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woodhutt

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At the risk of kicking-off a thread that generates more controversy than one on political name :roll: I need some advice / guidance on a plane type / size to supplement what I already have.
First, most of what I do that involves the use of planes is box making. After re-sawing, I prepare the stock by hand.
I have a No.6 which is used mostly on its side on a shooting board to true the ends of relatively thin stock. Also sometimes used for jointing boards.
Then there is a wooden-bodied plane of a similar size to the No.6 which I use for flattening boards.
Next is the ubiquitous No.4 jack used as a smoother. Then a bog-standard Stanley block plane (rarely used).

My thinking is to add a No.5 or 5-1/2 as a smoother and another No.4 configured as a scrub plane. Any advice or recommendations?
Cheers, Pete
 

MikeG.

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You've enough planes already, but if you were to add a 5-1/2 you'd have a pretty decent all round collection. Personally if I were to have a stand alone scrub plane I'd look for a suitable old woodie. That way you wouldn't feel bad about opening up the mouth of a perfectly good plane.
 

D_W

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woodhutt":gelgyevi said:
At the risk of kicking-off a thread that generates more controversy than one on political name :roll: I need some advice / guidance on a plane type / size to supplement what I already have.
First, most of what I do that involves the use of planes is box making. After re-sawing, I prepare the stock by hand.
I have a No.6 which is used mostly on its side on a shooting board to true the ends of relatively thin stock. Also sometimes used for jointing boards.
Then there is a wooden-bodied plane of a similar size to the No.6 which I use for flattening boards.
Next is the ubiquitous No.4 jack used as a smoother. Then a bog-standard Stanley block plane (rarely used).

My thinking is to add a No.5 or 5-1/2 as a smoother and another No.4 configured as a scrub plane. Any advice or recommendations?
Cheers, Pete
I'd get a 5 and set it more rank than the others if you want a jack. A scrub plane is something not generally used in preparing lumber, though the idea is romantic. If you want a jack plane (which does what people think a scrub plane would do, but with less blowout on edges and with a longer sole to make the next step easier), then you may as well get one, but if you're making mostly boxes, it sounds like you've got what you need.

How big are these boxes?

(a wooden jack plane of the 15-17" variety will work better for jack work than any metal jack or scrub plane, too, but less well for fine work in hardwoods if you don't really want a jack).
 

Blackswanwood

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It depends what you want to do with it. What is it that you feel you would be able to do better or find easier with a different plane?

I make boxes. My main bench plane is a 5 1/2 and it does most jobs. I also use a 4 1/2 quite a bit. I keep a couple of spare irons on the go that I swap in and out of it depending on what I am doing. One has more of a camber and the other a slight camber and a back bevel.

My most used plane is my block plane. It’s a Lie Nielsen bronze low angle - when I bought it I thought it was an extravagance ... it’s worth every penny - a thing of beauty, comfortable to use and very effective.

Cheers
 

woodhutt

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First, thanks for the responses.
To answer some of the questions, the boxes I make are relatively small. The largest would be a two-tiered cutlery box about 350 sq. x 150 high. Most would be little more than half that size. Stock thickness between 10 & 15 mm.

The reason I am considering a 5 or 5-1/2 as a smoother over the 4 is the additional weight. Should that be a consideration?

I find I get just as good a finish on end grain with my well-tuned and sharpened standard-angle No.6 used with a shooting board but I would consider a heavier low-angled plane if there were benefits. The little block plane is very light and gets little use.
Pete
 

D_W

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If you are good with (as in, a capable user, and since you're dimensioning by hand, I would suspect you quickly get better than someone who doesn't do that), there's no advantage to a low angle plane in end grain -especially with thinner material.

5s are a little heavier than a 4, but 5 1/2s are generally a good deal heavier. Obviously just a clipped 6.

Here in the states, there's no clear preference for wide vs narrow, though the common appearance of the 4 1/2 there is not as common here. I've only seen speculation about it.

If your typical box is half of the size you mentioned, though, a 5 would be large enough, easily - and a 5 1/2 or some heavier plane may cause problems with making it difficult to tell when you're on the work.

Not that you couldn't dimension longer stock first and then cut it to sides (you may do that, the effect is nice when the grain works around the box, of course).

Once you learn to dimension and control your planes, it's hard to figure out where to use a block plane. I don't use one, either.
 

Blackswanwood

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For smoothing I am not sure the extra weight is needed (unlike say when using the shooting board). A well sharpened iron makes much more difference?
 

Phil Pascoe

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An old chippie I worked with years ago told me that he was told when an apprentice that 4s and 5s were site planes as they were lighter to carry, 4 1/2s and 5 1/2s were bench planes. Seems as good an argument as any other. :D
 

Ttrees

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I would get a nice used no.5 1/2 for my main used plane, it would pair nicely with the no.6 on your shooting board and used for planing edge grain.

Tom
 

MikeG.

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D_W":up2l5hmx said:
.........Once you learn to dimension and control your planes, it's hard to figure out where to use a block plane. I don't use one, either.
Chamfering/ doing the arises. It's about the only time I use mine.
 

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