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  • bench planes

    I'm looking to purchase my first bench plane. I'm a firm believer in buying the best tools you can afford, so with that being said what would be a pretty decent bench plane to purchase?
    I'm going to be using it mostly to flatten table tops after glue up or flatten large slabs of wood.
    thanks
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  • #2

    Re: bench planes

    A Sauer and Steiner K18.
    carbonBased and WCraig like this.

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    • #3

      Re: bench planes

      I'm not familiar with Sauer and Steiner but you are next door to Lee Valley. A trip there and a conversation with them will help you out a lot.

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      • #4

        Re: bench planes

        Originally posted by Mark Nowicki View Post
        A Sauer and Steiner K18.
        Mark's being cheeky. I was going to recommend Holtey but he retired.

        "Flatten" usually means more than one plane. One with a cambered iron to take off the high spots fairly quickly (usually a #5 or jack plane is great for this), and then one to get the surface flat (usually a slightly cambered blade is good for this if you don't want to spend ages flattening). This last plane is usually a longer plane, anything from the Lee Valley low angle jack to a #8. Then if you want to get the surface smooth (which is not the same as flat), a smoothing plane (a #3 or #4 or #4.5 or 5, depending on how big the surfaces are). If you don't want to own too many planes, you can do it all with a #5 (I'd recommend the Lee Valley low angle jack) and 2 or possibly 3 blades (although that gets a little pricey; better off just getting an old Stanley #5 and then finishing off with a Low angle Jack or a jointer plane).
        Last edited by Frank D.; 03-19-2019, 10:08 PM.
        Frank
        SPCHT

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        • #5

          Re: bench planes

          I would suggest start out with a Stanley bench plane. They’re not that expensive and they’re fairly easy to keep tweaked. I have four of them. April 18, I’ll sharpen one up and you can borrow it for the summer.

          I have about 10 hand planes. And two spoke shaves. (And I have about a dozen other planes). I teach a hand tool course. The Stanley Bench plane is still the best bang for your buck at about $75. This will get your feet wet.... At anytime, Leavalley will drain your pocketbook just like mine... and you can buy cream of the crop.

          newb87, smallerstick and JimPTBO like this.
          For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
          Sir Isaac Newton.

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          • #6

            Re: bench planes

            With almost any chisel or plane it's not so much the quality of the tool, rather how well it is sharpened. Lee's book on sharpening should be you first purchase.

            A story on sharpening. I picked up a Swedish made Anchor brand #6 Bailey style plane at the fleamarket. . I thought of Swedish steel and all that good stuff as I gleefully brought it home. It turned out the original owner didn't know how to sharpen, so when the blade got dull he bought a new Stanley blade at K-Mart. The tag was still on it. Irons are only roughly done at the factory, it's up to the owner to put an edge on the tool. I did find an Anchor brand iron in a English Rapier (garbage) I bought for parts. So the story has a happy ending.
            newb87, WCraig and JimPTBO like this.

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            • #7

              Re: bench planes

              I second Matt’s Stanley recommendation. I look for the older ones first, then see if they have a Sweetheart iron. They were well made, they are fairly easy to find and blades are easily accessible. Oh, and they’re affordable. A number 4 or 5 are good all around daily drivers, a number 6 for longer flattening jobs.
              Redneck Albertan, newb87 and 2 others like this.

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              • #8

                Re: bench planes

                Thanks for everyone's input, I think from reading here and elsewhere the Stanley no5 is going to be my best option for a first and then I can expand from there for my needs.
                I have two Stanley block planes that say made in england, my grandfather was a cabinet maker and I got these block planes when he passed away many many years ago. Ill be damned if I can figure out how to set them up and use them properly though.

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                • #9

                  Re: bench planes

                  Post some info or pics of the block planes and someone here will give you the info you need to set them up.
                  "Do it Right!"

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                  • #10

                    Re: bench planes

                    I'm going to go against the grain here and suggest a Veritas from Lee Valley as a better option for your first plane. The old Stanleys are great (I've got about a dozen of them) but they need to be set up correctly (as others have suggested). Set up on an old plane that's in decent shape can include flattening the sole, adjusting the frog, squaring the iron, re-establishing the edge, flattening the back and then establishing the primary and secondary bevel. A Veritas will be ready to go pretty much out of the box (maybe a touch up of the edge). Not set up properly and hand planing will be a painful experience. You appreciate and can afford good tools and the Veritas will show you how a hand plane should perform. Then if you want to get into old Stanleys go for it.

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                    • #11

                      Re: bench planes

                      Buy an inexpensive old plane to practice with. Learn the basics of sharpening and setting it up. When you can produce long thin curls from a one inch edge of pine board start shopping for the ideal plane for your needs.
                      I am still in the practice stage. (Fifty year old Stanley craftsman, six inch thirty dollar block plane, seventeen dollar spoke shave. ) spoke shave is most interesting to use!
                      One of of the nicest sounds is that of a plane taking off a nice curl. It ‘s almost intoxicating.
                      Last edited by Egon; 03-20-2019, 09:45 AM.
                      Egon
                      from
                      The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                      • #12

                        Re: bench planes

                        Guys will say older planes are better quality, I don't agree. But they are cheaper, I picked up a very rusty #5 for all of $ 5 at the fleamarket a while back. The most square and flat #5 I've got was a purple one, maroon, bought in the '80s. Hated by Stanley plane types. Everything fit and worked, it just didn't have a frog adjustment screw.

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                        • #13

                          Re: bench planes

                          If you can get something that works well and doesn't need fettling or fiddling that's great, but if not it can be a huge pain. Buying from someone you know and who uses planes is the best. I started with a footprint and an old Stanley and got so frustrated I gave them away. Bought a Lie Nielsen then a Veritas before I started using old Stanleys (which work great, most of the time...but not always). Now I have over a dozen...of Lie Nielsens, and many old Stanleys and Veritas planes to boot.

                          I'd take Matt up on his offer for sure. If not, buying new (Veritas) is good if you're committed to using a plane.
                          Frank
                          SPCHT

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                          • #14

                            Re: bench planes

                            New planes are really nice. I like Rob Cosman's line of planes and the veritas line as well. I don't own any of either but i have used them all with sharp blades and I doubt many of us could actually tell the difference blindfolded. All my planes are Stanley and work extremely well. A friend of mine has all of his Dad's old Stanley's and they have not been touched or used for over 15 years and I grabbed one the other day and it was like brand new. When you really consider planes there isn't a helluva lot that can go wrong that isn't openly visible and since Stanley planes have been used for decades why wouldn't they work as well as anything else?
                            "Do it Right!"

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                            • #15

                              Re: bench planes

                              Originally posted by Rusty View Post
                              When you really consider planes there isn't a helluva lot that can go wrong that isn't openly visible and since Stanley planes have been used for decades why wouldn't they work as well as anything else?
                              Huge backlash or screw threads that are worn out, soles that are not flat, parts that have been swapped out for others and don't fit properly, parts or castings that have been fettled improperly and are ruined, parts that have been damaged after the plane has been dropped (including blades that are slightly out of plane), parts that for whatever reason don't fit or contact properly and have never been fixed (millions of these planes have never really been used, so a lot of manufacturing flaws can still be there). When you don't know what to look for when buying an old plane, any of these problems can go unnoticed.
                              Frank
                              SPCHT

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