Choosing Your First Hand Plane For Woodworking

Choosing Your First Hand Plane For Woodworking

Today I wanted to answer a common question when it comes to hand planes – which one should you buy first? I go through the reasons for my choice and explain why, if I could have only one plane, this would be it. This discussion is based on my choice of plane in regards to the size and doesn’t take account of the brand or whether I feel you should buy new or old etc.
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  1. John Wealthy on March 29, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    I chose a No5 Jack and I am so dissapointed with it. My 10 year old Stanley block plane that has been stuck up in my loft worked better than my new £115 first plane. What a disaster. To have 5 more walnut doors to trim (all 4 sides) is going to be a now very long sweaty task. I did not expect to have to do polishing/ sharpening / honing on a plane that expensive. Maybe my naivity but as I ordered over the phone with the company and explained my lack of woodworking experience, I would have expected better help. I went to a woodworking company rather than Wickes but now kind of regret it. I’m going to have to spend quite a lot more money on sharpening gear. Not happy at all.

  2. Jim Dockrell on March 29, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Sound reasoning.  I have never heard of anyone being able to buy only one plane.  Once you start,  you just can’t help looking for more!…lol.

  3. Jeremy Barker on March 29, 2022 at 5:49 pm

    I am a newbie woodworker and wanted to purchase my first plane, but had no clue where to start. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Awesome video!

  4. Nicholas Marchesan on March 29, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    Found a Stanley no 5 in my dads old tool box. It was in parts but once I put it together and sharpened up the blade it worked fine. Got to admit that it is one of my favourite planes as well.

  5. IV Woodworking on March 29, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    Seriously, why don’t people call you the "Jon Snow of woodworking"?

  6. Lily Strong on March 29, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Bought a no.5 after watching this video

  7. ClamsAnonymous on March 29, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    Dude WHY would you have that sound at the beginning of your video? It’s louder than your speaking voice.

  8. Rodney Transier on March 29, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks for another great video. As a beginner your videos help tremendously. Can you do a video on how to refurbish and set up a plane and how to properly use one. Thanks again!

  9. Kiki Lang on March 29, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    I heard that the Stanly plane, and most of the affordable planes have to be worked on, to work.

  10. Tony Ennis on March 29, 2022 at 6:03 pm

    I agree about the #5; it’s a solid choice. I don’t know if it was my first plane, but it is certainly the first one I reach for. Paul Sellers uses a #4 almost exclusively. Of course, he’s Paul Sellers.

  11. deezynar on March 29, 2022 at 6:03 pm

    Good advice.  When I started out I read Alan Peters’ book and followed his advice, I had only a block plane, and a jointer plane.  Peters makes good sense advocating the jointer, but I agree with you, those things are ungainly.  I now have added a scrub, a jack, and a smoother.  Things prefer having all of them.

  12. rulesnut on March 29, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    More!! I love your videos

  13. Tome4kkkk on March 29, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    Regarding Stanley No.5. Can I trust the quality of the latest batches of Stanley planes and just go and buy a recent 12-005 model?

  14. Christopher Castor on March 29, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    In your workshop, and now mine, there is no room for blaming the tools when the plane leaves a crap surface. Masterclass.
    Thank you

  15. Bible Girl on March 29, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    I purchased a mirrored dresser and the outside wood veneer molding is about 28 1/2 inch wide but the space is 28 inches so this video was great because it will solve my issue. Thanks

  16. Canalcoholic on March 29, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    6:00 “it’s shagged, already it’s knackered”. Beautiful use of the English language.

  17. steersman1803 on March 29, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    I have a 5 but i PREFER my 5 1/2.But you are right even a wooden 5 is a good size.Fuck changing irons just get 2 no 5s then!The only 2 planes you’ll ever need.

  18. tsuresuregusa on March 29, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    great video Richard! I like how you classify the plane on how is set up instead of the length, very japanese. They have only 2 sizes  for bench planes, "jack" and jointer and the difference lays in the mouth, the camber of the blade and how deep the blade is set. Love the feeling of your workshop too 🙂

  19. BariumCobaltNitrog3n on March 29, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Does he know there are two cameras?

  20. Eli Smith on March 29, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    This was a great video it really cleared things up for me! I was pretty unsure what to start with but now Im much more confident!

  21. TheRealCAPerry on March 29, 2022 at 6:11 pm

    It’s like a setting from ‘Prime Suspect’…

  22. M M on March 29, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Your woofing plane for the woofing work?

  23. agostinho_91 on March 29, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    Great video! What is your opinion about the old Record planes in comparison to Stanley? I just bought an old Record No 120 Block plane from ebay but as I’ve only used Stanley so don’t know what to expect. Any advice?

  24. truebluekit on March 29, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Richard, love this vid! Seriously, you leave me in awe with your insight.

    You mentioned that you have a straight blade in your smoother. If I may ask,

    1. Is your smoother blade completely straight, with no camber?
    2. Or do you round off the corners?
    3. If your smoothing blade is completely straight and unbroken, are plane tracks in the wood a problem, and if they’re not, how do you ensure that the plane does not leave tracks?

    Would really appreciate any feedback on this. Keep the vids coming brother.

  25. ThePillenwerfer on March 29, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    I’d agree with the Number 5 as they are heavier than 4s so easier to use.  A 5½ would be even better in that regard but more expensive.

  26. Jesus von Nazaret on March 29, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    Could you make a video about bench finishes? I’m currently working on a bench top bench to bring small jobs up a bit (save my back)

  27. Yetanother Person on March 29, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    I have watched a quite a few videos about scrub planes and jack planes. I haven’t heard anyone else talk about the amount of flat surface before the cutting edge. That makes so much sense. I didn’t know whether to use a no. 4 or 5 as a scrub. I do now. Thank you.

  28. nkapon on March 29, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you for another excellent video!

    I like very much your channel, I’ve been learning traditional carpentry for like 7 years now and recently I’ve opened my own workshop, just impossible to carry on working at home…  I learn so much from your videos.

    Is it possible to take some kind of a course or workshop with you?

  29. ibobsie on March 29, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    i have just bought the stanley jack plane no 5.
    but rather than buy a smoothing plane i would rather just get the blade
    i dont know how to get the right blade that will fit in my stanley jack plane no 5 body.
    any ideas

  30. David Kirtley on March 29, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    For me, it would be a toss up between a jack and a block plane as a first plane. The jack is a really handy size (perfect for 80% of anything you would do with a plane) and the registration on the toe mentioned in the video does make a big difference but the block is so useful for many jobs, convenient to carry, and an adjustable mouth block plane will do as well at smoothing as anything else.

    If you are looking for a jack plane, there are two other variations on the jack that are worth considering but are not quite as common. The Stanley  5-1/2 and  5-1/4 size planes. If you are a larger person, the 5-1/2 is a very nice size. A bit bigger than the number 5. If you are of smaller stature, the 5-1/4 (also called the junior jack) can be a lot easier on your arms. They were mainly marketed to schools.

  31. The English Woodworker on March 29, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Jesus, the best finish on a bench for practical use is no finish – makes it nice and grippy. But if you’re wanting protection then I’d say boiled linseed oil 50/50 with turps is a good place to start. Just make sure it’s thoroughly dried before you use it.

  32. Mary Prather on March 29, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    I am a beginner and I only have the basic hand tools (skill saw, drill, chop saw, etc). So which plane would you recommend for me?

  33. Nixon Wu on March 29, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    Did you buy your plane at a store online? If yes, could you leave a link

  34. Lolita's Garden on March 29, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    Bravo. Great advice. Thank you!

  35. Lock Smith on March 29, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    Nice video. Short enough to keep my attention and you made a good point I had yet to consider as a low-budget complete novice hobbyist. While I’ve considered the idea of two blades and one jack plane, I never considered how far back the mouth sits and its affect on balance and forgiveness due to lack of skill. Thank you!

  36. woodturningjohn on March 29, 2022 at 6:24 pm

    Now that I have begun to use hand planes, there is just something about that sound I love. I could watch and listen to a video of shavings coming off all day, if I did not want to play in the shop, lol.

  37. Paguro traduzioni on March 29, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    What does the number express, N. 4, N. 5, etc.?


  38. MrHarleythedevil on March 29, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    "The only plane you NEED," is all well and good. But how about, "all the planes you WANT". And I want all 115 of mine.

  39. GreenPedal on March 29, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Audio is a bit low

  40. JW on March 29, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Wow I could never plane against grain like that. It’s amazing.

  41. gnunixguru on March 29, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    OMG, subscribed on the candle as wax. Love your channel. Did you ever make the video about how to make plane irons or backs flat?

  42. Evan Dunville on March 29, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Great video if I had to choose one it would be my #6 i really like the extra width and mass. Great videos I liked your bench dog hole drilling jig will be using it on my new bench.

  43. Francis Barnett on March 29, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    jack, rebate and block are the only three I own, I agree on the jack is a versatile tool. Love this channel, keep up the good work.

  44. 1959Berre on March 29, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    Wonderful accent, reminds me of the Netflix series "Peaky Blinders". Great video, btw. Well explained.

  45. Ali Alizadeh on March 29, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    hi, it was a great video, i am gettng into woodworking and getting my tool list together, my first plane was going to be a jack plane, but wich one would you recommend? new or vintage? and what brand? budget is a thing that i have to bare in mind though.
    ps. keep up the good work

  46. Nigel Doyle on March 29, 2022 at 6:41 pm


  47. Vernon Ray on March 29, 2022 at 6:42 pm


  48. fish37 on March 29, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    Another great video! I would agree, my first was the #5…but if I could do it over, I would have purchased a new low angle jack with a couple of different blades for the same reasons you pointed out and just got on with making shavings.

  49. James Steed on March 29, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Love the video, sir! I learn something every time I watch! Thanks for your effort and experience!

  50. Brian Dormer on March 29, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    First plane – block plane. You’ll use it all the time on every project. And you can learn most of what you need to know about sharpening and using a plane from working with it. Also, they are relatively cheap.

    First BENCH plane – Jack plane, 2 irons. You are absolutely correct on that.