Author Topic: Intro to hand planes  (Read 729 times)

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Offline CarlsonCarpentry

  • Posts: 103
Intro to hand planes
« on: June 24, 2020, 10:52 AM »
Background. I have a couple vintage handplanes I found over the years. I also have a work sharp sharpening belt system. And a couple decent marples chisels.

My last couple trips into woodcraft I’ve been drooling over the woodriver no. 5 ($160) and their no. 1 ($120). Online I’ve also seen bridge city block plane for ($99).

After some research I found myself a bit overwhelmed trying to find out what you need to sharpen handplanes. I found a couple guides but the gear and stones they were using added hundreds to my “simple idea”.

Any advice for a entry to handplanes? Should I spend more on sharpening gear than planes?

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Offline CarlsonCarpentry

  • Posts: 103
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2020, 10:58 AM »
For $250 I can get the low angle block plane and a honing guide from Bridge city

For $250 I can get the no. 5 woodriver and a veritas honing guide.

Or for $300 I can get the ETSC kit on clearance at woodcraft haha.

Basically I had $300 to spend on something fun. I was eyeing those two hand planes I could get for about $300. But after some research it seems there is much more to owning hand planes then just buying them.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 11:05 AM by CarlsonCarpentry »

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1969
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2020, 11:18 AM »
Well, the inexpensive way to deal with sharpening is an eclipse style guide, float glass and adhesive backed paper in various grits.  Lee Valley has all the adhesive back papers and inexpensive eclipse style jigs should be available on Amazon. Create a stop block to set your blade protrusions from the honing guide repeatable for each angle you desire.  You can visit Lie Nielsen’s website and find instructions for building a jig to set your blade in the honing jig.

With that out of the way, what tasks do you think the plane will be useful for?  It does seem like you’re all over the map. 
-Raj

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 669
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2020, 11:24 AM »
Any advice for a entry to handplanes? Should I spend more on sharpening gear than planes?

I would get a good plane so you don’t need to fiddle with it to get going.

Definitely a NO on spending much on sharpening, in my opinion at least.

Offline MikeGE

  • Posts: 99
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2020, 11:46 AM »
You are getting close to a very slippery slope that will not be easy on your wallet when you start working with hand planes and chisels.  I have thousands of dollars invested in Lie Nielsen hand planes and chisels, and thousands invested in sharpening equipment.  I can quit anytime I like...really.

When it comes to sharpening, I prefer the Lie-Nielsen honing guide, but many swear by the Eclipse and Veritas guides as well.  The honing guide allows you to achieve consistent results for the plane irons and chisels.  Whether those results are good or bad depends on your skills, but they will be consistent.

I have a collection of DMT diamond stones, King water stones, and Ohishi water stones.  These are different approaches to the same end goal...a very sharp edge.  My purchase of stones has been part of my learning process, and I think I will settle on the King stones once I build my sharpening station (this is another slippery patch on that slope).  I also have the Tormek T-8 system for putting the primary bevel on all of the edges.  I don't use the Tormek for the honing, but I'm sure it will work well.

Some will tell you just buy and try and hope for the best.  That was the advice I received, and now I can say in all honesty that was bad advice.  The best money I have spent, hands down, was taking the one-week "Tool Tuning" course by David Charlesworth in the UK.  Although my Lie Nielsen tools worked great out of the box, they were much better after the tuning.


I am fortunate enough to be on the same side of the ocean as he is, and I have plenty of free time to take these courses.  With the current lockdown, it is unlikely that David will be offering this course in the near future, but there might be similar venues in your area after this clears up.  In the mean time, you can buy his videos from Lie Nielsen, or watch any of the great Paul Sellers videos on YouTube.

In a different scenario, when I started playing golf, a lot of my friends told me to buy the best set of clubs I could afford and go to the driving range and hit balls.  Two friends told me don't spend anything on clubs, but use the money on lessons.  I bought the lessons at the local golf club and used their loaner clubs to start with.  A while later, after one of the lessons, I went to the driving range and used the 7 iron on a basket of balls.  While I was there, an older guy drove up in his Ferrari, took his Honma clubs out, and proceeded to torture the ground around the balls.  After noticing me hit consistently and effortlessly with the 7 iron, he asked how I learned to do that.  I pointed to the my instructor, who was with another student, and said "Give that guy money and he'll show you."  He gruffed and said "I don't need that, I can do this."  For the next ten minutes, I watched him work himself into a frenzy trying to hit a ball farther than two meters from where he was standing.  After a while, he packed up his clubs and drove off in his Ferrari.  He had all that money and too much ego to pay for lessons.


Bottom line: If this is, or has the potential to be, a passing phase, then don't bother.  However, if you see handworking wood as part of your future, then strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.

Offline PeterJJames13

  • Posts: 222
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2020, 12:17 PM »
@MikeGE that was my Ferrari  [big grin] Turns out hand planes are more enjoyable than golf anyway..... [poke]

Offline CarlsonCarpentry

  • Posts: 103
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2020, 12:24 PM »
Well, the inexpensive way to deal with sharpening is an eclipse style guide, float glass and adhesive backed paper in various grits.  Lee Valley has all the adhesive back papers and inexpensive eclipse style jigs should be available on Amazon. Create a stop block to set your blade protrusions from the honing guide repeatable for each angle you desire.  You can visit Lie Nielsen’s website and find instructions for building a jig to set your blade in the honing jig.

With that out of the way, what tasks do you think the plane will be useful for?  It does seem like you’re all over the map.

Thanks for the info.
I don’t have an electric planer so whenever I am working with boards that need a little flattening I enjoy using my hand plane. Also when I build shelves and some cabinets I’ve done I like using them to take off any edges and make everything flush.

Offline CarlsonCarpentry

  • Posts: 103
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2020, 12:26 PM »
You are getting close to a very slippery slope...

This was a lot of great information I appreciate your feedback.

Yeah more or less I was wondering if handplanes are something you can just own a few and use occasionally or is it a lifestyle you have to commit to.

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1969
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2020, 12:38 PM »
Sounds like a #5 might work well for flattening.  The other flush trimming, you’ll probably find a low angle block plane in your future. 

It doesn’t have to be a lifestyle if you don’t want it to be.  Planes are faster than sanders and more precise than power tools, so they have their place.  Nothing wrong with supplementing your power tools with a few hand planes.  And you don’t need to drop down the rabbit hole of sharpening to get good results.  But if your personality is such that you find yourself in rabbit holes, this will end no differently.   [wink]
-Raj

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 468
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2020, 01:01 PM »
Background. I have a couple vintage handplanes I found over the years. I also have a work sharp sharpening belt system. And a couple decent marples chisels.

My last couple trips into woodcraft I’ve been drooling over the woodriver no. 5 ($160) and their no. 1 ($120). Online I’ve also seen bridge city block plane for ($99).

After some research I found myself a bit overwhelmed trying to find out what you need to sharpen handplanes. I found a couple guides but the gear and stones they were using added hundreds to my “simple idea”.

Any advice for a entry to handplanes? Should I spend more on sharpening gear than planes?

What are the planes for? That is, what do you hope to achieve with them?

In my book, a #5 is a jack plane, which is for roughing. I would not spend much on one. A cheapish Stanley #5 is a better plane than the WoodRiver - lighter, which is important.

The WR #1 is an ornament, to place on your desk at work while you dream of being in your shop.

There are many better block planes than the BC, which is a toy. Look at the Veritas Apron Plane or Lie Nielsen #102.

Sharpening gear? That is a whole other category! What are you using at present.

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 4108
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2020, 01:48 PM »
No matter what you do on planes, I would invest in sharpening as well.  I went through several methods of sharpening before I finally hit on something that I'm happy with.

I started with the Worksharp 3000.  I gor this to deal with turning tools, which I had before I ever started adding handplanes or good chisels.  It worked okay for most of my lathe chisels, but I found I would sometimes catch the edge of fingernail gouges on the vision wheel and ruin the abrasive.  When I started adding handplanes and chisels, I found the Worksharp to be ok, if not great for chisels, but wholly inadequate for plane irons.  Wide plane irons come in contact with different parts of the wheel, and so that portion of the iron in contact with the outer edge is subject to more removal due to the greater velocity of the wheel at that point.  Supposedly you can adjust for this by shifting the blade back and forth, but I found it hard to consistently get a square edge.  Plus the iron heated up pretty quickly.

My next sharpening kit was the Veritas MKii honing guide.  Maybe I had a uniquely bad experience, but I have found it to be more trouble than it was worth.  The first guide I got (as part of the deluxe kit) produced an angled bevel on all the plane irons.  Customer service was kind enough to swap out for a new one, and so the replacement worked fine.  After about a year, though, both rollers started to get a bit sticky -- maybe I didn't clean them off as well as I should have, even though I thought I was careful in cleaning them up after every use.  Eventually the rollers started to seize up on the stones, and started themselves abrading.  I have since replaced the rollers, and they are working again, but in the meantime I switched over to the LN honing guide.

I've now been using the LN guide for about 3 years, and am extremely happy with it.  I still use the MKii for skewed irons for which there are no appropriate LN jaws, but I anticipate the LN guide being my main sharpening system from now on.

I have since added a Tormek to do lathe tools, which it does spectacularly, as well as deal with plane irons when they get damaged or if I have to reset the bevel, which can take a long time on stones.

The first stones I went with were the DMT DuoSharp -- I can' really recommend them, as I found one of the sides on one of them wore out much sooner than anticipated.  I then converted over to the DMT DiaSharp, and have been very happy with those.  For super fine grit (8000 and 16000), I use the Shapton glass stones.

As far as planes go, I started with the LN low angle jack, since I was looking for a multiple use plane.  It went downhill from there.  But a good starter set would include something like the jack plane, which can do fast removal and finishing cuts with different blades, and then a block plane.  I first got the LN 60 1/2 adjustable mouth block plane, but I now much prefer the smaller 102 block plane, and probably use it more than any other plane.  Even though my hands are big, I find that the smaller size of the 102 makes it much more comfortable and accurate to work with.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 01:53 PM by ear3 »
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Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3094
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Intro to hand planes
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2020, 02:31 PM »
I went through just about every sharpening system there is before I settled on the Lie Nielsen guide and their water stones. I built the sharpening jig which allows me to set the guide at the correct angle every time. It’s a really good system. I also settled in on their planes and chisels. I find their planes are near perfect out of the box. The irons need a light honing and they are ready to use. I use the LN low angle block plane the most. It’s a dream to use. I can cut shavings that I can see through.

Suggest watching the LN videos on sharpening.
Birdhunter