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Thread: Planes by Kobalt??

  1. #1
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    Question Planes by Kobalt??

    While in Lowes today, pricing some plywood panels, walked through the Tool Town area. Hmmmm, Stanley planes were gone from their spots? Replaced by ones from Kobalt? Two block planes ( 6-1/2" and a 7") and a heavy 9-3/4"long bench plane #4. of course they are made in China, but so was my Wood River #4 V3. Not too sure of the block planes, look the same as the Stanleys they replaced on the hooks. That #4 however, has me thinking...


    hey, for around $31 or so, depending on tax, seems to be a good beginer's plane. Looked up the reviews, apparently there is some slop in the depth adjuster, but the iron seemed to be ok, and the sole was flat.

    Might be worth a look? If not, there is a lifetime garrantee....

  2. #2
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    Last year, I was stripping and refinishing a cot and paint stripper was not cutting it, I thought that a plane may be easier than scraping with a paint scraper or sanding everything back to wood. This was before I knew anything about planes, I bought a Kobalt block plane, It was blunt, has a rectangular opening on one side of the mouth, the blade was not square and I could not bring it square and it would not adjust with sufficient accuracy so I got big shavings or nothing at all.

    I left it aside and told myself there is no way anyone would use a tool like that who valued doing any work with it at all.. then started the slippery slope into old stanleys (still need to pickup a block plane to replace this one though)

    Had I known more I would have returned it, (i'm still not sure why there is a massively irregular mouth) but it stands as a testament reminding me to do my research before diving into anything

  3. #3
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    There are three nice Stanley/Bailey #4s in my shop now. Could likely get by with two. One of the three is a frankenplane with a small crack that doesn't give me the warm fuzzies about selling it.

    That still seems like three good reasons not to drop $31 on some unknown plane that isn't needed. I might drop a lot less on another decent Stanley plane to resell.

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

  4. #4
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    Like you, except mine are a Millers Falls #8 and a #9. A Wood River #4 V3, and a Defiance #4 as well. Maybe the Kobalt bench plane would allow a newbie a start with planes, before they would have to "upgrade" (hate that word) to something ready to go out of a brown box. $31 sounds a little better to a newbie than a plane that costs the same as their monthly rent payments....

  5. #5
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    Maybe the Kobalt bench plane would allow a newbie a start with planes, before they would have to "upgrade" (hate that word) to something ready to go out of a brown box.
    Maybe each and every Kobalt bench plane comes out of the box working as well as a new LN or LV product. That is a bit doubtful in today's world.

    It could be a frustrating experience if it is on par with the Home Depot offering of Buck Brothers labeled metal objects that sort of look like hand planes.

    My belief used to be fettling or setting up a hand plane is something just about anyone can do. Many posts here over the past few years have changed my opinion on this.

    Many folks have no problem taking a plane apart, cleaning, making a few improvements, putting it all back together and making fine shavings. There are some folks that just get lost and are not able to fettle metal. Then there are a few (Stanley/Bailey) planes that have come my way that just will not work right without some major machine work.

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

  6. #6
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    Probably originates from the same place as the buck brothers #4.

    There are too many decent vintage planes available for that or less to make it worthwhile. Best thing for a beginner to do is to luck out and get a vintage plane from someone who was using it and who know how to use it to its potential.

    I have never been in places necessarily where inexpensive planes are available on a reregular basis (I don't go to auctions, I don't go to yard sales, and while I've been at the local flea market here, I'm not looking for planes and it's good I'm not because usually there is something like a broken off-brand #4 sized plane for $40 or so). BUT, I have gotten off of ebay 3 millers falls 14s for $10 each, two used 9s for $10, a nearly unused #9 for $22, two MF 18s for $23 and $35, and locally (at antique malls) have gotten a $15 nearly unused #6 and a $25 little used #6.

    It took about an hour combined to set up a search and get all of those cheap MFs, and the stanley planes I just ran across while I was wasting time. Personally, I would sooner help a beginner get a decent vintage plane and help them set it up than have them spend $31 on one of those planes without me lifting a finger.

    The woodcraft planes (mostly through their labors) and the mujingfang planes (because of muji's philosophy) are the only good planes I have seen from china. The mujis are made by professional planemakers rather than replaceable factory cogs.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  7. #7
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    It is NEVER a good idea to give a beginner a tool that even a pro could not use. It frustrates and discourages them to try using a plane that just doesn't cut well. The first thing I ever taught my apprentices was how to sharpen their tools and adjust their planes. Immediately,they were excited to make nice,fluffy shavings.

    If you have a newbie to teach,let them use a sharp,properly adjusted plane that works properly or you can quickly dampen their interest.

  8. #8
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    Not that it has anything to do with planes, but one of the things that irritated me the most where I took guitar lessons was that one of the teachers demanded that all students start with an acoustic guitar for a year, that they couldn't "use an electric guitar until they mastered an acoustic", and the teacher demanded the students had to start with folk music.

    So most of the kids back then came in with cheap acoustic guitars that were extremely hard fingering, and you could see them straining to chord the guitars because of how hard they were to finger.

    I went to the other instructor. He didn't care what kind of guitar you had or what kind of music you wanted to play, he just wanted you to practice and get better. His students moved along faster because they got to play what they wanted to play, and they got to play it on guitars that fingered a whole lot easier.

    Sort of goes along the same lines as this, set a beginner up with something where they'll be the obstacle and not the tool.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  9. #9
    I'll chime in with a pass vote. Many a child has failed to learn to play a musical instrument due to the one they were trying to learn on being unplayable. An old hand might be able to beat a mediocre tool into a usable beast but, a novice could find themselves frustrated. I have a scraper insert for a #4 and thought about a cheap new plane to house it. After looking at a few I just picked up a used plane cheap, dipped it in Evap-o-rust, ran it across some abrasive to flatten the sole, installed the scraper insert and put it to work. I wanted the inexpensive new body to be usable, I really did but, it was not. The adjustments were just too crude.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 07-22-2013 at 9:04 AM.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  10. #10
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    OK, now, have any of you even seen this thing, yet?

    Tempted to just go out and get one, try it out, review it. IF it is a "Dog", I can always take it back to Lowes for a refund.


    I started out with a Stanley block plane(#110 from the 60s) and a Great Neck#4 that always seems to be lose in the settings. Didn't know how to tune a plane back then, either. Inherited a Union #3 that was tuned up, but rusty, and painted blue(why??) and found out what was missing as far as a good plane was. Still had to learn how to sharpen one, but things got better as I went along.

  11. #11
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    If you keep it, you have a $31 plane that isn't worth the cost to ship it after you're done with it. If you have to take it back, you wasted your time with it.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  12. #12
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    IF I were to take it back to Lowes, it could even be just a two mile walk, as they are at the other end of town. No shipping needed, besides, I could even use the full refund for supplies for the shop. Buy a lot of screws for that amount....


    Maybe it wouldn't hurt for some to go look at the bench plane?(unless they are too busy cheerleading for Rob Lee)
    Last edited by steven c newman; 07-22-2013 at 9:18 AM.

  13. #13
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    The cost of shipping comment is about what you can do with it if you decide you don't want it. It's destined to stay on ebay for $9.99 and never sell because it's not even worth the cost to ship it. It's your time, you can do what you'd like with it. Nobody will do anything but shake their heads about wasting several hours and $31 on a junk plane.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  14. #14
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    Why should I sell it? I could just return it to Lowes, and get the money back....

    IF it does happen, I could use the refund for supplies for the shop....

    The "waste of time" part? Since this is a hobby to me, I have plenty of time to waste. Not like I am doing this for a living...

  15. #15
    I have got four # 4 sized planes, a vintage European wood plane, an ECE finish plane, a Stanley Sweetheart new plane, and a vintage Stanley Type 17 (WW-2 Era) #4....all of which work much better than the Kobalt #4. I would not suggest the Kobalt plane, personally...I keep the Stanley for really rough stuff, working on doors, decks, mailbox posts, etc....even for rough work like that, it is much better than the Kobalt plane.

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