Oh boy, you’ve opened the floodgates, John! I could wax philosophic for hours on this topic (many of us could) but to be brief: you’re headed in the right direction. You’re almost guaranteed to never regret having a no. 5 in your kit. Only advice I might offer is to try a LN before taking the plunge if you haven’t already. They’re beautifully made but quite heavy and for that reason I prefer vintage Bailey planes (or any of their numerous spin-offs). I don’t have much to offer on low angle planes – I personally have never found a use for them in my work, but people like them. Regarding tear out in exotics, the absolute best performance I’ve seen comes from my very-traditional single iron coffin smoother, bedded at something like 55 deg. You can certainly get exceptional results by fine tuning the breaker and mouth opening on an adjustable metal plane though.
What do you use for shooting board work then? A low angle jack is needed for end grain shooting board work no? Again a little new to so bear with me.
Nope, low angle isn’t needed for endgrain work – I think people just like them for that purpose as they’re easier/smoother in the cut. But a conventional plane can do it all just as well. Again, not endorsing one thing or the other, but I have always used my no 5 or no 3 on end grain with no trouble.
Alright I appreciate your advise. Guess I can put the funds I was going to spend on a low angle towards a plow plane then.