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I am in need of some advice/encouragement in selecting my first bench plane. Having recently moved house I now have a garage which I aim to convert into a workshop and having trawled the internet I have decided my first project should be to build a workbench, based on the following design http://www.terraclavis.com/bws/beginners.htm

My aim is to go down the hand tool route as much as possible, partly for safety reasons, I have a young child and a very inquisitive dog so want it to be a safeish place for them to be when I am working there. Also woodworking is going to be my escape so I don't mind things taking longer to do by hand.

I have just about everything I need to construct the bench other than a plane. Given the fact I have just moved and a serious amount of work is going on in the house, I can only really justify one "hobby" (SWMBO speak) tool just now. Therefore, I am thinking about a No #5 plane or #5 1/4, as that should be able to work both as a thickneser and smoother for the time being.

I have been scouring ebay for bargains but as of yet I have not found anything that I would be happy paying the price they are going for, so I am looking at going new. With Christmas coming up I think I could muster the money for a Lie-Nielsen, Veritas or Clifton plane. The Veritas and Clifton planes seem to be coming in at around 150 for the #5 1/4 and #5 respectively where as the Lie-Nielsen is coming in at around 225 for the #5. Does the LN plane justify the extra £75, as that would go some way to getting another plane in few months :wink:

My purchase in some way is going to have to be blind as I live in West Cumbria and know of no reasonable local outlet where I can go and have a play with the LN or Clifton planes to see which feels better. Therefore, which plane would suit someone with rather large hands?

So is there a better plane than the #5 for this task and if so what is it and which of the 3 brands should I be looking at.

Thanks for your advice.

David
 

Adam

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Don't forget to buy somekind of sharpening stone. Cheap electric sharpening systems are a waste of time.

If your are limited for cash, I'd go for the Veritas and a sharpening system like this...


http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp? ... 07&recno=6

http://www.axminster.co.uk/category.asp?cat_id=207933

Or anything along those lines, oil stones, scarysharp (TM), waterstones etc. Each person has their own favourite. You can search for information on scarysharp by typing it into google.com or clicking here...

http://www.shavings.net/SCARY.HTM
 

ike

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Bang for bucks - IMO its gotta be Veritas.

I've bitten the bullet and ordered the LV low angle jack, low angle smoother both with extra high angle blades, and low angle block. This'll likely be my only plane buy for the foreseable future, as I hope these 3 planes'll between them'll do everything I want.

I don't know which'll get used the most but hopefully all will be worth the outlay.

Ike
 

Chris Knight

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David,

I own several LNs and a small Clifton (#3). I rate the Clifton very highly and as good as the LNs. The handle size is about the same as the LNs.

A 5 1/2 (not a 5 1/4) is a very versatile plane and can be used for many jobs, especially if you invest in an extra iron which can be sharpened differently - eg for "rough planing" doing duty as a scrub plane.

You might also consider a good, reconditioned Stanley plane from Ray Iles (http://www.oldtools.free-online.co.uk/metalplanes.htm) which will be cheaper than the LN or Clifton planes and capable of good work
 

gidon

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Hi David

If I was starting off and buying just one plane to get me going, it would probably be the LN 62 (with a spare iron as Mr Schwarz suggests) - reviewed here:

http://www.lie-nielsen.com/pdf/LN62.pdf

Axminster sell it - I've only heard rave reviews of it and loved it when I tried it at a show. Very versatile and not too expensive (well it's all relative!) Of course the Veritas version Alf reviewed is slightly cheaper.

There's also a nice article on hand planes here:

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/features/fea.asp?id=1020

Cheers

Gidon
 

SimonA

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Hi David.....if you want to have a play with the Clifton planes and possibly the LN and the Veritas you could pop along to the North of England Tool show at the Harrogate show ground. This is in its 12th year now and still going pretty strong. I think from memory its the last week in November.....

Cheers.

SimonA
 

Alf

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David,

Best bang for your buck is probably a reconditioned #5 from Ray Iles as Chris mentions (there's the blurb about 'em in the hand tools board somewhere). For new then I think Veritas really do have the edge at the moment. I reckon the difference between the L-Ns and the Veritas can pretty much be summed up thus:
L-N grind, machine and polish everything
L-V grind and machine where it matters
It depends on the individual whether one is worth the extra over the other or not. As you have large hands you might well find the Veritas more comfortable than a Stanley or L-N anyway (don't have enough experience of Cliftons to say). On balance, as a beginner, I'd probably opt for the low angle jack. In addition to the versatility already mentioned, it's just that little bit easier with regard to blade setting with a bevel up plane, and it'll make planing end grain a slightly more pleasant experience.

And as Adam rightly says, don't forget the sharpening.

Cheers, Alf

Disclaimer: I'm not on Lee Valley's pay roll, honest. :wink:
 

Midnight

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David... welcome aboard...

The suggestions above are good ones; I won't argue against them, but I'd venture to suggest you consider a #5 1/2. Like yourself, when I first "got into" hand planes, I figured the #5 was a good place to start, but after using it for a while it became apparent why the #5 is called the jack plane... wasn't really long enough for jointing long boards... didn't have quite enough heft to master difficult grain etc... That's not saying that it isn't a good buy, it's just not ideally suited to covering all the bases. The #5 1/2 is a little longer (better jointing), wider (faster stock removal) and heavier (more able to cope with difficult grain).
When it comes down to selecting a manufacturer, I stand firmly behind Lie Nielsen. Granted, they're more expensive, but in both capability and performance I've yet to regret my decision to go with them. For me, their primary attraction is their ability to take a high angle frog which excels when dealing with difficult grain..
I wish you well with the bench project..
 
A

Anonymous

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Thanks for all the advice, I have deviated a bit already as I have just picked up an old stanley #4 from ebay. From the photo it looks reasonable and was only just over a tenner inc p&p so if it is useless then I haven't lost much.

The low angle jack looks quite an interesting plane and at the price it is definitely worth considering.

With regards sharpening I am for the most part covered as I have the rexon wet sharpener, but I am looking at picking up a 6000 grit waterstone when I next get some other things from axminster.

Thanks once again for all the advice.

Cheers,

David
 

Martin Brown

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SimonA":ayyx30ib said:
Hi David.....if you want to have a play with the Clifton planes and possibly the LN and the Veritas you could pop along to the North of England Tool show at the Harrogate show ground. This is in its 12th year now and still going pretty strong. I think from memory its the last week in November.....

Cheers.

SimonA
We will have the Veritas planes for you to test at Harrogate.


Martin
 

woodshavings

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Dont do it Simon ..its a trap - those nice people from Brimarc seduce you with demonstrations, you stoke the plane, feel the dimples in the sides and next minute you're handing over your credit card. Get back before its to late - Alf's there ready to push .....
 

Alf

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Where's the point in pushing? These days I seem to be the one applying the brakes... :roll:

Incidentally, I think I must have left my tin of "Kwik-o-Slope" round here somewhere. Anyone seen it?

Cheers, Alf
 

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