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Planes - dummies guide

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JohnS

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Up to about a week ago, I thought there was only two types of planes. Hand plane and electric plane.
Now I know there are lots of types of hand planes, how and where can I learn about them? I don't even know where to start. I would guess the difference in them is something to do with the angle they plane at?
 

Argus

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There are numerous books about planes, which is a good place to start. The size and quality varies, obviously, Garrett Hack's book is some years old, has good illustrations and is a riveting read.
An Amazon search will reveal others.

The Handplane Book (Taunton Books) by Garrett Hack
ISBN-13: 978-1561587124

When you have read about planes, you may consider buying some. Advice will vary, because everyone has a favoured approach to their use.
Next you'll need to consider their maintenance... this means sharpening! It is here that the fun begins...

Anyway, Hack's book is a good place to start.
Good luck.
 

MikeG.

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No, the angle they plane at isn't really a factor. The vast majority of planes are set at 45 degrees. It's much more to do with the length, and the aggressiveness of the cut. If you're new to it, be aware that this is a subject which has been vastly over-complicated. The hobby woodworker doesn't need more than 2 or 3 planes, and indeed, you can (and perhaps should) start off with just one. When you have mastered that and come to appreciate its limitations, then buy the next one. You can do almost everything you could ever want to do with just a number 5 (or 5-1/2) or 6. Old planes are better than new ones, but might need half an hour of work to sort them out.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Very roughly, there are two main duties - bench planes and joinery (or specialist) planes. Bench planes are for the roughing down of sawn boards, truing them up flat and square, and smoothing off. Short ones tend to be smoothing planes, very long ones try and jointer planes (for truing up) and medium sized ones for roughing (jack planes), though there's a fair degree of overlap! They can be either metal bodied, wooden bodied, or a combination of the two.

Joinery planes tend to have specific functions, such as making grooves (plough planes), sinking rebates (rebate planes), levelling the bottoms of trenches and housings (router planes), truing tenon shoulders (shoulder planes) and such advanced stuff as making mouldings. Again, both metal bodied and wooden bodied examples of most exist.

There are all sorts of variations, oddities, specialist planes, home-made dodges and lash-ups, historical anomalies and so on which you'll no doubt come across as time goes on, too.

Generally speaking, some planes of a type are better than others (just like everything else in life), but you don't always need 'the best' to do decent work. You do, however, need some knowledge of how to use and maintain them to do decent work, so some research into planing technique is just as important as research into planes.

A good book for the outright beginner is Robert Wearing's 'The Essential Woodworker', available either second-hand (if you can find a copy at a reasonable price) or new from Classic Hand Tools;

https://www.classichandtools.com/acatal ... l#SID=1220
 

D_W

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Fidget":2fx8hdyr said:
Mr Chickadee just posted a very good, simple video on hand planes
Smart guy- listen to that talk about cap irons!! :)

Just kidding (sort of - someone just getting into planes should be exposed to that right away rather than it being considered an esoteric thing).

Mr. Chickadee is prolific to say the least and another example of someone who does most of their work by hand and finds use in the older plane types (at least basic design, beds, proportion) more than the newer.
 

D_W

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JohnS":12vxbmmg said:
Up to about a week ago, I thought there was only two types of planes. Hand plane and electric plane.
Now I know there are lots of types of hand planes, how and where can I learn about them? I don't even know where to start. I would guess the difference in them is something to do with the angle they plane at?
I can't do anything but echo what's already been said - I started where you are. I have had hundreds of planes and I don't know how many I've made, but the stuff that was found economically viable historically is what will be most productive for you if you use planes a lot.

Get a few simple planes in good shape (if you're in the UK, I can't really help you out, but someone in the states, I'd be willing to clean up a plane and send once in a while to get folks started) and learn to use them and resist the urge to look for purchased capability after that (buying something supposedly made to solve a problem that you're having - the solution when it comes to planing will be taken care of by the simple planes).
 

Vann

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I don't know if it will enlighten, entertain, or confuse - but google "Patrick's Blood and Gore" for a run down of Stanley plane varieties.

Cheers, Vann.
 
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