I have been following this thread with interest amd would first like to commend the various writers for discussing their divergent viewpoints without coming to cyber blows.
My own opinion is that it does not matter how you get to using hand tools, but rather that you get there period. As to the buy good to see how a well tuned plane works I would say there is some merit in that, except while you may discover, at a price, what a truly well tuned plane does, you still have to know how to sharpen it after the fact.
There is no right or wrong here but I agree that sometimes people, albiet well meaning, tend to put forth the idea that buying new quality is the way to get started. It works for many but as has been pointed out by some here in this thread, the price tag of a new LN can be scary to say the least.
Another idea that seems to be out there, outside my own experience however, is that to fettle an older plane will take hours and hours of working in zen like meditation, ( all right I may be exagerating a bit) to get an old plane into working trim.
I doubt that I have ever spent more than five minutes removing the chips in the edges of old blades either plane or chisel, but if you listen to some people telling how they work the sole of a plane for hours upon hours on a calibrated machined granite work surface with the abrasive of their choice, no wonder so many people want to buy a plane that works well out of the box.
I have seen twice where someone has had the temerity to ask individuals if in fact they actually tried to use their planes before resorting to this hair shirt flattening/sharpening regime and in both cases there was no answer.
Personally I am not a metal worker I am a wood worker, or at least I aspire to be. However I have had little trouble in finding planes that are flat enough to be used, with a small amount of work. I have three LV planes, a type 17 Stanley that works well enough, and a type 13 that works very well, (cost $12). I also have four Ohio Tool planes, ( I am not a collector, he says forcefully, if not convincingly) and am for the most part done with planes.
My personal opinion is that the best advice offred in the entire thread was by Wilbur Pan who said go and find a course and get some hands on training, it will pay huge dividends.
As to the original poster he bought a plane and I am sure he will be very very happy with it, I know I would be. As I said earlier and others have also said there is no right or wrong, just differences of opinion based on individual experience.
Last edited by James Mittlefehldt; 02-01-2008 at 11:16 PM.
Craftsmanship is the skill employed in making a thing properly, and a good craftsman is one who has complete mastery over his tools and material, and who uses them with skill and honesty.
N. W. Kay