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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Default Hand planes.

I am thinking about getting a plane to flatten boards that aren't flat. I don't want to buy a jointer because of the room it will take up. I have been thinking about a low angle jack plane because with the right blade in it you can do several operations. I have a low angle block plane that I use more than I thought I would but I am not wanting to get into a lot of hand tools.

So I would like to hear y'alls opinions and experiences with planes and their makers.

Don in Murfreesboro,Tn.

Measure once cut twice and it's still to short.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 07:02 PM
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If you know someone with a. Jointer I would go flatten a few boards with it and then decide. You could always put it on a mobile locking base and that would help with the space issue. It so makes a difference how many boards you plan on flattening.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-12-2016, 09:47 AM
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From a website: Unlocking the Mystery of Hand Planes

"Three Essential Planes
Although it’s possible to build up a large stable of planes designated for specialized purposes, you can do everything you need to do with just three essential planes—a block plane, a jointer and a smoothing plane. My recommendations are a low-angle, adjustable mouth block plane like the Lie-Nielsen #60 ˝; a #7, #7 ˝ low angle or #8 jointer; and a #4 or #4 ˝ smoother. Though you can find restorable planes on the used market, you won’t go wrong by spending a little more for the best quality, like Lie-Nielsen. Once you have these basic planes, you can fill in other, more specialized planes as your needs require and your budget permits."

(Be sure to check out the Wood River brand planes. The versions labeled 3 are a newer, improved version. Very good planes, particularly for the money.)

"Bevel Down vs. Bevel Up Planes
Traditionally, hand plane blades were mounted in their bodies with the bevel facing down, toward the wood. Recently, however, a number of planes have been introduced with the bevel facing up. Aside from some advantages in how the effective blade angle can be changed by the angle at which the bevel is honed, the chief benefit of a bevel up plane comes in setting it up for cutting. A bevel up plane has fewer parts, no chipbreaker or lateral adjustment lever and is easier to set up. However, bevel down planes look more complicated than they really are and they can be easily learned. Both types of planes work well. So, the choice is yours.

How They're Used

To plane rough boards smooth, start with the jointer. Its long bed rides over the board’s hills and valleys and knocks them down as it goes. Continue planing until the board is dead flat. Once you're there, switch to your smoothing plane and give it a few light passes to get everything nice and, well, smooth. When any ridges left by the jointer are gone, you're done. If you are taking your boards from a power planer, using a smoother is the only step you'll need to do.

Reading Your Board

The direction you plane matters if you want to avoid tearout. You want to plane with the grain, but on a rough board, how can you tell what that is? One method is to look at the edge of the board to see which way the grain lies. You want to plane in the direction the grain is rising. The usual analogy is to treat the board as you would the fur of cat--plane so the grain lies down. Another method is to look at the end grain and identify the heart side of the board. It's the side toward which the rings are bent. The outer side of the rings is the bark side. With the heart side facing up, orient the board so the bottom or open side of the grain’s cathedral is facing you. Then plane from the bottom of the cathedral toward its top. When you flip the board to the bark side, reverse the board so you are planing into the peaks of the cathedral. This will ensure that you are always planing in the right direction.

Flattening Uneven Boards

Unfortunately, rough boards don’t always come flat from the lumber yard. They may be cupped from side to side, bowed from end-to-end or even twisted so adjacent corners are uneven. Check for these conditions before you begin to flatten your board. Place cupped boards with the concave side down. Then plane a valley down the middle of the convex side until it is even with the sides or a bit lower. After that, plane the board diagonally until it is level on that side.

For boards that are bowed from one end to another, place the concave side facing down and, with your jointer plane, make successive passes down the length of the board until you've achieved flatness. You will get best results if you cut the board into shorter pieces before planing. This reduces the amount of bowing that has to be removed. If the board is severely bowed, you may need to start by planing crosswise to reduce the high spot to the level of the rest of the board before planing along its length. Once you have one face flattened, turn the board over and work on the ends, which will be thicker than the middle, to bring them down to the desired thickness.

Twisted boards present the biggest challenge. You may need to shim opposite corners so they will be stable on your benchtop. Sight along winding sticks--perfectly flat sticks positioned at different points on your board--to see where the high spots are. Mark these, then plane them down until your winding sticks are in perfect alignment all along the length of your board.

Once you have one face flattened, plane the edges flat and perpendicular to the first face. This is not as hard as it appears. Hold your plane as close to 90° as you can and take a few strokes. Once the edge is smooth, test it with a square at several points. If one side of the edge is high, center your plane over that side and take a couple more strokes. Repeat until the side is square.

Final Thicknessing

With one face flat and the sides square to the face, use a marking gauge to scribe a line indicating the thickness on all four edges. Then plane the board down to that line. If you have a lot of material to remove, consider starting with a scrub plane, a narrow plane with a deeply curved blade that excels at fast stock removal. Used Stanley scrub planes are widely available; Lie-Nielsen also manufactures one."

(The fly in this ointment is that by the time you pay for new or decent used planes, you will have spent close to what you would have for a 6-8 inch inch power jointer, particularly if you buy Lie-Nielsen.)
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-12-2016, 10:27 AM
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I just got the LA Jack Plane from Lie-Nielsen. Out of the box the plane came ready to use with a sharp iron. I have played around with it a bit and have found it to be good solid hand plane. As you mentioned, with different blades you can cover a lot of ground with this plane, and there is no reason you couldn't get one face of a board flat, and ready for the planer.

Note, I have a decent floor model jointer, and I still go to my hand planes on occasion, especially for boards that are wider than my jointer. I wouldn't let the thought of a future jointer purchase hold you back from buying a good hand plane.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-12-2016, 05:48 PM
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Flattening a board with a hand plane can be A LOT of work...not the "dang, that took some work" a lot of work, more like "DAMN that was A LOT of work" lot of work. There are times when you can get away with flattening one side of the board, other times, you got to go and do both sides. A 4 foot board can require 3 times the work a 2 foot board might need. You workin' red oak or hard maple,, how bout curly walnut or you want a cardio workout, or, or blah, blah, blah.. you get it. All that coming from a guy who just enjoys the hell out of using a hand plane to flatten out a board. There is nothing in wood working quite like it. PERIOD....

but it ain't for everyone!!! A GOOD hand plane can be quite the investment. Both in monies and in learning. Both are well spent if in the end, you've found something you really enjoy doing. If it turns out its something you're not all that enthralled with, you'll have a wall hanger, collecting dust. Take your time and do your homework. Style? Baley or Norris style adjuster?, blade angles, blade metallurgy, sharpening method, tuning it up, maintenance..mfg and warranty, resale value..

then take a look at these:

Wood River: probably the best "value" plane out there...These are good planes at a fair price. I wouldn't hesitate to own em. Nice thing about the Wood River lineup is that
the sell package deals as well. One thing you need to be certain of is, Make sure you're getting a V3 (version 3)...Prior versions had quality control issues, most V1's..
Buy WoodRiver Ultimate Bench Plane Kit at Woodcraft.com (this is fine set of planes!!! and for the money, not bad at ALL)
Buy WoodRiver #5 Bench Hand Plane, V3 at Woodcraft.com

Veritas/Lee Valley: My plane of choice (even with the Norris stye adjusters). These are top shelf planes. Fit and finish is excellent as is their customer service. Variety of blade options available as well as frog angles (new design offerings). Dollar for dollar, IMHO the best line up of planes out there. Although, prices are climbing quicker than most of the competition.A quality investment tool.
Veritas® Low-Angle Jack Plane - Lee Valley Tools
Veritas® Customizable Jack Planes - Lee Valley Tools

Lie Nielsen Tool Works: These planes are up there in rarefied air. TOP SHELF!! The list of superlatives is almost endless when it comes to describing these planes.But they do carry a hefty price tag. Out of the box ready to go. Those who have em, have em for a life time.Another quality investment tool. Customer service is top notch as well!! Available with different front angles..

Not an easy choice is it!! In the end, I think Charles advise is spot on. Give one a couple hundred strokes to get a feel for what your getting yourself into. If that isn't an option, I'd suggest picking up a used Stanley Baley on fleabay. Look for one that is "ready to go"...shop around and be patient, you can find a 4 or 5 for 50-100 bucks..But I'd go with a #4, a smoother. Just a shorter version of a #5. Which is relative to all hand planes anyways. BUT, if you do find you like it, you'll have a #4 to compliment your #5.

If and when you do decide on gonig with planes, particularly for flattening out boards, either make or get yourself a good set of winding sticks!!
Lee Valley Winding Sticks - Lee Valley Tools
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-12-2016, 07:37 PM
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I am 25 and I would probably have a heart attack trying to flatten boards for a medium-sized project.

I use my hand planes to smooth (not really flatten) portions of glue ups that will become finished surfaces. That's really about it.

Consider a small bench top jointer, like this one:

Delta 12 Amp 6 in. Corded Jointer-37-071 - The Home Depot

Grizzly sells one like this at a much better price.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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There isn't very many post to my question but they are good post and have really helped me a lot. I think I will go with a Wood River plane maybe a #4 or #5 and see what I think about planes. After doing a lot of research and watching You Tube I think I need a smoothing plane. A plane that I can use on the edges of boards and get minor imperfections out. I buy straight run lumber, that is lumber that has one straight side and is 13/16" thick so if a piece is very warped or cupped by the time I get the imperfection out it might be to thin.

The Wood River planes are on sale now so that is a plus.

Your comments are welcome.

Don in Murfreesboro,Tn.

Measure once cut twice and it's still to short.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 09:53 AM
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I agree with Bill hand-planing the faces of boards is too much work! I get the timber merchant to plane the boards to finished thickness. But I do use a hand plane a lot for straightening, edge jointing and cleaning up sawn edges. Also on a shooting board for fine-tuning cross-cuts.

If you're only going to buy one plane, go for a #5 - the jack-of-all-trades. It's good for smoothing and for jointing (at least on shorter boards). I have a Quang Sheng #5 - which looks to be the same as the Wood River brand you get in the US - and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-15-2016, 08:27 PM
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Before you pay for the plane(s), check the flatness of the sole with a straight edge and then check that the cheeks/sides are 90 degrees to the sole as 'ya nevva' know when you will need to build a shooting board, a handy shop-fabricated accessory.

Also check the blade depth adjustment screw for backlash. Remember: If the plane does not fit your hand it will never feel right and if it feels too heavy, it will not loose weight with use.

Now having said that, I have a few Lee Valley/VERITAS and Lie-Nielsen planes, which were ready-to-use-right-out-of the-box. More recent buyers said the same.

You just might enjoy working with a hand plane and eventually wind up purchasing a "Wonderful Contraption" --the Stanley No.55!

Useful additions to the woodworker's library are:

"The Handplane Book
Buy Handplane Book at Woodcraft.com

"Planecraft; Handplaning by Modern Methods" by Hampton and Clifford (out of print)
aAailable from ABE Books -- Planecraft - AbeBooks
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 06:34 PM
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Seems a lot of people like 4's and 5's.

Not a fan of them at all, too narrow and I much prefer the extra heft and width that the four and half smoother, five and a half jack, and six foreplane have.
I've never used a seven or an eight yet but they do have the wider cutter as well.

For me an excellent general purpose handplane is the five and half jackplane, the nicest I've so far used was made by Clifton of Sheffield. In my mind at least the equal of a Lie Nielson.

I am very much a fan of Veritas stuff and own their low angle blockplane (big hands and I like the wider cutter than the Lie Nielson again) but I've not tried their low angle jack yet.
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