General purpose plane

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Roberto Flintofski

Established Member
Joined
3 May 2020
Messages
168
Reaction score
65
Location
North Lincolnshire
To be fair, fettling an old plane to be usable is likely because of the usual suspects of the sole needing a little work, the frog needing reseating or handles needing a repair, etc. Whilst resharpening a blade is probably also on that list, most people (the OP included) will likely accept that using a ready-to-go plane requires sharpening as part of the cost of ownership anyhow - they just expect to make the other parts function in line with it.

Each to their own and what budgets they are working too, me , I'm tight old and poor !
 

TRITON

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2014
Messages
2,345
Reaction score
1,441
Location
Sunny Glasgow
MAKE ONE :D

Block of wood, something to act as the iron, chiseling and all manner of crafty type woodworking tools.

I think once you get into something like that and hone a technique, you end up with dozens.
 

cpmczak

Member
Joined
12 Dec 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Location
United Kingdom
Interesting debate and I can see both sides of the argument. I'm all for picking up an eBay bargain (have done it plenty of times over the years) but, in this case, my time is at a premium (young kids, full time business) so my thought process was that I'd rather spend what precious time I do have working on my woodworking skills rather than getting frustrated with trying to fettle an old plane into a usable condition, when frankly I have no idea where to start!

Obviously I will need to learn to sharpen the blade, and I'll watch some Youtube videos to help me with that, but for the moment, that is probably as far as I want to go in terms of restoring a plane. I've had a look at the Quangsheng planes recommended by others and they seem like a nice middle ground - not outrageously expensive and the sort of quality that should be more than sufficient for my needs and will see me through many years of hobbyist work.
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
3,802
Reaction score
550
Location
In me workshop
Stanley or Record no.4 and no.5 1/2 on the bay or tool dealer. Look for no hair line cracks in the casting. No split handles preferably , plenty of life left in the cutter preferably. No chips around the mouth and a thick sole (base) checked from looking head on from each end so you can flatten it if need be.
A bit of rust is no issue.
Regardless what plane you get, the most important thing is that you sharpen the cutter well, as a fancy ductile iron plane will be in the same state of affairs as an old rusty one after 20 minutes use.

Tom
 
Last edited:

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,907
Reaction score
2,768
Location
Derbyshire
Fettling a plane is pretty low tech really - about equivalent of maintaining a push bike - but there are people who don't even do that!
Sounding like an old fart I know, but when ar worra lad nobody ever started with a new bike - it'd be somebody's cast off, might even have been their mum's. By the time a new bike turned up we'd all be experts and the first thing we'd do is take it apart and improve it (except spoilt rich kids or sisters of course).
Ditto tools - everything begged borrowed or "found".
 

Just4Fun

Established Member
Joined
21 Sep 2017
Messages
989
Reaction score
350
Location
Finland
Fettling a plane is pretty low tech really
That is true, but if you have zero experience or knowledge it can be a daunting task. I recently set up an old No 5 for a guy who lives near me. He has taken up woodwork in his retirement and had no idea why his plane was not performing as he thought it should. There was very little wrong with it but he simply did not know where to start.
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,907
Reaction score
2,768
Location
Derbyshire
That is true, but if you have zero experience or knowledge it can be a daunting task. I recently set up an old No 5 for a guy who lives near me. He has taken up woodwork in his retirement and had no idea why his plane was not performing as he thought it should. There was very little wrong with it but he simply did not know where to start.
Fair enough. Good that he didn't have to lay out £400 or so instead!
Not knowing how to do things you've never done before, is normal. Finding out how, from friends, neighbours, publications, is normal. Working it out for yourself is also normal.
 

Corset

Established Member
Joined
5 Mar 2005
Messages
634
Reaction score
48
Location
Nottingham
i have literally tidied up 100s of planes over the years through collecting tools (i know i know) and have derusted manyof stanleys record acorn etc. Generally the ones that have been used once and sat in a shed were the least likely to perform well despite being the shiniest. The well worn plane are normally ugliy but sorted. I would note that people tend to stick to stanley and record on ebay so so many middling brands for years past are ignored and these can be pretty decent rapier, whitmore, woden all crop up and are cheaper still. I have 120 planes sat in my garage waiting a clean and tidy all from a closed school dept. Its quite interesting you can see the older planes such as a bedrock, old records and stanleys all nice. Some nice T5 and then newer record marples planes in there which are pretty poor castings (useable but ugly). I have big hands and i find some planes i just cant get my fingers to not hit the adjuster wheel.
Anyway lots to go for on ebay and you can get a whole set for the price of a LN or veritas. I personally prefer a 5 over a 4 but each to their own.
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
3,014
Reaction score
1,719
Location
Bradford
i have literally tidied up 100s of planes over the years through collecting tools (i know i know) and have derusted manyof stanleys record acorn etc. Generally the ones that have been used once and sat in a shed were the least likely to perform well despite being the shiniest. The well worn plane are normally ugliy but sorted. I would note that people tend to stick to stanley and record on ebay so so many middling brands for years past are ignored and these can be pretty decent rapier, whitmore, woden all crop up and are cheaper still. I have 120 planes sat in my garage waiting a clean and tidy all from a closed school dept. Its quite interesting you can see the older planes such as a bedrock, old records and stanleys all nice. Some nice T5 and then newer record marples planes in there which are pretty poor castings (useable but ugly). I have big hands and i find some planes i just cant get my fingers to not hit the adjuster wheel.
Anyway lots to go for on ebay and you can get a whole set for the price of a LN or veritas. I personally prefer a 5 over a 4 but each to their own.
What do you think of Acorn / gtl / rapier planes?

Im going to buy some at some point for my men's shed and it's a toss up between new silverline or s/h cheap planes.

Don't want Stanley l/N etc incase they walk.

Cheers James
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,907
Reaction score
2,768
Location
Derbyshire
What do you think of Acorn / gtl / rapier planes?

Im going to buy some at some point for my men's shed and it's a toss up between new silverline or s/h cheap planes.

Don't want Stanley l/N etc incase they walk.

Cheers James
I've got an Acorn 4 and it's perfectly OK. The only cheap detail is the lateral adjuster which is a folded metal type which you see on later Stanleys Records too, but work fine.
2nd hand is a gamble but some cheapos are out and out duds. I bought a Faithful 10 which was unusable and un remediable. All the parts were well made and the blade was good but they just didn't fit together.
Corset's point about well used ones is good - at least you know they were usable once!
I've got a very nice Stanley 3 which has plastic handles but you really can't tell unless you look very closely. It's very well made with no compromises - the plastic looks like a nicely polished hardwood. Don't necessarily be put off by plastic handles
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
3,014
Reaction score
1,719
Location
Bradford
I'll buy anything that looks plane like, with a proper blade clamp and frog assembly.

We are waiting for new premises as well as the vaccine to sort the virus out first!

Cheers James
 

cpmczak

Member
Joined
12 Dec 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Location
United Kingdom
Stanley or Record no.4 and no.5 1/2 on the bay or tool dealer. Look for no hair line cracks in the casting. No split handles preferably , plenty of life left in the cutter preferably. No chips around the mouth and a thick sole (base) checked from looking head on from each end so you can flatten it if need be.
A bit of rust is no issue.
Regardless what plane you get, the most important thing is that you sharpen the cutter well, as a fancy ductile iron plane will be in the same state of affairs as an old rusty one after 20 minutes use.

Tom
Fettling a plane is pretty low tech really - about equivalent of maintaining a push bike - but there are people who don't even do that!
Sounding like an old fart I know, but when ar worra lad nobody ever started with a new bike - it'd be somebody's cast off, might even have been their mum's. By the time a new bike turned up we'd all be experts and the first thing we'd do is take it apart and improve it (except spoilt rich kids or sisters of course).
Ditto tools - everything begged borrowed or "found".

OK fine, I think you've actually convinced me that I'm being a bit pretentious here and nothing wrong with looking second hand and learning some new skills along the way. I do have a reputation for being pretty tight but I guess in this case, I've been worried about buying a dud.

So this one looks decent to my untrained eye. Any thoughts?

 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,907
Reaction score
2,768
Location
Derbyshire
OK fine, I think you've actually convinced me that I'm being a bit pretentious here and nothing wrong with looking second hand and learning some new skills along the way. I do have a reputation for being pretty tight but I guess in this case, I've been worried about buying a dud.

So this one looks decent to my untrained eye. Any thoughts?

Looks OK though personally I'd rather buy things untouched by restorers. I always feel that over polishing is sign of amateur at work! But there are plenty to chose from on ebay
 

Roberto Flintofski

Established Member
Joined
3 May 2020
Messages
168
Reaction score
65
Location
North Lincolnshire
OK fine, I think you've actually convinced me that I'm being a bit pretentious here and nothing wrong with looking second hand and learning some new skills along the way. I do have a reputation for being pretty tight but I guess in this case, I've been worried about buying a dud.

So this one looks decent to my untrained eye. Any thoughts?



cpmczak ... where in the UK are you?
 

Andy Kev.

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
20 Aug 2013
Messages
1,364
Reaction score
128
Location
Germany
OK fine, I think you've actually convinced me that I'm being a bit pretentious here and nothing wrong with looking second hand and learning some new skills along the way. I do have a reputation for being pretty tight but I guess in this case, I've been worried about buying a dud.

So this one looks decent to my untrained eye. Any thoughts?

If you're going to buy second hand, I'd recommend buying from a reputable dealer e.g.



You'll need to check such websites fairly frequently as good Record and Stanley planes tend to get snapped up fairly quickly.
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
3,014
Reaction score
1,719
Location
Bradford
OK fine, I think you've actually convinced me that I'm being a bit pretentious here and nothing wrong with looking second hand and learning some new skills along the way. I do have a reputation for being pretty tight but I guess in this case, I've been worried about buying a dud.

So this one looks decent to my untrained eye. Any thoughts?


I've been lookung for a mate and that isn't a bad price tbh.

Cheers James
 

shed9

establiSHED member
Joined
3 Nov 2013
Messages
2,126
Reaction score
525
Location
In a forest in Wales
Looks OK though personally I'd rather buy things untouched by restorers. I always feel that over polishing is sign of amateur at work! But there are plenty to chose from on ebay
Have to agree here, unless you are buying from a reputable known source then an Ebay purchase of a restored plane is possibly not the best option, especially the over shiny ones. But then buying an already restored plane is not that far removed from buying a QS variant form a price point and the argument made by others. That particular one in the link looks about the right price and easily passed on if not for you.

There are usually plenty of No 4 1/2's going second hand, more so than No 4's in my opinion. This may be a good compromise of a smoother with a wider blade and a bit more heft to get through your table tops. Be prepared for a proper work out when you start on the tops, not sure that many people appreciate the actual physical labour involved in planing large areas.

Personally I would use a jointer on a largish top before taking a smoother to it to get the high spots down, else you will just be smoothing an unlevelled board top. All depends on the actual size of course.

As before be warned it can be a slippery slope to more planes.

Have a look at the SuperTool website, the excellent Patrick's Blood and Gore's Stanley history. Just scroll down to the plane numbers at the bottom of the page.
 
Top