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No 5 plane - what is it for?

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diytoolbox

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I have a few No4 planes, which I use most often. I also have a Stanley 4 1/2. I like the 4 1/2 because it is heavier than No4s, and wider as well. It is in good size - not too long. With its weight and wider blade, the NO 4 1/2 feels a lot easier for the larger woods.
Now I see No 5 planes on youtube, and they look just same as No 4s, but seem have longer base. I am wondering, what No 5 can be good for.
It doesn't seem it has wider blades, but longer base. What advantage or difference does No5 give over No4s?
Do you own / use No 5 planes? How do you find it? What for, and when do you use No 5 planes?
 

Ttrees

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If you only had one plane, it would likely be the most versatile.
Makes a good winter roughing plane, as the no 4 gets under the sleeve.
5 1/2's on the other hand are used most frequently.
 

Jameshow

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I have a cheap no5 with a cambered blade as a scrubbing plane.

Does the dirty work for me.

I have a no 5 1/2 and a 6 but the smaller planes do the most work for me no3 for knocking off corners detail etc no4 general purpose planes.

I like several set to different depths saves having to reset them...

I'm no expert though!!!
 

JobandKnock

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For years - decades - the only plane I owned was a #5 so obviously I used it for everything.
Is that the "if all you have is a hammer, then everything else is a nail" principle? :unsure:

Seriously, if I were allowed just two planes I'd have a #5 and a block plane. The rest, whilst nice to have are often unnecessary, but maybe that depends on the type of work you want to do (Warning: I am a joiner and carpenter, so I am biased). My #5 has been my go to plane all my working life, or at least until power planes started to take over, and even then.
 

heimlaga

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You cannot really flatten or straighten anything with a smoother (for instance number4) without wasting lots and lots of time on it. For all flattening and straightening operations you needd longer planes to achive a tolerable level of work efficiency.
Depending on the sort of work and the lenght of the workpiece different lenghts of planes are suitable for flattening/straightening. In part it is also down to personal preferences.
The basic set of longer planes for such work would for most of us be a number 5 and a number 7.
 

D_W

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I think it's mostly a site plane.

Plus, if you're using one upside down in a vise, it's longer than a smoother (but a 6 is nicer for that, too) and has a nose that makes it easier to hand plane little things by pulling them over the bottom.

Not a good substitute for a wooden jack plane if actually working rough wood, not a good substitute for a jointer or trying plane and not a good substitute for a no 4.
 

Jacob

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You cannot really flatten or straighten anything with a smoother (for instance number4) without wasting lots and lots of time on it. For all flattening and straightening operations you needd longer planes to achive a tolerable level of work efficiency.
Depending on the sort of work and the lenght of the workpiece different lenghts of planes are suitable for flattening/straightening. In part it is also down to personal preferences.
The basic set of longer planes for such work would for most of us be a number 5 and a number 7.
They can all do everything more or less, but if you have the right size it's just a bit easier
Yes a 5 is good for smaller stuff like boxes or board edges.
Block plane is a one hander so you can hold with one hand and finish with the other e.g. on a frame - trimming through tenons, or taking off arrises, flattening though pegs. It's brilliant for fitting stuff - making an edge tidy after scribing with an axe i.e. use the block plane across the board edge not along it.
PS block good for formica edges, all sorts of little trimming jobs.
 
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JobandKnock

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I still don't own a block plane. I know some folk say it is essential but I have never felt the need for one.
I do a lot of site work and there are lots of small, one-handed trimming jobs you cannot do with a bench plane. Same goes for some of the smaller trimming and fitting tasks in a joinery shop

I think it's mostly a site plane.
Or more for joinery scale jobs, surely?
 

D_W

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Sorry, I'm thinking site work when they were sold.

As in, there was a huge explosion in metal planes after around 1900 (and even though my two montgomery wards catalogs straddle the industrial revolution here, the later catalog has more metal planes and more options (Brands, price levels)). The earlier catalog has a few more wooden planes and transitionals without listing them like they're an afterthought.

You could be right about joiners jobs - that would've been the kind of site work here - i'm guessing automation and modular bits came earlier here as I've got a trim work catalog from the 1920s that would allow you to get all of the woodwork for your house premade from a factory (and it's not junky, but you can tell by the style that there's no or near no hand work in it).
 

Jameshow

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You cannot really flatten or straighten anything with a smoother (for instance number4) without wasting lots and lots of time on it. For all flattening and straightening operations you needd longer planes to achive a tolerable level of work efficiency.
Depending on the sort of work and the lenght of the workpiece different lenghts of planes are suitable for flattening/straightening. In part it is also down to personal preferences.
The basic set of longer planes for such work would for most of us be a number 5 and a number 7.
Help I need a no7?!!

Wish me luck went the postman drops it off.

What's this big heavy parcel?

It's a......
 

Jacob

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You cannot really flatten or straighten anything with a smoother (for instance number4) without wasting lots and lots of time on it. For all flattening and straightening operations you needd longer planes to achive a tolerable level of work efficiency.
Depending on the sort of work and the lenght of the workpiece different lenghts of planes are suitable for flattening/straightening. In part it is also down to personal preferences.
The basic set of longer planes for such work would for most of us be a number 5 and a number 7.
or a 5 1/2 jack - the most useful of all, being mid range.
 

Awac

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I use a 5 1/2 with a camber for a roughing plane. It powers through when getting a board to shape. I also have a 5 with a less aggressive camber for general use as it is slightly lighter. I find the number 5 a very useful tool.
 

diytoolbox

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Wow ... great posts interesting and very helpful. Thanks.
So No 5 planes are for flattening and roughing efficiency. Got you.

I am on the way shopping for another plane. This time they are the No 5s.
I might look at No 6 and 7 as well.
This wood working hobby costs some money. Saws, drills, jigs, planes and work benches ... :( and we need to pay for the woods, the sheet materials.
 

paulrbarnard

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Wow ... great posts interesting and very helpful. Thanks.
So No 5 planes are for flattening and roughing efficiency. Got you.

I am on the way shopping for another plane. This time they are the No 5s.
I might look at No 6 and 7 as well.
This wood working hobby costs some money. Saws, drills, jigs, planes and work benches ... :( and we need to pay for the woods, the sheet materials.
Uh oh that sounds like the start of a collection.

Seriously though the longer planes like 6, 7 and 8 are pretty specialised and are only worth the cost if you are flattening seriously large panels or edge jointing long boards regularly. I have a jointer, equivalent to a 7, and it gets used well less than once a year. I find a 6 is a nice size for smaller panels, though a 5 can also do the job.
 
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