Is there anyone who prefer wooden planes to metal ones?

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Keith 66

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I have a German horned plane made by Essingler & Abt in the early years of the 20th century, once restored it was a revelation, it has a thin high quality blade that takes & holds a fearsome edge & once i got the hang of adjusting it with a small toffee hammer was easy to adjust. The design means that it is easy & comfortable to use either pushing or pulling & works equally well both ways.
It is light & fast & its lignum vitae sole glides over any wood without sticking.
I find myself using it more & more as i get older. As i have a severely arthritic elbow the ability to use by pulling it along is excellent as it agravates the arthritis less!
 

Argus

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German horned style planes were, in my grandad's day, generically called 'Bismarck' planes...... if I recall him correctly.

..... a piece of useless information. :sneaky::sneaky::sneaky:
 

TheTiddles

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A wooden jack plane is useful as a rough scrubber, very light so you can work fast and if you need a curved base you can modify it easily. They can be very cheap, I paid £25 for one with a new combination oilstone and Japanese rasp, the oilstone I promptly sold for £20, the rasp I’ve kept. Here’s the plane
0CF818AA-F4B9-49FC-B16B-0BDFDE95BFA7.jpeg
 

Jacob

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That one reminds me of school woodwork.
Regards
John
The "Razee" design - apparently a ship building term for boats modified by removing decks. Razee - Wikipedia
We had them at school it was the standard pattern. I've still got one which my old dad nicked when he was still at school.
 

Orraloon

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I pounced on a Marples one on ebay because I remembered them from school. In fact it was the only plane we were given to use. Anyhow 50 years on and its a pleasure to use.
Regards
John
 

StraightOffTheArk

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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 ...
But also, if wooden planes were so much better, western woodworkers wouldn't have abandoned them!

It's complicated of course, I prefer a wooden jack, but a bailey style smoother for ease of adjustment - I've been meaning to make a copy of one of those Marples planes with a wooden body but metal frog, which I think would be the ideal.
 

D_W

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I think the take-over of the metal planes from wooden probably signaled the end of people dimensioning much lumber by hand. The takeaway here is more or less most people using planes by 1900 were carrying them in toolboxes from site to site, and a metal plane could be abandoned for long periods of time and taken out of the box later in the same shape (no shrinkage, twist, etc) as it went in.

Furniture went to factories here probably earlier than 1900, but by the early 1900s, mail order millwork and such things started to become popular and the idea of a guy using a plane to do any heavy work was dead (the market of wooden planes here showed it, too - it was before that that we were left with ohio and auburn and other various brands that were probably all consolidated into one - though I confess not being sure when that all happened). Ohio planes were actually OK, but their irons were often junk.
 
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But also, if wooden planes were so much better, western woodworkers wouldn't have abandoned them!

It's complicated of course, I prefer a wooden jack, but a bailey style smoother for ease of adjustment - I've been meaning to make a copy of one of those Marples planes with a wooden body but metal frog, which I think would be the ideal.

Thats a fair point, but I suspect that is more to do with manufacturers switching to metal planes more than anything.

As for adjustment, I don't think you can beat a wooden plane. You can make tiny adjustments with a tap of a hammer. Admittedly it is much slower though there is a lot of stop start.
 

D_W

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Thats a fair point, but I suspect that is more to do with manufacturers switching to metal planes more than anything.

As for adjustment, I don't think you can beat a wooden plane. You can make tiny adjustments with a tap of a hammer. Admittedly it is much slower though there is a lot of stop start.

It's somewhat difficult in really quick finish work to match a stanley's adjuster smoothing, though you can definitely make very fine adjustments to wooden plane irons with a hammer. Same with infills without an adjuster (which I prefer by a huge margin to the norris adjuster types) - the adjustments can be made very finely, but in working after a try plane, a stanley is a bit faster back and forth between a first pair of shavings and then backing off a little bit for a finished surface.

That said, I still think the real driver was the change of use of planes to mostly fitting and finish work, or site work where the physical ease of wooden planes in heavier work isn't felt and the ability to leave a plane on a damp or dry and hot site and have it be the same size and shape over time would be appreciated. The thin iron would also be nice for hand grinding and sharpening on site.

There are accounts of carpenters burning wooden planes here in celebration of the stability of the metal planes. Not sure what carpenters did on site with metal planes back then as most houses have had their insides stripped and redone here.
 
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