Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 32

Thread: Do I want/need a 5 1/2?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    330

    Do I want/need a 5 1/2?

    I watch a lot of Cosman's youtube videos (among others).
    He seems to use that 5 1/2 for everything.
    Larger surface registration might be nice? Yes? No?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    On the edge of Pisgah National Forest
    Posts
    221
    Oddly, I find that my 7.5 lb. WR 5 1/2 Jack is easier to control on edge planing than my lightweight Stanley #4, even though my 73 year old arms are a mere shadow, etc. Of course, the Jack excels at the typical heavy duty jobs like taking down raw faces or those right off the planer. You'll likely still want a cambered 4 or 4/12 for smoothing.
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    233
    Personally, after buying more tools than I need or can even remember purchasing, I've come to the conclusion that it makes sense to buy what your projects demand. Some tools are "cool" and fun to buy, and that is OK also. I'd say just be careful about tool lust and focus on making things. -Howard

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
    Posts
    9,195
    I have the Stanley No. 5-1/2,Type 17..and the Millers Falls No. 15, Type 2....rarely use either....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    166
    Depends on what you do and type of wood you use. The bigger the blade the harder it is to push the plane, including the friction caused by the bigger sole area.
    I just dimensioned two blocks of beech, approx. 2 1/2" x 1" x 12". It was hard, i used a no. 5 scrub, a no. 5 jack, and a no. 4 smoother. Not that that's the only right way to do it, but it didn't occur to me that a 5 1/2 would make it easier.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    330
    Hold off for now.
    Got it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Borger, Texas
    Posts
    1,440
    Nathan,

    One place it is handy is for something like using a plane on the edge of exterior doors and similar width items. These are only a 1/4" narrower than a #5 iron, and if your ability to run a plane accurately is a little suspect (now how would I know the disadvantages of problems in using a plane accurately?) the extra width of the 5 1/2 is kind of nice.

    I think there is drastically less need for the 5 1/2 than there is for the #5, however. Even a quick glance at the number of #5s available at garage sales, on Fleabay, etc. tells you that.

    Regards,

    Stew

  8. #8
    Workhorse of the workshop. I bought another for having two cambers, but it proved so handy for the shooting board, that's where it stays.
    Don't like no.5's. there is a big difference, left that for the folks house.
    So definitely, my Bailey no.5 1/2's are my favourite planes, and a big yes from me.

    Tom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    330
    Uh oh.
    Yes votes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Lubbock, Tx
    Posts
    1,074
    As with anything, there are a lot of variables. What are you going to use it for? Rough work or as a super smoother? What is the scale of work that you do? Is being used in a Neanderthal only or hybrid workflow? Puniness of arms? Even if you answered all of those questions in a way that benefited the 5.5 then you might find you didnít like it (or vice versa).

    Iím currently giving an LV 5.5 custom a go. Iíve mainly used it as a super smoother but Iím not sure I have formed a decision on it yet.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    22,250
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Johnson View Post
    I watch a lot of Cosman's youtube videos (among others).
    He seems to use that 5 1/2 for everything.
    Larger surface registration might be nice? Yes? No?
    This really depends on the kind of work you do.

    Just because someone else likes a particular tool doesn't mean it is the best for you.

    My #5-1/2 does get used at times. One of my #6s is usually pulled out more often. The #6 is only a little longer. An early #5-1/2 is a little narrower and lighter.

    The #6 is more common to find when out rust hunting.

    What other sizes of bench planes do you currently have or use?

    It also depends on the lumber you use. Most of the hardwoods that come my way are smooth cut, but all four sides need to be planed. This is when it is helpful to have a lighter plane with a wider blade. It might be a good idea to compare weights on the different options. It used to be the weight didn't matter as much to me. Getting older tends to change that.

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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Lafayette, CA
    Posts
    466
    Borrow one from a friend who knows how to tune it, and try it. I do nearly everything with my 5 1/2. But then again, I use the machines for coarse flattening and dimensioning. (No scrub plane for me.) Then out come the winding sticks and shims, and the shooting board, for final milling. And smoothing: it does a ďsuperĒ job at that. I have three blades so I can always drop in a pristine edge for a finesse shaving as needed.

    One plane to rule them all.

    My 5 1/2 has a 2 1/4Ē blade, not the 2 3/8Ē size of the 5 1/2s made post-1939. But I camber my irons and take shavings that are typically about 20 mm wide (fat 3/4Ē), so I donít miss the 2 3/8ď width.

    Count me a Yes.

  13. #13
    Just had to take off a half inch off a long length of timber just now,
    Got it to a few mm to the line with my no.4 plane with a heavy camber.
    It was starting to get a bit frustrating as my jumper sleeve was catching under the plane.
    I totally forgot about that.
    I don't normally have to use this plane and was glad to switch over to my 5 1/2.
    Maybe I need to rethink my stance on the no.5 plane, as it was one reason I bought it...but I had parts of a broken one already, so found a casting for a tenner.
    I just have no want for a pair of scrubs, as its mainly dutchman plugs that need that much hogging off.

    Just another consideration that I have never seen mentioned.
    All the best
    Tom

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,190
    What planes do you already own?
    Are you satisfied with them?

    Is there a budget? If money isn't an issue, you can own whatever you can store.

    If there is a budget - beware planes missing parts.
    Beware old, obscure brands that are shiny from lack of use.

    If you must buy, the LN 5 1/2 (secondhand) is beautifully made, and holds its value.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Stone Mountain, GA
    Posts
    635
    I like it for a heavy smoother for wider parts. It works fine on smaller parts, too.

    I think the extra width is wasted if used for jack plane work, better to just use a #5.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •