Old Stanley’s or new Quangsheng planes? Which do I need?

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Joe1975

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I’m new to woodworking (just getting started, but expect it to be an enduring hobby) and can’t afford a number of Lie Nielsen or Veritas planes. Would like to buy once and be happy. Interested in making everything from small boxes to pieces of furniture.

I’m torn between building up a set of vintage Stanley’s (and staying British), or purchasing a few Quangsheng planes (for bargain Quality). What would you do?

Also, what are the realistic minimum number of planes to cover all the processes?
My list is something like;

Low angle block plane
#4 smoothing plane
#5 1/2 Jack
#7 Jointer
Medium Shoulder Plane
Small Router Plane

This set would cost approximately £1000, if bought new (QS). This would be absolutely top end for what will likely be just a hobby. Secondhand Stanley planes would save a lot of money of course, and I would probably get a QS low angle block plane regardless of path.

Am I missing any here, or could I manage with number #5 instead of a #4 & 5 1/2. Maybe a #4 and #6 would be enough. Any comment on other specialty planes I may need would be really interesting too.

Would appreciate your knowledge and experience
 
If you are just getting started I’d suggest not rushing in and buying that list of planes. Start with a 5 or 5 1/2 plus a block plane and work out what you need from there.

I personally wouldn’t buy QS but that‘s simply because I try not to buy stuff made in China. (Virtually impossible I know but there you go.)

A second hand Record or Stanley would be a good place to start.
 
I'd get a no4 as they are so cheap and a number 5 1/2 and a little block plane.

Shouldn't cost you more than £100 even from a tool dealer ready to use. ..other planes aren't really much of an addition.
 
My advice, scour ebay for an old no.5 1/2, check for the usual damage
and try finding one which has got a bit of meat on the sole, checked from either end ideally.
By the time you will have looked for that plane, searching various combinations,
you will have found a sound no.4 for cheap.

Those two and something like a very cheap rough no.4 or no.5 would be my preference.

The low angle block planes are a question on it's own, I got two lemons, vintage and budget far eastern before getting a premium one, and it's heavy for one handed use.

Nothing lacking really in the old planes, though some say it's a good to get a feel of a good plane,
I'd sooner have a good surface to plane on instead, if going fancy.
IMO The likelyhood of getting the best out of them will be greater, due to the expense
i.e most would be afraid to fettle their cap iron's to 50 degrees or greater, which is the whole point of having a double iron plane.
Once that's done, then one truly sees what's necessary, very little.
Some don't appreciate this atall.

There's a big difference if one actually experiences using the cap iron in a hand plane compared to chasing red herrings of all sorts,
(and spending money on aftermarket iron's because it's got harder steel)
Only to find out the cap iron was protecting the edge from getting beat up,
instead of being stuck in a cycle of needing uber sharpness to make but a few shavings in some species.
 
I flippin’ Love my old record number 5 and use it all the time. I know lots of people like a 4 or 4 1/2 though.

I have an old Stanley block plane as well for the little stuff and the two of those gets me through most jobs.

I did pick up a Stanley 92 shoulder plane Second hand which gets some love occasionally.

In my limited experience old is better because it’s cheaper to find what you like.
You could spend a grand on new stuff and then only use 2 of them
 
Just to reinforce what everyone else is saying, a vintage no.5 (or 5.5 if preferred, but they're actually harder to source well) as your general dogsbody plane paired with a finely set no.4 for finishing will easily cover you for 90% of jobs.

You don't need shoulder or router planes for general work, they are far more specialist. In my experience the block plane falls into that category also.

Vintage planes are a lot lighter and much easier to work with. Modern ones have much heavier castings and they are not as much fun to use (in my experience).
 
just looking at the price of old second hand ones, jesus they've gone up a lot haven't they...
 
I wouldn't recommend dropping £1k on planes when you can pick up vintage for a fraction of the price. Keep an eye on gumtree and fb marketplace.

With vintage you will have to do some restoration but it also forces you to learn about all the components of your plane.

Don't go overboard like I did or it will be an exercise in frustration - clean up the rust with wire wheel or razor, flatten the critical areas of the sole (I can't remember right now what they are), hone the iron, check the mating between chipbreaker and iron, and you should be golden. Check Chris Schwarz's video on hand plane troubleshooting as well.

My recommendation is no 4 smoother, no 5 Jack and when you need it, a no 7 jointer. If you'll work with rough stock, consider another no 4 for scrub work. You could also get a 2nd iron for scrub and swap between that and smoothing iron if you're willing to put up with the slight inconvenience of doing so.

I don't consider a block plane immediately essential, I find it most usual for knocking off sharp edges.

I do like my Veritas router but consider also the 'poor man's router' which will get the job done as well.
 
It depends on your views on buying blatant L-N copies from China. That's only something you can answer yourself.

Some people care about that kind of stuff, some people don't seem to be bothered by it.
 
100% try and get decent vintage British ones. As above a 5.5 and a 4.5 does most of my work, I might use a 7 for a big surface but that’s it. I find I use a router plane for 80-90% of what I make, so I’d say get one of those too! Used decent ones are at around the same price as a new veritas, so that’s the only one I would buy new if I were in your position.
 
...My list is something like;

Low angle block plane
#4 smoothing plane
#5 1/2 Jack
#7 Jointer
Medium Shoulder Plane
Small Router Plane...
I think it's daft to spend much on a jack plane. It's for roughing work - you don't need a precision plane. Definitely buy Stanley/Record.

I would also suggest you do the same for the No.4 and No.7 - though if you really want to have a new plane make it the No.4 smoother.
...Vintage planes are a lot lighter and much easier to work with. Modern ones have much heavier castings and they are not as much fun to use (in my experience).
Another good reason to get old Stanley/Record bench planes.

Where I am, shoulder planes go for silly money and block planes are few and far between. And I hear router planes go for silly money in the UK. I'd probably consider new planes for these types, but...
It depends on your views on buying blatant L-N copies from China. That's only something you can answer yourself.

Some people care about that kind of stuff, some people don't seem to be bothered by it.
...for me it's a hobby for pleasure, and I'd get a lot less pleasure knowing I was supporting Chinese industries.

My tuppence worth.

Cheers, Vann.
 
C&G tool box beginners list here woodwork tool kits
Some items obsolete and a few modern things to be added, but basically still pretty good IMHO.
 
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Hi i can most likely help you out with some cheap planes also don't discount wooden planes! Have a pile here of bigger ones and coffin type as friend moved and we cleared out storage so have a trunk full of stuff here to go through.
But one i already had from a job lot i bought of tools and one which looks like could be a Sorby from pics? Honed blade up and whizz's through wood like a Greyhound with a red hot poker up it's rear end! Pretty impressive must add.
Also have some Stanley no4's plus bigger ones
 
I would agree with going second hand as the quality of the older planes is at least as good as Quensheng planes new. There is a risk that you are buying a pup but if you look at a few before you buy you should be fine. They will need a bit of fettling but it is useful to know the tool inside out so it will be time well spent. Owning and enjoying the tools is as much a part of the hobby as making stuff.

You'll need something light weight and easy to use for your day to day plane, I would recommend the no 4, a 4.5 is unnecessarily heavy in my opinion, but I have never used a 5 or 5.5 so cannot really comment. I have a number 6 with a finely honed blade for jointing and a rough a blade for scrubbing. The block plane, whilst useful, doesn't get as much use as you would think. Best to start with a couple and see what you end up needing, it will likely be different to what you are thinking right now.
 
Everyone seems to like the vintage ones, but I much prefer the Quangsheng ones. They are well made with quality materials, and well designed (even if not exactly the most original designs). I especially like the Luban 102 bronze mini block plane. Being bronze it doesn't rust and the size is just so handy. It's my most used hand plane by far.

I'd echo what @Doug71 and others have said – get a block plane (like the 102), maybe a 5 1/2 if you think you'll need it, and put the rest of the money into a planer/thicknesser if you have the space, or a lunchbox planer (I highly recommend the Makita 2012NB) if not.
 
C&G tool box beginners list here woodwork tool kits
Some items obsolete and a few modern things to be added, but basically still pretty good IMHO.
Similar to what we were issued for around £55 in 1984, except we were given a No5 Handyman.
That being said, I was a clueless 16 year old apprentice and that Handyman was was more than acceptable for my skill level for a few years till I knew what was what.
In fact, I’ve still got the Handyman, it’s still useable and it’s still acceptable to give to a clueless 16 year old rather than a fancy LN or Veritas.

The only upgrade I did on the Handyman is change the black plastic depth adjuster to a brass one. No fancy cryogenic irons to be had way back then 😂
 
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Everyone seems to like the vintage ones, but I much prefer the Quangsheng ones. They are well made with quality materials, and well designed (even if not exactly the most original designs). I especially like the Luban 102 bronze mini block plane. Being bronze it doesn't rust and the size is just so handy. It's my most used hand plane by far.

I'd echo what @Doug71 and others have said – get a block plane (like the 102), maybe a 5 1/2 if you think you'll need it, and put the rest of the money into a planer/thicknesser if you have the space, or a lunchbox planer (I highly recommend the Makita 2012NB) if not.
 
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Similar to what we were issued for around £55 in 1984, except we got given a No5 Handyman.
That being said, I was a clueless 16 year old apprentice and that Handyman was was more than acceptable for my skill level for a few years till I knew what was what.
In fact, I’ve still got the Handyman, it’s still useable and it’s still acceptable to give to a clueless 16 year old rather than a fancy LN or Veritas.

The only upgrade I did on the Handyman is change the black plastic depth adjuster to a brass one. No fancy cryogenic irons to be had way back then 😂.
 
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