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In Praise of the No 6 Plane

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Andy Kev.

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I have all the planes I need and indeed could justify (4 1/2, 5 1/2, LA Jack and No Eight - the computer keeps putting up a smiley instead of the last plane) but I had a bit of Christmas money left over and decided to treat myself (that in my opinion being the point of Christmas money) and so I bought an old Record No 6 on a sort of "why not?" basis.

How glad I am that I decided to indulge myself! The plane is a joy to use and it feels like the most natural size for me. My most used plane is the LAJ but I can see the No 6 perhaps taking over. This obviously poses the question "why should this be?" and I suspect that it comes down to stature. I'm fairly broad in the shoulders and I wonder if the No 6 is the size that optimally fits my frame. If I'm right in that suspicion then logically someone of a slighter build should be perfectly served by a No 5 and so on. Do you think there's anything in this? If so, then it would imply that anybody buying what will be their dogsbody plane really should try out the options before handing over dosh.

Secondly and in more general terms, when people are asked to recommend the essential plane set, the most common answer I've seen is No 5, No7, a No 3 or 4 for smoothing and of course a block plane. The No 6 hardly ever gets a specific recommendation falling as it does between the Nos 5 and 7. I'm now inclined to think that broad shouldered woodworkers could consider it as an alternative to the No 5
 

whiskywill

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I have recently picked up a No. 5 at a car boot sale and it feels flimsy and rather toy like compared to my favoured 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 planes. I am bulky at 6ft and 17st...ish.
 

Andy Kev.

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In that case it would be interesting what you would think if you got the chance to have a play with a No 6.

I've got an old No 5 as well but have it set up exclusively as a scrub plane. It does feel small but that seems to be OK given the few quick strokes it gets used for. I don't think I'd find it to be an ideal general plane.
 

deema

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I used to have a full set of planes from a 4 to an 8. After a few years I realised that I actually only used a few of them and the others only if I couldn’t find / needed sharpening my regular few. I subsequently sold the rest off. The No6 is my preferred plane along with. No 4 and a scrub.

I too am over 6’ and find the balance and weight better than any of the others. My father whose not as tall preferred the 5 1/2 and a 4 when he was on the tools as his go to planes.
 

Blockplane

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+1.for the No6. It just feels "right" to me. No5 feels feeble in comparison. It could, l suppose have something to do with having had the 6 for some time before acquiring a 5.
 

Smithy

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Another vote for the number 6. I had a full range of planes except the six. Fortunately I was given a Record number 6 last year and have not looked back. Like the OP It is my plane of choice.

Mike
 

thetyreman

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no7 feels just right for me for almost everything, 6 is still good though, I'd like to try a no6.
 

Vann

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deema":1uxy4aai said:
I used to have a full set of planes from a 4 to an 8...
Ahem. I think a FULL set includes a 1 to 3, a 5.25, and the two halves. Then there are the 10, 10.25 and 10.5....

I'll get my coat...

Cheers, Vann (hammer)
 

t8hants

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I don't have a No 6 (donations always accepted :), but I do like the wooden versions that are the same length. I got a couple of very cheap No 3s', which I now prefer to a block plane. I occasionally use my 5, but the 4 just sits and waits.
 

D_W

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I am also a big fan of the #6. I wouldn't say I use one often, but have one. The best thing about them here in the states is (was) patrick (last name? can't remember) badmouthing them on blood and gore.

I got a nearly unused war era or slightly post war stanley plane (with the rubber cover on the height adjustment knob) at an antique shop here for $15. It is pin straight and the iron is wonderful, and it adjusts like an expensive plane.

If I wasn't using wooden planes for most early work, I would use it more often.
 

memzey

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I like using a number 6 on a shooting board. Seems to have the right sort of length of sole ahead of the blade and a decent amount of heft.
 
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