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I'm looking to get into planes, in fact I am going to the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event tomorrow, but I stumbled across this ad on Craig's List, which as a newbie seems too good to be true. I don't know enough about the Stanley plane history to know if these are gems or lemons. It's about an hour drive from my house, but that is no problem if its worth the trip. Any advice would be appreciated

Stanley Planes
 

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Eric,

Be careful what you find as a deal. I won't call these planes junk, they are useful, but I think you would be wiser to find older model Stanley Bailey planes rather than these. Frankly, I think they are limited in their capabilities. You may find that as you improve at using hand planes, these tools wouldn't be able to grow with you. I'd suggest finding older vintage Stanleys. Spend a little more than what is being asked here. Still, you can learn with these things.

I'd look at the Lie Nielsen's, get sick to your stomach about the prices, but test drive a few planes. You get a feel for what a plane is SUPPOSED to do. With that feeling, you will soon realize what these new Stanley's can't do.

I'd pass.
 

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These are all what I would consider modern planes. I've never owned a Stanley that new, so I'm not sure how well the frogs are designed. I'm sure they could be made into good users with some work, but if it were me (opinion only) I would invest the same amount of money in pre-ww2 planes…they are tried, true, and have proven themselves. If you are patient, you can build a set like that for far less cash, and better planes to boot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Dwain,
I dont know enough at this point to tell if these were made last year, or in 1950.
I appreciate your advice, and quick response.

There is a nice looking #4 much closer to my house which I think I will get instead.
#4
 

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Those are very reasonable prices these days. The
UK made Stanley bench planes have slightly
thicker castings than the US made ones.

Used Bailey planes are not so common to come
by in California. I saw them a lot when I
lived in the northeast, at flee markets and such.
Ebay used to be a good source but prices
have crept up with free Buy It Now listings
and shipping often adds too much to make
many ebay planes a good deal these days.
 

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That number 4 is a nice looking plane. The price is a little on the high side, but not to much. Those others aren't to high. But like everyone else, go for something older.

A word of warning! Once you start down this road be very careful. Collecting and restoring hand planes becomes very addicting! But damn is it satisfying to take and old rusting plane, Clean it up, get it nice and sharp. Then here that wonderful sound and see that shaving as it slides down a board. Just about as good as popping the top on a can of beer on a hot summer day.
 

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I have some Stanley England planes and they are fine, Those prices are good. They are not collecters items they are users,
If you can afford the LN you will find them of much better quality, but you will pay for it
 

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Thanks for all the help guys!
I did pick up that #4 this morning, I thought it was a little high, but all the cheaper old Stanley's I see are rust buckets, and obviously I am not at the level of being able to restore them. I think this #4 is a good starting point for me to learn the mechanics, and maintenance operations.

And, I ordered a #62 LAJ at the Lie-Nielsen show, No Tax, No Shipping, so I have dove into the world of planing. These 2, plus my low angle Block, should have me covered for a long time.

Eric
 

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Thanks for all the help guys!
I did pick up that #4 this morning, I thought it was a little high, but all the cheaper old Stanley s I see are rust buckets, and obviously I am not at the level of being able to restore them. I think this #4 is a good starting point for me to learn the mechanics, and maintenance operations.

Eric

- EricLew
Bingo!
 

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The most important thing with hand planes (especially old Stanleys) is to get the iron really, really sharp, and then to mate the chipbreaker properly with it. See Chris Schwarz's video on rehabbing and setting up a vintage plane for good information. There are a lot of other youtube videos on the topic also.
 

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Eric,

Overall my experience with buying planes off EBay is not good. And if you don't have time searching for that flea market/garage sale "find" and would rather not spend your time fiddling and fettling, my advice is buy a newer, better made plane. Ending up in a bidding war and $100 (or more) in a handplane is not uncommon.

For comparable money to an EBay, IMO the WoodRiver V3 plane is quite comparable to LN a fraction of the cost. I think this is a worthwhile consideration for anyone starting out. And you can always send it back if you don't like it (but I doubt you will.) My impression is the LN irons are a bit better but other than that I can barely tell this diff. Yes, it is made in China but they have managed to maintain QC. This can be a big issue for some people, but almost everything is MIC anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you, and I agree. I haven't heard or read a single bad word about the WoodRiver V3 planes. They get rave reviews. I was planning on going that direction, especially since there is a Woodcraft just a few miles from my house, so I can see and touch them without ordering sight unseen.

Since most of the Lie-Nielsens are almost twice the price of the WoodRivers, the WoodRivers are definitely the way for a newbie like me to go, but the Lie-Nielsen Low Angle Jack was only $30 more than the WoodRiver, and since I didn't pay sales tax, they were virtually the same price, so this was a great deal.

I may still add either a 4 1/2 or a 5 1/2, and if so, that one will definitely be a WoodRiver. Then I will have one of each of the 3 brands to see the differences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So Woodcraft now has a 20% off sale on all the Wood River planes.

Since I'm a power tool guy, just starting to get into hand planing. I now have a Stanley Low angle block, a Stanley #4, and a Lie-Nielson Low angle Jack. Which plane would you recommend I add next, or does this pretty much cover it since I dont buy rough sawn wood? I don't want to miss the opportunity of that sale

Thank you !
 

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For most power tool-centric shops, a block plane and smoother will cover the vast majority of general planing tasks. If you do much furniture work, then a shoulder plane would be something to consider for joinery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Jay, I mostly do furniture, and was thinking a shoulder plane would probably add the most new functionality.
 

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A premium #4 is the plane I use the most.
Mine is a L-N with an aftermarket iron and
chipbreaker. IBC I think, I got it on a closeout
price from Woodcraft. I think the IBC chipbreaker
is superior to the Lie-Nielsen one.

Your final surfacing will almost always be done
with a #4, so unless you want to get into shooting
joints by hand with a jointer, an upgraded #4
might be worth considering.

Also a no. 80 style cabinet scraper is very useful.
It is possible to use high angle frogs or back-beveled
irons to plane difficult woods, but a no. 80 and
a set of card scrapers can get you out of a lot
of trouble if the planes you have can't easily
handle the wood you're working.

Other than that a regular old used Bailey jack is
a useful plane to have one or two of on hand
to leave set up for rougher and hogging cuts.
It's easier to get a good camber on a bevel-down
iron. Having duplicate planes is usually just a
matter of expediency. If I'm using one plane
and I can't figure out a way to get the type of
cut I want with it easily, I'll grab another and
try it out to see if the setup is better for the task.

Joinery planes are valuable too. Both a shoulder
plane and a side rabbet plane pair can come in
very handy in furniture work. I have had my
best results with a heavy shoulder plane as the
mass helps keep the iron in the cut when working
end grain.
 

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If you have previously been using power tools:

"Where the router bit stops…" I would suggest looking at where you stop routing or stop using the dado blades and decide if you need to cleanup or square-up the cut you just made. A router plane would help level out the bottom of the groove that either the router or dado set made. The question is then: do you need to clean it up? If you do or you decide you want to get it that little bit cleaner or tighter, then the router plane would be something to investigate.

A lot of the specialty planes, such as the shoulder plane you mention, deal with nagging little problems of fit and finish. Tenon a little too thick or not quite square, the shoulder plane will help when the larger planes don't fit. Rabbet or dado not deep enough, grab a rabbeting plane or a shoulder plane. Dado too narrow, a side-rabbet plane will widen it that little bit to allow a shelf to fit it.

It's easy to buy one of everything ever made but it doesn't mean you need it or will ever use it. So take the time to do some research after thinking about what gave you problems. There is likely a tool to deal with it.
 

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I will second the shoulder plane and router plane as the next logical choices. After you have a jack and #4, those two can do a lot of jobs you may otherwise have been trying to use sanders or power tools to accomplish. Only they will do it accurately, more safely and with greater ease.

I got the LV router plane because it also has the inlay head you can get, and that is something I want to try in the future. I also got the LV medium shoulder plane. I don't think I would have regretted getting the large, but only since I already had the router plane for jobs where the large would have been too large. If you go shoulder first, definitely get the medium. It is a good size for many things.

Brian
 
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