Which hand planes to keep?
Hey all,

This could create some interesting/heated discussion with lots of opinions, which should be fun.

I’ve been woodworking for about 15 years. In that time, I’ve picked up a number of hand planes and used them on occasion for little things (truing a joint, scrub planing, etc), but never to a point of being as proficient as I’d like. So, while I plan to keep tailed machines around and helping, I’d like to get better at flattening a board/slab as needed with planes, and want the right tools for doing so.

My impression is that I may have more than I really need (is that possible?), potentially with one or two gaps. In general, I don’t mind using a slightly heavier plane (5 instead of 4, 8 instead of 7, etc), at least while I’m still on the young side.

I’d love to get your opinions on 1) which planes I should keep or sell, 2) if there are specific configurations I should have (eg, a #7 with a straight edged blade for edges of boards and one with a slightly radiused blade for flattening a board), and 3) if there are any needed additions.

Some planes need things fixed up, but all can be users (unless noted).

Current inventory. Mostly vintage Stanley/Bailey:
#2, type 4-5, needs a little refurb
#3, type 16, sharpened like a scrub
#4, from roughly the 80s?
#4, type 11/12
#4, type 13
#4-1/2, type 15, upgraded blade and chipbreaker
#5, type 11
#5, type 13
#605, type 6 (roughly equivalent to Stanley type 11)
#605, type 7 (roughly equivalent to Stanley type 12), small crack in side but functional, upgraded blade and chipbreaker
K5 (roughly equivalent to type 10)
#5-1/2, type 13
K6 (roughly equivalent to type 10)
#7, type 8
#607, (roughly equivalent to type 10), upgraded iron and chipbreaker
#8, type 6, upgraded iron and chipbreaker
#8, type 11
#8, type 11

Small Veritas rabbet plane
Stanley rabbet plane
ECE wood block plane
ECE wood smoother
Wood 8” smoother
Wood 8” coffin smoother
Wood scrub
Wood 16” jointer
Wood 26” jointer

My first thought is to keep:
#3 scrub
One or two #4s and #4-1/2
One or two #5s and the #5-1/2
Roughly two of the 7s and/or 8s
Some of the specialty planes, but probably not the wood smoother/jointers

I’d love your thoughts!

  Re: Which hand planes to keep? by OneStaple (Hey all, This cou...)
No one is more qualified than I to give you the most authoritative answer to your question.........just look at my handle

Joking aside, I know a good number of serious woodworkers or teachers (Paul Sellers and Rob Cosman came to mind) who use two or three bench planes for almost all kinds of demands. Joinery planes are different; I'd focus on bench planes.

Since you are young, #4-1/2 (I prefer the #4.....every extra ounce counts).
Keep a low angle jack or if you don't have a jack either #6 or #7.
Do you have a block plane? If not, #2 then.

THAT'S IT. if you need to go slim.

Of course, you can keep as many as you want.....but with those three bench planes, you can do anything once you've mastered the skills. Everything else is just nice to have.

I would sell (give away if someone deserves it) the rest so they can have a good life in someone's hands.

  Re: RE: Which hand planes to keep? by Handplanesandmore (No one is more quali...)
The traditional set of planes is this:

Jack plane (or fore plane) for rough planing 
Try plane for for flattening faces of boards  
Jointer for making edge joints
Smoother for cleaning off stuff just prior to gluing or finishing.

For you I would suggest:

1. Jack plane. Your 16" wooden plane is a jack plane, not a jointer. Wooden jack planes are lighter than iron planes so less tiring and preferable. You could also use a #5 plane for this work.

2. Trying plane. You could use a #6 plane or a #7 plane for this work.

3. Jointer plane: You can use your wooden jointer or a #7 plane forthis work. A #8 plane is heavy and clumsy and doesn't offer advantages to offset these disadvantages.

4. Smoother; I would save a #4 plane and the ECE smoother until you can establish your preference.

In general I would keep maybe two planes in each category handy for now and box up the rest until you lnow more of what you are doing.

I have used just five bench planes for over 40 years, while doing all stock preparation by hand and no scraping or sanding.
  Re: Which hand planes to keep? by OneStaple (Hey all, This cou...)
Tyler, the planes to keep are the ones YOU use. Warren is absolutely correct in the categories he points out, and these are tried and true for efficiency for processing rough to finished. However, there are also a number of speciality planes and tools we use, and these are determined by the work we do. This is where differences appear. Warren speaks as a professional of a number of decades. He knows what HE needs (and does not need).

Over the past year or so, I have been weeding out the tools I do not use. They take up space, are being wasted, and someone else will use and treasure them. I do not have duplicates of tools. Perhaps that is a place for you to begin.

Regards from Perth

Articles on furniture building, shop made tools and tool reviews at www.inthewoodshop.com
  Re: Which hand planes to keep? by OneStaple (Hey all, This cou...)
My opinion: Long woodies offer performance difficult to match in any other tool, hand or power. I’d round the iron of the 26” plane you are calling a jointer and change it’s name to try plane. Tho shorter, I’d reserve a smooth bottom #8 for match planing glue joints.

You listed specific brands and types that I’m not 100% familiar with because I don’t collect metal planes. Possible you are asking if some in your collection are more valuable than others? I think some would say a pristine 605 is worth way more than a #5, or is nicer to use. I always thought the bedrock mechanism made more sense for a high performance smoother, not a jack plane. But I’m interested in what my friends here think since I’ve never owned one.
  Re: Which hand planes to keep? by OneStaple (Hey all, This cou...)
Duplicate post deleted
  Re: Which hand planes to keep? by OneStaple (Hey all, This cou...)
You don't need multiple copies of any plane that comes with a number stamped on it.  Pick your favorite one (forget all the "type study" crap) and get rid of the rest unless you anticipate having shop help -- son, son-in-law, daughter, grandkids, employees, etc.

Start there, then evaluate woodies vs. iron as your next step.
  Re: Which hand planes to keep? by OneStaple (Hey all, This cou...)
Keep at least the wooden scrub.
Esp. in not so hard woods they are a joy to use.

  Re: RE: Which hand planes to keep? by CStan (You don't need multi...)
(01-04-2022, 04:05 AM)CStan Wrote: You don't need multiple copies of any plane that comes with a number stamped on it. 

I fully agree. For a user (rather than a collector) a few exceptions could be ---- extra one is kept as a backup or dedicated use (such as with a heavy camber blade as a scrub plane), for sentimental reasons (gift that not to be used as a workhorse), the plan is to teach someone, etc.

Bandit of course disagrees.....but at least he puts a lot of his tools to use unlike many others.

So for bench planes, 2 to 3 plus a block ---- in the right hands ---- could conquer the world. Sellers once said he could, if he chose to. do everything with just a #4 including jointing any length, but he has had over 50 years of ACTIVE bench experience.

  Re: Which hand planes to keep? by OneStaple (Hey all, This cou...)
Keep an extra iron or two with whatever profile is required.  They're meant to be used up anyway, not preserved for posterity.  This is why Stanley still makes replacements, as do several others.

It takes 30 seconds to change out the cutter in a Stanley-style cast iron hand plane.  These woodworking boards have never had a participant so productive, or producing at such a high level, that this would ever present a problem.

I've seen the shop shots with four smoothers, three jacks, three jointers and all of that rot.  Unless you're somebody like Patrick Leach, moving tools for a living, I think it looks stupid.  It is stupid. It's just junk sitting around.

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