[Solved] Plane recommendation
So, looking at getting a plane and bewildered by choices. What do you recommend? Near as I can tell it’s a Stanley No. 4 (“smoothing plane”) in the videos, but I could be wrong.
Different planes are used for different applications eg for jointing two pieces together a longer sole plane is best, but you still have to do a bit of work with a hand scraper to get a good join. Mark has a video on this. Also good for evening out rough timber and big waste removal if you don't have any machines. Smoothing planes re better for finishing and both can be used across the grain to avoid tear out.
Stanley is a solid make but you often have to flatten the sole with scraper and straight edge as they can be a bit wobbly. The Gucci boys toys are Lie Neilsen but very pricey and are good to straight from the box.
Lie Nielsen are lovely, but pricey, as Rocknroller says.
If I was in the market for a new plane, then I'd probably look at Quangsheng, they're Chinese but they're quality. I don't think anything Workshop Heaven stock is bad and that's their "affordable" line (they're not cheap, just not in the Lie Nielsen or Clifton sort of bracket.
And certainly not in the Holtey price bracket (I recommend sitting down before you look up prices on those!).
Mark used to run his workshops with nothing but a couple of little block planes, and in those days we actually did a lot of planing because he didn't have thicknessers and thickness sanders. It just took patience and care.
All of my planes are vintage Stanleys, either inherited from my grandfather (I need to restore those) or from the vintage toolshop.
I don't have any big machines apart from a router and bench drill so it's still hand tools for me
I have been a "hand tool" woodworker for a while now... mostly because my shop is inside and I don't want the noise in the house. If I was to make a suggestion for a first plane I would say find a #4 smoothing plane. I would not purchase any planes from a "big box" store (ie. the stanley ones) because they are terrible like they said above, however if you find an antique/vintage one they are better than almost anything you can buy. You can do pretty much anything with a #4... thicknessing, jointing, smoothing, dimensioning... with a little practice... and then work on building up the tool supply for specific tasks. I have quite the selection of planes to choose from but, now that I am building a guitar, I want one of those little ones for the braces of an acoustic. 🙂 You will need to learn the art of sharpening but that does not take long. In no time all the tools in your shop will be hair popping, razor sharp. There is nothing better than a nice, thin, silky smooth shaving from a sharp plane or scraper. 🙂
You can spend £1500 on a plane but if you cant sharpen it there’s no point. A £35 or £40 Stanley plane will be fine, spend any spare cash on your sharpening system. I would recommend a reasonably course diamond ‘stone’ at about 600g (actually made of metal) and a combination water stone of 1000/6000 or there abouts. The diamond stone can be used to establish the correct geometry of the cutting edge and also to flatten the water stone if it starts to wear unevenly (it will, they are very soft). I would suggest avoiding oil stones if at all possible. They are slow cutting but most of all they are sodding messy and the last thing you need in a guitar workshop is oily finger prints everywhere.
When I went to the London College of Furniture in the early 80’s we spent about 4 or 5 weeks learning to sharpen our tools before we were let near a piece of wood. It was frustrating at the time but I can still sharpen a blade such that I can shave hair with it so it really was time well spent. This is why lots of woodworkers have bald patchers on their arms.
You can spend £1500 on a plane
My wife calls it "handtool pattern baldness". 🙂
You don't need a fancy plane - you don't even have to learn how to sharpen it 😲 (yet)
It will arrive plenty sharp enough to use for a bit...while you save for your diamond sharpening stone and honing guide
Eventually you will need to get the hang of it but...
Also depends what you want to use it for...if it is for the basic build we only use it for trimming the fillet on the truss rod
My first plane:
Stanley 102 Block Plane - (bought 2 still have and use both)
Shockingly they have doubled in price since then...now I feel old
If you are buying one to join soundboards or similar, then something a bit bigger/better will certainly help - Like Darren says the sky is the limit!! Happy hunting - let us know what you catch!!
Measure twice, cut once...