify or toss the body and try again. i use mine, but I have tossed or modified a few to make them what I want them to be. Just a thought.

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