Do I need a 5 1/2 plane.

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
2,865
Reaction score
1,604
Location
Bradford
Hi I have several no3, 4, 4.1/2, 5, 6 planes. Old and new but the one I don't have is a 5 1/2.

Am I missing out by not having one.

I like the 5s but it's narrow and the 4 1/2 feels a bit short and the 6 a bit unwieldy.

Perhaps a 5 1/2 is the answer?

I like doing furniture work, out if pine usually. I may have some decent projects coming up to get my teeth into.

S/h they go for £50 which is a bit more that impulse buy prices.

What about new ones in the middle ground - Quangsheng planes???

Cheers James
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
3,675
Reaction score
503
Location
In me workshop
How on earth did you manage? :p
Have a 3, a pair of 4's, a 5 elsewhere, pair of 5 1/2's, and an 8.
Never held a no.6, but will say that the no.51/2 has been my favourite.

What do you use the no.6 for, shooting board?

A woodie might be another option for a main user.
Many swear by those.

Tom
 

CaptainBudget

Established Member
Joined
2 Jul 2019
Messages
64
Reaction score
69
Location
Sheffield
I would argue probably not.

I'm in a similar position to you, I have a 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5 & 7. My 5.5 is kind of redundant for general hand tool work (I make furniture out of salvaged pine with predominantly hand tools), the No.5 is my workhorse, and I find the 5.5 is a bit too wide to serve as a Fore Plane. If I go for a wide one at all it's usually a finely set no.7 to fully flatten it or a 4.5 to put a final finish on.

My 5.5 I have found a use for though, when resawing large pieces I will take the part straight off the bandsaw and scalp the saw marks off with it. I find it's got a good balance on the length, long enough to true it up but not too long it takes more than a couple of passes. The extra width really helps here as it takes fewer passes overall to finish.

In short, no you probably don't need one, but I suspect you really want one and will end up buying one anyway...
 

Nigel Burden

Established Member
Joined
23 Oct 2018
Messages
579
Reaction score
169
Location
Dorset
I have a Record 05,1/2 which gets used as a smoother with a tight set cap iron sometimes or as a Jack other times. I still prefer my no4 as a smoother though. For a jointer I have a 22" woodie that I picked up for £5. I also have a self made Krenov style smoother and a self made high bed angle (55 degrees) smoother. I also have a couple of coffin smothers picked up cheaply off ebay.

I have too many planes myself, but I agree with Captain Budget that you probably don't need a 5.1/2, but like me, buy one if you want it.

Nigel.
 

thetyreman

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2016
Messages
3,758
Reaction score
838
Location
North West
I use my 5 1/2 the most so I'd say yes , BUT I don't have a no5 or no6 so it fills in that gap, I only have a no 4, 4 1/2, 5 1/2 and no7 for everything, I like the extra width and weight of the wider blades more. I think you should look into getting a no7 or no8, a jointer is critical on some things, especially jointing long boards together using hand tool methods, and times when you want very very fine tolerances like drawer making.
 

Cheshirechappie

Established Member
Joined
30 Jan 2012
Messages
4,909
Reaction score
224
Location
Cheshire
The 'classical' furniture-maker's set of bench planes are a jack, a try and a smoother. If you machine prepare your stock, you can probably manage without the jack - most of the time. You have a selection of short planes to cover smoothing duties, and the 5 would cover jack work. You could get away with using the 6 for trying up, but a longer plane would be just a bit better - a 7 or 8. In time, you'll find that there are two or three planes you use, and the others gather dust, but everybody has their own preferences and quirks of working. There isn't really a 'right' answer, but being able to jack, try and smooth with whatever plane sizes suit you is pretty much the foundation of good furniture work in solid wood.

With that in mind, I'd invest in a long try plane (7 or 8) before filling the rather close gap between the 5 and 6.
 

shed9

establiSHED member
Joined
3 Nov 2013
Messages
2,100
Reaction score
497
Location
In a forest in Wales
Pick one up, use it and if it works for you then keep it, if not then sell it on and possibly take a small hit on the postage.
 

Corset

Established Member
Joined
5 Mar 2005
Messages
634
Reaction score
48
Location
Nottingham
what kind of question is that? Of course you need a number 5 1/2. The more planes the better. I didnt think i needed a no2 or a 5 1/4 and a 7 and a 7c but i have them and i use them. I dont think its possible to have to many planes. I have them set up for different cuts and just flick between them.
My wife says i have a problem... i see them as solutions to issues that havent arisen yet but i am prepared.....
 

fezman

Established Member
Joined
22 Mar 2017
Messages
362
Reaction score
95
Location
South Yorkshire
A couple of years ago, I saw Peter Sefton demonstrating the Wood River 5 1/2 @ the east midlands wood show. After picking one up and handling it, I thought it was just what I was after, a bit wider, a bit heavier / more mass. I bought one and it is the best bench plane for me, by far. Once sharp (scary sharp system), it is a pleasure to use.
I was so pleased with it, at the last Harrogate show BC (before Covid!), I bought the 4 1/2. Again an absolute pleasure to use.
They aren't the cheapest, but I feel I have already had my value for money from them, and they will likely last me out. I was also impressed with the quality of them too - I certainly could not distinguish the quality from the premium brands, which made it a no brainer.

Now the rest of my planes simply gather dust, get cleaned and oiled every so often, but rarely see any work. These are mostly vintage / S/h Stanleys and whilst there is nothing wrong with them, they simply don't have the heft of the WR planes.
 

DougT

Established Member
Joined
7 Apr 2007
Messages
45
Reaction score
9
Location
Somerset
I have 6 planes. The low angle no.62 and no.5 I use most of the time. I now have a new 51/2 Quangsheng the wife bought me for Christmas After polishing the blade I found it works beautifully. I am very pleased with it.
 

D_W

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
9,520
Reaction score
1,915
Location
PA, US
You may enjoy using one, but you definitely don't need it. I have a 5 1/2 as well as several similar size infill planes.i rarely use the 5 1/2..never wouldn't be inaccurate.

I use the infills little.

I think the quangsheng tools are overweight, but if you don't use a heavy plane for too long, it won't be that big of a deal.
 

Exluthier

Established Member
Joined
3 Aug 2018
Messages
44
Reaction score
6
Location
Bedford
How on earth did you manage? :p
Have a 3, a pair of 4's, a 5 elsewhere, pair of 5 1/2's, and an 8.
Never held a no.6, but will say that the no.51/2 has been my favourite.

What do you use the no.6 for, shooting board?

A woodie might be another option for a main user.
Many swear by those.

Tom
I’m one of `the ‘swear by’ lot, using an Emmerich (aka ECE / Ulmia OTT) Primus reform plane, model 12748, and not just because of the weight factor, though it helps a lot.
 

DougT

Established Member
Joined
7 Apr 2007
Messages
45
Reaction score
9
Location
Somerset
The no. 6 is the best I have for a shooting board. My Quangsheng is new so I haven't used it accept for trying it out. It is a heavier pane than what I'm use to. It is wider and cast iron so it will be heavier. If its a lighter plane I need then I will reach for a lighter one.
 

Owd Jockey

Established Member
Joined
11 Jan 2018
Messages
87
Reaction score
76
Location
Shropshire
what kind of question is that? Of course you need a number 5 1/2. The more planes the better. I didnt think i needed a no2 or a 5 1/4 and a 7 and a 7c but i have them and i use them. I dont think its possible to have to many planes. I have them set up for different cuts and just flick between them.
My wife says i have a problem... i see them as solutions to issues that havent arisen yet but i am prepared.....
Totally agree Corset, I have about 8 planes and the older the better. I use about 6 of mine, the other two I'm restoring. Time for the wife to go!:cool:
 
Top