Hand Tools Archive
Pull planes have a lot of advantages, they have a natural hook angle, that substitutes geometry for weight.
Wooden planes are better, as the world is, but one could certainly do extraordinary things with metal, it is just that most metal planes are either a kludge, or a crutch. They could be better, they just aren't. Composites could probably blow wood out of the running, but that just isn't out there unless maybe the Rali plane qualifies.
Ergo wise. Wood is light, warm, and slick. Pull planes as they are, require grip strength to hold onto the blocks, though the geometry seems to be a force multiplier. English wooden planes have the worst geometry, but the handles are nice, though some weigh a fair bit. German smoothers don't make my heart sing, but some of the technical features are really good, and the ergonomics, are good. Lots to hold onto, whether you pull or push them. The longer german bench planes don't do much for me.
A lot of this is an act of faith, a beginer can't really tell what is what, you need to break yourself in to the tools. Something that feels uncomfortable at first, unless it is a serious medical issue, is hard to access the pros and cons of over time. Handles are particularly deceptive. Stuff that feels good to grip is often stuff that reflects the shape of the hand, but that is not always what makes for a good instrument. In general I do not like hand filling writing instruments. Would you want one that had a fist type grip like a downhill ski pole?