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Smallish block plane for female hands?

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Andy Kev.

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A friend of mine has expressed an interest in taking up woodwork, possibly to make boxes and the like. She came to have a look at my workshop and have a play with some hand planes. The main problem was a modern (Veritas) low angle block plane. She could use it but it was effectively a bit too long for her to use one handedly. It's fairly obviously scaled for the average male hand.

Is there a block plane of similar quality available but of say about 3/4 of the size? Would an apron plane be simply too small to use as a general block plane?
 

Argus

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The Veritas plane is, compared to other block planes, quite heavy and chunky.

Older Record block planes, though, perhaps not of the same build-quality, are smaller, lighter and may be suitable.
Even so, the nature of the beast demands a one-handed single spread-grip.

It's hard to say what would be suitable without experimentation by the individual concerned. Hard to do in these times.
 

marcros

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I have the ln102 which sounds ideal. There are other versions around by other makers.
 

AndyT

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If you want something that's also good value, have a look online for the Chinese Mujingfang brand. I have one which is only 90mm long, probably too small for many but it has a nice shape to it. I'm assuming you don't mind a wooden plane and adjusting with a hammer.
 

Jarno

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What does she want to do with it? I find you really need very light passes or you need a bit of hand-strength. A Bailey number 3, or 2 if you can find one which is not too expensive, might be more comfortable.
 

JohnPW

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You can use two hands which is how I use a block plane.

I think the 102 models are the smallest usuable block planes, 120mm long, off the top of my head. The Stanley and Record versions are pretty crude planes with wide mouths and no screw adjustments. The modern version by eg Lie Neilsen is very heavy, much better made with screw adjusted blade depth.
 

Andy Kev.

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Thanks for the replies. I'll pass the suggestions (or links to them) on.

I imagine that given her build, her basic kit would consist of the smallish block plane, No 3 smoother, No 6 as her biggest plane (if she needed it) and maybe a No 5 for its usual uses.

She seems to mainly be interested in the idea of making boxes of a medium size e.g. something about 18" long for storing things like sewing kit, kitchen bits and pieces etc. In that context the above kit would make sense (although the No 6 might be OTT). I said that if she does decide to take it up, I'd knock up a 4 foot workbench for her.

I can't see her needing physically big kit.
 

Andy Kev.

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JohnPW":20pg6uri said:
You can use two hands which is how I use a block plane.

I think the 102 models are the smallest usuable block planes, 120mm long, off the top of my head. The Stanley and Record versions are pretty crude planes with wide mouths and no screw adjustments. The modern version by eg Lie Neilsen is very heavy, much better made with screw adjusted blade depth.
I showed her two handed use of it but when one hand would have been better, her middle finger couldn't reach the button knob at the front of the Veritas. Hence my question because sometimes you really do want to use them one handedly.
 

Ttrees

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You can knock off the LN 60 1/2 if that was on the list, one handed it feels like holding onto a cement block. :)
 

thetyreman

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I'd say go with a vintage no3 or no4, block planes are ok for light duty work but not serious planing, I once had the LN102 low angle block plane and it was very nice but I would never use it to flatten a piece of wood, it was only good for cleaning up joint lines and rounding corners e.t.c, and I hardly ever used it.
 

D_W

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a stanley 3 and a 60 1/2 with a replacement blade. The replacement blade isn't necessary, but if she's just starting, beginners often get a boost from them.

Personally, i think beginners would be better served by toughing it through the vintage blades, but the market for "replacement blades" says otherwise.
 

profchris

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The Veritas apron block plane is a super thing. Maybe 2/3 length/height/width of a standard block plane, and a pleasure to use. Feels about half the weight.

I make mainly ukuleles, and it gets a lot of action including helping to flatten sides especially, which might be 60mm wide or less. I've made a couple of jewellery boxes, and it did most of the work there.
 

Mrs C

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Woody2Shoes":1156f5zh said:
https://www.workshopheaven.com/quangsheng-luban-no-102-bronze-apron-plane.html

Strongly recommended
I struggle with the same thing and use one of these
 

woodbloke66

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Woody2Shoes":14693tps said:
https://www.workshopheaven.com/quangsheng-luban-no-102-bronze-apron-plane.html

Strongly recommended
Agreed; I have one and it's a little beauty. You can reduce the mouth by shimming the bed with a very thin bit of card stuck in with d/s tape; works a treat - Rob
 

MIGNAL

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The Stanley 102 is OK. Get the blade seriously sharp and it becomes a nice capable lightweight plane. I know of a seriously good violin maker who uses the 102 to plane his ebony fingerboards. His LN version sits on the shelf!
 
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