Plane recommendation for beginner

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gmgmgm":fk79am0p said:
I think it depends upon how ready you are to fettle a plane? And how well do you know how a good plane feels?
Personally, that's why I like places like Tooltique and our local antiques place - Old kit that someone far more knowledgable than me has already restored and fettled, so I get to know what it should be like first and then learn to maintain it as I go... while still having enough pocket money left for an ice cream on the way home! :p
If you had the money getting a lie neilsen plane wouldn't be a bad idea right from day one, get the absolute best you can afford, not knocking old planes either but quality always pays off longterm.
I too think there's a lot to be said for buying vintage, and if you're willing to hunt car boots, local junk shops and maybe a recycling centre you might get one for next to nothing. Plenty of members have bought solid user planes for a fiver or so, and not a few have snagged ones for only one or two quid. I also like to plug Gumtree as a good hunting ground, I monitor this regularly and in general prices are good, with occasional stonking bargains sprinkled through the year.

If you are interested in buying an older plane you can widen your search parameters, there are quite a few brands beyond just Stanley and Record that are worth your consideration. The big two are just the most obvious names, but Marples planes for example are regarded by some as being the pinnacle of British production of Bailey-pattern planes and they tend to have a slight premium attached as a result, but only two weeks ago a no. 4 sold on eBay for £7.07 plus whatever the postage would have been.

For more names in addition to the Woden mentioned already by thetyreman on the previous page here's an old thread where I asked what are worth buying:

Now vintage planes will generally need from a little to a fair bit of work to get into a fully usable state, it's rare (unicorn-horn rare) that you'll get one in original condition where it's 100% ready to go after a quick hone of the iron. So regardless of what you buy you should expect that it'll need work beyond the bare minimum of dusting, wiping down with white spirit, oiling/waxing, and doing whatever you like to refinish the handles.

I wouldn't let this put you off though as sorting it out will teach you some useful skills and will make the plane feel like your own. There's buckets of advice here and elsewhere on every aspect of plane fettling and refub/restoration should you need it, including fettling of the cap iron (a must-do if not already done by a previous owner, which is by all accounts very rare).

Even a basic cleaning will require the plane be taken completely apart and then put back together again so you'll learn what part goes where and how, knowledge every plane users absolutely needs. For the same reason even if you buy new it's worth taking the plane completely apart and then reassembling. And you might have to anyway as there is often excess oil or grease applied to protect from rust during transit.

So on to buying new. You don't have to pay a premium to get a good plane.

The idea that you have to pay a lot to get a good 'un is false. What paying more gives you of course is a better assurance that what you buy will be decent, but that's not a guarantee. You can pay triple what some cheaper planes cost (i.e. approximately your full budget) and still get something that requires attention as a few complaint threads here have told us.

At the cheaper end but not at the very bottom a few members here have bought Faithfulls of various sizes and been very satisfied. I have a no. 4 and to say I'm happy with it is an understatement, it's a peach which I have set up as my super smoother and it required with very little work to get there. Even cheaper than this, see Paul Sellers on a few budget options: Import Planes–Do/Can They Work? This is the first of a series of posts on these cheap planes, see further links underneath the text.

At this end of the market it's probably best to be realistic that there is a chance you'll get a Monday-morning/Friday-afternoon jobbie, so you might get a lemon and if so you should return it and get a replacement.

You may also be interested in this from Sellers back in 2013: Reworking new planes to act like old and well used ones
"Back in the day" could planes be purchased that were ready to use, or have they always needed some work to get them usable?
Won't disagree with more experienced posters than me, but if you are after new (rather than refurbing) I highly recommend the new style Stanley Low Angle Jack. There were some bad ones from the factory in the first few years but they seem to have resolved things now. It has a very heavy well built quality to it. It is very versatile - long enough to edge joint most stuff, but not too heavy. Comes in at around £100-120.

Dare I say it, in places it is actually better finished than my Veritas shooting plane.... :eek:
marcros":dl4qh3fx said:
"Back in the day" could planes be purchased that were ready to use, or have they always needed some work to get them usable?
From reading a bit about it, I believe they were 'mostly' ready, but may have required minor tweaking and perhaps resharpening to a different angle, depending on the preferences and requirements of the individual craftsman.
Of course you'd need to know some basics at least, and as an apprentice you'd have a mentor to show you these as you went through the setup. As already pointed out above - For those of us living in the modern day, there's YouTube!

Let us know what you end up getting!
Think you've all scared him off!
Robdoc if you are still about... :D As a beginner to another I would suggest a 5.
Up to you where you get it, far more experienced guys than me have given a multitude of options none without merit.
There's two reason I would suggest a 5.
1* It has a far longer toe than a 4 1/2 or under.

This allows you to register the plane flat easier than a short toe. In myvery limited experience, one of the first hurdles is you tend to push harder than you press down so the work gets wonky quickly until you get some Moments of Clarity Under Your Belt. The longer toe allows you to register 'flat' a bit easier and press down more/harder at the start and push more/harder along the length of the cut. As you get a bit better it starts to become easier. Muscle memory and experience etc. Listen to me the pro.... :roll:

Using a plane well is hard. I'd compare it to learning to drive.
Your first lesson. There's a myriad amount of things to deal with. New physical actions alone like just steering, awareness, gear changing, rev counts, mirrors, the list goes on and on. You pass your test then you have to take the motor out on your own. Then let's face it the journey has just begun. Now you begin to learn a lifetime of skills.

2* If you think of planing as trying to smooth a series of hills or bumps. A long plane will ride the top of the hills cutting a little off each until eventually they are pretty flat.

If you sent a really short plane it would ride up and down the hills like a go cart shaving a bit of all of everything off it but maintaining the bumps. Hence the reason for different sizes of plane sizes.

For me at least, the five does all of these things without being the best at any of them. It's Joe Average when average has no negative connotations. Once you learn to set the cap iron, fettle and sharpen it is the Tom Hanks of the plane world. It can play any role and be brilliant but you're always gonna be going 'that's Tom Hanks that is'... You lose a degree of separation as a movie goer or specialisation when cutting wood... But name me a film Tom Hanks has been truly awful in and I will name you 5 that he has made unforgettable because he is so versatile, talented and likeable.

Buying Quang Shen etc is tempting. Quality is great from Workshop Heaven. Wouldn't buy from anywhere else if that's what you choose. I have a couple but I don't necessarily reach for them first. Buying old is a risk but it's a necessary step IM(very humble)O.
You can't avoid learning to sharpen, hone, fettle. The mission objective is learning to do all that without wasting time getting sidetracked by sharpening arguments and similar nonsense and being put off and getting bored and wandering off to take up another hobby binge. Stick with it and push on. It's a long but enjoyable road. No doubts there.
Good luck. Each to their own.