One plane with multiple blades or multiple planes?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by rolandstronghammer posted 05-03-2017 03:16 PM 1355 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rolandstronghammer's profile


49 posts in 1466 days

05-03-2017 03:16 PM

I have a Stanley No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane. I used it intially to flatted my workbench. Now im interested in getting some rough lumber and as I cant afford a large power jointer, I am considering getting other hand planes. I i’d ideally need a Fore Plane for rouging in the shape, a No. 4 Smoothing Plane for finishing, and a No. 7 Jointer for straightening long boards.

Alternatively I could get myself a toothed blade for my no 62 to act as my fore plane, and a third blade sharpened at 45 degrees for smoothing. If I get the blades I spend $80. If I buy planes to accomplish the same objective, I’m sure they will work better but at a significantly higher cost.

Not sure what to do and would love to hear your suggestions particularly with regard to function while keeping in mind the cost.

Thank you,


9 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4701 days

#1 posted 05-03-2017 03:58 PM

The length of the plane impacts it’s function for different tasks. The longer planes are better for truing boards because they do not follow the highs and lows of the board. Smoothing planes are shorter so they follow the surface more closely.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to find old Stanley in that price range.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Robert's profile


3599 posts in 2084 days

#2 posted 05-03-2017 03:58 PM

If affordable, I prefer not swapping out blades, but have mulitple planes.

A #5 jack or fore plane offers the advantage of cambered blade but can’t replace a scrub plane.

But a #6 does what a 5 can do plus have added jointer capability.

So I would say, a scrub plane and a 6. Add a 7 or 8 jointer if desired.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View JCamp's profile


1037 posts in 1154 days

#3 posted 05-03-2017 05:44 PM

Any chance you can find a cheap ish used power planer? It will make fast work of rough cut. Unless you are just doing small projects I would keep and eye out for a cheap power planers. Youll likely still need a hand plane but a power one will make a big project so much easier

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Don W's profile

Don W

19422 posts in 3171 days

#4 posted 05-03-2017 11:54 PM

its all in your perception. When I get a plane dialed in I don’t want to move it until it needs sharpening.

And the, oh i need to hit that one more time with the smoother but my plane is set up for a jack right now!!

For the price of good user planes, eventually you should have a boat load, but then you’d need a boat. Don’t forget the oars, where are the life jackets.

It never ends!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View HokieKen's profile


11985 posts in 1742 days

#5 posted 05-04-2017 11:41 AM

I know (from experience) that it seems logical and efficient to have multiple blades instead of multiple planes. It’s not. At least it wasn’t for me. And the better I get at using planes, the more I expect from them which means that fettling becomes more and more precise.

For instance, I currently have two #4s. One is set up for smoothing. The iron is sharpened straight across with the corners just slightly broken to avoid tracks. The chipbreaker is set ~1/64” from the cutting edge and the frog is set so the mouth is just barely open. I typically take shavings around .001 with this plane.

Now, my second #4 is set up as a scrub with a large camber on the iron. The chipbreaker is set about 1/8” back and I take shavings 1/16” or better. The frog is set so the iron is supported by the back of the mouth at the bottom and the throat is wide open to let the thick shavings through.

So, if I had a single plane, it would take me at least 15 minutes to swap out irons, move the frog and get everything fettled. And that’s pretty optimistic.

That being said, I think you could use your plane with 2 irons as a fore plane and a smoother. However, I’d want something bevel-down and shorter to use for dressing raw stock and if you’re four-squaring boards longer than 3-4 feet on a regular basis, you’ll probably want to add a #7 or #8 eventually. I will also say that you can pick up the cheapest #3 or #4 you can find (within reason) and it will be a perfectly usable scrub plane. You don’t even need a flat sole. Just something that can hold a blade without chattering while it eats some heavy cuts. You can even file the mouth open if it’s too tight.

This is all subjective and strictly my opinion of course. You may be able to get a couple extra irons and it work just fine for you. Just want you to be aware that it’s really not always as easy as just popping one cutter out and dropping another one in. Just my $.02 so take it with a grain of salt!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View EricTwice's profile


248 posts in 1136 days

#6 posted 05-04-2017 12:02 PM

I am for multiple planes. It is so much more convenient to have multiple bodies set up to do different things.

I have 3-#3s, and 2-#4s and all of them are set up differently. It is so much nicer to not have to change things when I need to do something. Watch your yard sales and flea markets. look for a good brand in good condition, something that can be rehab’ed.

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

View rolandstronghammer's profile


49 posts in 1466 days

#7 posted 05-04-2017 01:56 PM

After the same advice from you all I decided to get a plane for each purpose. I decided to start by adding the Veritas No. 4 Smoothing Plane.

Thank you for helping me make the right decision.

View Ripper70's profile


1368 posts in 1512 days

#8 posted 05-04-2017 02:07 PM

After the same advice from you all I decided to get a plane for each purpose. I decided to start by adding the Veritas No. 4 Smoothing Plane.

Thank you for helping me make the right decision.

- rolandstronghammer

So much for economy. Well, at least when your set is complete it’ll be of the highest quality. ;^)

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View JayT's profile


6356 posts in 2814 days

#9 posted 05-04-2017 02:29 PM

A smoothing plane is a good place to invest in quality.

When you get to wanting a scrub or fore plane, however, find a $20 vintage #5 to use for rough work. There is no reason to spend on a premium plane for a tool that doesn’t require any level of sensitivity and precision.

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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics