Jump to content

(hand)planes, What Do I Need To Start Out?


Recommended Posts

Hi all!

It seems that I need / could realy use a plane.

Now I've been browsing around speciality stores and webshops, and I'm a bit overwhelmed by the different types and sizes I can get.

For obvious reasons, I can't exactly go out and buy all different models and sizes.

As far as I can see, I just need something for trueing / joinging laminates and surfaces, and for getting the contours on the body.

However, I realise I may need one for different jobs too, like say thicknessing and and maybe radiusing / contouring the neck.

Dunno if thicknessing is essential, and if radiusing or contouring can only really be done with a plane..

Anyhow, I need some input for type and size for one or two planes that serve me for any job I need for the time being.

Also, does anyone know if Ibex is a good plane brand?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all!

It seems that I need / could realy use a plane.

Now I've been browsing around speciality stores and webshops, and I'm a bit overwhelmed by the different types and sizes I can get.

For obvious reasons, I can't exactly go out and buy all different models and sizes.

As far as I can see, I just need something for trueing / joinging laminates and surfaces, and for getting the contours on the body.

However, I realise I may need one for different jobs too, like say thicknessing and and maybe radiusing / contouring the neck.

Dunno if thicknessing is essential, and if radiusing or contouring can only really be done with a plane..

Anyhow, I need some input for type and size for one or two planes that serve me for any job I need for the time being.

Also, does anyone know if Ibex is a good plane brand?

Ok, to do all the different jobs you've listed, you'll need a lot of planes.

Truing/joining laminates and surfaces:Get a jack plane, you won't need bigger than that (#7 or jointer planes are unnecessary). a Veritas Low Angle Jack plane would be a good start here. Maybe a smoothing plane (#4) to finish up.

Contouring a body: You can get carving planes by brands like Ibex, which are good for this, but power tools or spokeshaves would be a better bet for carving a top.

Thicknessing the neck: More easily done on a bandsaw (cutting the neck profile from the side), or with a router jig.

Radiusing the neck: If you're talking about radiusing the fretboard, then don't use a plane for this, get a Radius sanding block and do it that way. If you're talking about shaping the back of the neck, then Use a spokeshave, or rasps and sanding, more effective than using a plane.

In all honesty you'd be better off getting a router and making some jigs. You could do all the above with a router and a combination of bits and a couple of jigs. You'll spend more on the handplanes, plus there's a steeper learning curve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A jack plane would certainly be a good choice no7 are not unnecessary but to start you off a jack will do. you can thickness very successfully with a plane it might take more time but if you read up on how to do it yu'll probably find it quite rewarding.

I'd agree again that a spoke shave would be your best bet for the neck. depending on the contouring on you body you might also need a curved one.

in addition a pair of flat and curved scraper would be ideal.

routers are very useful but all woodworkers should have some planes you learn to read the wood and note grain direction and when you get the hang of it you'll love it for its ability to take of that tiny sliver rtequired without the noise and hassle of a router.

you can find ones second hand for cheap on ebay and garage sales etc I wouldn't go out and splurge a ton on something shiny and new.

Edited by joshvegas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The trouble with second hand planes on eBay or garage sales are that without a lot of research you won't have a clue which ones are good and which are not. I love my old stanley planes (#5 1/2 and #4) but that's because they're both pre-war, straight from my Grandad, and have been well cared for.

Starting to plane with cheap poor quality planes can be incredibly frustrating for a user. That's why I recommend something like the Veritas LAJ - it is big enough to true up blanks with, and can be adjusted to smooth reasonably well. They're not that expensive these days, and they work straight out the box, which shouldn't be overestimated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't fault you for that my bad. I meant to suggest that if money is a issue put the work in, good old tools aren't to expenxive but you need to do the research.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't fault you for that my bad. I meant to suggest that if money is a issue put the work in, good old tools aren't to expenxive but you need to do the research.

Totally agree :D there is something satisfying about tuning a plane from something that barely cuts to something that swishes off razor thin shavings!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's why I recommend something like the Veritas LAJ - it is big enough to true up blanks with, and can be adjusted to smooth reasonably well. They're not that expensive these days, and they work straight out the box, which shouldn't be overestimated.

I agree with you. Getting my Stanley #5 tuned up took a few hours and some blood. Then again, it was "free time", and the blood was cheap.

Lee Valley has 4 planes I'd like to get and 2 spokeshaves. I want them, but don't need them, and they'd cost me more than an 8" spiral cutter head jointer from Grizzly. It's tough making a decision like that.

Oh wait, no it's not, I just remembered I don't have the money to spend on either option right now :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I removed my grandpas much loved no7 from the grasps of my dad who doesn't get looking after tools. I like getting something that needs a bit of work You learn much more about a plane that way and that first perfect curl you get is superb!

http://www.toolbazaar.co.uk this place is very close to me and if anyone is looking for old plane irons (of the quality stanley variety etc) he lot's I got some excellent bits and pieces from him recently. Including a hugely thick NOS wedge shaped iron to build a plane around!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got a couple millers fall planes off ebay (14 and 9 inch I believe) for a decent price (50 bucks). I haven't gotten to use them, no time since I moved, but they appear to be well made. All they need is a little sharpening and a little rust removal, no pitting or anything, and they should be good to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 on tuning, retuning and constantly maintaining every tool you buy....most tools are cheaper than the workpieces/project they work on, plus the satisfaction of creating a tool that produces fine results is great. Making wood smaller has never been so satisfying!

I mainly run a No.7 (cheap make, fettled over a ground granite surface with a higher quality iron installed), a No.5 (mid-priced, again fettled with a new iron) and a 5-1/2 which needed a bit of restoring although I generally stick to the 5 and the 7 and don't actually find myself using the 5-1/2.

I also have an assortment of small fingerplanes when I don't feel like using chisels :-D

To be honest, if you have the need then there is a plane suited to every single job, and plenty of opinions as to what you'll need for what. Buy two or three mainstays and see what jobs you find yourself doing which require more specific planes. No.5, No.4, No.7 in that order, in my opinion.

Supernova is correct about cheaper planes being somewhat frustrating - there's a certain point at which a tuneable bargain becomes a dog. My Axminster No.5 is a joy to use compared to it's OOTB state, which to be fair wasn't that bad but definitely not satisfactory as-was. Same with my No.7 which I thought would be trash - it just needed the aftercare to bring it up to scratch which a lot of tools don't get before being boxed and sold.

As mentioned, you'll get more use out of a plane for jointing surfaces and trueing up the resulting blanks. Contouring necks is best kept within the remit of spokeshaves and routing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your replies everyone :D

I just noticed that I started the topic in the wrong forum. Should've been in T&ST, but oh well..

I kinda forgot to mention spokeshaves, since even though they are different tools for different jobs, they're usualy bunched together as a single category.

(or maybe I'm just ignorant B))

Anyhow, I live in the Netherlands (E.U.) and getting quality specialality tools is somewhat a challenge.

Despite living in one of the most modernised / high population density countries (twice the population of NY city, about the same total area of Maryland)on this side of the globe..

Disintrest for crafts and D-I-Y, coupled with lack of suppliers of tools, woods, finishing materials, and even complete instruments, underdeveloped 2nd market.. It's a small miracle if you can find what you are looking for, and even then you'll pay ultra premium prices for it.. (and add 19% sales tax on that)..

Also, the difficulty of tools and supplies having different names in different languages, and different brands usualy too..

Anyhow, rant over, and back on topic. :D

I've been looking at Veritas, and they sure do look affordable. However, there seems to be only one supplier in the nation, and the only thing they have from Veritas that looks like what I'm looking for is a low-angled spokeshave.

However, they care other brands too.

They have Lie-Nielsen (a bit too steep for my budget)

Stanley (been adviced to avoid it..)

Also, they have brands that I'm unfamilliar with some that are (quite) a bit cheaper, too cheap to be true but..

Kunz, Clifton, Record, and Anant.

I don't mind a tool that needs some care and tuning, if I would appreciate and understand my tool better that way.

But there is a difference between a tool that is unusable out of the box but is a great quality tool if you take care of it,

and a tool that needs constant readjustment and tuning and will still be a P-O-S regardless.

So I guess I'm going to look at other suppliers in Europe, mainly UK and Germany, and watch the 2nd hands here even though it's probably futile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

www.axminster.co.uk is a good source over here in the UK although I do agree that they can be a little pricey sometimes. Still, a few pounds (or Euros) more than is necessary for a tool is better than not having (or supporting) that supplier in the first place. As mentioned, my No.5 plane from Axminster was a bargain for the condition you can tune it to, plus it's solid. The handles don't flap around like some cheap planes I could mention for example! :-D

You may want to bring Mattia into this discussion as i'm sure he can aid you directly since he's in Amsterdam.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm actualy considering Stanley.

Are they realy *that* bad now, or do they just need a bit of tuning and preparing love?

I don't mind putting a bit of energy and time into my tools, as longs as it won't let me down regardless of the care I put into it.

Those UK links look very good, but it doesn't seem I can get very far without a credit card.

Silly how a aftertought can become a major obstacle for getting this project done succesfully =/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not so much that you can't tune up the new Stanley planes. You can. But you can probably get an older one for less, and if it's in good condition, it's probably a higher quality plane.

I asked my wife for the Lee Valley bevel up jointer plane for a 10th aniversary present.

Now I just have to figure out what to get her!

Todd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've mailed my order to the guy from toolsbazaar for a 2nd hand Stanley #5 Jackplane.

He told me he'd be away till monday next week, but I'm very..hmm..anxious about the thing.

Especialy considering the mahagony planks I sawed today need some trueing.

Don't have acces to a bandsaw, so you can guess what the results were.

Not that it matters, since I'll be gone from tommorow till sunday / monday myself, but still :D

I asked my wife for the Lee Valley bevel up jointer plane for a 10th aniversary present.

Now I just have to figure out what to get her!

Todd

A guitar you made for her!

You probably shouldn't make a pointy one with bloodsplatters or skull decals, unless your one of *those* kind of couples :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got a couple of planes - a current Stanley block plane and a Buck Bros 14" jack. I've honed them both in perfectly, so they work great now, but it wasn't until after years of frustration that I realized how junky they were in their stock form. It took me forever to level the sole of the jack plane - it was quite out of flat! Neither of them work great for use with a shooting board, as their sides are both out of square enough to be a hassle.

So now I'm looking at purchasing new planes, (both because I want MORE TOOLS and eventually to replace these in my arsenal as well) and I've decided I'd rather spend more than put more time into tweaking my tools. (I've tweaked enough planes and shaves in my life to be happy) So this thread was handy.

One thing I've got a question about - I've been looking at the bevel-up planes from Veritas - I have a bit of experience with this, as my block plane is bevel up - usually I choose which of my planes to use based on the size, but in some places I've found the bevel up works better than the jack plane due to grain orientation, etc. I read about all the places the low-angle, bevel up planes work better than traditional designs - but are there disadvantages to this type of design? Are there places where a traditional plane would shine? Replacing the blade with one ground at a different angle, as many of the Veritas designs allow, basically would compensate for this, though, correct?

I guess I'm asking if I should look at a mixture of bevel-up/low-angle planes and traditional planes as I purchase new planes, or if the LA/BU planes would be fine on their own with extra blades at hand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grizzly makes some great inexpensive planes based on the Stanleys. I bought a 22" Jack plane (they called it a smoothing plane) that I use ALL the time. I can make a perfect and flat compound radius on a fingerboard with that baby. I seriously doubt if any CNC, or belt sanding jig could match the flatness of a handplane. I also have a low angle block plane with an adjustable mouth, and some of those small cast iron ones with the handle that I ground the soles rounder on. Spokeshaves are indispensable, but for quickly hogging wood off of necks and bodies I use a drawknife. Speaking of handtools, I vote for a good selection of chisels too. Grizzly has some surprisingly cheap for the quality, like all their stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A guitar you made for her!

You probably shouldn't make a pointy one with bloodsplatters or skull decals, unless your one of *those* kind of couples :D

Thanks, but I already bought her a baby Taylor a few years ago. She never touches it. I'll come up with something.

Todd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A guitar you made for her!

You probably shouldn't make a pointy one with bloodsplatters or skull decals, unless your one of *those* kind of couples :D

Thanks, but I already bought her a baby Taylor a few years ago. She never touches it. I'll come up with something.

Todd

Perhaps then a "pointy one with bloodsplatters or skull decals" is actually what she wants :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting thing about plane soles they don't need to be flat bottomed aslong as the toe, heel and mouth are level and square.

Which is where I stopped leveling the sole … after about three hours…

(okay, I'm exaggerating, but that thing was seriously out of true! It's funny, because after I hit it enough to see where the high and low spots where, I noticed the box said it was precision milled. Apparently by drunken machinists. The mouth is still low enough to be rather noticable, but everything else is levelled; I stopped because it was taking forever since I had to remove material over the entire plane sole to take get the mouth any more even.)

I hear that the current model Stanleys made in the UK are to a better quality than what they sell in the States - anyone know if there's any truth to this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A guitar you made for her!

You probably shouldn't make a pointy one with bloodsplatters or skull decals, unless your one of *those* kind of couples :D

Thanks, but I already bought her a baby Taylor a few years ago. She never touches it. I'll come up with something.

Todd

Perhaps then a "pointy one with bloodsplatters or skull decals" is actually what she wants B)

She's a child psychiatrist. The only way that might fly would be if I could get my cousin to have to some old rock stars sign it. Then it would make a good wall prop. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...