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Best jack plane

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raffo

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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)
You being in the UK should not have a lot of trouble finding wooden planes. I'm in the US and have been lucky enough to find Mathieson wooden bench planes that have worked well for me, but there are probably many other makers to be found there. This is an English made jack plane, ca. 1940, 17" long, 2 1/4" double iron, cambered. Try to find one that is not too badly worn.
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If you are going to dress rough lumber, as mentioned above, the difference in effort between a wooden jack and a metal jack is noticeable. It'll make you reach for the wooden one.
 

D_W

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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)
I like a cleaned up vintage jack plane for practical use, and a stanley 5 with a whole lot of wax second. The issue with the vintage jack plane is that someone needs to bed the iron properly and maybe address the wedge, sole, iron and cap iron if they are not in great shape and that's something best done with a little bit of experience. If you were in the states, I"d offer to do it as it doesn't take long, but I guess it could be a puzzle to do right.

For a jack plane, fit is nice, and the cap and iron work doesn't have to be as perfect. Any 16 or 17" long vintage pattern double iron english jack is tops to me for actual material prep.

The fitting of a try plane has to be a little bit more precise.

This is a shortened version of my favorite subject plane to copy - a mathieson jack. I made this one for someone else who just didn't want anything longer than 15", so the back is truncated. My personal plane is laid over behind it. These are 2 1/8" iron, and in a proportion that was probably a whole lot like a zillion jack planes in England until the early/mid 1900s.

 

D_W

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raffo beat me to it - just like the plane he shows on the left. If you're feeling indulgent, you can shop around until you find one that's old with a nice full iron and in almost perfect shape.
 

Andy Kev.

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The Veritas LAJ is the central tool on my bench. I imagine that the L-N LAJ would be just as good. Its companion is a second hand Stanley style No 5 fitted with a heavily cambered blade so that it functions as a scrub plane. A luxury addition is a No 7 (either bevel down or conventional) for anything long and for jointing.

Between the first two there aren't many boards of four feet or less length that can't be dealt with. A low angle block plane is a useful addition for the myriad of tasks for which it is suitable.
 

richarddownunder

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I have a lovely Clifton 51/2 but it is quite heavy. I think I'd find it a bit cumbersome for some jobs but it is ideal for flattening boards and it is a beautifully made tool. The ubiquitous #4 is what I use by far the most but a #5 would probably be the best all-round if you don't want multiple sizes. Can't comment on low angle but the standard bevel-down design does most things very well.

Cheers
Richard
 

CaptainBudget

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I would agree, I have a reasonable selection of vintage planes including a no5 and a 5.1/2

I have 2 no5s, one is a Scrub Plane with a cambered Iron (it's a salvaged POS) used for chewing rough lumber. The other is a more conventional 1960s Stanley No5 I use as a general purpose plane.

A 5.1/2 for me is a "Super smoother," usually what I use on wood straight off the bandsaw (so it's pretty flat and square to start with and just needs a couple of finer passes to take the saw marks off).

I personally love a heavy plane, but I find for general work I reach for the no5 rather than the 5.1/2 as it's reduced weight makes it more flexible for smaller jobs

I would personally buy a no5 in your position, you'd only really benefit from a 5.1/2 if you were making panels for wardrobes all day long.

I tend to get my planes from Tooltique when I can, you do pay a bit more than for standard vintage planes but they are reconditioned and ready to go out the box (including a flattend sole and blade back!). For me it's worth paying a bit more because then I don't have to spend a day doing it myself (that's a day I can play with them on timber instead...). Only issue is stock, no5s don't tend to hang around very long with them at the moment...
Vintage Old Tools - Antique & Used Second Hand Tools UK
 

Just4Fun

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I would personally buy a no5 in your position
I would agree with that. For many years the only plane I owned was a Stanley #5 and I still often use it now, for a variety of purposes. It can do just about any task I want a plane to do.
 

Popey

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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
I have the Quangsheng low angle jack and a 4 1/2 planes. Both needed hardly any fettling other than cleaning off any oil and honing the blades. They have both had quite a lot of use and I'm very pleased with them.
 

Popey

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I should also add that I have just ordered a Quangsheng No. 5 plane to complement the low angle jack. I intend to dedicate the low angle jack as a shooting board plane - something at which it really excels (one of my favourite workshop sounds is that of a sharp plane slicing through end grain). I have made my own hot dog attachment which makes it much easier to use on the shooting board.
I bought the No 5 as I want something for preparing stock and I intend to slightly camber the blade to enable speedy stock removal, though not as aggressive as a scrub plane.
 

Peter Sefton

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The hot dog is a good attachment but I prefer the the standard jack to the low angle for shooting, I know the effective pitch is higher but the extra weight and lower centre of gravity the frog gives when the 5 or 5 1/2 is on its side just feels right to me.

Cheers Peter
 

Popey

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The hot dog is a good attachment but I prefer the the standard jack to the low angle for shooting, I know the effective pitch is higher but the extra weight and lower centre of gravity the frog gives when the 5 or 5 1/2 is on its side just feels right to me.

Cheers Peter
It will be interesting to compare the 5 and the 62 on the shooting board. I feel some experimentation coming on :) That said, I like the idea of having a plane optimised for shooting and a second one for prepping stock, which was my rationale for buying the 5.
 

Popey

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My Quangsheng no.5 arrived today. The sole is flat, the sides are square. Apart from cleaning off the oil on it, all I had to do was pop a secondary and back bevel on it and it was taking lovely shavings. I will look forward to putting it through its paces at the weekend.
 

Popey

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If anyone's interested, here's a couple of pictures of the hot dog I made for my Quangsheng low angle jack plane. It makes using the plane on a shooting board much more comfortable. I made it by laminating some offcuts of 12mm ply and then shaping the sides with a rasp before sanding it.

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