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Thread: Hand Plane - First time buying

  1. #1

    Question Hand Plane - First time buying

    Hi Everyone, this is my first post and hopefully I can get some advice. I've primarily been woodworker who uses machines, but I'm find that I need more options. I'm planning on buying a few hand planes in the near future, and I'd like some opinions. I like to buy a tool once, and keep it, so I don't mind spending a little more up front from a quality tool. I already know the opinions will all be varied and informative, so please give me what you got.

    I'm planning on having a total of 4 planes, some of which I haven't decided on, some I have. The one's I haven't are the one's I need help with.

    #1 Block plane - I keep going round and round over this one. I'm stuck between the Veritas DX60 and the Lie-Neilsen 60 1/2 (can't make a decision on the standard or rabbit). I'm really hoping users who have these tools or have both, can give me some feedback regarding: adjustable mouth, blade adjustment, shape for medium sized hands, etc.

    #2 Smoothing plane - Pretty sure I'm going with the LN 4 1/2 on this. (This will likely be the last of the 4 planes, that I buy)

    #3 Jack plane - Pretty sure i'm going with the LN 5 1/2 here as well. This will likely be the second plane I buy. Block plane being first.

    #4 Jointer plane - kind of at a loss on this one. The LN and the WoodRiver both look good with similar features, do not like the looks of the veritas' rounded shapes on the heel, but that's just a style choice. In regards to weight, comfort for hand size, etc.

    I've been reading reviews, watching youtube non-stop, trying to get the best feel, but would really like some personal feedback.

    Sorry for the long rant, but I appreciate any information or opinion you guys can provide.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Price Jr View Post
    Hi Everyone, this is my first post and hopefully I can get some advice. I've primarily been woodworker who uses machines, but I'm find that I need more options. I'm planning on buying a few hand planes in the near future, and I'd like some opinions. I like to buy a tool once, and keep it, so I don't mind spending a little more up front from a quality tool. I already know the opinions will all be varied and informative, so please give me what you got.

    I'm planning on having a total of 4 planes, some of which I haven't decided on, some I have. The one's I haven't are the one's I need help with.

    #1 Block plane - I keep going round and round over this one. I'm stuck between the Veritas DX60 and the Lie-Neilsen 60 1/2 (can't make a decision on the standard or rabbit). I'm really hoping users who have these tools or have both, can give me some feedback regarding: adjustable mouth, blade adjustment, shape for medium sized hands, etc.

    #2 Smoothing plane - Pretty sure I'm going with the LN 4 1/2 on this. (This will likely be the last of the 4 planes, that I buy)

    #3 Jack plane - Pretty sure i'm going with the LN 5 1/2 here as well. This will likely be the second plane I buy. Block plane being first.

    #4 Jointer plane - kind of at a loss on this one. The LN and the WoodRiver both look good with similar features, do not like the looks of the veritas' rounded shapes on the heel, but that's just a style choice. In regards to weight, comfort for hand size, etc.

    I've been reading reviews, watching youtube non-stop, trying to get the best feel, but would really like some personal feedback.

    Sorry for the long rant, but I appreciate any information or opinion you guys can provide.
    Victor,

    If you are confused now, wait for this thread to run for a few days .

    I'll still add a couple of thoughts: A jack plane is a rough plane, no need to spend for the precision of a LN or LV, a wood stock or old Stanley is better. Same with the jointer, the LN or Woodriver are both way too heavy to use for any length of time, a old Stanley or wood stock is a better jointer. For a smoothing plane the LN or LV is a good pick but a 4 1/2 is usually too big for most jobs.

    ken

  3. #3
    I'll take a shot at #1 & #2.

    I have a LN 60 1/2 rabbet and a nicely restored Stanley 220 as my go-to block planes. I am really glad I got the rabbet one. I'm always using it to clean up rabbets and other groves. I keep it on my workbench and use it 90% of the time. Instead of the Stanley 220, I wish I had a smaller, apron sized plane. I see a 102/103 in my future.

    I bought the LN 4 Bronze for my smoother. It's 4.5 lbs and I think the LN 4 1/2 is a pound heavier. Make sure that's OK. I use it quite a bit and I'm glad I didn't get anything heavier. Your mileage may vary.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    700
    What do you work on? I'm confused by the -1/2 selection. The big complaint (& pretty much only) complaint about L-N planes is the weight vs vintage Stanleys and yet you've selected the historically less popular super-sized versions. Unless your pieces are exceptionally large you may want to rethink that...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ken hatch View Post
    Victor,

    If you are confused now, wait for this thread to run for a few days .

    I'll still add a couple of thoughts: A jack plane is a rough plane, no need to spend for the precision of a LN or LV, a wood stock or old Stanley is better. Same with the jointer, the LN or Woodriver are both way too heavy to use for any length of time, a old Stanley or wood stock is a better jointer. For a smoothing plane the LN or LV is a good pick but a 4 1/2 is usually too big for most jobs.

    ken
    Thanks Ken,
    I've been searching Ebay, Craigslist, etc for handplanes, but I can't seem to find a place where I can pick up a solid plane (doesn't have to be pretty, I can clean it up), that's not the same cost as a new LV or LN. Are there places to look for people selling older planes that I might be able to pick some up at a decent cost? I'm in Eastern Central Florida, and the closest woodworking store is 2 hours away (Rockler and WoodCraft). I try to hit estate sales, but most of what I find around here are old machining tools, not woodworking.

    Thank you for the feedback.

  6. #6
    An antique low angle block plane with a Lee Valley PM-V11 blade will last you forever. I like the Stanley knuckle joint 65 (plenty available on eBay). But which ever way you go, get a low angle block plane.

    I have a Stanley type 11 4 1/2 corrugated bottom plane with a modern iron and chip breaker that I'll sell you. PM me if interested.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 08-13-2020 at 12:37 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    What do you work on? I'm confused by the -1/2 selection. The big complaint (& pretty much only) complaint about L-N planes is the weight vs vintage Stanleys and yet you've selected the historically less popular super-sized versions. Unless your pieces are exceptionally large you may want to rethink that...
    I guess the reason for the 1/2 would be the wider blade. I'm currently working on some living room furniture my wife wants, and my machine jointer is 6 inches. I know there are other ways of flatten boards, but I'd like to be able to prep the material to the point that it requires little/no sanding. From my reading and youtube, the 5 1/2 seemed to be a popular size for doing just about everything (getting several blades for different purposes). Unfortunately, I'm not in a location where I can go somewhere and pick up (feel and test) any since no one in my area offers woodworking tools. So my mind is definitely NOT made up by any means, so if I get the opportunity to actually handle different sized planes, I may change my mind. Thanks for the info.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Lubbock, Tx
    Posts
    1,072
    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Price Jr View Post
    I guess the reason for the 1/2 would be the wider blade. I'm currently working on some living room furniture my wife wants, and my machine jointer is 6 inches. I know there are other ways of flatten boards, but I'd like to be able to prep the material to the point that it requires little/no sanding. From my reading and youtube, the 5 1/2 seemed to be a popular size for doing just about everything (getting several blades for different purposes). Unfortunately, I'm not in a location where I can go somewhere and pick up (feel and test) any since no one in my area offers woodworking tools. So my mind is definitely NOT made up by any means, so if I get the opportunity to actually handle different sized planes, I may change my mind. Thanks for the info.
    how much are you going to process rough lumber using just planes? If you are going to use it for boards wider than 6 then Id go for an older Stanley 5, 4, or even 5 1/4 because you will appreciate the lesser weight. The 5 1/2 does make a good super smoother. David Charlesworth uses one for that, ala the Brit panel plane of old. Im not sure Id want to process a whole board from rough with one though.

    where are you located? Many members would be willing to let you try there planes if youre close enough to visit their shop.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    An antique low angle block plane with a Lee Valley PM-V11 blade will last you forever. I like the Stanley knuckle joint 65 (plenty available on eBay). But which ever way you go, get a low angle block plane.

    I have a Stanley type 11 4 1/2 corrugated bottom plane with a modern iron and chip breaker that I'll sell you. PM me if interested.

    Mike
    Hi Mike, I'm new to the site in regards to having an account, been a lurker for a while. I can't seem to figure out how to PM you, but I would be interested in seeing the plane.

  10. #10
    I think you're on the right path with this---I see it as akin to kitchen knives: paring, chef, slicer/bread knife.
    Block, Smoothing, Jointer/Try plane

    Block plane: anything will work. These are easy to lap flat. Just stick a Hock or LV blade in there. My first one was some cheap grizzle plane, and worked fine.
    Now, my favorite is a LV apron plane or a Mujingfang palm plane.
    Smoothing: a nicely fettled Stanley is fine, but a Lee Valley or Lie Nielson (and probably wood river) would be better.
    You absolutely want a plane with a sole in good condition. As a Lee Valley fan, I appreciate their attention to detail.
    Jointer/Try plane: get a new one. Get a good one (Lee Valley, Lie Nielson, maybe Wood River), unless you're friends with a Galoot that likes to fettle tools.
    When the steel warps/twists/wears it can be a nightmare to lap.
    I bought a LV custom jointer plane (flat sides, Bevel down) used off ebay, and it's a dream to use.

    Jack plane--might want to try a wooden plane. For heavy "jack plane" work, it can get very tiring with a heavy plane.
    That being said, I have LV low angle Jack that is mainly used for jointing ukulele/guitar soundboards.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    1,950
    Victor - Will you be using the planes to mostly work over timber that has been machine joined and planed before hand planing? Or do you anticipate working on rough timber from the get go? If you are going to be working on rough stuff, I think you should consider the standard #4 and #5 planes for your smoother and jack planes. The wider the iron, the harder it is to push through the wood. Any additional weight gained by using larger planes does detract from the experience when working more from scratch than pre-machined wood. I have moved mostly to wooden planes and don't follow the "I like a heavy plane to plow through the work" crowd. If it works for them, I am glad they are having fun, but extra weight on a plane does not improve my planing. I believe that machine guys tend to think of the 4-1/2 and 5-1/2 sizes being able to provide a little more width per pass (15" planer instead of a 12" planer, 8" joiner instead of a 6") and don't realize that it does not translate the same when considering hand planing. Lots and lots of smoothing is done with a #3 and #4 sized planes (wood or iron), with the #4-1/2 shining more on large panels or table top sized pieces. Those large surfaces actually only comprise a lesser portion of the total planing per projecct. I believe that pre-machine type woodworkers will benefit most from a #3 or #4 double iron plane as their first purchase and use that to learn how to use a hand plane and what a hand plane does and does not do. From that point, they should have a better handle on what to get next.
    David

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Wilkins View Post
    how much are you going to process rough lumber using just planes? If you are going to use it for boards wider than 6 then Id go for an older Stanley 5, 4, or even 5 1/4 because you will appreciate the lesser weight. The 5 1/2 does make a good super smoother. David Charlesworth uses one for that, ala the Brit panel plane of old. Im not sure Id want to process a whole board from rough with one though.

    where are you located? Many members would be willing to let you try there planes if youre close enough to visit their shop.
    Hi Tony, I live in Brevard County, Florida (where the rockets launch from). I've got a jointer and a planer, so I wouldn't be fully processing whole boards, but I've got a small shop, so the less I have to move and adjust equipment around the better. I'd rather put that time in to using a hand tool to do the same job, without all the hassle.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford McGuire View Post
    I'll take a shot at #1 & #2.

    I have a LN 60 1/2 rabbet and a nicely restored Stanley 220 as my go-to block planes. I am really glad I got the rabbet one. I'm always using it to clean up rabbets and other groves. I keep it on my workbench and use it 90% of the time. Instead of the Stanley 220, I wish I had a smaller, apron sized plane. I see a 102/103 in my future.

    I bought the LN 4 Bronze for my smoother. It's 4.5 lbs and I think the LN 4 1/2 is a pound heavier. Make sure that's OK. I use it quite a bit and I'm glad I didn't get anything heavier. Your mileage may vary.
    The LN 60 1/2 is definitely the one I've been eyeballing. But I'm having a hard time deciding between having the adjustable mouth and the rabbiting capability.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Price Jr View Post
    Hi Mike, I'm new to the site in regards to having an account, been a lurker for a while. I can't seem to figure out how to PM you, but I would be interested in seeing the plane.
    Oops, you need to be a contributor to access the private mail system. It's only $6 a year. Surely you'll get that much information value.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by David Eisenhauer View Post
    Victor - Will you be using the planes to mostly work over timber that has been machine joined and planed before hand planing? Or do you anticipate working on rough timber from the get go? If you are going to be working on rough stuff, I think you should consider the standard #4 and #5 planes for your smoother and jack planes. The wider the iron, the harder it is to push through the wood. Any additional weight gained by using larger planes does detract from the experience when working more from scratch than pre-machined wood. I have moved mostly to wooden planes and don't follow the "I like a heavy plane to plow through the work" crowd. If it works for them, I am glad they are having fun, but extra weight on a plane does not improve my planing. I believe that machine guys tend to think of the 4-1/2 and 5-1/2 sizes being able to provide a little more width per pass (15" planer instead of a 12" planer, 8" joiner instead of a 6") and don't realize that it does not translate the same when considering hand planing. Lots and lots of smoothing is done with a #3 and #4 sized planes (wood or iron), with the #4-1/2 shining more on large panels or table top sized pieces. Those large surfaces actually only comprise a lesser portion of the total planing per projecct. I believe that pre-machine type woodworkers will benefit most from a #3 or #4 double iron plane as their first purchase and use that to learn how to use a hand plane and what a hand plane does and does not do. From that point, they should have a better handle on what to get next.
    Hi David,
    I think you asked the perfect question, since I didn't explain this. A majority of my work will be done on Table saw, Jointer, Planer. I'm looking to use hand planes to extend my ability with the jointer, and probably 90% of what I will be doing is cleanup and assembly prep on the work pieces.

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