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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello

I started doing woodworking as a hobby some months ago. Right now, the fun begins because I finally managed to learn how to sharpen my plane and chisels. So far, I have only one plane (Stanley 4 1/2) which serves me very well.
However, reading the books on woodworking it is said that it is impossible to straighten longer boards (especially true edges) if there is no longer plane available. So, I was thinking about buying Stanley 5 or 5 1/2?
Is it really necessary to have on of these?
 

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I do not think it is impossible to use a number 4 or 4 1/2 to flatten and joint accurately.

When I first started in hand tools 7 years ago, I found a guy on the web (Paul Sellers) whose stated objective was to try and get as many folks as possible into hand tool woodworking without having to go out and buy hundreds or thousands of dollars in tools. He advocated heavily, and still does, that you can do anything with a #4 or 4 1/2, including jointing boards. I have seen many of his older videos where he did just that on various boards of various lengths. My first plane was a cheap Stanley knock-off #4, which I later upgraded to a Wood River. I was hit and miss and it took a lot of fiddling with the board to get it square and flat on all four sides. I now have an older Stanley 5 and 7, because I do things from 9" to 6' long, both faces and sides, and while I know a master can do that with a number 4, it is a ton of donkey work and my shop time is limited to Saturdays. Full disclosure, I also use a table saw to rip to close dimension, a drill press, and a 10" band saw for various things.

In the end, I would say that if you like the hand tool journey, your life can be made somewhat more complete if you add a few things to your tool arsenal. A number 5 or 5 1/2 is a good next step in planing.
 

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Hey, welcome!

Agree with the above comments and wanted to add a personal point of view. My answer is, it depends... A longer flat platform like found in a jack plane will help flatten out longer or wider planks of wood. That said, if you're just in need of standard coverage for household or small projects like trimming down a door frame or cleaning up the edges of 3/4 inch planks then a smaller block plane works well. It's always fun to build up your shop tools so don't stop! But you shouldn't need to feel like you rush out and buy one unless a specific project calls for it...
 

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For someone who is learning how to use hand planes, I think that a #5 will be a good addition. While it is possible to do it all with a #4, a #5 makes it easier to flatten and straighten without just following the contours of the unflat/unstraight piece. In fact, if I only had one hand plane (yeah right), I would want a #5 over a #4. Problem is, once add the #5, you will want a # 7 and a #2.

As the saying goes, if you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want some milk. :)
 

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Hello

I started doing woodworking as a hobby some months ago. Right now, the fun begins because I finally managed to learn how to sharpen my plane and chisels. So far, I have only one plane (Stanley 4 1/2) which serves me very well.
However, reading the books on woodworking it is said that it is impossible to straighten longer boards (especially true edges) if there is no longer plane available. So, I was thinking about buying Stanley 5 or 5 1/2?
Is it really necessary to have on of these?
I've had the # 5 jack for many years and received the # 51/2 jack as a Christmas present this year from my wife. I used the # 5 1/2 to edge and smooth the side and top panels for one of two chest of drawers this past week I'm building. I could tell the difference in the weight but not so much the length between the two. I've also used the # 5 many times to do the same things I did with the # 5 1/2. Either or I enjoy using both the planes. I think anything longer than the boards on the chest of drawers I would have went with a # 7 to joint them. I also have the # 4 and # 4 1/2 smoothers but haven't used either of them on this project since the # 5 1/2 did just as good a job.
 

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The No. 5 is called a Jack plane...because it is the "Jack of all trades". Depending on how the iron is ground...it can..
Smooth a board
Joint an edge
Flatten a rough board
And, can be used on a "Chuting Board" to true cut ends.

Shelf Shelving Wood Gas Hardwood

But..why limit one's self....These range from block planes , through #3 to #8 bench planes
There is a smaller Jack plane, called a Junior Jack...based on a #3 sized plane..
Automotive tire Bumper Wood Vise Scrub plane

11" long, instead of the 14" of a normal Jack. I use this a lot because of the size of Projects I normally build. Shavings are from Jointer work.
Careful, though...these things are as bad as Mice...
Automotive design Tool Hand tool Metal Wood

They will multiply....
 

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Adding to what Bandit has already posted: a jack plane can do many tasks, from dressing edges to some smoothing, from carpentry to fine work. A jack plane and a block plane will go a long way to letting you decide if you like woodworking, without spending a lot of dollars. Bailey #5’s are readily available in the wild, on Ebay or from dealers, such as Hyperkitten or Patrick Leach (as are block planes). You will also need to learn basic sharpening.

The guys on this forum will give you plenty of spot on advice and more useful than YouTubers. I’ve been at this more than fifty years, and generally what I see here, is spot on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for the great advice. I spent a lot of time learning how to sharpen until I got some decent results. But now I feel the fun starts because at least my plane is sharp and it does produce good results.
I will try to find some Stanley 5 or 5 1/2 and see how it performs for me.
 

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Ian Kirby used to teach everything with a number four and jointer. Jack planes are probably the most common though and a good size for a carpenter if not a fine woodworker. You used to be able to get them for bargain prices but I haven't bought planes in years and from what I've seen Buy it Now sellers on ebay want too much for them. Stick to the auctions if you want to get some bargains and some of the lesser known brands are in less demand. Good luck.
 

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I'll chime in just because I've only been seriously using hand planes for about 3 years now so I'm still a newbie with planes. In the beginning I got bit by the "gotta have"bug and ended up with about a dozen Stanley hand planes, the older Stanley/Bailey ones ranging from the early 1900's. Ive got from #7 down to #3., They did teach me a ton about cleaning and care and sharpening which I did need. But I can say I use primarily the #4 and the 9 1/2 block plane. The rest are pretty much eye candy. I do take then down occasionally to run over a board for practice and such but the 4 and 9 1/2 block are my work horses.

Chris
 
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I have taken the Paul Sellers way. (What he demonstrate, otherwise he has many planes)
I use a #4.
I have also used a 57 cm (~22.5") long wooden plane on my workbench top.
Now I see you are from Germany. It is probably much easier to find wooden plane here in continental Europe.
Before spending money on more bench plane, IMO it is better to buy some specialty planes:
  • router plane (or make one);
  • plough plane;
  • rebate plane;
  • flat spokeshave;
  • cabinet scraper.
Now, if you already have those hereabove, long wooden planes are less tiring to use than metal ones. see here
So if you can buy more planes, here is P.S. strategy to prepare wood with 4 planes.

About how flat pieces must be, read the last Paul Sellers blog post.
Interesting point of view.

Paul sellers has videos
  • about making a router plane (if you don't find the hardware by yourself, he sells a kit)
  • about making a rebate plane.
and a lot of other things.



edit
other interesting post
The wider planes are useful when jointing two boards together in a single operation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It is far easier to find wooden planes in Europe for sure. However, I just do not feel I will be able to adjust them properly and would like to stick to steel ones instead. Although they look great (hey, these are wooden tools for working with wood) they are at least for me kind of not-so-precise and sturdy tools. In hands of an experienced carpenter, I guess they work just fine.
Thank you for the great links. I do follow Paul Seller's blog and YouTube channel and do like how he explains things. As any beginner, I did exaggerate flatness and squareness since I do not have experience with which kind of precision is really needed for a project. So it is never enough since I do not know when to stop and always think over if the parts are precise enough to fit well.
 

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[...] I just do not feel I will be able to adjust them properly and would like to stick to steel ones instead. [...]
The metal ones seems easier to adjust. That is only true after one has tuned them properly; there are so many things to fettle...
You can experiment with (edit: a wooden) one, they are available on flea market for a few EUR only. It is intimidating but not really difficult.
 

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If fairly new to woodworking (or handtools), keep in mind what you want to be: a woodworker or an accumulator of tools. Put aside what some self proclaimed YouTube gurus say you need and just start using the tool. Play around with the blade depth adjuster. You don’t need a sole tested for flat to a ten-thousandth of an inch. Sides square to the sole? Isn’t there a lateral adjuster on the frog?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, although collecting tools is also a nice thing, I actually don't have enough space for them :) So, I would rather stick with buying tools that I really need.
What I experienced with my Stanley 4 1/2 is planning hardwood (for example, yesterday I planned some white oak boards) is that it is somehow small and it bounced off the wood surface until the surface was more or less flat. I tried to get a bigger bite, but then I ran at risk of biting too much and living marks when I don't want them.
Not sure if a bigger plane like Stanley 5 or 5 1/2 would fix this problem. The angle on these planes is the same as for my 4 plane, right?
 

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I have a wide variety of lengths and types of planes for different applications. I have planes that are sharpened to be smoothing planes and others that are the same length that has plane irons which are sharpened straight across. Some of my planes are set for thick shaving and others are set for making thin shavings.
 
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