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Thread: What kind of plane(s) do I want to buy?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean

    What kind of plane(s) do I want to buy?

    Hi Everyone,

    The guys in "Old Iron" were so helpful about my drill press that I thought I would post a new question.

    Glenn and I are going to the Wood Working Show in Pomona May 4. What kind of plane(s) should I purchase?

    I am just started getting into working with wood---as opposed to constrution type of thing. I have a Stanley SW plane from WWII. It is approximately 13" long. We called them "jack" planes. I had another about 6" longer that I gave to Glenn.

    I have worked a very long time on the Jack plane. The sole is still not quite true. I have a "block" plane (Stanley No. 9 1/2) that I purchased from a hardware store 50 or 60 years ago. I have a (I would call it a toy) Miller Falls plane that is 3 1/2" long. The toy has the letter "G" cast into the base.

    What am I doing:
    Currently building a woodworking bench
    Just ready to start a set of cupboards and folding area for Myrna's laundry (which impinges greatly into my woodworking shop).
    Want to make some doors for the house. Many years ago I made a door for my ceramics was fun.
    I do want to make a thin cabinet for the guest bathroom, recessed into the wall because the bathroom is only 7' x 7'. I want it to be a piece of furniture. I remodeled the room, put in wood floors, new toilet, and put in a very old cabinet with a hand blown vessel on top for a sink.

    The cabinet was made from a tree that was marked with the King's Arrow. The colonists were not allowed to cut trees marked this way. I understand this tree was to be a mast for a sailing vessel. The cabinet is pine (?). It was and is in excellent shape. All I did was Varathane the 1 7/8" thick top and mount the vessel. The new cabinet should compliment this.

    Anyway, all of the above yachity yak is just to give you an idea what I will be working on. Who knows what I will do from there.

    Thanks a million in advance.


    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    It depends. I can tell you what I like and use. But that doesn't mean you will like or use them.

    Number one place is a block plane. I have two and use them all the time.

    I have #2, #3, #4, #5 and a #7. The #7 doesn't get used much but there are times it is perfect. Like leveling a large piece, a bench top is a good example. The #3 is probably my most used of these. I like the size and weight. But if the the #2 or #4 are handy I will just use them. #5 doesn't get used a lot.

    I also have a couple of router planes and some other styles that are used on special applications. I have a couple of wooden smoothers I find I rarely use them. Just because of the convince factor. It simpler to adjust the metal planes.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    The ones i use most are my two block planes (one standard angle - one low angle), smoothers (#'s 2, 3, & 4), Jack (#5), jointer (#7 in my case - some prefer the #8), my skew angle block (stanley #140 modified with a fence and a nicker - buying new, i'd go with the Lie Nielsen version), fillester plane (stanley #78), medium shoulder plane, and a #112 scraper plane.
    For general purpose stuff, i use the blocks regularly. I've got 3 #4 size smoothers that i use a lot - an old Record set for fine shavings - final surface prep, a Stanley WWII vintage set for more robust work, and a Veritas low angle smoother that i use for general purpose and difficult grain (it's a bevel up plane, so with a steeper grind on the cutting iron you can use it as a high angle smoother). The number 4's fit my hand better than the number 3, so that one sits a lot of the time. I bought the #2 for my son to use (little guy's got little hands), but i find i use it regularly for smaller pieces. The #5 and #7 i use when hand flattening stock - not for every project, but i do like doing it from time to time. The #140 is getting more and more use the longer i have it. It's an incredibly versatile plane - and excellent design. Though mine's strictly a user, it's still a bit too precious for rough tasks, and it handles the fine work quite well.
    The #78 is great for rabbets and fat tennon cheeks. The medium shoulder plane is irreplaceable for tuning up tennon shoulders - i worked without one for years until i broke into the piggy bank about a year ago. I really like that plane, but it's really a specialty plane and only worth the investment if you do a lot of that type of work. The 112 scraper plane i use quite a bit, along with card scrapers for cleaning up stock - last pass before finishing and smoothing out but joints. I'll probably replace my scraper plane at some point - i like the tool use it fairly often, but mine's a cheap knock off brand. I'm eyeing the Veritas model.

    Making doors and flat panels, you might consider a plow plane with its variety of cutters. You'd probably also want a low angle plane for trimming up end grain, and something with a high angle for working difficult or hard grain (i really like my low angle smoother for this). If you're using the mortise and tenon joinnery, i'd recommend the #78 (common and relatively cheap on ebay) for the cheeks and a decent shoulder plane with a low cutting angle for the shoulders.

    Of all my planes, the one i tend to use most would be my low angle block.

    I'd recommend - click on "Patrick's Blood and Gore" for a description of the Stanley plane models and their uses. For fine tuning, sharpening, rebuilding, etc., i recommend

    If you don't already have one, i'd pick up a honing guide and maybe a combination water stone.

    Have fun with it.

    Paul Hubbman

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