What plane to turn into a scrub plane?

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    Nick Woodfine

    Hi all,

    I bought myself a second hand Stanley no4 to start hand tool woodworking.

    I have now been gifted a Record no4 1/2 for my birthday.

    I was wondering which of these would be the better plane to turn into a scrub plane?

    Thanks very much.


    If these are your two first planes I wouldn’t make either of them into a scrub.

    Get yourself a second iron for the no 4 and put a decent camber on it.

    It won’t be as good as a dedicated scrub but you will keep your 4 in a state where it will still work as a smoother.

    If you want a cheap scrub try to get hold of an old wooden plane and convert that. It will cost you less money that a metal plane.



    Dave Ring

    Old wooden smoothers with wide open mouths and heavy tapered irons are as common as dirt, almost as cheap, and will outperform a converted cast iron smoother as a scrub plane.

    A Stanley No.40 is also worth considering, though pricier.

    Actually, most woodworkers get by quite well without using a true scrub plane. For rough preliminary planing an unmodified No.4 or No.5 with a cambered iron is probably all that you need.


    Larry Geib

    If you are going to convert one, chose the one that gives you a wider mouth as a scrub.

    But I think the advice to just get a second iron is sound advice in the modern age of S4S material. There just isn’t that much rough work to warrant a dedicated plane unless you are starting with rough timber.

    peter marshall

    I really like to keep two freshly sharpened planes on my Bench when preparing stock so I likely would keep both planes as they are . One set for more coarse flattening and the other for smoothing . I have a dedicated Lee Valley / Veritas Scrub plane which is a very simple and effective tool ( and relatively cheap ? ) for removing bulk material … Good Luck with your work !

    Nick Woodfine

    Ok, brilliant. Thank you all for your replies. I will keep both as they are and keep them sharp.

    Thanks again



    I use one of the newer throw away Stanley planes to use for scrubbing and it’s about the only thing it’s good for. I think I paid $14 new at a box store. I was going to throw it away until I needed a scrub one day and it performed great for the task. I probably put too much of a camber to it, but I don’t know what the right camper should be. In any event it did the trick and the piece of wood smoothed out nicely.

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