Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Re: 1st GOOD plane
Response To:
Re: 1st GOOD plane ()

TomD
Russ,

Size of work has some bearing, but planes are more about the cut than they are about a size matching a size of project, and even where that is the case the basic bench set is already size selected to some extent for the stuff that comes off a bench.

When getting a range of responses, some of these are coming from the perspective as Bill mentioned, the shop that is mostly power, but uses hand tools for that which can't be done any other way.

Some people here use hand tools exclusively (or to the extent they can manage that). For that kind of use you need all the different tools that allow you to nibble away at the wood as efficiently as possible. A planer takes rather small shaving, but with a 3hp motor it takes a lot of them, in pure hand work, you start with splitting or the axe, if need be, then work your way down to.

Of those who work exclusively with hand tools, you have folks who use the latest metal stuff, or who are recreating a historical period in their tool use, or who are recreating a cultural typ, like Japanese chinese, german, etc...

As you say, you make small precise things in your shop, which pretty much describes hand planes. I know when I heard the best hand planes were wood (as was often the belief back in the 70s), I was really happy, because I wanted to go in that direction, at the other extrem, there are people waiting for a Rali review that says that replaceable blade plane is the best there is (you can come close to making that case). If you can't imagine making your own plane, or wanting some cheap piece of junk made out of wood, as many woodworkers seem to feel, then at least you can reduce the universe to one form, the metal ones (or the wooden ones).

If at the end of the day you reduced your choice to one or the other material stream, and then bought a basic plane like the number 4, you would never really have to regret it because no matter what style you pursue in the future, you will always have a use for it, and in the meantime you can learn how to use one and what it does.

One other point about the bailey 4 (actually not a super big proponent of this style) is that it can be used as a number of different types of plane, from roughing to smoothing. This is not really practical as a substitute for other types of plane, but it will allow you to gain a lot of experience with just the one plane and learn more what planes can do.

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