What to look for buying a used wooden plane?

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mike*

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Evening all...

Last 9 months or so, been using my No 5 and 6 planes to flatten some large slabs. These are really rough sawn, and take a bit of work to get them approaching flat and ready for taking out wind / twist and final flattening. Invariably they have large hollows or bumps. See picture. All work done in a garage which has no power. But generally I can get both sides knocked down over a dedicated weekend. And, whilst others may think it's painstaking and too much effort to do by hand, I genuinely enjoy doing it.

But a shoulder and neck injury means my No 6 plane is now too heavy to use for more than an hour. Seen it mentioned many times on here that one solution would be a wooden fore plain or even something larger.

Auction sites and other online outlets seem to have a fair selection of used / vintage examples for sale. My problem is I don't know what I should be looking out for in terms of potential good things, possible defects or other pitfalls. Descriptions are often vague, and even with good photos I don't know what's good or bad. Cracks, splits, rough soles, chips, handles, irons that sort of thing.

If you were purchasing a secondhand reasonable and usable wooden fore plane, what details would you be looking out for?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and guidance.

Mike
 

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If you have shoulder or neck injuries to contend with a traditional nordic oxhyvel might be a good choice for rough planing. A small one can be used by one man though the larger ones require two men. Finding a small oxhyvel in or around Bristol would probably be almost as hard as finding good oak sawlogs in Iceland or finding sensibility in Kremlin but you could make your own plane to fit your needs.
 
Must be said that your setup appears very, very inadequate for what your doing.
Not sure if there's a benchtop on those trestles, but if not even more difficult again,
due to the thickness of stock you're working,

To make that job at hand, reasonable... you need to have total support of the work, due to deflection of that thin slab.
If not, then you are on a sure course of bad habits, and you'll not get on with anything but a scrub plane.

Other bad habits include pressing down on the work, making one advance the cutter,
not paying attention to the perimeter of the work, I could go on.

Instead I will mention some solutions for what appears like the bare bones of a situation.
This includes a straight edge which needs to be, at least as long as the work is, make up a pair of timber ones if needed.
A pair, as they can be checked for flatness by flipping one over.
You can make these as accurate as you like.
BENCH CHECK.JPG

So you've not got a surface to lay that thin slab on, so it's going to bow the second you lay a plane on it...whatta you do, beyond pretending to be productive with a scrub plane.

You could get some crayon or graphite on the straight edge, and create some witness spots on the timber, in the lengthwise orientation, where the biggest errors will be apparent,
as trying to avoid that is a sure way to fight with a hand plane.
Lubricate your Bailey at the same time, both show up well on timber, but for that, black crayon might work best.
DSCN1992.JPG

Providing some attention is paid to making some sort'a support in regards to under the work..
These witness markings will be the immediate high spots, and you'll not need to press down, nor advance the cutter to get easy shavings.


If you get sick of doing that, or indeed perhaps think of that as cheating...
I don't, considering the slab you're working on isn't rigid enough to be planed without deflecting, if it were thicker, I wouldn't have posted
but if that seems odd or whatever,
then I suggest an "Tertial"angle poise lamp in that big Swedish warehouse, and use that instead of the transferring method.

All the best
Tom
 
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Forgot to mention for anything much wider than 18", I do have another countertop
of the same width, which I'd certainly be using if I was doing much of that kinda width.
But you could use the winding sticks and/or straight edge(s)
and struggle on, but you might get fed up of having work not properly supported
after some time.

Not that I think a thin top is great, as it needs to be choked flat,
but a possible solution none the less.

Having the total length and width, will no doubt show up high corners and low ones fairly quickly, and you'll find planing along the grain from corner to corner, in however you approach that, (i.e still planing with the grain) will likely be the case,
so another shot of the iron plane should be in order.

Regarding your question
D_W likely has the most info you will find regarding the wooden planes,
having read some postings of his, seems some may not have been made in the first place for
optimum standards, with some fettling of the fingers nessecairy,
I'm sure he mentions all that in the series of making some on YT either.



leathercraft.JPG

Tom
 
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if you are having shoulder or neck issues it probably means your bench is too low, how tall are you and what height is it?
 
Evening all...

Last 9 months or so, been using my No 5 and 6 planes to flatten some large slabs. These are really rough sawn, and take a bit of work to get them approaching flat and ready for taking out wind / twist and final flattening. Invariably they have large hollows or bumps. See picture. All work done in a garage which has no power. But generally I can get both sides knocked down over a dedicated weekend. And, whilst others may think it's painstaking and too much effort to do by hand, I genuinely enjoy doing it.

But a shoulder and neck injury means my No 6 plane is now too heavy to use for more than an hour. Seen it mentioned many times on here that one solution would be a wooden fore plain or even something larger.

Auction sites and other online outlets seem to have a fair selection of used / vintage examples for sale. My problem is I don't know what I should be looking out for in terms of potential good things, possible defects or other pitfalls. Descriptions are often vague, and even with good photos I don't know what's good or bad. Cracks, splits, rough soles, chips, handles, irons that sort of thing.

If you were purchasing a secondhand reasonable and usable wooden fore plane, what details would you be looking out for?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and guidance.

Mike
To answer your question, I would be looking to get a vintage plane which looks as new as possible and without any woodworm holes in it. If you want to keep the weight down, avoid one with a lignum sole, as these are quite heavy.

EC Emmerich and Ulmia still make new wooden jack and try planes, but the handles may not be to your liking.
 
Dozens of these at every brocante and car boot sale here, good one go for €10.oo each, rough ones 2-5 each.
Also in this region loads of clog chisels and gouges, similar to turning chisels and gouges, but scaled up by about 50%.
 
I've bought and used a few woodies. It's very easy to flatten the sole, being a piece of wood, and overtime this can lead to a very wide mouth, which is then often reparied. These are the planes that have caused me issue. I would avoid any plane where the mouth is more than 3mm open in-front of the cutting edge.

Another issue can be where people have gone to town on the wedge of plane blade with the setting hammer. Ending up with mushrooming or a cut down wedge/blade. This can also translate to lots of damage on the heal or toe where people have wailed on it to release the blade.

I've had no issue with minor cracks in bodies, I've had a few where there has been a hairline crack in cheek of the recess where the blade sits (sorry don't know correct term), normally when the cheek has been thin. I found this allowed the plane to flex.

I think I bought about 10 or so a couple of batches off of gum tree for £20-£30 for 4-6. Of these 10 about half were worth trying to use and I 3 are still in use today. My favourite is about the size of a number 5, with lots of camber on the blade and in use as a scrub plane. Hogs off material fast but wit a pretty rough finish, but great to bring down a high spot quickly

F.
 
Evening all...

Last 9 months or so, been using my No 5 and 6 planes to flatten some large slabs. These are really rough sawn, and take a bit of work to get them approaching flat and ready for taking out wind / twist and final flattening. Invariably they have large hollows or bumps. See picture. All work done in a garage which has no power. But generally I can get both sides knocked down over a dedicated weekend. And, whilst others may think it's painstaking and too much effort to do by hand, I genuinely enjoy doing it.

But a shoulder and neck injury means my No 6 plane is now too heavy to use for more than an hour. Seen it mentioned many times on here that one solution would be a wooden fore plain or even something larger.

Auction sites and other online outlets seem to have a fair selection of used / vintage examples for sale. My problem is I don't know what I should be looking out for in terms of potential good things, possible defects or other pitfalls. Descriptions are often vague, and even with good photos I don't know what's good or bad. Cracks, splits, rough soles, chips, handles, irons that sort of thing.

If you were purchasing a secondhand reasonable and usable wooden fore plane, what details would you be looking out for?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and guidance.

Mike
Wooden planes are a PITA unless you have spent a lot of time getting used to one and dealing with all its little problems. Not that much lighter than a steel equivalent either. Take much longer to sharpen and set up.
The single most effective way to make planing easier is a quick squiggle of candle wax on the sole, at regular intervals.
Make sure you have plenty of camber on your No5 and that it is very sharp, with regular touch ups.
Do shallow cuts and only increase depth if it's going easily.
Flatten the board, then smooth the surface more.
PS Maybe you are aiming for waney edged table tops, but if you are intending to trim or otherwise cut up the board for use, do this first and then plane the pieces individually - it's much easier!
 
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On planes, just take a punt. We're lucky that there's plenty out there.

Having a well used one can be quite informative, even if you don't use it. The patination shows where the hands were placed.

Just look for something in reasonable condition. Make the sole flat, make sure the cap iron is snug, handle secure etc. The only tricky part I've founded is if the wedge is mismatched or fouling the shavings.

It's hard to tell from your photos, but a sturdy bench at a height to suit you is helpful. Height can be played with by using a duck board or putting packing under the legs of the bench.

I hope the aches and pains ease up.
 
As previously suggested, reject any which have cracked cheeks, or very wide mouths (unless you just want to use them to hog off big shavings, in which case a wide mouth is fine).

The other thing to check is that the plane has a tapered iron which gets thicker as it approaches the cutting edge. Parallel irons tend to move around more.

Also check that the iron, wedge and chip breaker (if there is one) seem to fit together - sometimes sellers match wooden plane bodies with random irons, and a good fit is important. You want the iron to be longer than the wedge too, otherwise adjusting with a hammer is tricky.

I disagree with Jacob about weight - I really notice the difference. Once you've learnt setup, sharpening and adjustment is about as quick as for a metal plane, but the initial learning curve is quite steep.
 
As previously suggested, reject any which have cracked cheeks, or very wide mouths (unless you just want to use them to hog off big shavings, in which case a wide mouth is fine).

The other thing to check is that the plane has a tapered iron which gets thicker as it approaches the cutting edge. Parallel irons tend to move around more.

Also check that the iron, wedge and chip breaker (if there is one) seem to fit together - sometimes sellers match wooden plane bodies with random irons, and a good fit is important. You want the iron to be longer than the wedge too, otherwise adjusting with a hammer is tricky.

I disagree with Jacob about weight - I really notice the difference. Once you've learnt setup, sharpening and adjustment is about as quick as for a metal plane, but the initial learning curve is quite steep.
Yes I was wrong about the weight 1.8kg woody about same size as Stanley 6 at 2.85kg.
I still think they are a PITA though, unless you really want to commit to using woodies, which is a nice idea.
 
I have a few wooden planes and they get an occasional workout.Because it has become known that I do sometimes use them there have been occasions when I have been gifted one,such as when an elderly parent's house is being cleared.Twice I have received jack planes that had hardly seen any use and the were extremely dry-to the extent that I spent quite a few weeks getting some linseed oil into them as this was one of the traditional treatments.One long gone acquaintance said that in his early days in the trade it was a regular Friday afternoon habit to wipe a little oil on the sole.

If seeking out a plane it is important to check all the parts as many of the public have no idea of how to assemble one and if they pick up their old uncle's plane and the iron falls out,two things may happen;the first is that they put it back upside down and the second is that they may have chipped the iron.Splits by the wedge are quite common,but not necessarily disastrous and a mushroomed iron can be cleaned up.Something that is harder to deal with is an iron that has been burned during grinding.The iron is a lot thicker than the Bailey type of plane has and when re-grinding is due a lot of metal has to be removed,which may be a bit of a challenge for those with only a small high speed grinder and not too much experience.

The lengthy and tedious sharpening ceremonies can pretty much be dispensed with as all you have to do is get to the point where you can feel a small wire edge all the way across the iron and then flip it over to remove it in a second or two.Adjustment is something you pick up with experience as is the slightly different grip you need,which is applied at a much higher point,relative to the job than with more recent designs.
 
Big thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply. Some excellent pointers. Some of them seem obvious once the detail has been mentioned but would have remained blind to me otherwise. Who'd have thought the mouth would get wider as the sole is progressively lapped. Doh!

For those that commented on my set up, I know it ain't perfect, but it works for me. Ably assisted by the roughly 24" / 60cm laminated worktop (securely attached to the trestles) and approximately 50-60m (100-150kg?) of wood slung between the legs. Sceptics won't believe me, but it doesn't rack, move or shudder in use. Unless my winding sticks and 2 and 3m straight edges are wrong, I got the other ones done pretty good. Always sharp plane, shallow cuts, patience, watching what I'm doing, and time gets the job done 👍🙂

Off to see if any planes are for sale, armed with the knowledge imparted from you all. Thanks once again.

Mike
 
Hello again.
I don't doubt anyone wouldn't get a bit annoyed with my rants, but you don't have to read it if you don't wish.
I'm guessing this isn't of interest to only yourself, so you'll have to excuse my butting in again.
Just to quote a bit which might suggest to whats goin on here..
Unless my winding sticks and 2 and 3m straight edges are wrong, I got the other ones done pretty good.

Mike

So there is support under the work, I'm betting that could be a lump on the underside which is
deflecting the work, as that does seem odd to be removing material from the middle only, done much like in some of Schwarz's old videos.
Try Charlesworth's methodology if you can find it I suggest, or infact anyone who will not omit material deflection, you will see a bit of flipping over the work is necessary.

That I'm guessing, is why folks get the idea to change tack and plane perpendicular to the grain,
because it isn't seemingly cutting any longer, the flatter the work gets...
when in reality the plane was set decently,still is up to that point, and you were actually knocking off the high spots at the time, but no more.
Question why that is and you have your answer

Either there is a much larger error going on lenghtwise, and that'd be corner to corner most likely with any piece of timber, (beyond some immediate bowing and dealt with, with what the plane will take readily)
Or you've got deflection happening.

I could be wrong though, and you're doing things the hard way, possibly due to past experiences
with gnarly timbers, in which case, the use of the cap iron may have not been utilized to the
extent to what it should have been for the timber at hand.
Once again David W's video's are on youtube, if you want concise info about the details on that,
which differs substantially from misleading advice you'll hear most places.

This video is a start, should you wish to make life easy with that piece,
Material deflection isn't mentioned much, but Charlesworth mentioned this, though for thin furniture components, the same rules apply.
Not sayin you need a scrub plane, just to observe dealing with material deflection,
which you'll find a lot more easier dealt with planing in rows,
and if you aren't, then it's a case of taking Weaver's advise on using the cap iron to it's potential.



All the best
Tom
 
I have some wooden planes and I love them. The best place to find them (in my area at least) is house clearance stores. They are typically a fiver and can be less. There are often a few to choose from and picking the one that looks best, has worked for me so far.

wooden_plane.jpg


The main thing I look for is the state of the wedge. Are the spurs still in good condition. In my experience, if the wedge is in good condition then the rest of the plane will be too.

I'd also avoid splits. Also planes often have been repaired and have wooden or metal inserts in the base in front of the mouth. I tend to avoid those too though it can be an indication that someone cared enough about the plane to maintain the mouth opening after multiple flattening operations (which tend to open the mouth).

Being made of wood, wooden planes require some maintenance to keep them flat. Sometimes I'll have to flatten a plane, by planing the sole with a known flat plane. I'll clamp it upside down in my vice and run a jointing plane over them. A couple of fine passes will do the job.

To be honest, they are so cheap why not give one a go. I'm a pretty inexperienced woodworker, but I've got a lot of pleasure from working with wooden planes. Start with the longer try plane, and you never know you may end up building a collection of moulding planes like I'm starting to.
 
I'm not a professional woodworker, no woodworking education. What I do I have learned here and elsewhere on the net.

I use a smaller plane with camber for the hard work, a N°3 or N°4 for 80-90% of the work. The N°6 juste the last touch for final flatness.
 

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