Could be, Phil - I was thinking of an article in Fine Woodworking where he made a low table using "twisted" dovetails to join top & legs. It was in the early 80s so I wouldn't trust my memory, but I thought that somewhere in that article, or maybe some other, he was extolling the virtues of the #6 & said it was the only bench plane he really needed. What has stuck firmly in my mind is the picture of him tidying up the ends of the table with a whopper of a plane - one-handed! I remembered it as a #6, but if it was actually a #7 he was using, I'm even more impressed....I think you'll find that was a No.7. ......
I like every apprentice started out with the obligatory No4, then a No4 1/2 as a lot of the joiners had them due to their increased weight. I then purchased a No5 1/2 but it was too heavy to carry with all the other tools.4 is cheaper!
The point about 5 and below is that they light enough to use against a vertical edge like a door, or around a table edge, or smaller ones one handed.
5 1/2 or above are getting too hefty and only for horizontal use, unless you are into weight lifting
A man after my own heart. I agree that for installation work a block plane and a #5 was the way to go until we got affordable power planers. It was all about weight, bulk and utility - still is, reallyI like every apprentice started out with the obligatory No4, then a No4 1/2 as a lot of the joiners had them due to their increased weight. I then purchased a No5 1/2 but it was too heavy to carry with all the other tools.
After a few years and knew what I was doing I progressed to a block plane and No5 which I found more useful when hanging doors.
I would definitely second that!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.