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Difference between uses for no 5 plane and no 5 1/2 question

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Tetsuaiga

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Hello,

I'm just looking for a bit of information. What are the differences between these two, when would a 5 1/2 be better for a job than a 5 for instance?



If anyone could help that would be great.

Thank you
 

Jacob

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Bigger plane for bigger workpiece, as a rule - not always the case.
 

Phil Pascoe

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An old chippie I used to work with maintained that the half sizes were better workshop tools, being heavier, and that the 4 and 5 were better site tools, because they were lighter and you had to carry them. That seems to be as good a theory as any.
 

Blister

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I prefer the 1/2 sizes more bulk and weight
 

bugbear

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Tetsuaiga":5m81far5 said:
Hello,

I'm just looking for a bit of information. What are the differences between these two, when would a 5 1/2 be better for a job than a 5 for instance?

If anyone could help that would be great.

Thank you
In general, the longer planes give greater flatness, with the caveat that there's no point having a plane longer than the workpiece.

Wider blades are generally useful on planes taking a thin shaving, either for accuracy or surface quality; further, when finishing, a wider blade means less plane tracks to join up/make disappear.

In normal cabinet work, a #5 with a rounded blade would normally be used to bring stock roughly to dimension, and #5 1/2 would be used as a "panel plane", to bring a dimensioned piece accurately to size with a decent surface.

But if you're making small boxes, a #5 with a dead square blade taking fine shavings might be your jointer!

BugBear
 

Cheshirechappie

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This is just idle speculation; I have no evidence whatsoever to support this theory; but I wonder if the 'half' sizes of Bailey-type planes came about because craftmen, used to the wider irons of wooden planes, complained that the new-fangled iron planes were too narrow, making them take more strokes to do the work....
 

Modernist

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bugbear":2932g1ag said:
Wider blades are generally useful on planes taking a thin shaving, either for accuracy or surface quality; further, when finishing, a wider blade means less plane tracks to join up/make disappear.

In normal cabinet work, a #5 with a rounded blade would normally be used to bring stock roughly to dimension, and #5 1/2 would be used as a "panel plane", to bring a dimensioned piece accurately to size with a decent surface.

But if you're making small boxes, a #5 with a dead square blade taking fine shavings might be your jointer!

BugBear
+1 however I ignored my No 5 for years in preference to the 5 1/2 and normally use a No 6 for work of suitable length. Recently I have come to appreciate the ease of use of the No 5 owing to it's lighter weight and, away from the bench, you are normally dealing with edges rather than surfaces so that is the plane of choice.
 

Tetsuaiga

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Thanks for the advice its been helpful. I don't think it'll make too much difference for me, but I feel I could choose either now.
 

Mr T

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Hi

I recommend a 5 1/2. It has more heft and planing is often about momentum, the extra weight of the 5 1/2 means you power through the tough spots rather than stalling as you would with lighter plane. However most of my work is at the bench, I can see the advantage of a lighter plane when you are carting your tools around.

Chris
 

jimi43

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Mr T":vdxc42yr said:
Hi

I recommend a 5 1/2. It has more heft and planing is often about momentum, the extra weight of the 5 1/2 means you power through the tough spots rather than stalling as you would with lighter plane. However most of my work is at the bench, I can see the advantage of a lighter plane when you are carting your tools around.

Chris
Totally agree with everything you say Chris.

I will also add that I would go for an older Record.....like this restored one....



... or an older US Stanley....similar to this....(preferably with a "Sweetheart" iron)



There are plenty about and a small amount of work will result is a very usable plane indeed.

Just to add one more twist to the choices...I recently found an Anchor No.5 made in Sweden.



Now this scruffy little Scandinavian Bailey clone has a little known secret up its frog....a gorgeous Swedish steel iron...

I fettled this up a tad...starting of course with the iron...as there is little point doing a full restoration if the thing is just average or mediocre. I then tested it on some English oak I had and the whizzing sound...which accompanies planing with a gem...was very fine indeed....



The Swedes definitely know what they are doing where metal refinement is concerned....no tear out, no chatter even with a thin iron...totally smooth with no further need for finishing of any sort.

A rather pleasant surprise indeed...I shall be looking out for more of this maker in the future...if this one is anything to go by!

Jim
 

Jacob

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Mr T":2vrn9gkt said:
Hi

I recommend a 5 1/2. It has more heft and planing is often about momentum, the extra weight of the 5 1/2 means you power through the tough spots rather than stalling as you would with lighter plane. However most of my work is at the bench, I can see the advantage of a lighter plane when you are carting your tools around.

Chris
It seems that if you have a heavy plane than "heft" has advantages, but if you have a light plane then the low mass makes work easier. Take your pick!
 

Eric The Viking

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I'd timidly offer one thought - a 5 1/2 is more general purpose than a 5.

This is because, if you want to roughly flatten stock you can always have a second blade for the purpose with a more cambered blade than the one for finishing. That gives you the best of both worlds - it probably won't cut wider than a 5 when you're roughing, but it will when you're finishing. The extra mass might help with roughing too.

It's something I mean to try soon. I've got several blades that size now, so can donate one to a greater camber, I think.

E.
 

bugbear

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Jacob":1yvatlbu said:
Mr T":1yvatlbu said:
Hi

I recommend a 5 1/2. It has more heft and planing is often about momentum, the extra weight of the 5 1/2 means you power through the tough spots rather than stalling as you would with lighter plane. However most of my work is at the bench, I can see the advantage of a lighter plane when you are carting your tools around.

Chris
It seems that if you have a heavy plane than "heft" has advantages, but if you have a light plane then the low mass makes work easier. Take your pick!
Like all generalisation, these both need qualifying by the context in which they're true.

Because they're both true.

The extra heft (mass, in fact) helps when you hit a hard spot, like a knot.

The lower mass helps when you're picking the damn thing up, pulling the plane back for the next stroke.

Of course, with good old Record planes costing a fiver at car boots, I have a free choice at all times (*) !

BugBear

(*) all right, I don't have a #2
 
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