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Thread: First Plane

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    7,342
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Stoddard View Post
    .... I'd like to start getting some planes that are useful to what I'm doing. Primarily I have been working on learning different joinery and a friend has asked me to build them a dining room table when they move into their house in a month. I think using all hand tools on a dining room table is a bit much for me to bite off at this point so I'll probably be relying on my joiner and planer for a bulk of the smoothing for that project but I would like to throw in some mortise and tenons on it if that's something they are wanting. I initially had in mind the medium Veritas Shoulder Plane but then heard about the Lie-Nielsen rabbet block plane which then lead me to the Veritas Jack Rabbet. ...
    Patrick, the Veritas Jack Rabbet is a superb plane. I was blown away by its versatility, and wrote the review from this perspective. Some of it was tongue-in-cheek, however (such as using it as a shooting plane), and to my amusement, many took all this quite seriously ... as if I was really advocating it. Now, it I was to end up on a desert island,I'd want this plane - it is designed for timber construction. In the workshop is another matter. Not that I would not use it - I do use mine and when it is needed, it is the best plane around - but I am not one for Swiss Army Knives if you have the space to purchase and store planes dedicated to specific tasks.

    You have a jointer and planer to prepare stock. What you need is a plane to clean up edges for clean joins, and then smooth the table top. One plane can do this, such as a Stanley #5 or a Veritas LA Jack. The Veritas Jack Rabbet is not suited as you want to add a slight camber to the blade (to avoid tracks), and the Jack Rabbet is used with straight blades (it is, after all, a very large rebate plane).

    Then you want to make mortice-and-tenon joints. There are principally made with chisels and saw. It is the fine tuning where a plane comes in. If there was just one plane to get, it would be the router plane for me. This would ensure that tenon cheeks are parallel. Any tuning of shoulders I do with a chisel. I would not use a plane - shoulder plane or rabbet block plane - on the cheeks. This is more difficult than it looks. A router plane is foolproof. I assume that you have bench chisels and a 5/16" mortice chisel.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Broadview Heights, OH
    Posts
    680
    Patrick,

    Unless you are making a supremely large table, it's hard to argue getting the plane you need and that's a shoulder plane. While you can make do with all manner of substitute, a shoulder plane for adjusting tenon cheeks is the coin of the realm. I particularly like the Lie Nielsen style, which is a copy of the Preston style. They all have an adjustable nose so you can set them for very fine shavings or those that are quite large. Since cheeks are an end grain operation, a fine mouth is more appropriate. The one with a 5"8" blade is $165. Unfortunately, vintage examples of these planes are hard to find and are expensive when you do find them.

    Second, you might consider other's advice and get a nice vintage block plane like the #18 or 60.5. Decide if you want low angle or standard 20 degree angle. I'd only get one with an adjustable mouth. They can be had for cheap, and you can clean them up, tune them up and put them to use for very little money. Why spend a ton on something if you don't need it or are an occasional user? Same goes for a #4 or #5 plane. Both can be had relatively inexpensively and will suit your needs just fine until you determine you need something else. Almost everyone getting into hand tools goes this route at some point. It's much easier to forgive mistakes on an inexpensive plane than one which you pay $300 for. Your profile doesn't say where you are located, but Ebay has loads of inexpensive block and smoothing/jack planes. You can buy a very serviceable set of block and #4 for less than $100. Take the money you saved and buy that new shoulder plane you will likely need.

  3. #18
    Boy, where to start?! One thing to remember is that planes and chisels, no matter how good from the mfgr must be sharp to be good in your shop so budget for sharpening right along side the tool purchases. Honestly I'd work through the design of this table with your friends and see if a specific handplane will be needed to complete the project.

    Otherwise... LN #102 (I recommend this plane because it is relatively affordable, simple in construction and the size will really help you get the hang of things) and then a bench plane (3-4 for smoothing if you want to focus on that or 5-7 for flattening and making great edges for glue up if you need this in you shop).

    Opinions are like... well you know, and this is just mine. Have fun and let us know what you ended up doing.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Fournier View Post
    Otherwise... LN #102 (I recommend this plane because it is relatively affordable, simple in construction and the size will really help you get the hang of things) and then a bench plane (3-4 for smoothing if you want to focus on that or 5-7 for flattening and making great edges for glue up if you need this in you shop).
    I have over two dozen planes, but the ones that get used the most are the small block planes (LN 60s, 102, 103, rabbit block, 102 & 103 white bronze, 2 LV skew block planes, LV block plane, LV stainless pocket plane). I like the bronze LN (apron plane) as it doesn't rust and I just throw it in a pocket. I use them for woodworking (and carpentry around the house); trimming wood to make it fit. I have a couple of Stanley junk block planes for real rough work or wood with nails.

    Start with a LN 102 and though it will come sharp, learn to get it really sharp.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Stone Mountain, GA
    Posts
    594
    I do not understand the recommendations for block planes. Seems to me they are mainly useful for when you need to use a plane one handed. In the shop this doesn't come up much. If I can fix the workpiece in a vice or on the bench against a stop I'd much rather use a bench plane than a block plane. Would be curious to see rationales for the opposite.

    I use my #4 maybe 50 times to every 1 time I use my 60-1/2

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
    Posts
    8,829
    Use Mine a lot, to soften a sharp edge, trim plugs flush, remove "fuzz" from saw cuts.

    Spent $55 today, for a pair of "First Planes"...
    Birthday Rust Hunt, Sagent #414c.JPG
    Sargent VBM 414c ( $40) and a Stanley No. 4 ($15)...
    Birthday Rust Hunt,Stanley No. 4,.JPG

    Rust Hunting for my birthday...a few hours walking around in Heart of Ohio Antique Center....
    Birthday Rust Hunt, OUCH.JPG
    There was a Stanley #4-1/2 up in the corner...$175....the 5-1/4 beside it was $225....
    Birthday Rust Hunt, don't ask.JPG
    Don't ask....
    Last edited by steven c newman; 05-17-2020 at 10:13 AM.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    21,582
    Blog Entries
    1
    I do not understand the recommendations for block planes.
    The low angle block plane is great for working end grain. It leaves a better surface than a bench plane. A lot of my early shooting board work was done with a block plane.

    For breaking an edge any plane can do the job. A block plane is a bit easier to handle. Though honestly most of my corner breaking is now done with a small hollow plane. (We should let the OP get used to a few other planes before sending him down the path of acquiring a set of hollows & rounds.)

    If you want to round a corner on a piece, a block plane with an adjustable mouth is possibly the best tool to use.

    A slight edge misalignment on a glued up panel? Again, block plane to the rescue.

    With an electric planer and jointer, a #5 might be the do all plane for the heavy work. A block plane is a good choice for the light work.

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

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hazelwood View Post
    I do not understand the recommendations for block planes. Seems to me they are mainly useful for when you need to use a plane one handed. In the shop this doesn't come up much. If I can fix the workpiece in a vice or on the bench against a stop I'd much rather use a bench plane than a block plane. Would be curious to see rationales for the opposite.

    I use my #4 maybe 50 times to every 1 time I use my 60-1/2
    They are easy to use one handed because they are small but their merit lies in the fact that they are small and scale to small work. This is in addition to their edge grain ability. I have a standard angle LN 102 and it is actually a great little plane for surface planing were my bench #2 won't go. In the end I grab a 102 because I know that I can get the job done with it and I attribute this to the fact that my hands/fingertips are as close to the work surface and cutting edge as they are ever gonna get with a plane and I have optimal feedback and control because of this. Great on-site tool as well!

    Love my #4 as well...

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    4,861
    If you don't know which plane you need, you probably don't really need one. Once you decide what you need one for, it narrows the choices significantly.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    21,582
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    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    If you don't know which plane you need, you probably don't really need one. Once you decide what you need one for, it narrows the choices significantly.
    Patrick in his original post mentions this:

    I think using all hand tools on a dining room table is a bit much for me to bite off at this point so I'll probably be relying on my joiner and planer for a bulk of the smoothing for that project but I would like to throw in some mortise and tenons on it if that's something they are wanting. I initially had in mind the medium Veritas Shoulder Plane but then heard about the Lie-Nielsen rabbet block plane which then lead me to the Veritas Jack Rabbet.
    He has pretty much narrowed down the choices of type of plane. However, like so many of us, it appears the distraction of images of shiny new tools on the internet has Patrick wondering about which rabbet plane.

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

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