14 March 2019 at 10:38 pm #555543
I know this is a loaded question and one that has been much discussed but just wandering if anyone had any thoughts.
I started woodworking a couple of years ago and quickly purchased a couple of cheap (15-25 quid) Stanley planes and although they seem to work ok I think I could do better and I’m getting to the point where I feel i could benefit from upgrading my planes. I currently own a #4 bailey, #4 1/2 bailey stamped GU27, #5 1/2 bailey which is bent and never gets used, all in all a rag tag bunch really. I’m wanting to build a set consisting of numbers 4, 41/2, 5, 51/2 and am considering purchasing better quality vintage planes through eBay etc or splashing the cash on some modern planes, I’m thinking particularly of Veritas custom planes if anyone has any experience with them? As way of a bit of background I have purchased a Veritas router plane and plough plane and found them brilliant. Although I’m not looking to spend money I don’t need to I’m 34 years old and want these planes to last many years and I am wandering if this would make a brand new premium plane the better choice. Any thoughts and advice much appreciated15 March 2019 at 10:41 am #555546
I have a Veritas low angle jack plane and, although there are different opinions on whether this kind of plane is necessary, the quality is great as you know from your router and plough planes. I have old Stanley and Record planes and actually I think they’re just fine, but I have been swaying towards buying new tools when I need them and where I can afford them for a couple of reasons:
1. The quality of engineering is fantastic from manufacturers like Veritas and in some cases they come with useful features or improvements.
2. I think it’s really important to support people and companies that make good quality new tools. If we want hand tool woodworking to continue into the future then we need people to make good new tools in a sustainable way.
My approach will be to continue to mix good old and new tools.
Rob15 March 2019 at 2:21 pm #555548
I have built up and refurbished a set of #3,#4,#4.5,#5,#5.5,#6 and #7 Stanley’s and have also aquired some really good quality new Quangsheng planes namely a #3,#4,#4.5 and a #7 (which is fantastic) from workshop heaven in the UK (well worth a look if you are in uk and a fair bit cheaper than Veritas). Mind, I do have a bit of a plane problem!
I have to be honest, whilst the new planes are beautiful to look at and do a great job, I do still find I reach for the Stanleys more often than not. I find the Stanley’s are lighter in the hand and have a slightly better feel to them. The blades are cheap as chips in comparison to the Quangshengs. They are also a lot easier to hone and grind by hand if you want to have different cambers. Both the Quangsheng and stanleys use normal steel though the Quangsheng blades are a lot thicker and take much longer to sharpen/hone. The Veritas and Lie Nielsen planes often have special steel alloys which hold an edge longer but (in my opinion) are a nightmare to hone without waterstones. Waterstones are just to messy for my liking.
There is also an abundence of spares available for Stanleys as there are so many of them in circulation.
If I were you I would have a go at refurbishing some old stanleys or Records and build up your own set. When you tune them yourself you start to get quite attached to them! Once properly tuned there is nothing the Veritas planes can do that the Stanleys can’t. Paul has done a great video on renovating a #4 and its well worth a watch.
All that said I wouldn’t swap my Veritas router for all the tea in china!
I really should sell the Quangshengs but they do look pretty…..15 March 2019 at 3:08 pm #555550
[quote quote=555548]though the Quangsheng blades are a lot thicker and take much longer to sharpen/hone.[/quote]
That’s why God invented hollow grinding15 March 2019 at 5:14 pm #555560
In addition to Veritas there are also Clifton planes, and until my first Lie-Nielsen 5½ I was equally happy with either brand. Now I notice the tiny differences in attention to detail favouring the US made ones. They all plane the same, though.
London, UK; Cambridge, MA
You must be logged in to access attached files.15 March 2019 at 5:57 pm #555563
Presumably, hollow grinding is not an option for those who follow Paul’s method of using diamond stones? Only ask as I don’t know.15 March 2019 at 7:51 pm #555564
Hollow grinding is usually produced off grinding wheels, not hand sharpening. Nothing wrong with the technique really, some like it, some don’t. I used to have a wet grinder machine but now I prefer hand sharpening as I find it faster, though obviously not with the harder steels. That’s why I find the carbon steel blades in the Stanleys easier to work with.
There’s a million and one ways to sharpen which all have their perks and pitfalls and supporters and detractors but that’s probably for another thread!
One thing about tools like Veritas is they really hold their value so if you bought one and didn’t like it you could always sell it on Ebay and probably won’t loose all that much. Veritas do offer conventional steel blades as an option for some of their planes but they will be thicker.
I would agree that Clifton tools are really nice too. More traditional looking than the modern styling of the Veritas planes but top quality
.15 March 2019 at 11:26 pm #555565
John, you mentioned the extra weight of the modern planes and also the fact the thicker irons that make them more work to keep sharp (unless you hollow grind) which were probably my main two concerns so I think I will take your advice and build myself a set of quality older Stanley or record planes and perhaps add the Veritas LAJ and LAS as a bit of a treat in future. Thanks for your inputs so far guys16 March 2019 at 2:14 am #555566
[quote quote=555565]John, you mentioned the extra weight of the modern planes and also the fact the thicker irons that make them more work to keep sharp (unless you hollow grind) which were probably my main two concerns so I think I will take your advice and build myself a set of quality older Stanley or record planes and perhaps add the Veritas LAJ and LAS as a bit of a treat in future. Thanks for your inputs so far guys[/quote]
The Veritas LAJ will also make a great shooting plane.
If you can't afford to do big things...........do small things in a big way!16 March 2019 at 2:40 am #555567
Presumably, hollow grinding is not an option for those who follow Paul’s method of using diamond stones? Only ask as I don’t know.
Hollow grinding has nothing to do with which method of sharpening you prefer. It’s done on a grinding wheel before the sharpening process. Hollow grinding your bevel saves tons of time when it comes to sharpening, and since you’re on your stones far less time, it thus also has the side benefit of greatly reducing wear on your stones. It also makes it much easier to keep the correct orientation when sharpening by hand, as you have two bearing surfaces on which you can balance, as opposed to only one with a flat bevel.
Works on your plane irons, chisels (don’t think I would recommend it for mortise chisels), router plane irons. Night and day difference in time to a perfect edge over any other approach, obviously. I’m sharpening about half a mm of steel compared to … well even the thin old Stanley irons were over 2mm, so sharpening an old Stanley iron represents 4 times the surface area.
I have a CBN grinding wheel on a high-speed grinder — it takes no time to hollow grind an edge. Here’s the entire process in real time:
And that will cut your sharpening surface area by 3/4 on a Stanley plane iron (with a far greater reduction on other tools) for months and months. Think about how much faster you’d be sharp if you had at least 75% less steel to deal with. You don’t need a CBN wheel or even an electric grinder — hand-cranked grinders with inexpensive wheels work just fine and get results just as good, it just takes a bit longer as you need to cool the steel when grinding.
However, a CBN wheel such as I’d recommend (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GG5GIGC/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) has another nice advantage — the CBN wraps around onto the flat machined surface on the side of the wheel. This is done intentionally so you can use that perfectly flat surface for grinding. It wraps about 3/4 of an inch. So if you buy, e.g. an old chisel, and you need to grind down past the pitting and flatten the back of the iron before sharpening, well you can do that in about a minute. That saves a ridiculous amount of time, not to mention wear and tear on your stones. I went through a phase where I avoided vintage tools because of the time involved in the restoration process. Now I jump at them. This is especially pertinent if you’re considering a set of vintage planes.
I only wish I had known about CBN wheels sooner, between flattening backs and hollow-grinding to a wire edge they are complete game-changers when it comes to getting a perfect edge.16 March 2019 at 3:15 pm #555568
@etmo, with only 3/4″ on the side of the wheel, how much of the back can you flatten? Just the end?16 March 2019 at 3:23 pm #555569
Being the edge is infinite and has little steel behind it though it is weaker, more fragile than a convex camber. You will likely go to the stones more often to save a few seconds each time.16 March 2019 at 4:09 pm #555571
@etmo, with only 3/4″ on the side of the wheel, how much of the back can you flatten? Just the end?
Yes. I imagine you could angle your blade and flatten quite a bit if not all of it (depending on the blade), but I don’t know if there’s any point to that. As with almost any chisel or iron, you wouldn’t flatten / polish the entire back and often do maybe 1/2″ or less since as you know, with the back of an iron you only need to flatten then polish a bit at the end in order to set the stage to achieve a sharp edge.
I’ll borrow a picture from e-bay, but imagine you bought a Stanley #45 and got 20+ cutters where the backs all looked like this (or worse):
How long would it take you to get the backs of all 20+ of those cutters ready to work? By hand, it would take a long time. But with the CBN wheel, you’ll have the backs of all the cutters ready to go to your stones for polishing in 20 minutes or so. And at that point, you’re just replacing scratches so it’s relatively quick work.27 March 2019 at 7:48 pm #555690
I’ve taken delivery of my new (old) planes and decided to go with record in numbers 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5
Unfortunately the number 5 has one wrong screw, the front screw on the rear tote is too small and I’m wandering if anybody knows where I might be able to find the correct replacement
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