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Thread: Which planes to get?

  1. #1

    Which planes to get?

    Morning all,

    I am wanting to get a couple of planes. I dont do a lot of hand tool work and my future projects wont call for it really, but there have been and will be times that I'll need a plane. I'd like to start out with a block plane and a bench plane. My knowledge of planes is very limited so I am looking for advice on the bench plane. From some research I've done it sounds like a block plane and a low angle jack plane will cover the vast majority of needs.

    Is that a good place to start? What should be considered when purchasing planes?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I'd want to have a smooth plane--ie. no 4, or if you have small hands a no. 3. A finely set smoother is much better than sanding to remove planer or jointer marks. If I planned to do much jointing of boards together to create panels, I'd also want a no. 7.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    It depends on how you are going to use them. If you are using them along side of power tools, a block and smoother would be a good choice. If you are using only hand tools, I'd suggest a #5 jack plane to start.

    also, are you looking new, already restored vintage, or getting a vintage to restore yourself. If looking for suggestions, I'd recommend the middle from someone like Don Williol (sp?) at time tested tools.

    bottom line on bottom (BLOB): what are you looking to do with it?

  4. #4
    A low angle block, a jack and a shoulder plane, to start.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    The block and jack are a good start ... the block is generally useful, even if you aren't a handtools guy. The Jack is an all-purpose, not ideal for any particular task, but capable of most.

  6. #6
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    I dont do a lot of hand tool work and my future projects wont call for it really, but there have been and will be times that I'll need a plane.

    This. What have you needed a plane for? In my albeit limited experience, the most useful planes for a powertool woodworker are the Low Angle Block, the Shoulder (medium or large) and the Router Plane. Why those three? Because they are the ones that excel at fitting joinery. You could toss the side rabbet plane in there as well, it's da bomb for making a groove just a wee bit wider, but it is a one trick pony. The bench planes are primarily for stock prep and finish prep.
    It came to pass...
    "Curiosity is the ultimate power tool." - Roy Underhill
    The road IS the destination.

  7. #7
    Mr. Sanford asks good questions.

    For the work I do, a #3 or #4 smoother, plus a low angle block plane would be a good starting place, followed by a router plane. YMMV.

  8. #8
    I would get a low angle block plane first.
    Then I'd spend time learning how to use it and *sharpen it*.

    Next I'd get a #4 bevel down smooth plane. I'll sell all my planes before this one.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    I would get a low angle block plane first.
    Then I'd spend time learning how to use it and *sharpen it*.

    ....
    This!

    Get the low angle block plane, use it for everything, and figure out what it doesn't do well in your workflow!

    Then ask again about the best options to cover the deficiencies you have identified.
    Last edited by David Bassett; 11-06-2017 at 3:55 PM. Reason: fix the typo

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Be very careful, though...as these things can be addictive..
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    DAMHIKT....

  11. #11
    Thanks for the info everyone. Hrm, where to start. I'll put the caveat out there that I want to use a power tool whenever possible but I know that planes can be indispensable for various tasks even with a shop full of every power tool imaginable. The things on my list to make in the near future are outdoor furniture, mid century furniture, and probably a host of cutting boards. That's not to say that I wont dabble in other things at some point. I can see myself needing to smooth a top or take the wobble out of a cutting board.

    Someone asked if I wanted to restore a plane or get a vintage one and the answer to that would be no. Whatever I decide on I will probably go with Woodriver from Woodcraft. Obviously not top of the line but not crap either.

    A jack plane seems to be a popular recommendation. However, there are numerous variations it seems. Which of these two would be best?

    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/w...702d3baa000a34

    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/w...702d3baa000a34

    Thanks!

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Assuming you do most of your stock prep and a majority of your joinery with power tools, I would be considering tools that can help refine things when needed. A block plane is often quicker to shorten a tenon, add a chamfer, or even take down an odd high spot, than setting up machines. Likewise, a shoulder plane is great for fine tuning a tenon, dado, or rabbet as is a router plane. I also wouldnít count out a spokeshave to refine curves, tapers, rounded pieces, etc.

    If your power set up doesnít give you the perfect 90 or 45 angles you want, the #62 would be a good choice for shooting. I see the #5 as very versitile, but often considered a stock prep plane. If youíre looking for ways to smooth a panel versus sanding, a smoothing plane should be considered. As already suggested, it just all kind of depends on what power tools you have and what tasks you need to accomplish where you either donít have the power tool, or itís just too much hassle to set one up.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim M Tuttle View Post
    ... A jack plane seems to be a popular recommendation. ...
    (I'm not sure we're reading the same thread, but...)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim M Tuttle View Post
    Which of these two would be best? ....
    Of those two, the bevel-up will be better for end-grain and a little easier to use. The bevel-down will require a little more skill, but be more versatile for the things a Jack Plane usually used for (faces & edges during stock prep.)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    USA
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    At least one person suggested a router plane. This might be one of the least useful planes for a power tool user. I have never needed a router plane because I have a router and a tablesaw and can cut dadoes and rabbets with either or both depending on what makes the most sense.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    I would get a low angle block plane first.
    Then I'd spend time learning how to use it and *sharpen it*.
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    This!

    Get the low angle block plane, use it for everything, and figure out what it doesn't do well in your workflow!

    ...
    This ^^. It was my first hand plane after saying basically "I dont do a lot of hand tool work and my future projects wont call for it really, but there have been and will be times that I'll need a plane"...within a year I had gone full neander.

    Also, I would recommend going with high out-of-the-box quality for your first plane so you get good results early. Then you can take on tuning and fettling as you wish.
    Last edited by Noah Magnuson; 11-06-2017 at 6:45 PM.

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