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Benchwayze

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Quansheng. Comparable with the big two but much more realistically priced. Failing that Record 1950s Finally a Stanley 1950s. Both abundant on eBay.n
John
 

msparker

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Thanks for all the replies! super helpful. My current project (and probably next) is using PAR hardwood so I'm going to steer away from the LA and get a bedrock style jack. I don't possess the eye of a used-tool connoisseur so I think I'll buy new from one of the previously mentioned trusted manufacturers.

It sounds like after that, converting an old plane into a scrub would be a great next buy / small project to open up the option of starting rough!

Now I come to think of it there is also a massive (presumably jointer) wooden plane in my parents garage, I'll have to nab it at some point and see how it goes.
 

Woody2Shoes

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I have a Quangsheng low angle jack and find it a very good plane. I don't think I would get it first, the 5 1/2 or even 5 is more versatile and very useful. But the variable angles one gets with the three blades are useful for handling different types of grain.

BTW for shooting board work, the sole does not have to be square or even flat. The edge of the blade does. The sole plays virtually no part in a shooting board action, just the bottom of it runs along the straight edge.
I have both the (Workshop Heaven - which sells a better spec than Rutlands 'equivalent') LA Jack and a Wood River 5 1/2.

They are both made by the same factory (I believe), although to slightly different specs, and both hit the sweetspot (for me anyway) of excellent quality of design, materials, finishing and price.

I find that, particularly once I learned how to camber a blade and how to use the chipbreaker, the 5 1/2 is the one I pick up almost every time, but they are both excellent. I think the LA jack perhaps needs more skill in sharpening (e.g. cutting edge needs to be square to the blade) and is less easy to adjust 'on the fly' (the Norris adjustment mechanism is an inferior design IMHO).
 

thetyreman

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it's worth looking at old wooden planes, they are lightweight and can still be bought cheap on ebay, look out for i-sorby and ward irons, they are great for removing large amounts of wood.
 

deema

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I have had a full set (all bevel down) of LN and almost a full set of LV, I’ve also had a set of old Stanley / Record. One thing I found is that there were three differentiators that determined which planes I’ve actually ended up keeping
1. Size and location of the handle that can be fitted. If you gave big hands like me, the LN and Record / Stanley type planes I find cramped and uncomfortable to hold for long periods. The LV has much more room for your hand which I believe makes it more suited to people with larger hands.
2. Adjustment system. All apart from the LV use a Stanley adjuster, and it’s a matter of your dexterity and also preference which system you prefer. I personally find much more back lash in the Stanley system, and personally prefer the Noris system
3. I’m a tall chap, I found I reached for the LV No6 in preference to a 5 (which I found too small) or a LN 5(1/2) which seemed both heavier and not as versatile as the 6.

I personally stay clear of bevel up planes. There is IMO not benefit and a lot of down sides.
1. A bevel down has a choice of frogs as well as the ability to back bevel the blade for reduced tear out.
2. A bevel up is sensitive to the angle of the blade bevel.
3. Typical bed angle of 12 degrees creates a very thin and vulnerable part of the casting in the sole. A blade then has typically a 25 degree primary bevel giving you a low angle of 37 degrees compared to a bevel down common pitch of 45 degrees. You add a micro bevel to the bevel up of say 5 to 10 degrees (accuracy depends on free hand sharpening ability or jigs) to get an angle of between 42 to 47 degrees, virtually the same as a bevel down. No advantage at all is achieved. So, to get a low angle you have to sharpen the whole bevel of the blade......well most people won’t do that for very long!

I use 4 planes typically. A No6, No4, a proper Scrub and an apron / block plane (which is a low angle bevel up). I have scraper planes and specialist planes but these are my only stock prep planes as I’ve disposed of everything else as I didn’t use them.

I would seriously consider a proper Scrub rather than converting a no4. They are easier to use, and as a consequence get used more.
 

paulrbarnard

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I would seriously consider a proper Scrub rather than converting a no4. They are easier to use, and as a consequence get used more.
I agree with this. I used a converted plane as a scrub for a long time and it worked. I then received a LN 40 ½ as a birthday present and it is simply a pleasure to use. Much less effort as the blade is considerably narrower making it possible to take very deep cuts to get to where you want to be really quickly.
 

Just4Fun

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I used a converted plane as a scrub for a long time and it worked. I then received a LN 40 ½ as a birthday present and it is simply a pleasure to use. Much less effort as the blade is considerably narrower making it possible to take very deep cuts to get to where you want to be really quickly.
Can you explain more about that? EG Why is a narrower blade better than a wider blade with a more pronounced camber so that the effective width is the same as a narrower blade?
I have never used a "proper" scrub plane. My scrub is a converted (cheap) No 4. It seems to work OK but I have nothing to compare it with.
 

deema

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From my perspective, a ‘proper’ Scrub has and can take a much thicker blade than a no4 and as a consequence when taking a large bite, the feel is far better, less judder and easier to push through the stroke. It can take a larger bite IMO than a converted no 4
 

paulrbarnard

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Can you explain more about that? EG Why is a narrower blade better than a wider blade with a more pronounced camber so that the effective width is the same as a narrower blade?
I have never used a "proper" scrub plane. My scrub is a converted (cheap) No 4. It seems to work OK but I have nothing to compare it with.
The camber on a 40 ½ is massive as well as the blade being narrow and very thick. This means you can sink it in very deep. It produces deep furrows in the wood which seem to make subsequent passes easier. The effort involved with my 40 ½ is, or at least seems to be, much less than using a heavily cambered blade in a 4 for example. I’ll upload a video of it in action when I get a chance.
There is nothing wrong with the adapting approach. That’s what I did for 30 years.
 

Peter Sefton

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I converted an Record No 4 into a scrub but a fair bit of blade/chip breaker regrinding and reworking the mouth for big shavings. I would suggest using a Woodriver 62 low angle jack or simular or on old woody from a carboot.
 

Jameshow

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I'm guessing it depends on what your using a scrub plane for.

Of your taking the saw marks off sawn timber I think a no4 converted would be fine as your not trying to get flat or reduce its thickness.

However if your planning on dealing with some cupped or warped timber or need to reduce it down in thickness then a scrub plane is best.

Paul sellars recommends a No78 btw!

Cheers James
 

paulrbarnard

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The camber on a 40 ½ is massive as well as the blade being narrow and very thick. This means you can sink it in very deep. It produces deep furrows in the wood which seem to make subsequent passes easier. The effort involved with my 40 ½ is, or at least seems to be, much less than using a heavily cambered blade in a 4 for example. I’ll upload a video of it in action when I get a chance.
There is nothing wrong with the adapting approach. That’s what I did for 30 years.
Here is me flattening a board for a box using the 40 ½ and a No 5 and a panel plane.
 

D_W

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If I've read your post correctly then the 5 1/2 will be your only bench plane? Are you starting with rough sawn or par timber?

If prepping rough sawn you are going to get very fed up very quickly, as others have said a 5 1/2 is (and in my opinion) far too heavy for dressing rough timber. I have tried several planes, here are my thoughts on the common choices. 1. a no4 converted to a scrub, 2. a 5 with a cambered iron and 3. a wooden try plane with a 10" radius iron, these were all used quite extensively before I had machines to do the grunt. Here is my 2p worth,
1, the no4 scrub was great at whipping timber off in very shot order but I found I had to check frequently that i was staying flat and not creating a banana. 2, The no5 with a cambered iron was easier to keep the timber flat but it was quite tiring to use.
3, The wooden try was a pleasure, the heavy camber ment I could (timber dependent) take 1/6" off each pass, the work stayed pretty flat due to the longer sole of the plane, being a wooden plane I could work for longer without stopping as they are a lot lighter than their metal counterparts. All I would say is with wooden planes you ideally need a lower bench so you can get over the plane instead of behind it.

If you are dressing par then the 5 1/2 is a great choice.

Matt
Exactly. One probably wonders the first time they use a poorly fitted aged try plane and wooden jack why they were so popular. Why aren't there more long jointers, etc? Once you use one that's been fitted properly (which isn't hard to do) and then use the pair back and forth with metal jointers and jacks, it becomes instantly clear why they were so common.

The position they have you in (probably 34 or 35 inch bench for most folks) is ideal for planing in general and any plane that caters to anything else (like a bevel up plane, which encourages you to get behind it) is far less productive and will have you both out of position and running to sharpen more.

The rotation from the higher orientation of older planes and stanley style planes makes the plane start better further back in the stroke (so you can move the plane more and your body less), and provides fairly significant downforce. on the wooden plane ,the friction is less and the downforce is there to do the work of keeping the iron in the cut but not noticed in terms of sticky friction like you'll get with an overweight boutique plane or a really heavy steel infill (infills are elegant lovely planes, but they are only productive in finer work - the friction is tremendous).
 

D_W

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The quangsheng is an interesting shout... Has anybody got hand on experience? The only thing I've ever heard was a guy I met had bought one and found it to be off square but the reviews on workshop heaven (the ones the post at least) are glowing
You can disregard a lot of the overzealous talk about squareness and flatness. There are certain cases where out of square and out of flat are biased against you, but a plane that's a little proud at the mouth (convex sole, not concave) will actually be less effort to use. This is not a statement for bananas, but rather that a few thousandths off in that direction is actually better for you.

Something like a 5 1/2 quangsheng is a plane for someone using a power planer and jointer. It'll be extremely poor for working from rough lumber or even basic work truing panels that have been glued together.

But, you can start with it.

If you're going to work entirely by hand, learn to set the cap iron (so you can escape from nonsense about matching grain directions on boards, which may threaten the ability to orient end grain in a way that avoids much more problematic cup and twist), and be ready to get away from the boat anchor boutique planes for all but final smoothing (which will be over in a short whiff of time if you prepare wood properly with a pair of wooden planes down the road). Working with the right planes is like taking a brisk walk, even in stout working. Doing a lot of work with boutique metal planes will leave you feeling as an English friend of mine over here says "balls on floor".

I mentioned earlier, and it's true, cosman will generally only recommend things he can sell and even at that, only the exact brand he sells. If he changes companies that he's affiliated with, his recommendation changes instantly. It's not credible. He's also not a credible source for woodworking from start to finish as his business is selling things, not efficiency and pragmatic working entirely by hand.

If you want to work entirely by hand, it's important to get advice from people who do it and have done it for a while.
 

msparker

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@D_W which wooden plane(s) would you recommend to a noobie? I have no idea how to shop for them (with no helpful Stanley numbers etc)
 

msparker

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I agree with you on Rob Cosman btw, he'll have you convinced that to cut a half blind you need his $$$ dovetail saw, his $$$ marking knife with matching kerf and his $$$ kerf extender tool! Can't argue with how nice some of the stuff he makes is though
 

Nigel Burden

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I have too many planes, all bought off ebay or car boots etc.

My scrub plane is a £2 Stanley no 4 car boot purchase that was rather rusty. On cleaning up it showed a crack on both sides of the mouth. The blade was heavily cambered, so I imagine that the previous owner was using it as a scrub plane. I also converted a rather wide mouthed wooden smoother to a scrub plane, they both work well enough for my purposes as a hobby woodworker. My jack plane is a Record no5 1/2 which is, as others have said, fairly heavy. I also have a single iron wooden jack that performs well and is lighter. My Stanley no 4 smoother with a tightly set cap iron will take shavings off end grain as well a bevel up plane. I have wooden jointer bought for only £5 at Bridport Market that takes full length shavings no problem.

Nigel.
 
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