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I am a fairly new member to lumber jocks and I'd like to ask for help choosing a plane. I build furniture pieces using rough milled lumber such as ash, oak, black walnut and cedar. I have to smooth large surfaces and have been using a harbor freight #4 bench plane. It is a waste of time even after spending endless hours "tuning it up". Nothing works nice about this plane and I want to choose a nicer plane for leveling my work. Please help!
 

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There are several options available. I would suggest you start with a #5 jack plane. This could be used for rough work like dimensioning the wood and could then be adjusted to use as a smoother. The down side to this is that it will not excel as a smoother unless you're willing to spend some time re-honing the iron before you start smoothing. IMHO, you should have one (or more) planes fro the dimension side and another (or more) for smoothing. If you're working with large pieces, it might make more sense to have a 7 or 8 for flattening before you move to a smoother. There are several of us here that can sell you good planes at fair prices. Once you decide what you want, just post a WTB (want to buy) in the trade and swap section.
 

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You can buy a Bailey #4 and a #5 on ebay for probably
about $50 for the pair. Several other badges are of comparable
quality.

Stanley has a new line of "Sweetheart" planes that hit a price
point somewhat lower than Lie Nielsen or Veritas premium
planes while still offering some premium features.
 

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I'm a fan of starting with a decent #5 and a block plane. A #4 is fine too. A #5 is the equivalent of a general purpose/combo saw blade…not as good at any particular thing as a more specialized size, but very versatile for most things. Bailey, Record, Millers Falls, Sargent VBM, Union, and Keen Kutter all have some nice examples. I try to steer clear of the econo versions of any of these, though they can all be made to work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So I broke down and bought a Bosch hand planER! I'd does the majority of the work but a plane is most def still needed. Next weekend I'm going to visit my uncle who has my grandpas old tools. He was a carpenter by trade and I guess I'm able to claim what I want out of the collection. All his planes were wood bodied and well cared for. Thank you all for the help, I'm young and learning woodworking any way I can!!
 

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A Stanley Bailey #5 to clean up rough stuff. I like a 4-1/2 for smoothing, wider and heavier than a #4, and uses the same blade/breaker as the #7, which you'll need for jointing boards and flattening glue ups. I have plane tuning info in my LJ's blog, as well as my opinion on where to start with handplanes.
 
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