Reply To: What 2 hand planes to start with.

Larry Geib

Some things to consider.

I concur you should try a plane with a 55° frog before you invest in one.
A 55° frog makes a smoother considerably harder to push, especially with some hardwoods. If you feel you must have a 55° frog I suggest you consider something like a #3 plane with the narrower iron. You will be taking such thin shavings in problem grain the size of the plane doesn’t matter much. A small plane is actually and advantage for fine smoothing. A smoother’s office is to follow the undulations of the board you have flattened with a longer plane , not to flatten. If you look at the size of a #80 scraper, for example, the bed is quite small compared to most any plane.
99% of smoothing can be done with a sharp iron bedded at 45°. A card scraper or #80 scraper plane will handle the rest. And I’d consider a #3 or #4 before I got two Jack plane length tools. If you are a small person, choose the smaller plane.

A low angle plane is NOT necessary for a shooting ( chute) plane. If you look at planes made for the purpose from Veritas, Lie Nielsen, and Stanley, they all have 45° frogs. What they do have is a skewed iron to reduce the effort.
But lots of folks use traditional Bailey style planes. My preference is a Bailey 5 1/2 ( old style with the 2 1/4” iron). It has enough mass to power through any hardwood end grain without being too tiring to use, and has a long enough nose to register the work easily. Before I found the 5 1/2 I used a #6 for years. What is more important that the few degrees lower presentation is a really SHARP iron and thin shavings, which also reduce the effort involved.
One of my dream planes has always been a proper shooting plane ever since I used one 50 years ago, but the price of these things has always risen faster than my willingness to pay for one. Over the years I learned to tune a less expensive plane and they work just fine. You notice Paul just uses a #4 Bailey when he uses a shooting board.

Also, a 45° frog will very easily shoot 45° cuts. That isn’t much harder than normal planing.

  • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Larry Geib.
  • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Larry Geib.