Harbor Freight Jack Plane – How Does It Stack Up?

Harbor Freight Jack Plane – How Does It Stack Up?

0:00 Introduction
0:35 An overview of bench planes
4:35 The parts of a bench plane
12:50 Identifying types of steel
17:30 Sharpening the plane iron
24:14 Lapping the sole
26:05 Modifying the castings
31:20 Testing the tuned bench plane

Author/craftsman Nick Engler unpacks a cheap bench plane from Harbor Freight and Salvage which, at first glance seems to be a reasonable copy of a Stanley No. 4. But there are so many hidden problems that this unpacking video quickly becomes a quest to re-make this tool as it should have been made in the first place. While Nick positively recommends that you NOT buy this plane, he does show how to overcome almost every problem that you’re likely to run into when tuning a new plane or restoring an old one. For more woodworking information of the printed variety, visit the Workshop Companion General Store at https://workshopcompanion.selz.com . Get one of Nick’s books FREE just for visiting!

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  1. Sf Pawloski on May 20, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Dad never told you get what you pay for the sweetness of the low price is long forgotten with the bitterness of poor quality

  2. NAVRET on May 20, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    You can put lipstick on a pig but when you’re done all you have is a pig with lipstick.

  3. Emma Shy on May 20, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Totally agree, there is nothing like using a hand plane.

  4. Thomas Logan on May 20, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    So a $15 tool is not as good as a $150 tool? Who knew… Very well done video, by someone who obviously has a great deal of knowledge and skill. I learned more about Planes than I thought possible, but i do think we are comparing apples to oranges here a bit.

  5. Bal Loney on May 20, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    It is a sin/crime to fool buyers.

  6. George Jones on May 20, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    Great video. What a transformation. How do I get the chipper from moving back up as I am using the planer? Do I need to tighten the screw in front more? I have it as tight as I can go. Thanks.

  7. Ittybit bobo on May 20, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    They suck…. end of story

  8. Mark Daugherty on May 20, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed the episode as one of the best magic tricks ever.

  9. John Kaznecki on May 20, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    Just ah real one

  10. DELOAD on May 20, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    Train me lol where do I apply for an apprenticeship

  11. Mike Gilman on May 20, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Outstanding presentation; very informative, insightful and well done.

  12. Thomas Siebenhuhner on May 20, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    just hysterical! and very informative. Thanks.

  13. Jay Emporia on May 20, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    I have one of these planes too. Thanks to your video, it works, but just barely. Mine has all of the same flaws as yours. As a result, I avoid central forge tools. The plane is an introduction to their bigger, more expensive tools. The plane was so horrible that I won’t put out the green for any more central forge. I’m not sure why HF continues to do business with them.

  14. Asbury Park on May 20, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    There is one thing for sure, only officianados will talk about bench planes to this detail, because they love it!

  15. red rob on May 20, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    It’s junk, but I turned mine into a great scrub plane,

  16. Rich H on May 20, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    Bottom line: Dint buy from Harbor freight. It’s probably junk.

  17. John B on May 20, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    For people that don’t know, you have to do this to most planes. A Lie-Nielson machined plane shouldn’t need it, but most Stanley’s need the same TLC, even the ones from yesteryear that were made in the USA.

  18. Steve Pergantis on May 20, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    $5000 worth of time, to fix a cheap tool..

  19. Sam Adams on May 20, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    2 3/8th wide so obviously we call it a 4 1/2. Got it!

  20. no way on May 20, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    31.5 is my prefered on the frog

  21. Tony Morrelli on May 20, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    I bought the planers from HB and all the were impossible to adjust. I now haave more work to complete the work I bought them for. oh joy.😢

  22. Mic Millist on May 20, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    There is only one thing I can say. " Buy tools, not toys".
    Cheap tools are false economy.
    I have some tools, I have owned for over 40 years, as they are quality.
    If I can’t afford a tool, I wait until I can and then purchase it..

    If you think you are only an occasional handyman, don’t bother buying cheap tools to do your job……get someone to do the job for you as it will pay you in the long run.
    Actually cheap tools CAN be dangerous.
    I realise what this guy is doing and I commend him for it but it will NEVER be a Stanley or a Record plane.

  23. Bal Loney on May 20, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    That’s the problem when stuff are made outside the US, and the laborers don’t really care for quality because their salary is "not quality", hehehehe!

  24. Paul Heitkemper on May 20, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    a silk’s ear into a sow’s purse?

  25. Bal Loney on May 20, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    I stopped somewhere at index 9:37, all I can say is "Holy Cow!!!!" no wonder HF’s prices are cheap (= cheaply made tools).

  26. Terry Allen on May 20, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    I have found that analysis about the planes quality in my experience with many harbor freight products.

  27. Kevin Ray on May 20, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    After the first attempt to cut any wood with the HF plane, I figured it was a lost cause. But you somehow made it a useful tool. Of course after watching this video. A person would be an idiot to buy the HF plane.

  28. Aaron Lewis on May 20, 2022 at 8:23 pm


  29. Bal Loney on May 20, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    Buying cheap is false economy… the lesson…"don’t get seduced by HF’s cheap prices".

  30. Charles Olson on May 20, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    your voice so interes temp

  31. William Foster on May 20, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    11:44. I’ve seen enough.

  32. Jeff Howard on May 20, 2022 at 8:27 pm

    Excellent video, thank you.

  33. Raj Dann on May 20, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    Hey locjed on fron the caribbean….nice video…keepit up

  34. draging theseballs on May 20, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    the hell

  35. Jim Pychon on May 20, 2022 at 8:29 pm

    like comparing a Cadillac to a vw bug lol

  36. Nate Schultz on May 20, 2022 at 8:29 pm

    Well, that was a handy break down.

    Anybody got a link to anything similar for a plunge router?

  37. Bal Loney on May 20, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks for the exposé.

  38. Duane T on May 20, 2022 at 8:31 pm

    thank you great effort and earned my respect for great information

  39. Gary Pickering on May 20, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    In a galaxy far far away 🤭🙈

  40. Uel Hunter on May 20, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    Sparks in the woodshop, yikes!

  41. Daniel Burnett on May 20, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    Did you by chance keep track of your time during this tuneup?

  42. Bill C on May 20, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    I like him almost as much as Bob Ross 😁

  43. GRBERENDZEN Productions on May 20, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    I’ve been aware of the poor castings of Harbor Freight tools for some time. If you’re willing and have the special tools and knowledge to do a lot of work to them they may become okay. But, is it worth it ? Will they last?
    As a carpenter, I only occasionally have a need for a plane. A small simple block plane is fine. Usually there are power tool options that get the job done faster, and time is money.
    In the shop, if I’m building cabinetry, there’ a joiner. Since my Dad died, there are old tools to go through and I think I saw a jack plane. Maybe it’s an old beauty. I never saw the need to use it before. I’ll have to examine it.

  44. Robert Ross on May 20, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    Every time I tried to cheap out at Harbor Freight, I’d be much better off than if I never bought there in the first place. It’s hard to screw up a screwdriver, but if you get into anything mechanical or with expected tight tolerances, shop elsewhere unless you enjoy wasting time by driving back and forth to return it.

  45. upside downdog on May 20, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    I bought one to see how bad it could really be. It is REALLY bad! It doesn’t look like the people assembling them has ever even seen a good plane or understand how they work.

  46. Karol's Kakes on May 20, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    4:07 Had you sharpened the iron? Even the best require sharpening before first use, right? Over all well put together video, and I think it drove your point home. I would of liked some other options given on how to buy a beginner’s plane. Just food for chewing.

  47. trep53 on May 20, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    If someone unfamiliar with how a good plane works buy this HF plane they won’t blame the HF plane or their lack of experience. They’ll say “hand planing is too hard to learn”. Then take it back to buy 6” power jointer and 13” power planer that they can’t set up properly either.

  48. 1978garfield on May 20, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    It comes in a fancier box and with a higher price now.
    HF has been trying to go up market.
    Maybe they showed your video to the prison camp that builds these and the new ones are less bad?

  49. Thomas Sosa on May 20, 2022 at 8:43 pm

    Beginner here, I’ve been looking at a lot of #4 planes and even though I knew this wasn’t great I had thought that taking time to tune it would be fun. I’m glad I watched this because if you, who has years of experience took that much time toning this, i(having no belt grinders and having to do all by hand) would never get it tuned enough to just plane properly let alone well. Thanks for saving me money(now to re evaluate what is on my list of #4 plane options…)

  50. Ray Cane on May 20, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Love watching a MASTER Craftsman ply his skill. Very Informative and Entertaining as well!
    Old Saying: Cheap is Dear.