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Anonymous

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I am thinking of upgrading my handplane to a decent quality plane as at the moment i have a stanley handyman plane which isn't very good I have been looking at the lie nielson planes on the axminster website but their is that many different varieties i don't know what the difference is. So could you please help me by letting me know which is the best brand to go for and what model to go for, for general usage?

Cheers,
Derek.
 

Philly

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Welcome Derek!
Depends what you want the plane for! Hows your sharpening skills? Have you "tweaked" your Stanley up yet? You might be surprised what it will do.
I find a #5 is a good place to start-long enough to straighten boards but managable enough for smoothing and cutting end grain.
I'm a big fan of Clifton planes (you'll find them in Axminsters catologue too!) they are pretty much as good as the L-N's and a wee bit cheaper too.
Good luck with your search,
Philly :D
 

Frank D.

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Hi Derek,
I could debate the merits of certain planes till I lose my breath but I don't have time right now. I'm not sure about the prices in the UK but here in Canada I'd say the best buy for an all-around plane would be the Veritas (Lee Valley) low angle jack. I own and use several Lie-Nielsen planes (including their low-angle jack) and I really love them but the Veritas really does give the most bang for the buck, it's easier to adjust than the LN version, it's heavier, it has sets crews where you need them, it has a longer nose than the LN, it has a wider blade (handy for smoothing or even gang-jointing wide boards), all in all it's IMO a superior plane. Plus with a bevel-up plane all you need is an extra blade or two and you can handle end grain, long grain, and difficult curly or figured grain (just grind a different bevel angle on each blade and use the one most suited to what you are doing). Notice I don't mention the Clifton because I've never used one and don't know how much they cost in your neck of the woods. Does Clifton have a bevel-up (low angle) plane?
Anyways, my 2 cents, other will surely have more to say.
Frank D.
 

Midnight

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Derek.. it's not too late... if you back away reallllll slowly you'll escape with nothing more than the occasional nightmare.. be warned... once the slope gets ya... kiss yer ass goodbyeeeeeee.... :wink:

where to start...??

well... I suppose the easiest place is with bench planes... they're the ones that look similar in style to your Stanley, differing in overall length and width...

By their nature, planes are designed to ride over and cut down the high spots in a board. The extent to which they do that depends on their overall length; the longer the sole, the more it will confine its area of work to the highest spots.
Shorter beds will tend to drift partway down into the "valleys" between the high areas. The shortest beds really aren't suited to flattening at all; they're better used as finish smoothers..

Generally speaking (cos there's no hard n fast rules) the longer the plane, the more it's suited to flattening a board; it makes no difference if we're talking the face or the edge here. The regulation "jointing" planes are the #7 and #8.
#'s 6 and 5 1/2 are the closest that iron planes come to being panel planes. These are at their best when used to work on a panel that you've glued up, the planes being used to ensure that any slight misalignment is flushed out, and that the panel ends up smooth, flat and out of wind (twist).
#5's are known as jack planes... jack of all trades... used for rough prep, oversized smoothers, edge jointers etc, they're probably the most often reached for of the bench planes... Their multi-role ability comes from changing how you tune the frog and the shape that you hone into the blade... for course work you want to open the throat pretty wide, and hone a fairly aggressive radius into the blade. Conversely, if you choose to tune it closer to finish smooth work, you want a real tight throat and a blade that's been honed perfectly straight and square, with only it's outer corners "clipped" to avoid leaving "tram lines" on the board...

#'s 3, 4 and 4 1/2 are the recognized finish smoothers... set up with the finest throats, super sharp blades honed flat and square with clipped corners, these guys will leave a finish that's gotta be seen to be believed; there isn't a power tool that can hold a candle to their finish quality.

#'s 1&2 are tiny in size; to my mind they're aimed as training tools for younger smaller hands, although technically they're perfectly capable of filling a similar role to that of a block plane...

Anyway... that lot covers the bench planes...

Alf's reviews of the Veritas shoulder, block, bull nose and bevel up planes are written far better than my blurb; you'll get a clear idea of what they're used for by reading them... she's a pretty good word-smith..

As for which brand is best... that's not so easy to answer...
Common consensus here is that you won't go far wrong if you choose between Clifton, Lee Valley or Lie Nielsen; all three are among the highest regarded manufacturers, each having exceptionally high quality standards and customer service. No one of the three cover the entire range of styles, sizes and types you could end up with, giving the opportunity to try some of each for yourself before choosing which is "the best" to your own mind...

Clear as mud..???

:twisted:

Welcome to the slope.... dinna say I didn't warn ya.... :twisted: :wink: :twisted:
 

DaveL

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Hi Derek,

Welcome to the forum. :D

I see you have started down the slope. :shock:

You have been warned. :lol:

You could opt for buying older planes and fettling them so they are nice users. Depends on the money/time ratio that you’re working to. Clifton, Lee Valley or Lie Nielsen planes will work out of the box, maybe just touch the iron on a stone, careful not to cut your hand was you put it back in the plane, you will not notice until the blood hits the wood. DAMHIKT :roll:
An older (as old as 100years) Stanley will cost a fraction of the price but will need some careful work to bring it up to useable state.
And as Mike says there are lots to choose from, they are herding tools, like to go round in 3s or 4s. :?
Alf will probable be along soon, we've greased the slope, watch for the push. :wink:
 
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Anonymous

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HiDerek

Welcome

Start with a #5 (#5 1/2 is too heavy)

I have several LNs, several Veritas and a Clifton. You will not be able to tell them apart from a performance perspective.

LN are the best quality of the 3 makes - best materials too
Veritas are very well made, innovative and work as well as LN
Clifton are very similar to Stanley in appearance but equal to LN in performance

My choice? Well, I have far more LNs than any others - I am an engineer and the engineering of the LN is superior to the other two

Any one of these will be superb and work form the box but FIRST try tuning the Stanley a little - you'll be surprised
 

kygaloot

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Derek,

Since your Stanley Handyman is already in your possession, why not spend some time with it and give it a good fettling? I have yet to see a Bailey style plane that could not be coaxed into performing reasonably well on straight grained timber.

Take a stroll over to Jeff Gorman's site. There you will find an encyclopedia of articles on plane tuning and use. Follow the notes that he has laid out and I think you will be surprised at how well that Handyman can sing.

If, after going through that process, you find that you would like to purchase some additional planes suited to their particular functions, you will be very intimate with the plane's workings and will have a better idea for what to look for in a used plane if that route is of interest.

Another option not yet mentioned is to consider wood bodied planes. These can be found on your side of the pond at very good prices (used) and often have an iron made from some vintage Sheffield steel. I dare say you could outfit yourself with a complete family of bench planes for the price of one LN. Tony Murland or Andrew Stephens would more than likely have a good selection in stock of jack, jointer, fore, and smoothing planes. One advantage of wood bodied planes is that they are much easier to tune than metal planes. I just flattened the sole of a 23” jointer (or try) plane yesterday and it took all of 10 minutes and that was with a 1/32” concavity. They will wear over time and will periodically require patching in the area of the mouth but this is a straightforward exercise. The nature of wood is to move, and changes in humidity can sometimes require a quick pass or two to bring things back into line. Learning to adjust the iron can take some practice but is easy enough to pick up and will soon become second nature.

Should you find yourself more interested in various hand tools and would like to take advantage of the used tool market, I would recommend this book by Michael Dunbar. This book is invaluable in restoring old woodworking hand tools.

Jeff
 
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Anonymous

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Cheers guys for the insight into the world of planes and thanks for the tip about clipping the edges of the blade never thought of that and as for that slope, i was on it a long time ago all my mates say ive got more tools than B&Q and when they ask what do you want that many for i allways say 'ye never know' (they usually walk off shaking their heads). Different story a few weeks later when theirs a knock at the door and the inevitable 'can i borrow' rings out.

I know you should allways take magazines with a pinch off salt but in this months woodworker the clifton plane that they are reviewing amongst others does seem to need alot of work in the way of flattening the sole as the one that they are reviewing is way above what is thought off as tolerable which kind off put me off a little. Is this normal with clifton planes or have they got a one off?

Cheers,
Derek.
 

Philly

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Wasn't it the bronze #4 Lie-Nielsen that needed work??
Sorry dont have my copy handy :wink:
Philly :D
 

Chris Knight

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derek681":3db4hoor said:
Is this normal with clifton planes or have they got a one off?
I have a Clifton and it's perfect, I think most folk who have them are extremely satisfied. I am very surprised a lot of sole flattening was needed. They should have returned the plane - Clifton would certainly have exchanged a bad 'un.
 
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derek681":2udwthps said:
Is this normal with clifton planes or have they got a one off?

Cheers,
Derek.
I have a #5 Clifton. Only thing I had to do was hone the blade. Perfect plane from the box.
 

bugbear

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I glanced at the Clifton vs LN review in the newsagent. I think the reviewer just mis-read the flatness specifications from the 2 manufacturers.

LN quote a plus-or-minus tolerance of 1.5 thou, whereas LV and Clifton quote a total error or 3 thou. (actually, LV spec is a little more complex than that).

I have seen this mis-quoted before as LN having a sole flat to 1.5 thou and the other brands only being flat to 3 thou. This is not the truth.

With due deference to Jeff's site, which I admire, there's plenty of other stuff on plane tuning out there. This page on my site gives some information, and links to (plenty!) more.

http://www.geocities.com/plybench/plane.html

BugBear[/b]
 

Alf

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Well, Derek, you've gathered together pretty much one example of each "classic" response you're likely to get to such a question. Bad luck. :wink: Tony's extremely debatable statement
Start with a #5 (#5 1/2 is too heavy)
highlights the main problem with answering your query. One question has to be answered to give any decent advice at all.

What exactly d'you want to do with it?

General usage means something to you, but it may mean something completely different to us. Are you proposing to dimension sawn stock with it? Trim the odd joint? Smooth previously machined panels? What? In short, too heavy to do what?

Then there's the personal taste aspect. Back to Tony's quote (nothing personal, Tony, just an easy one to use); he likes a #5 and dismisses the #5 1/2. Whereas here's me who can't remember the last time I reached for the #5 but is virtually permanently attached to a #5 1/2. Is one of us wrong? Of course not. Well if anyone is, it's Tony of course... :wink: Ideally, once you have a rough idea what you're looking for, you need to try the options for yourself and see what you feel comfortable with. I don't know if any of the shows at this end of the year would give you that opportunity (Tools2005 would, but not 'til November :( ), but there might be a member or two in your locale who can arrange a test drive. Not essential, mind, but it'd be helpful.

Anyway, a bit more detail and then I can start doing the shoving down The Slope in earnest. :D

Oh, one word on the Clifton. The only thing that ever really makes it lose out in tests is the grey iron they use for the bodies, rather than ductile iron which LN and Veritas use. The latter is more likely to bounce if you drop it...

Cheers, Alf
 

Adam

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derek681":1cqlx45f said:
I am thinking of upgrading my handplane to a decent quality plane as at the moment i have a stanley handyman plane which isn't very good I have been looking at the lie nielson planes on the axminster website but their is that many different varieties i don't know what the difference is. So could you please help me by letting me know which is the best brand to go for and what model to go for, for general usage?

Cheers,
Derek.
Derek,

Have you looked through this thread?

https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/view ... 83&start=0

Adam
 

AndyG

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Derek,

I really REALLY reccommend the 'Hand plane book' by Garrett Hack. You can get it from amazon here http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos...551/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/026-8136321-6854816
It really is a lovely book, and has a load of good advice.

For what it's worth, when I made the leap to a LN plane, I was advised to go for a low-angle plane (No. 62). I got one and love it, but to be honest I think I could have made more immediate use of a No. 5. If you want to slash out, get a clifton number 5, then save the extra for the slightly more special LN No 62.

Of course (as already said) this is all dependant on what you are going to use the plane for, and Hack's book will really help you work out which one is right for the job.

Hope that helps
Andy
 

AndyG

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Alf":26plgyki said:
But not such pretty pictures.
Gotta have the pictures surely :D. Well, guess there's nothing for it but to buy them both.

Alf, any chance you've got some more info on the 'Planecraft' book? Edition, year, author etc... The link lists various editions. Thank you

Andy
 

Alf

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AndyG":24d7b2yn said:
Well, guess there's nothing for it but to buy them both.
Well naturally :D

Not sure how many additions they did; just avoid the Sainsbury one is the mantra I've learnt (although I'm not altogether sure why, but who am I to argue?). The Woodcraft reprint is okay too. Really, for the maximum information, I think you want anything including, and subsequent to, the revised and enlarged edition published in 1950. You couldn't go wrong with any of the editions from the 50's I reckon.

Cheers, Alf
 

Keith Smith

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Derek
I know you should always take magazines with a pinch off salt
after all my hard work :shock: , I still have the blisters.


Chris, I decided to carry on with the test despite the sole being out because basically anyone could have bought this plane and my view is I should test fairly; each manufacturer sent a plane I tested them. I do remember a thread where a certain amount of stick was dished out because magazines do not generally give poor reviews. I don't think it would have been right if I had sent this one back and asked them to select one specially for me, very partisan I think. I did speak to the MD at Clico and he was naturally upset but accepted my position. Plus by the time I had lapped it a few times to show the problem it was well within spec. Also although it was out right in front of the mouth, which was unfortunate, it didn't make any difference to the test.

I used these planes for several months and did a lot more hand planing than usual so got to know them all well. I could wholeheartedly recommend the L-N and Clifton you won't be sorry if you buy either of them. As for fettling a cheaper plane, it was only when I was using my own "very fettled" Record alongside these planes that I realised just how hopeless it is.

I know I have been extremely lucky here, if only we could all have a dry run with all the various options of tools before we had to lay out the cash.


Keith
 

Midnight

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Speaking of fettling... that's how I started out; bought a stock Stanley #5, adding a #7 a wee while later, then wondered what it was I was doing wrong... a little education later I duely flattened their soles, deburred the machined faces etc, messed with the frog settings...

Granted they were a little better, but with the stock blades, there's only so far you can push them before they start to tear out with a vengence..
Granted they might have been better working straight grained stock... trouble was... I seldom have perfectly straight grain to work..

Rather than mess with em any more, I bit the bullet and upgraded; my #7 now has a nice new home with one uber-gloaten jigmeister who fitted it with some rather tasty handles and an aftermarket blade. My #5 is now used as a course jack, the blade honed with a real aggressive curve, throat wide open and very few expectations placed in it...

Seeing what the Stanleys were capable of compared to one of the better makes (note I'm tryin real hard not to put any bias in this) let me realise just how capable a "good" plane is...
For me, the upgrade choice was perfect; it took all the guesswork out of "is it me or the tool" when chit went wrong... thesedays I have absolute faith in the planes so when chit happens, it's gotta be me... that, I can work both with and on...

It's been my experience that L-N, LV and Clifton represent the best of how things should be straight outa the box... if only the others would take heed...
 
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