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Thread: What's your favourite hand plane?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Nova Scotia, 45°N 64°W
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    What's your favourite hand plane?

    I got a very generous retirement gift card for Lee Valley from my long time co-worker friends. I want the purchase to have lasting value and quality and be something special that I wouldn't normally buy for myself. I don't have many hand planes, but I'm moving gradually to more hand tool work, as many do. What's your favourite/most-useful plane?

    Peter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
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    I am only an occasional hand plane or hand tool guy.

    One day long ago I posted about how I went to a woodworking show and tried out the Lie Nelson hand plane and how nice it was.

    Then I proceeded to dog on the JUNK Stanley hand planes I had and how much better the Lie Nelson Was.

    Surprised huh - me opening my big mouth --- well I did just that and I quickly got bombarded with counter arguments that I just didn't know what to do with my Stanley vintage planes. That sort of thing happens to me all the time - I just don't understand it.

    Soo - maybe some of you remember Limey from woodworking.com - but Limey and I were friends. Limey was a hand tool guy and didn't have a single "expensive" plane in his collection. He had a LOT to say about that stuff. He called me on the phone and actually walked me through fetteling my plane over the phone - WHILE - I did it. He would not just tell me - he made me do it - over the phone.

    I'm a scary sharp guy also - yeah I know - some oil stone or water stone guys cringe --- but I am a scary sharp guy. Limey was a water stone guy. We challenged each other and guess what ----- same results.

    Sooo - I fettled my 1929 Stanley Baily #3. Whhooooeeeeee - that $30 plane is at least about 85-90 % as good as the $150-$200 Lie Neilson hand plane.

    I love that little guy - we have a GREAT relationship - me and my #3.

    So - my favorite -- Yep - my #3

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
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    5,321
    I have quite a few planes...

    My favorite Lee Valley plane is the Low Angle Smoother. It handles most wood - even gnarly stuff - very well. Other than LV, I have a couple Lie Neilsons, but most of mine are older Stanleys. My go-to smoother is usually either the LV, or else a Stanley #4½ with and aftermarket (LN) iron (blade) in it.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
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    17,472
    peter, i dont have yet but the one that glenn bradley likes is a bigger version of the one jim likes.. and i didnt know they made a smaller version like he linked to for me i use the older ones and have a couple LN's but if had spare change to get something specail look at what you have now and then fill in a gap with a good one in the next size or configuration. in my opinion it all depends on what you have now..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Bellingham
    Posts
    2,449
    I have a lot of planes, but for some reason my favorite is my small block plane. It is a bronze LN 102 ("Lie Nielsen" for the Acronym Challenged) low angle block plane. It does not have an adjustable mouth like its big brother but it still does a wonderful job and is a joy to hold in your hand. I generally have it set up to take a coarse shaving, using it to do the grunt work and following it up with my LN 60 1/2. That said, it still can take a fine shaving in most woods. I use it a lot when chamfering.


    If you don't know, it is the smallest plane in pictures.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Bill Satko; 02-06-2014 at 01:15 AM.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
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    9,076
    The low angle smoother and the bevel up smoother are the same length, same blade position within the body, etc. I went with the BU smoother since the iron is the same as the BU jointer and the low angle jack. This gives me more iron variety for each body and saves me space. The BU smoother does not, however, have a flat side so you can't shoot with it very well.

    If I had to pick one it would be the low angle jack. It makes a large smoother, a small jointer and a great shooting plane. On the other hand I tend to look at gift certificates as a means to buy what I wouldn't normally spend the money on myself. In that case I would get the BU jointer or the large shoulder plane ;-)

    If you are after the most useful plane in my shop it is the little Lee Valley Apron Plane. It is the same scale as the LN small block (which is also a sweet little tool) that Bill shows in his first pic. Great for small trimming jobs of all sorts and skins end grain like a champ. I don't have room for 2 or 3 (or 12) of each plane so I try to make them work to earn their keep. My low angle block plane for instance. I have the knob, handle and ball tail for it and I pretty much leave it setup as a ball-tailed #3. The Bull nose plane doubles as a chisel plane and the 3 planes that share the same iron size I mentioned earlier get a full workout in my shop. Good luck choosing and have fun!
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 02-06-2014 at 01:21 AM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Re: What's your favourite hand plane?

    Peter I think Larry has it right. Look at what u have.

    One plane i use a lot is my jointer. Its an old Stanley but in excellent conditon.
    My next plane of choice is my LV low angle Block plane. I love that plane. Adjustable throat, brass knob can be replaced by wood one they sell and you can also get a screw on tote if you want to use it in the conventional manner. The blade adjustment is excellent.
    I also like a Jack plane. Years back Larry gave me a Canadian made stanley Jack and its also a go to for me.
    Then comes the others but before u can use a smoother u got to at least get the wood flat hence my love of the jointer.

    sent from s4
    cheers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Nova Scotia, 45°N 64°W
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    Very informative and thought-provoking answers. Just what I expected.
    One plane that I've considered in the past for end grain work, adjusting tenons and such has been the medium shoulder plane, but I don't see much mention of it here. I know Stu has one that he speaks highly of, so maybe he'll jump in with a comment. I'm not in a big hurry to spend my gift money, still working on building some clean spots in the shop!

  9. #9
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    Feb 2008
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    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
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    I have to admit that my second most favorite is my LV low angle block plane

  10. #10
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    Dec 2006
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    Bellingham
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I don't have room for 2 or 3 (or 12) of each plane so I try to make them work to earn their keep.
    Glenn, I think I know what the problem is. All those power tools are taking up too much room. Think all the hand planes you could then buy if you got rid of some of them!
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

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