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You should be able to get into some vintage refurbished stanleys with that price range. You couldnt get into LN or veritas and i only think youd be frustrating yourself with grizzly, groz, buck bros and the like. More than likely theyd all need a bit of work to perform really well. Once you get a fair idea of what a well tuned plane is you can set out and refurbish others or save up for the pricy planes that wont need any work out of the box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As the post header state, I'm looking for a new one. I've searched throughout this forum and everyone says to buy a used one… I wonder why. Aren't there some decent brand new hand planes on the market? it's not a rocket science…

What is so bad about the brand new stanley or grizzly planes?
 

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There certainly are decent new planes on the market, just not in your price range. If you want a new plane that works well without a lot of tuning, you'll spend twice your budget. It you buy one in your price range you'll need to tune it. What the folks here are telling you, if your going to spend that much time tuning, you might as well buy a nice vintage plane and save a bunch of money.

It is your money though.
 

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Out of flat soles, poor mating between the frog and bed, dull irons … Theres a littany of items that make newer, cheaper planes a frustrating experience. My first was a Groz jack and i spent more time, effort and sandpaper on it than my next 4 vintage planes combined. The machining process just isnt up to par in comparison to the other, upper echelon planes.
 

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I've searched throughout this forum and everyone says to buy a used one… I wonder why. - TheWoodFish
It's not that everything was better back in the day, but in this case a fairly large number of craftsman depended on their planes every day and that meant they knew what good quality was and paid for it. High quality vintage planes were quite expensive when originally sold. The good news is lots of them have survived and as long as you find one that isn't pitted with rust, it's still higher quality than anything of it's current price range. As said above it's not until you get to quite a bit higher budgets that tools are available at a similar quality to good vintage planes.
 

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If you must go new, I would suggest a Wood River (as and Bandito pointed out) as it would fit into your price range. Haven't heard a lot of good feed back on the new Stanley planes, but the old ones are great.
 

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Has anyone mention the Wood River planes?

- bandit571
They're still a few times more expensive than a vintage plane and over the OP's budget.
While I think the guy in China has every right to eat too, the treatment of workers there is really bad and the Woodriver planes were straight cast copies of Lie-Nielsen planes, stealing all of their improvements. Everyone can make their own decisions, but after reading up on the Woodriver planes it seems clear the ethics of the people making and selling them are suspect. They are apparently decent quality though.
 

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As the post header state, I m looking for a new one. I ve searched throughout this forum and everyone says to buy a used one… I wonder why. Aren t there some decent brand new hand planes on the market? it s not a rocket science…

What is so bad about the brand new stanley or grizzly planes?

- TheWoodFish
For the first point. Labor, material and machinery costs are much higher in relation to income than when planes were being produced by the thousands instead of by the hundreds. There are far more good quality vintage tools out there than there are people who know how to use them. That means a buyer's market for the common planes like the smoother and block you are looking for. It'll take a lot of years before the quantity of vintage tools is reduced enough to get prices up with similar quality new ones.

For the second point. Stanley and the Grizzly planes (which I believe are made by Anant) have to cut manufacturing costs in order to get the prices that low. See the above comment about labor vs. income. That means laborers aren't as skilled, castings aren't as precise, machining has looser tolerances and materials have to be cheaper. It all adds up to a tool that is of lower quality than a a vintage one that didn't have those handicaps at the time they were manufactured.

Your comment of, it's not rocket science also applies to the manufacturing of the vintage tools. Because of the relative simplicity, the manufacturing techniques of 100 years ago were more than capable of producing a quality tool. The advancements since then don't affect planes and similar tools as much as things like electronics or automobiles.

As a couple others have mentioned, the Woodriver planes are the lowest priced new ones that consistently get good reviews. They are still quite a bit more expensive than a good refurbished vintage tool.
 

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As was said, either buy vintage and tune them up, or buy a Lie-Nielsen or Veritas plane. I have all vintage planes so far, but I've looked at the newer Stanleys and I'm not impressed. Hoping to get a new LN or Veritas plane soon.
 

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I have one of the newer Stanley "Contractor Grade" Low Angle Block planes. It works fine once you sharpen the blade and get it set up. For $30, I can't complain. Its never failed to do what I needed it to do.

http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-12-960-Contractor-Grade-Angle/dp/B0000223QX/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1419564679&sr=8-4&keywords=block+plane

You can also look around for a barely used, vintage block plane like this Craftsman (see link). It was probably made for Sears by Stanley or Seargent and would be a good user for the price. Probably needs minimal tuning.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Craftsman-Adjustable-Block-Plane-Good-Cond-W-box-manual-/221642585196?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item339aed746c
 

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You didn't state what you expect to use the planes for. A block and #4 may not be the place to start depending what you want to do.

I discuss choosing a 1st hand plane, somewhat in context of expected type of work, in my blog http://lumberjocks.com/OSU55/blog/39841. Other entries cover tuning. Absolutely nothing wrong with the Stanley 12-960 new block plane or the 12-904 #4 bench plane. There are plenty of any used/vintage Stanley Bailey #4's available, and the new or old will require about the same work to tune (many argue this, but my experience with both suggests otherwise). The vintage have the panache and patina of age and wooden instead of plastic knobs and totes, and can be had for less then the $47 for a new one. I would recommend Stanley vs Anant or Grizzly or Shop Fpx or Groz.

I have 2 block and 2 bench Stanley planes purchased new that are very good performers after being properly tuned up. Truly sharp blades are the #1 thing, and I cover how I get them in my blog as well. There is no need to spend more than $100 on a block and #4 bench plane to get started. You will spend more than that to set up a good sharpening/honing system, though. Don't fall prey to the idea that these types of planes need expensive aftermarket blades and chip breakers to work well. They just need properly tuned and sharpened OEM blades and chip breakers.

I highly recommend either going to a woodworking show, or try to find someone within a few hours that knows their way around planes to experience how a well performing plane looks and feels.

You will continue to use those 1st hand planes after you fall deep down this slippery slope and have 40 or 50 of these stupid things, because you will find situations that they don't handle, but that's a basic design limitation and the high dollar planes, while better, don't solve all of them. That's why there are different designs available, but that's for another time.
 

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I have the Lie-Nielsen low angle block and the thing is amazing. I really like their stuff but man it isn't cheap, but I can see why it isn't cheap as it is perfect out of the box. I got their router plane for Xmas and love it and picked up their large shoulder plane mint for $160 off craigslist and it is by far the best tool I have. I use that for so much now its awesome, and I stole it since the dude was liquidating his small shop since his wife thought it was to loud.

I bought the WoodRiver #4 last year and while it will take sweet shavings I can never get it to maintain the blade set like I want. It doesn't have the same feel of quality as the Lie-Nielsen block plane and really my Stanley 4 and 4C I have feel better to me. I just like the weight of the WoodRiver better.

I plan to sell my WoodRiver on fleabay and some saws I'm working on to fund a bronze Lie-Nielsen #4 soon.
 
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