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One plane to rule them all? If I could only get one hand plane...

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Forum topic by AntonioBonomo posted 07-13-2021 09:11 PM 1635 views 0 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AntonioBonomo

9 posts in 384 days


07-13-2021 09:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hand plane question plane joining milling finishing

I have a couple of routers and flush trim bits, but for very small pieces, or for delicate work, they aren’t always practical, or even possible, so I’m considering getting a hand plane for jointing small pieces…

Let’s say I have two sides of a box that I want to be exactly the same length, and I can’t use the router – other than sanding, which isn’t the best idea (though it works, it doesn’t give a flat surface when done, though it is pretty close)...

If I was to get a single hand plane to do this kind of work, which should I get?

Maybe a jack plane? Or would that be too big?

We have a Lee Valley here (Winnipeg) or I can order from Amazon or whatever – so I’m open to suggestions, because I can shop wherever. I hear that Stanley is a good choice (I only have one of their tape measures…)

PS This is my first post (I was at work while writing it, so I forgot to say hi, and I’m glad to be here :) Thanks for having me!


44 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

11266 posts in 4886 days


#1 posted 07-13-2021 09:21 PM

It sounds like you might need a shooting board and a suitable plane.

I use a #4 the most but I’d recommend a #5 plane if you can only have one.

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bandit571

29687 posts in 3921 days


#2 posted 07-13-2021 09:26 PM

That be a Millers Falls No. 9…..same size as a Stanley No. 4….

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

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Ocelot

3386 posts in 3876 days


#3 posted 07-13-2021 09:40 PM

For very small pieces, you can indeed joint with sandpaper on a flat surface. I’m talking about 1” x 3” x 1/4” pieces. It would be impractical to use a plane because of the difficulty clamping them.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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AntonioBonomo

9 posts in 384 days


#4 posted 07-13-2021 10:16 PM



For very small pieces, you can indeed joint with sandpaper on a flat surface. I m talking about 1” x 3” x 1/4” pieces. It would be impractical to use a plane because of the difficulty clamping them.

- Ocelot

Agreed, though I’m also considering the ‘masking tape & CA’ trick to attach pieces together (put masking tape on each piece, put some CA in the middle, give it a minute to set, voila!). I plan on using that for attaching templates to pieces to be routed, instead of using double sided tape. If it works out, it may even be possible to joint those very small pieces in a small vise with a hand plane, but I won’t know until I try. Still, if the pieces are cut closely enough to begin with, sanding isn’t a terrible option, depending on the tolerance, and which side is not flush. If a show side is flush, I don’t care as much if a hidden side isn’t perfect.

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AntonioBonomo

9 posts in 384 days


#5 posted 07-13-2021 10:22 PM


It sounds like you might need a shooting board and a suitable plane.

I use a #4 the most but I d recommend a #5 plane if you can only have one.

- Loren

Thank you – I have so much to learn about hand planing. I’ve watched some of Rob Cosman’s videos, and some others, so I understand the purpose, and the technique, and the concept, but, just like driving a standard, until you’ve done it, you can’t know.


That be a Millers Falls No. 9…..same size as a Stanley No. 4….

- bandit571

I guess I’m just going to have to go down to Lee Valley and see what fits my hand… I’m assuming they’ll have some in stock. I really don’t plan on doing much more than jointing, but that’s how it always starts… Next, I’ll be selling my power tools and buying every hand plane out there.

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Dwain

623 posts in 5097 days


#6 posted 07-13-2021 10:49 PM

I think the thing to remember is that this is not one plane to rule them all. You need the appropriate plane for the appropriate job. The plane is based on the JOB, not on the number or the size. For example, you stated you want to do some jointing, so what is the length of the board? If you had a board that is less than 18 inches, a #3 or a #4 would do fine. If it was longer, I would suggest a larger plane. Since I don’t know the size of the materials you want to joint, I will suggest a #5 plane. You can do a lot of different things with it (that’s why it’s call the Jack Plane, the jack of all trades) The #5 may be a little big for what you want to do now, but it can do it and you will have a plane you can do a lot of other thing with.

If you are antsy to spend some cash, then try the Veritas Low Angle Jack plane from Lee Valley. I have one, and love it. Again, it does a lot of things really, really well, but, other than shooting board work, nothing exceptionally well. I find I can get by on a lot of tasks with it when I don’t want to grab and reset another plane.

Good luck!

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View Johnny7's profile

Johnny7

691 posts in 2328 days


#7 posted 07-13-2021 11:32 PM



It sounds like you might need a shooting board and a suitable plane.

I use a #4 the most but I d recommend a #5 plane if you can only have one.

- Loren

+1 to this.

View SMP's profile

SMP

4813 posts in 1143 days


#8 posted 07-13-2021 11:42 PM

argh, kind of just depends. if its really small pieces i like a low angle block plane, but it depends on wat you mean by jointing small pieces. like someone else mentioned, for drawer sides just this week on my Stanley 4 and shooting board.

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

3704 posts in 2214 days


#9 posted 07-14-2021 12:51 AM

That’s a horrible vicious rumor “only one plane”. #5 size is a good start. Veritas are good planes to start off with. Pay a premium price but get a plane that’s very close to work ready. Next you’re gonna get 25 comments about sharpening.

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

2281 posts in 2887 days


#10 posted 07-14-2021 01:37 AM

I might toss in a Lyon miter trimmer. It excels at removing a hair’s breath on small parts.

I have found the WoodRiver planes to be very nice and a few bucks less than Veritas or L-N. The Tayor planes are “record” not “bedrock” but of high quality. Not positive about O1 or A2 steel.

25 is a very short guess on sharpening. I have settled on M-Power, Worksharp, and Scary depending on what I need to do. Still evaluating buffer and need to re-evaluate my Makita wet. First tests of cerial box cardboard for stropping base looks very promising over my expensive leather strops.

I am not a plane expert having only 9.

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Chenier

54 posts in 945 days


#11 posted 07-14-2021 01:51 AM

I’ll be the contrarian. Start with a low angle block plane. i.e.: start small. I’ve you’ve never used a plane before, the first thing you need to do is learn how to use one. The principles are all the same regardless of the size. You can’t do as much damage with a small plane as with a bigger one, though.

Larger planes are primarily for making things flatter. It’s pretty obvious that a 6-1/4 inch long block plane is going to follow a lot more hills and valleys than a 24-inch long #8 jointer plane. Everything else is somewhere in between. Pick your poison after you know what you’re doing.

Availability is another issue. Lee Valley is currently out of stock of planes in the #4-#5 range, not expected until September. Most other quality plane manufacturers have the same problem.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

29687 posts in 3921 days


#12 posted 07-14-2021 01:52 AM

Well, long time ago, students in a school, learning the “Manual Trades” would use the #5-1/4 sized Jack plane . mainly to learn HOW to use a plane….same width as a Stanley #3 Smoother, and, at ~11” long, shorter than the Normal Jack plane’s ~ 14” length…..light, handy, easy to use…

I have both a Stanley No. 5-1/4, and the Miller Falls version…No. 11.

Now, the “fun”part…actually going out and finding one of these Junior Jack planes.

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

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

237 posts in 623 days


#13 posted 07-14-2021 02:50 AM

What are the dimensions of the project?
I have never been to a Lee Valley store, but they may have a hands on trial. Bring some of your work with you. Explain your project to them, and see what they might have to try out.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

17529 posts in 3856 days


#14 posted 07-14-2021 03:04 PM

Welcome, Antonio.

Regardless what you do (and I support the low angle block plane as your first foray into intermediate hand tooling), know that hand planes are social animals by nature. You will, sooner rather than later, have more than one. For the same reason golfers have more than a single club in their bag: they are each made to deliver results under each of the varied settings encountered in a round (completing a project).

Oh, and golfclubs are social too.

;-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

3386 posts in 3876 days


#15 posted 07-14-2021 06:45 PM

I’ve never been golfing, but I knew a guy who had an adjustable golf club. So, he would take his one club and play better then the guys with a bag full. Knda fun, I suppose it was. Planes are adjustable too.

Yes, they still make them.

https://divnickgolf.com/adjustable/

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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