The Good the Best and the Ugly | Choosing a Hand Plane

The Good the Best and the Ugly | Choosing a Hand Plane

When Buying a hand plane should I get a new or used plane? what should I look for in anew plane, and what price point is best for a new hand plane.

How to chose an antique hand plane:
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TayTools Hand Plane:
Veritas Custom Hand plane:

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  1. Kenneth Bezanson on June 13, 2023 at 12:43 pm

    I’m surprised you said songs new irons are better than the old. I’ve always heard old steel is better than the new.

  2. Chris Dunham on June 13, 2023 at 12:44 pm

    There are a world of high quality hand planes built around the world, Clifton from the UK and H.N.T Gordon from Australia are superb and worth every cent.

  3. Henry372 on June 13, 2023 at 12:44 pm

    I got 5 antique plates for only 32 bucks!

  4. Wolf Paw Armoury on June 13, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    The Windsor no33 was actually my very first hand plane and I’ve done some amazing work with it. I actually still use it to this day for finer work where I can’t get my no4 in, and as uncomfortable as the handle is, I’ve somehow made it work beautifully.

  5. Alan Green on June 13, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    I have a collection of stanley planes ranging from a #2 all the way to a #8. My question is: will they serve me as well as a Woodriver? I just kinda don’t like spending that kind of money if a good, restored Stanley will do the same thing. What do you think?

  6. Valtur on June 13, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    And then there are people like me who live in a tool desert. My area in Colorado is too modern for old pioneer planes, too old-fashioned for hi-speed internet or reliable cell service, too sparsely populated for lumber yards, and too sparsely forested to find any wood other than pine, fir, and red oak. Just yesterday I made up a list of every antique dealer, pawn shop, tool retail, and even army surplus store in my local area and I found not one plane, not even junk to take a blade from, except from Harbor Freight. Craigslist has only two listings for planes in the massive area that I’m part of, both of which are over a hundred mile drive just to look at. And when I check your website for locating tools, it’s a 300 mile drive to the nearest point on the map. So buying online is basically a necessity, and I’d rather not start my woodworking journey by spending six months buying four or five antique planes before I find a good one.

  7. Warp Fly on June 13, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    so where do they gtl brass come in? pretty yes but worth getting?

  8. Steve Kelley on June 13, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    Please very body buy new planes!!! That well leave me with more antique planes…😁

  9. Joel D Canfield on June 13, 2023 at 12:50 pm

    I suspect the Harbor Freight planes are inconsistent, or perhaps there’s a psychological preconception at work. I don’t have the $50-$75 for a used plane (they ain’t twenty bucks anymore, folks) and I figured if it was junk, I’ll return it. At most you’re risking $15. But it is a very nice plane. Not top shelf, obviously, but very usable. Maybe I have tiny hands, but I find it very comfortable. I wish HF sold a #5.

  10. Toyota Tundra04 on June 13, 2023 at 12:53 pm

    Is the Taytools frog and blade adjustment based on the Bailey or Bedrock? Have you seen the Busy Bee plane?

  11. FreeSoftware on June 13, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    04:38 Oh my.. James: *"Gesundheit"*

  12. I Had A Bad Day on June 13, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    Would love to see you make a new tote for your #62.

  13. Dai Burt on June 13, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    I’ve bought three really cheap planes as a project through lockdown and got them working to a fair standard but more importantly kept an old man occupied . All plains come as a kit not a tool .

  14. Scott Boettcher on June 13, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    I found it interesting that the expensive Veritas tote, even on camera, was visibly inferior to that on the Taytools. I’ve used a #1, #3, #5, and #7 and two block planes for the past 35 years, but in retirement I’d like to get a fahncy #4, just because. This video gave me some ideas; thanks!

  15. Ian Butler on June 13, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    The Harbor Freight is made for Asian hands, I think.

  16. Rich Andersen on June 13, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    I have a taytools 5-1/2, and like it much better than all my metal bodied planes, with the exception of my Grizzly #5. From what ive seen on youtube, i lucked out on the Grizzly. Seems most people who review them, compare them to harbor "fright" junk, but both my taytools and grizzly planes came to me in sharpen-and-go condition. The only Stanley I ever owned that was sharpen-and-go is my old #6, not a prewar, but pretty old.
    come to think of it, the Taytools plane iron took only about 2 minutes to flatten the back of the iron, maybe 3 or 4 minutes for the grizzly’s iron, both done on medium-fine grit diamond stones

  17. Clinton Lemon III on June 13, 2023 at 1:06 pm

    not sure if your still monitoring this void, but last week my Veritas CUSTOM 41/2 hand plane arrived. I ordered it over a year ago, and the only reason I didn’t cancel the order after 6 months was THE DAMN FENCE shipped three days after the order! My first plane was their bevel up Jack. I went Veritas since I really didn’t know squat about hand planing, so why on earth would I handicap my learning with a tool that might not be "right". Glad I did because understanding sharp, blade alignment, mouth opening, taking fine shaving vs "making verneers", etc. would have driven me back to power tools a LONG TIME AGO!
    I’m becoming a STAUNCH believer in buying the best quality you can FIRST.

  18. Russ staples on June 13, 2023 at 1:08 pm

    James, I know you love your Veritas plane BUT I have tried both Veritas and Lie-Nielsen and have found for a smoother the Lie-Nielsen to be better. As far as a low angle plane, the Veritas is better. Thanks for listening. P.S. Please try the Lie-Nielsen smoother and you’ll see and feel the difference.

  19. pete zeno on June 13, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    Ta tools planer where can i get one, im in philippines

  20. robin alexander on June 13, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    A note. high end plane Clifton out of England I have them and they are very good. But hell I am just a person on you tube, so open your mind and have a look at them. In context I collect planes wooden right through metal 50 ish hand planes from many makers veritas, Lie Nielsen, Falcon popes, Stanley’s period planes to modern, Luban Muginfang, etc. cheers from Tasmania

  21. Jeremy on June 13, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    Just get a Veritas low angle jack. That’s what I wish I had done when getting into hand planes. You can smooth faces and joint edges. Make a shooting board and easily square ends. Open the mouth and put in a toothed blade, you’re turning firewood into lumber. Figured grain, no problem, get a higher angle iron for a lot less money and effort than replacing a frog.
    For the price of a high end smoother, you can get the Veritas low angle with 2 additional irons to do basically everything. The 3 set screws along with good manufacturing solves the problems you’ll come into with the Stanley and others. Then just convert the regretted plane into a scrub or use it for the pallet wood you know you’re accumulating…

    Either that, or plan on starting a collection of hand planes.

  22. Jay Empress on June 13, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    Sorry about spelling errors. I have no sensation in one of my thumbs, and only a little in the other. DD gave me a new phone and I struggle with it.

  23. LawAbidingCitizen on June 13, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    I bought a super cheap plane half a year ago, it was junk for smoothing but ended up as a pretty decent scrub plane, luckily I already had an Ulmia which we got for 5€ at the flea market which I was just too lazy to get working and after sharpening it and stuff it’s a really great smoothing plane, so for now have the planes that I need

  24. Keith Chamberlain on June 13, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    Try Clifton planes. Made in the UK, exceptional quality for a reasonable price. Available from Thomas Flinn, in Sheffield, England, or Dictum, very good, made in Germany, available from Dictum Tools.
    Don’t buy anything Chinese.

  25. alan desgrange on June 13, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    I had the new number 4 Stanley sweetheart smoother. Hated it! Too clunky in the hand. I prefer the vintage Stanleys, or of course the Veritas or Lee Nielsens. I wouldn’t touch any of the mid-line stuff. Go vintage, or open up the wallet.

  26. baka2040 on June 13, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks for that! Been beating the snot out of a Harbor Freight plane, and tonight I gave up. I will check out the Taytools and your tool finder. That could be a game changer to find a good old plane to get going on. Also Really cool you know Tim Sway. I love his channel, and that is actually what I am doing is building guitars. Both of you rock on

  27. Jay Empress on June 13, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    A few years ago when I had almost no money, I bought a Harbor Freight $12.00 stanley knock-off. I couldn’t get that thing to work. Diad all the things everyone said to do to set it up, no shavi hs of any kind, not one. Several tube makers showed many of the fUlts with this plane, and showed how to fix them. But they used $10,000 equipment and Ll I had was sand paper and a granite block, and a heap Rotating sander. Did what I could. Over a couple of years, I put about 300 hours into this plane trying to make it work. I succeded. It took its first shavings last weekend and when it did, it was then time to move up and geta better plane. I just received it today. Over 3 hours into set up and it was whittling down the crookedness of a 2×4.

    I chose a Taytools #5 for its versitility. The price from Taytools was $99. Amazon wanted $119.00. There isn’t a whole lot of descriptio on this plane. It’s a bailey platform with the screw on the lever cap i stead of the snap down lever. It has a 2" wide blade like a #4 so blades are interchangeable.

    Because I speent so much time rebuilding the hf #4, I was sensitive to the many aspects of a plane. With a critical eye, I addressed each issue I found.

    Back ip a was beautifully packaged. Double boxed and the plane rested on a bed of memory foam. When I removed the lever cap, it was thick and heavy! The lateral adjustment has some heft, too!

    It did have some sharp, jagged edges on different parts, but it doesn’t any more! Areas that should be flat, really are, now.

    The sole was flat. I didn’t have to do any work on it. The sides 90° from the sole. The sides were hollow, they aren’t any more. The edges were nicely rounded. But the blade…omg was that thing pathetic! Hollow from tip to tip along the edge. It took forever to get a sharpenable edge. I Even had to resort to an oil stone for the first time ever…but first, I had to flatten that! Then had to give everything a bath with a scrub brush to cut the oil co tamination on the diamond stones. You know how things can cascade.

    It’s done, works beautifully and I can’t wait to see what she’s like with some premiere blades and chip breaker.

    Most people wouldn’t do the work I did, but I didn’t want to skip anything and have to troubleshoot a mystery such as with the hf.

    "Tae" is beautiful, functional, inexpensive and appropriately priced for her class. And yes, "Tae" is her name. If you get a good blade from the start, the setup time will likely be a whole lot less.

    I’ve never seen nor used a premium plane such as lei neilson/veritas so Ll I can compare with is sow’s ears and a few stanleys. Tae has the potential to be an excellent plane with a new dress and some tlc.

  28. theeddorian on June 13, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    The original Stanley irons are perfectly functional with the mouth and cap iron properly adjusted. Vibration is usually the result of the frog being poorly seated. I discovered that restoring a "restored" Bailey. The "restorer" had painted the entire interior including the bedding surfaces for the frog. Cleaning the paint off those surfaces, especially the bits stick in it, made the difference between awful and excellent. Also adjusting the frog forward helped a bit.

  29. Wickedoil- Amsoil Dealer on June 13, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    A watch out for those Boat Anchors!

    I busted up laughing when you said that hahaha

  30. MrBAchompBAchomp on June 13, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    James I just found a Smoother, looks like a stanley no 3. No Pat dates or markings other then one word "BELMONT" the iron. Any tips on identification websites?

  31. Thomas Gronek on June 13, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the video, Taytools are made in India, and Wood River are made in China, with stolen Veritas design, (Just a heads-up for the conscientious buyer)

  32. cazador de tesoros on June 13, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    I got the vintage stanley Bailey no 4 for $3 bucks at a garage sale!

  33. Richard Cagle on June 13, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    Having one hell of a time finding fairly priced antique planes. So I think I’m gonna end up with the taytools 5 1/2 jack, followed by the 7 then the 4, assuming they’re as good as they seem to be. Thanks for the work here

  34. Glenn Dornak on June 13, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    Great information.

  35. Kyle J. H. on June 13, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    I bought the harbor freight a couple months ago. As someone with small hands, it is still very unpleasant to hold. I ended up fully reshaping the tote. The wood is very smelly when worked.I ended up turning it into a scrub. The iron is super soft, too the point that I could cut it with dull files. I also own the Taylor Toolworks,had it for almost 3 years now. It has some challenges, but it is still a joy to use. Namely, I recently got around to actually mating the cap and cutting irons. They were very off from the factory, but fifteen minutes of finessing it fixed that. I also have actually replaced the screw cap with an old Stanley one. Just because it’s easier to use, and I like to be able to use the cap to unscrew the iron assembly. I also own a Stanley 3 & a 6. Those planes are for specific tasks, and they do work well, but for general work, I always come back to the Taylor.

  36. Corey Sheets on June 13, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    Still a great video. I agree completely. Ive actually been using some antique Craftsman planes made by Millers Falls. They work beautifully. After restored of course. I hot rodded mine with new custom D2 irons, new mahogany totes and knobs, and fresh paint jobs. I found that I love to bring old planes back to life.

  37. FreeSoftware on June 13, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    10:02 But James: The question here, really is: which brand is *higher* ‘high end’ [in the sense of the *ultimate superior paramount* high end, you know..]?

  38. Rob Sanx Woodworks on June 13, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    I have a nº4 with the same break in the handle. And I’m waiting for the new blade because there are a lot of vibrations and I thought it should help. The blade is very used, bent, and thinner due to restorations. Hope that works and I can feel the same joy the people seem to have with them finally.

  39. David Peters on June 13, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    Looking at the design of the Taytools plane, especially the frog adjustment, I would say it’s from the same factory in India that makes the Grizzly (and others). Rex Krueger did a good video about these Indian planes and they’re actually pretty decent, though they do require some tuning up. I have a Grizzly #5 and it’s been great.

  40. gordon thomas on June 13, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    Are hand plane sizes universal? Like, is a #4 the same across Tay Tools, Stanley, Union, etc?

  41. A on June 13, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    My friend has just inherited around 100 entwistle planes, from small ones to huge ones, all like new and in their boxes. What a great find for her.

  42. yourpalborno on June 13, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    This was so helpful! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  43. Brent Huxford on June 13, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    I’d gladly run a rockwell C on all the irons. I have a calibrated tester, if you need. Id love to donate to the data mine!

  44. Swarm509 on June 13, 2023 at 1:34 pm

    I inherited two planes when starting my woodworking hobby (two jack planes from my dad, a Craftsman and more modern Stanley Bailey) and after watching Wright videos and Paul Sellers videos started to look for a small smoothing plane. Got super lucky without realizing it and found a used #4 vintage Stanley hand plane, in basically perfect shape. Came with the box and only needed a bit of cleanup to get flat/shiny. Lovely tool and got it for a steal. I was recently given a modern "blue" Stanley Bailey Jack Plane which seems to be pretty poorly made, but even that worked well as a scrub plane with a wider mouth and dedicated curved iron.

    At this point I would love a large jointer but I’ve never seen them for sale locally, and they are quite expensive new. I think getting another smoothing plane would be a good idea, but just need to figure out what brand to get. Honestly the new Union X-Plane 4 1/4 seems like it could be a great choice, and unique. The only thing is I may want a smoother with a wider iron though. Always another tool one needs to get!

  45. Shahrooz Shadbakht on June 13, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    11:43 Conclusion

  46. Water Leaper on June 13, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    Got the standard set of rehabbed Stanley Bailies that we have all loved for years. Then I got a new Wood River #5 that I am considering marrying. Now you show me an upgraded high tech super soldier? I just cant!

  47. Jon Cart on June 13, 2023 at 1:37 pm

    Don’t bash Harbor Freight too much I bought one of these planes and I have been a carpenter and woodworker all my life 53 years. If it is sharpened and tuned correctly it is just as nice of a working plane as lie-nielsen or Stanley or any of them it’s not the tool it’s the user

  48. Nongthombam Sanamahi on June 13, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    I like it

  49. Cory Blake on June 13, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    watching this 2 years later.. unreal how I got a Stanley Sweetheart No. 4 around the time you made this video.. the Stanley Sweetheart No. 4 is about 200 bucks now…

  50. Robert Judy on June 13, 2023 at 1:41 pm

    I started using hand planes several years ago and restored three Stanley planes: two #5s and a #3. Your comments about the time commitment to getting these planes on working order is accurate: it takes hours for each plane. None of mine had sides 90 degrees to the sole even though the soles are flat. I have been looking for a shooting plane and ordered the Taytools #4 after viewing this video last week. I had tried one of the cheaper versions previously — lots of quality issues and unworkable. I returned it. Same thing happened with the first Taytools’ #4. Decided to give it a second try, requested a return and replacement, and the second one I received is as good as the one in your review. After only having to flatten the back of the blade and hone the edge, the plane did a marvelous job on a piece of maple. Looking forward to years of use. Thank you for a very helpful review.