Is there anyone who prefer wooden planes to metal ones?

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tibi

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Hello,

I am thinking about making my own set of wooden planes (block plane, smoother, jack and jointer). Is there anyone who prefers using wooden planes to metal planes in his everyday work? Either in terms of ergonomics, weight or general feel of the tool? Once I get used to adjusting the plane, it may become second nature.

If you had to use the planes daily for a few hours of intensive use, which ones would you take?
I can either build Krenov style or the traditional style. Is Krenov style comfortable enough to be used for extensive periods of time (not just a few finishing passes)? Is it comfortable enough to be used on heavy material removal as a jack/scrub? - especially when you have no tote/knob.

I know that the main disadvantage of the wooden planes is that their sole gets out of flat and by flattening I will open up the mouth. But it is only the smoother (and probably the jointer) that needs a tight mouth.

Do you have any designs or plans that you especially like and are comfortable for you?

Thank you for your opinions.
 

Jacob

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Hello,

I am thinking about making my own set of wooden planes (block plane, smoother, jack and jointer). Is there anyone who prefers using wooden planes to metal planes in his everyday work? Either in terms of ergonomics, weight or general feel of the tool? Once I get used to adjusting the plane, it may become second nature.

If you had to use the planes daily for a few hours of intensive use, which ones would you take?
I can either build Krenov style or the traditional style. Is Krenov style comfortable enough to be used for extensive periods of time (not just a few finishing passes)? Is it comfortable enough to be used on heavy material removal as a jack/scrub? - especially when you have no tote/knob.

I know that the main disadvantage of the wooden planes is that their sole gets out of flat and by flattening I will open up the mouth. But it is only the smoother (and probably the jointer) that needs a tight mouth.

Do you have any designs or plans that you especially like and are comfortable for you?

Thank you for your opinions.
In terms of productivity metal planes win by miles, with odd exceptions - a little wooden scrub or a simple skewed rebate are easier than the metal equivalents.
Sole wear isn't an issue unless you are doing a huge amount of work and anyway is easy to fix on a woody.
Design - copy the best known. Nothing special about Krenov's thing it's just part of the Krenov fan club cult
PS forgot to say - the big ones are good as they are lighter than the metal alternatives. I use a 26" woody occasionally, on very long stuff. Longer and lighter than a No8 and a fraction of the price.
 
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bp122

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I have a good few wooden planes that I bought off a guy for a tenner.

Now, I use the smallest one I have (slightly bigger than a block plane but smaller and narrower than a No. 4) for rough work.
And I use the 14" jointer as well, which I prefer to my No.6 (the largest metal plane I own) because it is a much lighter alternative. Also, it just glides so easily.

I don't use planes on a daily basis, I'm only an enthusiast.
 

Just4Fun

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I have a wooden fore plane that I really like. Partly because the iron is so nice and partly because it just glides over the work with minimal effort.
I have a short smoother - typical of the design with a horned handle at the front. I don't like that because I find it too light. I prefer a metal plane if I want a short plane, either for scrub or smoothing work.
I have a wooden plough plane that I use because I have no other tool for that job. It is difficult to set up and I rarely produce a crisp result, but that may be down to me more than the tool.
I have some small wooden thumb planes. I rarey use them and I don't think metal or wood would make much difference at that scale.
My other planes are metal planes of various brands; nothing more high-end than a Stanley.
 

tibi

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In terms of productivity metal planes win by miles, with odd exceptions - a little wooden scrub or a simple skewed rebate are easier than the metal equivalents.
Sole wear isn't an issue unless you are doing a huge amount of work and anyway is easy to fix on a woody.
Design - copy the best known. Nothing special about Krenov's thing it's just part of the Krenov fan club cult
PS forgot to say - the big ones are good as they are lighter than the metal alternatives. I use a 26" woody occasionally, on very long stuff. Longer and lighter than a No8 and a fraction of the price.

Jacob,

What makes metal planes so more productive compared to wooden planes? Is it just the ability to adjust the plane depth and lateral adjustment more quickly and precisely and sole flatness or are there any other things that I am not aware of? What were the initial selling points that made the old craftsmen change their old wooden planes for metal ones? They were so used to wooden planes, so it must be something ground-breaking that they were willing to do the switch.

Thank you.
 

Jacob

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Jacob,

What makes metal planes so more productive compared to wooden planes? Is it just the ability to adjust the plane depth and lateral adjustment more quickly and precisely and sole flatness or are there any other things that I am not aware of? What were the initial selling points that made the old craftsmen change their old wooden planes for metal ones? They were so used to wooden planes, so it must be something ground-breaking that they were willing to do the switch.

Thank you.
Adjustment but also thin blade: fast & easy take out, sharpen, put back, but with no loss of performance compared to the great heavy lumps in a woody. The blade "unit" is lever cap, cap iron, blade, frog, altogether a bit like Gillette razor and more efficient than what it replaced.
 

D_W

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Jack and try plane, wood over metal any day. If you use a machine planer, you may not care, but you can do a whole lot more work in a given hour with a wooden plane.
 

Adam W.

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I use my wooden planes more than the metal ones and I find that if I'm planing resinous timbers the wooden planes don't gum up like the metal ones do.

The pine here is exceptionally resinous and the wooden planes out perform metal ones hands down. Sharpening, setting and adjustment isn't something I consider to be an issue, as I'm used to it.

I think you'll get a kick out of making and using your own planes, that's for sure.
 

D_W

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Hello,

I am thinking about making my own set of wooden planes (block plane, smoother, jack and jointer). Is there anyone who prefers using wooden planes to metal planes in his everyday work? Either in terms of ergonomics, weight or general feel of the tool? Once I get used to adjusting the plane, it may become second nature.

By the way, with wooden planes, you'll do fairly little setting, etc. The objective is to get a bigger shaving in the earlier steps and the smoothing (a plane where you may do more adjusting/setting/sharpening and thinner shavings) of something done well with a try plane is a very quick thing.

Stick with either continental/european type planes or English style. Avoid krenov planes for any significant work - you need handles and the ability to push forward and have correct plane ergonomics. The krenov plane type is generally an easy-to-make plane for someone doing nearly all of their work with power tools.

The ergonomics vs. something like a stanley or record aren't really an issue (that type of plane is comfortable to use), it's the friction (wet or dry, doesn't matter). The amount of friction that you get with a metal plane is orders of magnitude greater than wooden planes no matter how much you wax and how often. It's like running with two heavy backpacks vs. none at all (the latter being what a wooden plane feels like compared to metal).

I prefer a stanley metal smoother, though - they're just a better smoothing plane than anything made of wood (more productive, and will plane anything whereas the going gets rough with a coffin smoother, etc, when the wood gets to medium hardwood or harder). The stanley design is sheer genius because it doesn't rely on precise manufacturing to make a perfect-working plane.
 

Nic Rhodes

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A closet wood plane fan here, but stumbled on this by accident. I initially got a large 24" as a cost effective alternative to a metal 7 but all greatly expanded since then. I have quite a few old wooden planes but got into European ECE and David Barron made modern planes, both of which do an excellent job. They also give me a few options I don't have with my many metal planes like high angle for some more challenging woods. I would certainly buy more wooden planes but also plan to make some myself. I would add a spokeshave to your list also. I cannot decide which wood to use however for making my own. All my old ones are Beech but some lovely exotics used by David B on his so they both look beautiful and work brilliantly so are a joy to use. A high angle might also be fun.
 

D_W

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If indian rosewood is sold in table leg blanks there like it is here (dried and relatively inexpensive - not inexpensive like beech, but perhaps $50 US to make a large handled jack), it's a good choice.

Beech is used because it's common, but also because it's "dead" (it doesn't transmit vibrations to your hands the same way maple or rosewood or other exotics will).
 
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I think if metal planes were that much better than wooden ones, the Japanese would have switched over by now :)

But like with anything, it partially depends on what you're doing with them and mostly depends on preference ...
 

thetyreman

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I like the wooden ones for smoothing, less friction, and no need to constantly oil the surface and clean off resin from pine e.t.c. Making one is definitely a fun project.
 

D_W

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I think if metal planes were that much better than wooden ones, the Japanese would have switched over by now :)

But like with anything, it partially depends on what you're doing with them and mostly depends on preference ...

Actually, I just read an excerpt from a japanese university about how seasonal movement problems with planes were solved by changing to metal (the japanese plane and carpentry thing is a cottage industry and probably strong now mostly due to sales to western woodworkers). I think 40-50 years ago, most japanese woodworking was done with an electric hand planer and machines with only surfaces traditionally finished.

Japanese planes aren't a great choice for working with western woods, though, and they need adjusting regularly and as such aren't so great for someone who wants to get a plane out, use it, let it sit for a month or three and then use it again without adjusting it.

It's difficult to match their cut and surface quality on really low density wood, though.
 

Ttrees

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I have been looking to stumble across a transitional plane for pennies.
Reason, bench height.
I don't want such a low bench.

Not that I've used a nice woody, just an old thing in bad nick,
From my instant experience of that, they seem like they tend to
strain the wrist if held one handed after taking a swipe.

I reckon with near anything different than something resembling a Bailey...
(the handle directly behind the cutter)
and a nice forward canted tote, which if you've ever got an odd one that wasn't so canted, you would notice the canted is less strenuous one handed and more comfortable with two.
The whole thing clearly is designed for athletic performance to make the most of your body, if you're planing long timbers.

Then why is the transitional un popular, I'm guessing that you notice improved performance of the tote behind the cutter with an iron Bailey,
and easier to notice a slight performance in something similar.

Eager to see what makes folks mind up on them, if that isn't the reason.

Tom
 
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D_W

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Transitional planes are forgettable. The handles on them are in somewhat similar position to larger planes, just lower (but similar angle). I had them in smoother pattern, jack and a fore plane and couldn't ever find regular use for one.

Their value is so low over here that I found more use for the screws in them than value in selling the whole planes (shipping ends up being a problem on a $20 plane when it's more than $20 to ship to the west coast, but there are some nice screws, and you can take the irons from those planes even though they're very very thin on the older ones...and the lever caps.)
 

Just4Fun

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I spotted an interim plane going for peanuts at a flea market a couple of years ago. I almost bought it out of curiosity but then came to my senses. I am not a collector and I couldn't think why I might want it as a user, so I passed.
 

D_W

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I just turned a transitional plane body scrap into two chisel handles earlier today. I didn't even realize it was a transitional until trying to figure out why there were so many screw holes in it.
 
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