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Thread: Recommendation entry-level shooting plane

  1. #1

    Recommendation entry-level shooting plane

    This weekend I have come to the conclusion that I need to bring a shooting board into my shop. Problem is, I can't decide what would be a good entry-level-budget dedicated shooting plane? #5? Low angle block? I have a Sargeant 4 and 5, and a stanley 7. Neither of the sargeants are square enough on the sides to use as a shooting plane, nor worth the time to get them square. The 7 is obviously too big. Looking for something beefy, so I'm thinking a 5, but then again, beginner here, so is a low angle block easier/more forgiving? I'm usually squaring stock less than 3" wide, and most of it less than 2. Veritas Right-Hand Shooting Plane is way out of the budget for this.

  2. #2
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    Thomas, you are best served with something that has heft. Forget about a block plane unless you are shooting thin softwood. You should be fine with a #5, which is easily found and cheap, but a #5 1/2 is heavier.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  3. #3
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    I would think anything #5 and up would make a fine shooting plane. Even a low angle jack makes a good shooting plane.

  4. #4
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    Thomas I used an old Bailey 5&1/2 with my shooting board for a long time. Bit more width to play with and the sides were square. Set it up to take a very fine shaving on end grain, flip the board often, work in from each side so you donít tear out the far side.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Thomas, you are best served with something that has heft. Forget about a block plane unless you are shooting thin softwood. You should be fine with a #5, which is easily found and cheap, but a #5 1/2 is heavier.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    +1. Used plane prices have gotten a bit high right now but, persistent searching can still land you a deal. You may put in a bit of work to assure the sides and sole are a good 90 degrees to each other. An alternative would be to look for a used Veritas Low Angle Jack. Like others I made that one of my first planes as it is so versatile AND makes a good shooter.
    SB-Guide-Rail 003.jpg
    Once many of us acquire more specific planes the LAJ can start to gather dust. Mine still gets a good work out but certainly served as a good shooter for many years. Check the Classified section here and elsewhere.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  6. #6
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    Although it helps if the side of the plane is 90 degrees to the sole, but it is not required. The lateral adjuster can be used to get the iron cutting edge to 90 degrees.

  7. #7
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    Was about to say the same as Scott - unless itís WAY out of square, you can use the lateral adjuster to get the blade 90* to the board and use the #5 youíve got.

  8. #8
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    You didnít say how far out your planes are. Finding a # 5 that is really close may be a problem. Youíre most likely have to rely on the lateral anyway. Experiment a bit with what you have. A good heavy flat file can make good ďadjustmentsĒ rather quickly. Granted a dedicated shooting plane will be better but still have to be tweaked with the lateral. I have never found the need for a dedicated shooter. I used a #6 for a long time and now use a LAJ which is not dedicated to shooting. I do have an iron set up for shooting.
    Jim

  9. #9
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    Even the best sawyers can benefit from a shooting board. Mine is often used to bring multiple pieces to the exact same size.

    Thomas, how bad is your Sargent #5 size plane? As Scott mentioned there are ways around this.

    A #7 isn't too big for the job. Just make a bit larger shooting board. Having extra length and weight can be an advantage when shooting. Having more plane to register against the work in front of the blade is especially helpful.

    A low angled plane is easier to use shooting. My reason for purchasing a low angle jack plane was because of an old shoulder injury. Since then my financial situation has improved and a left hand shooting plane was purchased. My left shoulder is fine but the low angle plane produces a much better surface than a standard angle plane.

    My low angle block planes, #65 & occasionally a #60, have been used for shooting. For a lot of work they get tiring quick. Having extra mass when shooting is an advantage.

    Derek, myself and others have made auxiliary handles, often called 'hot dogs' for our planes to make them more comfortable when using as shooting planes. To see them here you will need to become a contributor, well worth the $6.

    Dereks can be seen at > http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMad...LV%20LAJ1.html

    A variation is at > http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMad...ck%20pics.html

    Mine is here on SMC > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?130114 < though the images can't be seen without becoming a contributor.

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

  10. #10
    I've always just grabbed whatever bench plane (#3, #4, or #5) was close at hand and had a fine set at the time. Just keep your eye out for any cheap bench plane in good condition.

    I'm surprised your Sargents are that far out of square. Sargents are good planes, and there aren't many ways to put a plane out of square that won't also break it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Clausen View Post
    Although it helps if the side of the plane is 90 degrees to the sole, but it is not required. The lateral adjuster can be used to get the iron cutting edge to 90 degrees.
    Scott wins the prize! The lateral adjuster gets the iron dead on even if the sides are a bit out of square. I use my 5 1/2 for this function.
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill White View Post
    Scott wins the prize! The lateral adjuster gets the iron dead on even if the sides are a bit out of square. I use my 5 1/2 for this function.
    You do want the sides to be square. This is important for the plane to run along the side wall of the platform. Adjusting the blade angle when the plane side is out-of-square will leave the plane canted slightly. This can create problems with accuracy and repeatability.

    When I restored a Stanley #62 in 2004 (article on my website), one of the areas I worked on was squaring the sides for shooting. This was done on sandpaper by running the sole against a tablesaw fence …



    Yes, it is a little extra work, but it save so much aggravation later.

    As an aside, I suggested either a #5 or #5 1/2 as a shooter. Keep in mind that the preferred plane is a LA Jack.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  13. #13
    You might also consider something called a "miter jack". They're expensive, but wait until mr. Schwarz figures they exist[-ed] and they will probably cost like a low orbit weather satellite. But anyway, a miter jack allows shooting with both hands. You have to be very careful not to plane into a jack itself, but there are claims that originally a few layers of heavy brown paper were glued on working surfaces for protection.

    If you need to shoot for right angles only, maybe you could devise a jig that clamps on a piece and then everything goes into vises. I think that shooting is probably the least ergonomic activity of them all: using only one arm to cut in the least favorable direction trying not to shift anything.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    You do want the sides to be square. This is important for the plane to run along the side wall of the platform. Adjusting the blade angle when the plane side is out-of-square will leave the plane canted slightly. This can create problems with accuracy and repeatability.

    When I restored a Stanley #62 in 2004 (article on my website), one of the areas I worked on was squaring the sides for shooting. This was done on sandpaper by running the sole against a tablesaw fence …



    Yes, it is a little extra work, but it save so much aggravation later.

    As an aside, I suggested either a #5 or #5 1/2 as a shooter. Keep in mind that the preferred plane is a LA Jack.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

    I don't have a table saw, but I see how one could make a simple jig to do this.

    I've always wanted to square the sides of my planes but always put it off because it seems like a huge chore.

  15. #15
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    Sound advise above. One hack is to taper or shim the chute of your shooting board to get the plane perpendicular to the work if your plane isn't exactly 90 deg.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

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