Should I get a scrub plane?

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Forum topic by gargey posted 05-09-2016 02:38 AM 2354 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1013 posts in 1621 days

05-09-2016 02:38 AM

My situation:

1) I’m a fairly new hobbyist.
2) I work in my garage and have a nice workbench, but still use the garage for cars.
3) Because of #2, noise, and the romanticism of “I made this by hand” I use mostly hand tools and a worm-drive skilsaw.
4) I am very time-poor, so “go to garage sales and restore stuff” is 0.0% gonna happen. I also like new stuff.

Anyway, I’m trying to stay on the “efficient frontier” of buying things that are most incrementally useful. I think I might need (let’s be honest, want) a scrub plane.

Who has one, and what do y’all think of them?

I have a No 7, No 4-1/2, block plane, No 62, router plane, medium shoulder plane, and edge plane.

The reason I want a scrub plane is to be able to dimension lumber when the situation calls for it (ie. when it might be quicker than sawing or taking 100 passes with the No 7).

The way I see it, a scrub plane can remove material more quickly than a fore/jack plane, with the trade-off being a bit more time with my jointer to flatten stuff out after the scrub plane (compared to if I had used a fore/jack plane prior).

Example situations include: Reducing the width of a board by a 1/4 inch; in the future maybe hand jointing boards if I need to.

I’d rather not get a fore/jack plane, because I want to keep my collection fairly small due to space and $ (I prefer Lie-Nielsen). Going with one of those would be less helpful compared to the scrub plane if I wanted to remove a lot of material quickly.

I am also not interested in having multiple blades to switch into planes, I don’t want to waste the setup time.

Anyway, I’d like to hear y’all’s thoughts.

23 replies so far

View bandit571's profile


26438 posts in 3529 days

#1 posted 05-09-2016 03:00 AM

Walk into Harbor freight, pick up that Windsor No. 33 hand plane. ( ~$10, less with a coupon) when you get it to the shop, regrind the iron to a 3” radius ( about the same as aStanley #40). Sharpen it up to your specs.

You now have a #3 sized scrub plane, every bit as “hungry” as a Stanley #40, bit with a slightly wider base.

This is the one I have had for quite a few years. That iron is actually a thick one, better suited for scrub work.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1171 posts in 3376 days

#2 posted 05-09-2016 03:07 AM

^ what bandit says. A scrub isn’t a precision plane. As long as the iron is sharp and radiused, it will work. The condition of the sole or body of the plane is mostly unimportant.

But – if you are dedicated to being a hand tool user, you will likely find that a jack has greater overall utility for you. Just not at the task of hogging off material.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View WhoMe's profile


1568 posts in 4089 days

#3 posted 05-09-2016 03:23 AM

Bandit offers very sage advice. And it comes from lots of experience on his end.
Do like he says, then use the money saved towards another tool you feel could be useful to you.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View mramseyISU's profile


594 posts in 2391 days

#4 posted 05-09-2016 02:11 PM

Yeah unless you can pick up a scrub used for dirt cheap get a cheap hardware store plane like bandit suggested and make it more better. That being said if you really want a scrub plane keep an eye out on fleabay. They can be had for around $40 if you’re patient.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1621 days

#5 posted 05-09-2016 02:22 PM

Hmm. I like the idea of having all my tools match, but I get your points.

I don’t have a grinder (for blades) and grinding blades isn’t something I’m interested in spending a lot of time doing, fwiw. I can sharpen in front of the TV at night but I’d rather not do major stuff.

View OSU55's profile


2653 posts in 2835 days

#6 posted 05-09-2016 04:38 PM

Take the $’s saved by following bandit’s advice and buy a 6” bench grinder for blade cambering and primary bevels. There isn’t a lot of price difference between a used Stanley 40 and a new LN or Veritas based on recent ebay viewing, which would leave you $100 for a grinder. They can be had for <$50.

View drcodfish's profile


124 posts in 1797 days

#7 posted 05-11-2016 11:46 PM


I have a scrub plane which I have never used. It was in the ‘all or nothing’ box at the yard sale when I got my #7. I have no use for it. PM me and I will give you a description and a good price if you are interested.

-- Dr C

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1594 days

#8 posted 05-13-2016 12:06 AM

I bought an old Stanley scrub plane some years back. I like it. Don’t use it that often, but it works great when I do. Very handy. If you can get an old one cheap, go for it.

Another option, which works really fast, is a power hand plane. I got a Bosch with carbide cutters, and it is also quite useful at times..

View JayT's profile


6411 posts in 3056 days

#9 posted 05-13-2016 01:42 AM

The way I see it, a scrub plane can remove material more quickly than a fore/jack plane

- gargey

Not really. A scrub plane can take a deeper, narrow cut, while a fore plane or jack plane will take a wider cut that is not quite as deep. In the end, if you are working the face of a board, there is very little difference in how much material is removed. Plus, I feel like I have a lot more control with a fore plane (mine is a 5-1/2). It’s very easy to overdo a scrub plane and ruin a board.

A #5 set up as a jack can be generally be found dirt cheap and you aren’t talking about any more room to store it vs. a scrub. As others have mentioned, a jack/scrub/fore isn’t a precision tool and there is no reason to spend the cash to get a premium brand like LN. I’ve got one of the HF planes Bandit mentioned and used it as a scrub/jack for a while, but much prefer a good #5, 5-1/2 or 6 for that purpose. Nothing wrong with his route, just personal preference. Check out this post and video before making a final decision.

I don t have a grinder (for blades) and grinding blades isn t something I m interested in spending a lot of time doing, fwiw. I can sharpen in front of the TV at night but I d rather not do major stuff.

- gargey

Mark the radius with a sharpie, use a coarse bastard file to create the radius and then sharpen. I’ve done several that way and it really doesn’t take that much time. Once you have the radius done once, you shouldn’t have to do it again.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1621 days

#10 posted 05-17-2016 12:57 PM

So what y’all are saying is that I should get a Lie-Nielsen scrub plane. Got it, thanks.

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1594 days

#11 posted 05-17-2016 11:51 PM

Sounds like a fine idea. I’d have eventually bought one, but found that Stanley at an antique show. And it was cheap. And I was all over that rascal. It’s nice to have.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1621 days

#12 posted 05-25-2016 03:30 PM

OK, so I followed y’all’s advice and got the Lie Nielsen scrub plane.

Only had a few minutes last night, but tested it out on the 3/4” edge of 3’ of poplar. It took about 5 mins to reduce it 1/4” to my mark. I probably had it set too “hungry,” I really had to push the thing bigtime, might have been faster to reduce the depth and make more cuts faster. But I was in a hurry and didnt bother.

Probably slightly faster than sawing the thing and then jointing with a No 7, and probably more comfortable.

Anyway, I figure other potential scrub plane buyers may be interested in the commentary.

The tool will definitely get use when I need to reduce thickness by 1/8” etc. Don’t need to dull my No 4 1/2 or No 7 blades on stuff like that.

View JohnChung's profile


421 posts in 2920 days

#13 posted 05-26-2016 02:39 PM

I have the Veritas scrub plane. Love it for dimensioning lumber. If you are pushing too hard I suggest that you back off the blade. It will provide you a lot more control and determine when there is a big tearout about to happen.

View bandit571's profile


26438 posts in 3529 days

#14 posted 05-26-2016 02:44 PM

Have to make the plane “Smile”....

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1621 days

#15 posted 08-02-2016 02:06 PM


Tapered a set of cherry 1(1/2) x 1(1/2) legs down to 1×1 at the ends with a mix of rip sawing and scrub plane. In some cases used the saw for the whole cut, in some cases used the scrub plane for the entire waste removal.

After going through it, probably prefer using the saw when dealing with removal of 1/2 inch of material in hardwood, but if I was only doing 1/4” or less, I would probably choose the scrub plane.

Its cool how you can sneak up on the edge with the scrub plane, and also how you can go for a curvature quite easily. Its cool how you can go right for the line with the saw. Both are fun.

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

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