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Getting started with hand planes

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Forum topic by BrindleDog posted 12-04-2020 05:55 PM 943 views 0 times favorited 56 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BrindleDog

79 posts in 46 days


12-04-2020 05:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question hand plane mujingfang

This is my first post on this site. I have been reading through some old posts about hand planes and what sort of minimal and inexpensive tools that a hobbyist/ newb can get started with.

The gist of my post is- Can I get a couple of planes for under around $100 that will keep me occupied while I develop my skills. I saw a post where it was recommended that you have at least a Jack and Block plane. Is this sound advice?

Many of the new planes I’ve seen are hundreds of dollars a piece and I don’t have that much money to spend on this. Could you recommend some models I should look out for on Ebay and what I should expect to spend?

Some users on here were recommending Mujingfang planes and I’m not finding any vendors who carry them. Are you able to buy these online from in the USA? I’ve seen one mujingfang plane on Aliexpress, one on Ebay, and they appear out of stock on other sites. Can anyone inform me about this company and the availability of these tools?

Thanks for any help!

Dan


56 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

8248 posts in 3234 days


#1 posted 12-04-2020 07:18 PM

I started out with a Stanley #4, type 18 and moved on from there. After collecting over 50 planes I’ve slowed down.
I’ve found a 60 1/2 block plane to be the one I turn to the most. The experts will say that a #5 is the best all round hand plane. I’ve found each has it’s place and time depending on the task at hand.

I definitely need to thin the herd.

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BrindleDog

79 posts in 46 days


#2 posted 12-04-2020 07:31 PM

Thanks for the reply. I was looking at a vintage Stanley No 4 when I received your reply. How much should a Stanley no 4 or no 5 cost? Did older planes have better steel?

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sansoo22

1415 posts in 623 days


#3 posted 12-04-2020 07:31 PM

How deep down the rabbit hole do you want to go? There is an absurd amount of hand plane knowledge on this site. My recommendation for a beginner set is a block plane (preferably low angle with an adjustable mouth), a #4 and a #5. Can it all be done for $100…the eight ball says chances are slim but doable.

If I was just getting started and looking for good users I would be hunting ebay for Craftsman planes. Not a lot of collector value to them unless they are new old stock with a box or something like that. All Craftsman were made by Stanley, Miller Falls, or Sargent.

Here an example of a good looking Sargent made Craftsman #4 size smoother on ebay.

I wouldn’t even consider any of the off brand new planes. The worst thing you can do is buy a cheap plane as your first. It wont perform well, will frustrate you, and could teach some bad habbits.

Edit: Shameless sales plug but I do have a couple Craftsman block planes I was getting ready to toss on ebay. Neither is a low angle style but I can tune and sharpen them. One is a new old stock plane that still has the factory grind on the iron.

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BrindleDog

79 posts in 46 days


#4 posted 12-04-2020 07:40 PM

Thanks for the help sansoo22. I was wondering about some of the Craftmans I came across on Ebay. I’ve noticed that planes seem to be coveted and collected.

Let me know when you are ready to sell. I’d like to see them. Thanks

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therealSteveN

6971 posts in 1542 days


#5 posted 12-04-2020 08:07 PM

My suggestion is look at all the ugly ones you can, typically they go for less $$$, and it really comes down to about 3 to 4 hours of actual time to redo most any metal plane. Once redone, they may not win beauty pageants, but darned if they can’t make spectacular workers.

If I want to use it I pay a lot more attention to seeing if the parts are right for it, and does the blade have enough metal left to sharpen it a number of times. Online resources can tell ya what you need to know about parts being right, and a quick eyeballing of the metal left will tell that story.

Enjoy the journey, and welcome to LJ’s

-- Think safe, be safe

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therealSteveN

6971 posts in 1542 days


#6 posted 12-04-2020 08:20 PM

This one can become a nice worker

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-CRAFTSMAN-NO-4-HAND-PLANE-ALL-ORIGINAL-PARTS/233795747443?hash=item366f4ffe73:g:caUAAOSwq~xfvaSE

I’m partial to 9 1/2’s so I like this, are we under 50 bux?? Well you might have tax, and Shipping?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-Stanley-No-9-1-2-Block-Plane-USA/264964175818?hash=item3db11877ca:g:uekAAOSw-WdfxwcE

-- Think safe, be safe

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BrindleDog

79 posts in 46 days


#7 posted 12-04-2020 08:37 PM

Thanks a lot for the links.

View OldBull's profile

OldBull

309 posts in 264 days


#8 posted 12-04-2020 09:09 PM

Be prepared to learn as much about sharpening as you do the plane itself. Hand planing (especially in the videos) seems like a “ye ole tradition”. Just know, it took me some time to get mine sharp then learn how to read grain and how to set the blade and how to do a bunch of other stuff. It isn’t always easy. I am just saying, it is going to take some time and some frustration to get better.

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

2130 posts in 1944 days


#9 posted 12-04-2020 09:12 PM

Go to timetestedtools.com Don will sell you a plane ready to go to work. Recently he gave away a few block planes just asked for the shipping. That way you know how a plane is supposed to work. Look into a sharpening method that is just as important as the plane.

View BrindleDog's profile

BrindleDog

79 posts in 46 days


#10 posted 12-04-2020 09:21 PM

Thanks for linking that site corelz125, I think it answers every question I have.

View Robert's profile

Robert

4292 posts in 2449 days


#11 posted 12-04-2020 09:40 PM

If you want real cheap, then what Steve said ++ I’d snatch up that #4 he linked to. Just closely look at app pics I’ve bought planes with cracks in the casting cause I didn’t look close enough.

One tip is if it says “planes are sold as listed ir pictured, no refunds that’s a tip off there’s a flaw.

Cheap = rust, maybe a blade or cap iron missing. Repro handles can be bought or made.

There lots of videos on addressing rust.

If you want user ready then check DonW, but you may be out if your budget.

Have at it!

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

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

1415 posts in 623 days


#12 posted 12-04-2020 09:55 PM

Craftsman 3704BB made by Miller Falls sharp and ready to go.

Craftsman 37052 made by Stanley still in original condition as its never been used. I can tune and sharpen this one before it ships. I pretty much have this down to a science by now.

Either one $30 shipped to your door. Assuming you’re in the continental US. Otherwise we gotta discuss the shipping charge.

OldBull and Corelz both offer some really great advice. Sharpening is a skill unto itself that must be mastered if you wish to master the plane. Sometimes its a good call to spend a tad extra on plane that is user ready so you know how a sharp tuned plane should perform. From there you can pick up your next one cheaper and work it until it performs like your known good example.

View BrindleDog's profile

BrindleDog

79 posts in 46 days


#13 posted 12-04-2020 09:56 PM

Thanks for the info Robert. I have been looking through DonW’s products and they seem reasonable if he’s already restored and tuned them. I can’t believe there is a$1,300 plane for sale on there. I like the idea of buying Ohio Tools because I’m from Ohio, haha, no reason other than that. Do the Ohio Tools have a good repuation?

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corelz125

2130 posts in 1944 days


#14 posted 12-04-2020 10:05 PM

Ohio tools are good planes. They’re a little off the radar but are solid. I think Don might have a link for an Ohio tool website. There’s a lot of info there.

View BrindleDog's profile

BrindleDog

79 posts in 46 days


#15 posted 12-04-2020 10:13 PM

Wow sansoo22 those are some thin shavings. I will buy one of those. Is there any reason to go one way or the other or are they basically the same thing? What do the forum members say?

I sharpen knives and chisels on a piece of granite with sandpaper. Is that technique adequate for plane irons? I guess they need to be stropped? I’ve never really stropped anything but I understand the principle. Are there standard angles to bevel at? I’d like to have higher quality sharpening equipment. I have a small double sided diamond stone for some d2 and vg10 knives I have, but it’s too small for plane blades.

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