Help with hand planes
hi guys, im pretty sure this has been asked a million times but i got to page 4 and I hadn't seen a post so forgive me.

I'm in the market for a hand plane. I've watched a lot of Rob Cosman videos as well as Paul Sellers. As a power tool user i do have a dewalt planer and a bench top wahuda jointer.

I've never even held a plane before let alone know what im doing.
I've sort of decided that i want to start out with a 5 1/2 jack. I just dont know if im right? Mr. Sellers says #4, Mr. Cosman says 5 1/2.
I do like the idea of doing things by hand even if its just cleaning things up after using power tools. shooting boards usage is also nice (hence the 5 1/2)

Then the question of brand. i live in southern California and no one near i know sells Veritas or Lie Nielson so i cant even try to hold one and see which one feels better. 
I don't like the Norris style adjuster (no experience whatsoever) and theirs the Woodriver brand. As a beginner would it be stupid to go with LV/LN? i could get a WR 5 1/2 and block plane for the price of one LN but is it worth it?

my plan is to get a LN 5 1/5 and a veritas router plane. is this the right idea? 

(i have a dewalt trim router as well as a Bosch 2.3HP plunge so the router plane is mostly cleaning things up for dados and tenons )

or, since I have no experience would getting the veritas combo kit (#4 #5 1/2 LA jack and LA block) be a better start for me?

any and all help is appreciated thank you
i just saw Wood craft sells the Clifton 5 1/2, being British i feel like i should fly the flag...
In my experience, as a beginner you would be stupid to not go with a LV or LN.  Once you have used a well made plane, you will be in a good position to judge if a vintage Stanley, WoodRiver etc plane is correctly setup or if there are issues with it.  I learned that the hard, expensive way.

I would not fuss over the hand comfort.  One or the other may be slightly more comfortable for you, but the difference is not great.  My advice is to save money and buy a LV.  I'd split the difference between a 4 and a 5 1/2 and get the LV Low Angle Jack which is a No 5.  It is an excellent all around first plane.  I will suggest also buying an additional 38 degree blade so that you can have the same 40 degree angle as a regular bench plane.  I have one of these and use it all the time.  I also used it as a shooting plane until I decided to buy a dedicated shooting plane.  5 1/2 is not a requirement for shooting.
It's all wood.
Can you sharpen a chisel? I ask this because if you're going to buy a plane you're going to need to learn to sharpen. Unlocking the sharpening secret(s) was the key that opened up my world of planes and other edged hand tools. A new LN or LV is sharp(-ish) from the factory, but you are going to have to learn to sharpen blades yourself at some point. This is a whole can of worms, but if you're not up for learning to sharpen I can't recommend that you buy a hand plane.

I started with a block plane. I can't imagine not having a block plane, and even if you're a non-hand tool guy a block plane will do some things that no other tool can.

You think you maybe want a 5-1/2. I don't have a problem with that, and I don't claim to be more of an exprert than Cosman, but I don't think a 5-1/2 is your best first plane.

You mention a #4 plane which I whole-heartedly agree with. I'd get either a #4 or a block as my first and second plane, then a #5 (or 5-1/2?) as my 3rd plane. By the time you have those 3 planes you'll be well on your way and you'll be asking different questions than you are now.

I went the cheap route and bought vintage tools to start. I now have some LN, LV, to go with my tuned up vintage users. Pros and cons here to going one way or the other. The biggest pro of tuning up a vintage tool is you learn all the ins and outs of your plane and in the end you have a tool that can be more or less equal to a new premium tool. I'm glad I took the path I did, but nothing wrong with buying a new premium tool and getting right to work.

To directly answer your questions- It's not stuipd to buy new LV/ LN, and I can't speak to WR, but I hear good and bad about them. LN is 'worth it', but I'd rather have a few different planes vs 1 plane if I'm starting from scratch. A router plane is nice to have but I got by for a long time without one. A small LV router plane is good bang for the buck so that's what I'd recommend if you want to start with a router plane. See my answers above about order of the bench/ block planes and brands.
+1 on the comments above about being able to sharpen a chisel. I took a class on wood plane fettling at the local Woodcraft years ago. The instructor talked about his years (decades?) of pursuing stones of various types. Then, he got a WorkSharp 3000 and he quit using the stones except in very exceptional cases. It is unfortunate that WS discontinued the wideblade attachment. If you can find a used one at a reasonable price with that attachment (or if you can find a store that still has one on the shelf), then I highly recommend grabbing it.

There are some WNers who sometimes offer planes down in SnS. Some of those will also sharpen the blade for you as an additional service. If I start recommending names, I am sure that I would miss some of the really good ones.

The current generation Woodriver planes are generally good quality (although there might be an occasional lemon that missed QA). Like any new plane or chisel, they do not come sharp enough to really preform properly. The first generation WR planes had a lot of QC issues. So, I would be cautious about buying a used one.

The wider blade of the 1/2 type of planes can be a bit more forgiving when sharpening and when learning how to keep the plane on the edge of a board. The trade-off is that they weigh more.

If your initial hand projects are going to involve boards less than ~30" long, then the 4 or 4-1/2 would be a good place to start. If more than ~36" then the 5-1/2 recommendation starts to make sense. On the longer boards, part of learning to use a hand plane is learning to walk with your belly button at a constant height from the floor (that is how they described it in 8th grade woodshop). Bobbing up and down as you walk the length of a long board makes it hard to keep a constant pressure on the plane.

On the router plane, unless someone offers a deal in SnS too good to pass up (I have missed several of them recently), I would recommend ordering the router plane kit from Paul Sellers and making your own. That learning experience would be good-to-great and the pride of using a tool that you made is hard to describe.

I would also point out that it is even more important with hand tools than with power tools that you learn to tell which direction is working with the grain (sometimes called downhill). Tear out and chipping seem to be more sensitive to cutting slowly in a straight line than they are to high-speed spinning cutters.

As for LN vs LV, I am firmly in the LV camp for bang-for-the-buck and customer service. If the quality of the LN tools is any better than the LV tools, I have never been able to tell it.

edited to add: I am not really disagreeing with anything that ajkoontz posted above other than picking your first plane size based on the size of the boards for your first project.
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
I had the great fortune of taking weekend class on hand planes with Garrett Hack many years ago. His recommendation:
get the LN no. 4. Learn how to use it and most importantly how to sharpen the iron. Then, go from there.
thank you for all the replies

@ChuckHill : that's one of the main reason i wanted a better starter plane, i have no idea what's good or not with no point of reference. as for the 2nd iron, so you're saying don't add a secondary bevel on the LA iron? why is that?

@ajkoontz : I've never sharpen a chisel before but i have sharpen kitchen knives. i did buy the trend diamond stone kit (300/1000) I've read that's enough for stones. I've also purchased a veritas honing guide (the reg side clamping one) hopefully with i should learn to sharpen the tools. the 2nd point about block planes, initially that's what i had as a first plane. i cant remember how but that somehow got changed to a 5.5. something about carpenters turned woodworkers and they are used to the small tool? as for the block plane I did look at the LN rabbet block with nicker as it would help clean up tenons?
point 3/4 i picked the 5.5 over the 4 because I know I'm rather heavy handed and feel like the extra weight but would be nice for me but i do feel like the 4's size is more suited to me, i don't have big hands.
point 5, as mentioned with ChunkHill i have no idea about any of this and no one in person to really talk about this, so I'm not even sure if results I'm getting are good or not. that's the main reason for not getting a vintage model. i did look for a Stanley bedrock 5.5 and they're like 250, i feel vintage is something I should do down the line.
I knew one the downfalls in asking is that it may create more questions lol but I guess that's the nature of the beast, reading what you wrote, A #4 with a block plane would be your choice of start. I'm leaning more to the Clifton/LN side as i don't like the Norris adjuster. having to take your hand off to adjust feels time wasting like breaking the flow. the thing is i do like veritas and its cheaper.

what do the abbreviations mean for WNers and SnS?

I'm glad to read that newer WR Q&A are better because that was my initial choice and with more reading and videos it feels I'm being "diverted" to the more premium brands, I don't doubt that they are better made and are certainly worth the money but knowing myself. I know that if i don't end up liking them i will have an easier time reselling them then a woodriver and if I do like them I will always have a lingering feeling that I should of spent a few hundred more on it > _ <
I made this mistake when I bought a track saw. started with a wen because it was cheap and ended up giving it away because I couldn't sell it and bought a festool

my next few projects are small ones (except the work bench) but like i mentioned I'm more of a power tool user looking to get into hand tools. so its more cleaning up after power tools and small thing. I do plan to make a small table for my son with mostly hand tools to help me learn the process.
as for the router plane I did watch that video and for $45 its a steal and looks like a fun project to do. I will keep that in mind.
I do like Veritas a lot, I think the tools look so good, almost like a new Aston Martin where as Lie- Neilson looks like a vintage Ferrari, I don't like the idea of the Norris adjuster.
I wish there was someone close who had both so i can use it a bit a see.


this is honestly looking to be the very thing I do. get the #4 and start using it, see the limitations and buy as needed...or the 4 + block and see..
(03-16-2023, 05:48 PM)Leandre Wrote: what do the abbreviations mean for WNers and SnS?

WNers = Woodnetters -- users of this site
SnS = Swap and Sell -- the buy/sell/trade forum of this site
(03-16-2023, 06:19 PM)Joe Bailey Wrote: WNers = Woodnetters -- users of this site
SnS = Swap and Sell -- the buy/sell/trade forum of this site

oh thank you, make a lot more sense now !!

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