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By cookiemonster
Hi guys, first timer here.

I'm an amateur woodworker of about 5 years with a preference for hand tools, due both to lack of a big workshop and some romantic notions about craft skills.

Over time I've accumulated all the bench planes between 3 and 6 and these have served me well on small-to-medium sized furniture projects. The next project may be a bit bigger: a front door with 7 foot stiles that clearly must be prepared straight and square. I was thinking I might need a no.7 jointer for this job (or perhaps even a no.8) but it seems like even those corrugated ones now sell for north of £100 on eBay. So my question is, is a no.7 going to be so much better than a no.6 on long boards that I should swallow it? Or perhaps I could go for a cheaper second-hand wooden jointer?
By Orraloon
A 7 will be a bit better than a 6. Longer wood longer plane thing but a 6 could still do it. You just need to take a bit more time checking you are strait and square. Another thing to keep in mind is that a secondhand 7 will likely need some tlc to get it working to your liking and an old woody will odds on need some work. Another thought is if a decent 7 comes along then perhaps sell the 6 to help fund it as I dont see the need in having both. A decent 7 kind of covers the big end of planes.

By heimlaga
What he said!

However there is also another way around. Old wooden jointer planes often sell cheap..... or you could make your own. In that case my personal preference would be to use the same blade width as a number 7 but make the body let's say 10 cm longer. To me it seems to become a bit too hard work to flatten the face of a board with a blade that is significantly wider than my number 7 but a bit of extra sole lenght would often be nice.
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By MikeG.
Welcome to the forum.

You'll be fine with a 6. You can do it with a 5, but each step down in length simply means additional checking. I've just "jointed" the edge of a stair stringer by hand with a number 6, and that was over 3 metres long. I've got a long piece of aluminium channel which I use as a straightedge, and after getting pretty close, I simply slide the aluminium back and forth along the top of the piece of wood. This highlights any high spots by leaving a grey smudge of aluminium oxide. Plane these off, re-check, and then do a final hopefully continuous pass along the whole length.

As an aside, having beautifully straight edges is unnecessary on wood for door stiles. The outside edges will be shot to the door opening (liner or frame), and the inside edges aren't in contact with anything other than at the rails. Don't sweat this too much, as the Americans say apparently. Shooting edges is much more important when edge jointing boards for a table top, for instance.
By Mike Jordan
You will have only limited use for a plane that long, I have been a bench worker for sixty years now and have never owned anything longer than a jack plane. Jointing can be done with the jack plane and a little more care. As Mike points out you won't need anything to straighten the door stiles to total accuracy.
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By deema
Really long stuff I can’t myself adequately straighten with my P/T, typically over 10’ so I usually finish them with a hand plane. I used to own a 6,7 and 8 for these jobs, however over time I found I only ever reached for the no6. The no6 is now the only long plane I have, and have sold off the other two.

I plane to a smooth surface from rough sawn, use a long straight edge to find the crowns, and knock them down to slight hollows then plane the full length checking until it’s straight and true.

When I make doors and door frames I get them as straight and true as I can. It makes everything else far easier and the human eye can detect very small imperfections. That said, it’s just my standards and everyone makes things differently.
Last edited by deema on 15 Feb 2020, 12:44, edited 2 times in total.
By That would work
I've got a 24ish inch jointer that I made from american cherry some time ago, I cannot say its really needed but its surprisingly good to use, being big and heavy you get plenty of momentum. But a jack/try does it all really.
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By ED65
cookiemonster wrote:I'm an amateur woodworker of about 5 years with a preference for hand tools, due both to lack of a big workshop and some romantic notions about craft skills.


I concur with some above, the 6 will do you. You can joint long edges with a block plane if you had to, or a 3, 4 or 5 if available. It just gets easier the longer the plane's sole is.

cookiemonster wrote:Or perhaps I could go for a cheaper second-hand wooden jointer?

If you're okay with working with a woodie this isn't a bad idea at all. At the very least you'll save one from the lamp converters!

I actually only recently got a 6 (first I've seen on the secondhand market here) and I intend that it'll be the longest plane I ever own. Unless I chance across a wooden jointer in top condition being sold by someone who just wants it gone.
By cookiemonster
Thanks all for your comments.

I think I will try it with my no.6 (which I really like for some reason) and then perhaps keep my eye out for a bargain jointer (not on ebay though).

Some of you have mentioned using long straightedges to check straightness (e.g. MikeG's aluminium channel). Any tips/ideas on where/how to pick these up? I know there are things sold specifically as straightedges for wood, but these are big money for big lengths.
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By MikeG.
cookiemonster wrote:.....Some of you have mentioned using long straightedges to check straightness (e.g. MikeG's aluminium channel). Any tips/ideas on where/how to pick these up?.......

I bought mine for a non-woodworking project a few years ago from an aluminium merchant, and this was just left over from that. Extruded aluminium profile in standard sizes is cheap as chips. If you are buying specifically for a straight edge, then I suggest you buy box section (50x25 would be ideal). You probably will need to buy 6m lengths, but even so, it's pennies.
By D_W
If you are going toward hand tools entirely, get the jointer, you'll appreciate having it.

7 or 8, either would be fine. As far as wood vs metal, you'll have to try both to see what you prefer. The only issue with wooden planes is that they are often ill fitted due to movement over time or parts swapping, and an ill fitted wooden plane is an entirely different tool than one that is fitted well.
Last edited by D_W on 12 Feb 2020, 16:32, edited 1 time in total.
By Blevins
One consideration is weight. I have a couple of long wooden jointers and they are so much lighter than metal-bodied planes of their length and glide around beautifully on long boards when set up right. I have one with an iron that is set up as a scrub plane and another with just a standard square iron.

It's true that I use metal planes up to 5 1/2 but anything bigger I go wood.
By D_W
Weight varies. Before I started making planes, I bought about 10 jointers. They varied for 24-28 inch planes from 6.5 pounds to 10.5 pounds.

About half were English makers and half american. There were heavy and light of each.

(there's a whole bunch of reasons why this could be, but I have seen more than a pound difference in weight in "long" planes that I've made (24 inches) as I've made a bunch of them out of beech. Perhaps 1 1/2, and early on, I wanted each to be 8 pounds and added raw linseed oil to them to get them there. )

Safe to say that for an average user, a 10+ pound jointer, even in wood, is going to be tiring - more so because they often have a long nose and are unbalanced, causing you to react by torquing the handle as you're holding the plane. A 24" plane that's just over 6 will be punishing in anything harder than medium hardwoods.

These may be uninteresting facts, but I looked at them pretty hard when I was deciding what my building target would be. I like 7 1/2 to 8 pounds for an everything long plane (24"), but one of the very few professional hand toolers here in the US prefers lighter. Maybe he's lucky enough to work with a lot of mahogany - I don't know.

When wood gets harder than oak/beech as far as jointing and trying goes, a metal plane is generally preferable, anyway (excluding discussion about the light work high angle type planes). They don't have a wedge that can be percussed loose.