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Wooden hand plane advice

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Alice44

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Hi All,
I am a DT GCSE student and I am thinking of making a wooden hand plane as a project,
I was wondering if you experienced woodworkers could give me a bit of advice on hand planes, their main uses and important characteristics.

Or to just answer these 4 quick questions

1. What would be your main uses of the hand plane.
2. What size would be best for that use.
3.What price range would you consider paying for such a plane.
4.what are the most important characteristics of quality hand planes

Any other thoughts much appreciated.
 

lurker

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A few years back Axminster "sponsored" schools making a block plane.

Maybe someone here has the plans (was British Woodworking involved??)

If I was you, a block plane would be where I would start.
 

ED65

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Hand planes have numerous uses depending on size and style/type. Their one overriding characteristic is sometimes described simply as this: a plane is nothing more than a jig to hold a chisel at a fixed angle.

Despite this simple definition their uses are surprisingly varied. Excluding planes for more specialised tasks the main-sequence planes, AKA bench planes, that were used traditionally includes those for taking off lots of wood or roughing (jack plane or fore plane, of middling length), flattening and jointing (jointer plane, long), to smoothing of the surface (smoothing plane or smoother, generally short).

These were the planes pretty much universally used in the past and still are by the minority of users who rely on planes a lot in their work (woodworking at all levels has shifted heavily towards power tools). The planes would typically be used in this order: for rough shaping and getting boards close to final dimensions; then final squaring and flattening; then final smoothing on show surfaces only generally. Surfaces that wouldn't be seen could be left surprisingly rough in the past, even on high-quality work.

Probably worth adding that these planes would all have been made from wood prior to the second half of the 19th century when metal planes started to come in. Planes are almost exclusively made from metal today. Only a handful of wooden plane makers persist in the West, while in Asia nearly all planes used are still made from wood to traditional forms.

A read through some woodworking books will give you some more background and loads more detail on the subject of planes. If you have a selection of libraries available to you a good title to look for is Robert Wearing's "The Essential Woodworker". And on the off chance that there's a copy of it check for "Planecraft" too, this is a small booklet that covers planes in surprising detail.

If you don't have many libraries available to you numerous books old and new can be read on Archive.org, although some are in a borrow system and not available for free download as "Elementary Woodworking" from 1903 is.
 

Mr_Pea

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1. Planes are for collecting, polishing and sitting on shelves.
2. The smaller the better so you can get more on your shelves.

3. A handful of modern makers are charging thousands for a new infill plane , google these British makers Karl Holtey, Oliver Sparks and Bill Carter. Antique planes can also sell for thousands. Oliver and Bill also sell cheaper wooden planes.

We do have a wooden plane specialist in this country
http://www.phillyplanes.co.uk/index.html
He perfected his skills on this very forum before turning pro.

4. Makers name, top makers and rare models = very high value.

On a serious note, google krenov planes.
 

profchris

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To give you some idea of sizing, in wooden planes, a jack is around 600 mm long, a jointer maybe 900 mm, and a smoother around 200 mm. These are very approximate sizes.

Each size has a different use, as already explained, so no one size is best. You need them all (though a jointer might not be used for small pieces of work).

Price range really can't be answered, because it's determined by the competition from commercial suppliers and the second hand market. One might buy all three planes new (online from China) for £100 total if wood, and second-hand metal planes for a similar sum. But they would need expertise and some hours work to get them into good shape for effective use. The same set new in metal or wood, pretty much usable out of the box, might be £500. You could pay more than that for the highest quality. But because wooden planes need extra skills over metal planes to use effectively, the market is small. So there is the very cheap end (direct from China) and the high end (Philly planes) with nothing in between.

The two most important characteristics of any plane are that it works well for planing (lots don't!) and that it's comfortable to use. But to sell a new plane, it has to look attractive as well.

If you plan to make a plane, you need an iron. At a car boot sale you might pick up an old, split wooden plane for £2 or so, with a rusty but decent length iron. Start with that and reverse engineer your plane round it. Also, looking at the old plane will tell you a lot about what makes a plane work. Then research Krenov style planes, because that's what you should probably build (traditional styles require tools and skills which you probably don't yet have!)
 

thetyreman

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I'd say making a wooden plane is a great project but it requires a lot of skill to give you an idea of what's required read the book making & mastering wood planes by david fink,

try a google search for krenov style planes, it would be a good project, there are some vids on youtube but some of them get details from the book completely wrong so be wary of them.

about question 3. what would you pay for a plane, well that is a very difficult question to answer, if a craftsman actually charged a proper hourly rate it'd be extremely expensive, which is why the few left who are making them professionally have to charge high prices.

the main problem with making a wooden plane is how many tools and not just cheap tools, good quality tools you need to actually make one, you will need for example at least a no 5 metal plane, sliding bevel, protractor, accurate square ideally engineering square, a very flat surface for flattening the wooden plane, a blade, chipbreaker, good quality wood that's very well seasoned, ideally a workbench with a vice and a brass hammer for adjusting the blade, and that's just what I can think of the top of my head, sure there's a few more things I've missed out.
 

Chris152

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Sounds like a great project, Alice44. As I understand it, your teachers/ assessors will be looking for development of skills, ambition and initiative - the outcome doesn't need to be perfect, but it'd definitely be good if it works!
Here's a router plane by Paul Sellers (a very well respected woodworker/ teacher):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_2a_FwjAgk
If you aim for something that sits between that and the commercial ones by those recommended above, you should be doing ok!
 

Jacob

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Alice44":khsdeulo said:
.
1. What would be your main uses of the hand plane.
Er - planing? A general purpose 'jack' is the most useful, e.g. if you only had one etc.
2. What size would be best for that use.
Wooden jack size: 14 to 16" long, 2 to 2 1/4" wide blade. Roughly equivalent to Stanley 5 or 5 1/2
3.What price range would you consider paying for such a plane.
Not a lot as there are 1000s of them available 2nd hand. Say £5. There's a market for new ones so it's a sales exercise too
4.what are the most important characteristics of quality hand planes.
The most important thing about a wooden plane as compared to steel is lower weight. If you do a lot of work this is really important. The main drawback of a woody is the inconvenience and slowness of blade adjustment and removal/replacement for sharpening, which is where the steel plane is vastly superior
Any other thoughts much appreciated.
If you want to sell them maybe think of specialised planes? One of the simplest and most useful is the wooden scrubber. They get used for rough work (cleaning up old timbers etc) and the light weight is a definite advantage over a steel equivalent. The ECE model is brilliant but the handles are small - there's scope for design improvement there?
 

Woody2Shoes

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Alice44":2c5rlass said:
Hi All,
I am a DT GCSE student and I am thinking of making a wooden hand plane as a project,
I was wondering if you experienced woodworkers could give me a bit of advice on hand planes, their main uses and important characteristics.

Or to just answer these 4 quick questions

1. What would be your main uses of the hand plane.
2. What size would be best for that use.
3.What price range would you consider paying for such a plane.
4.what are the most important characteristics of quality hand planes

Any other thoughts much appreciated.
Hi - my tuppence-worth:

I'd look at one of these if you want to make one : https://www.axminster.co.uk/veritas-woo ... t-ax943760

Answers:
1 - The main purpose is to make rough wood surfaces flat (a 'plane' being a name for a flat 2-dimensional surface)
2 - Size is one of the main variables, and depends on the size of the surface you want to flatten and the flatness and smoothness of the result.
3 - Price is a trade-off between quality of design/materials/workmanship and each person will have their own views on where they sit on that spectrum of price vs. 'quality'.
4 - The 'quality' of a plane is effectively its 'fitness for purpose' (that is, how easy is it to use and to reliably produce an acceptable result with it - which will partly come down to the skill of the user of course) and will be governed by the quality of design/materials/workmanship in its construction.

How's that? Cheers, W2S
 

Mr_Pea

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£40- £50 for the Veritas kit sounds pricey especially for a School project. Not much of a write up either, I bought a kit and built it.

The English woodworker has a good reputation , nice krenov style but with a more challenging rear handle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rlsL-e15d4

You need to sign up to get access buts its free
https://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/bu ... den-plane/

Another idea would be a hybrid / transitional plane build, similar to the laminated but with a metal frog
marples-hybrid-plane-t90264.html

I seem to remember someone on here did a video build but I can't find it.

Costs should be minimal, most of us on here have a spare frog and iron you could have for free, I could even throw in a couple of wooden planes. Just pay for postage, about a fiver with hermes. The only thing I don't have is any suitable timber for a build unless you want to build a very small one.
 

thetyreman

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another problem with them is wear on the sole, which is the main reason metal ones replaced them.
 

Alice44

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Thank you all for such good info it will all be very helpful in my coursework
Alice
 
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