Two hand planes you didn't know you needed

Two hand planes you didn't know you needed

Power tool woodworkers have different needs- These planes fill them!
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  1. Sean Pieper on April 1, 2022 at 6:32 pm

    Immediately makes me want to go invest in those planes with an excellent explanation of what planes would be best to benefit a modern workshop environment and some excellent guidance on problems they solve for you.

  2. danielszemborski on April 1, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Perhaps Paul recommended the #4 because, no offense, old people don’t often have the strength young people do. Good video, nonetheless and thanks.

  3. Steve Reynolds on April 1, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Your argument for the 5 1/2 is only good if you sharpen the blade flat and square. My 5 and 5 1/2 are sharpened with a radius (as they customarily are) because I use them as the jack plane they were intended to be. Therefore, since the 4 is ground flat, as apparently your jack planes are, I myself grab the 4 for all the tasks you assigned the 5 1/2.

  4. Dan Alaniz on April 1, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Excellent explanation and demonstration. Thank you.

  5. ZIO on April 1, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    I am that hybrid wood worker and this is Spot ON. The block and 5 are what I use 95% of the time. The other 5% is a shoulder plane

  6. Stumpy Nubs on April 1, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    When you use this link to visit our sponsor, you support us►
    Hand planes provided by Woodcraft:
    Subscribe (free) to Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal e-Magazine►

  7. Cindi Hinrichs on April 1, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Hey what’s this "guy" thing???? I am the power tool guru in my household!!! Happy Father’s Day

  8. ChipsterB on April 1, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    Great video. I use a block plane frequently despite being a power tool user. I hadn’t thought about the 5-1/2 being better for a shooting board, but that makes sense.

    There is another plane that I find really helpful: the shoulder plane. Whether you’re cutting tenons or rabbets, a shoulder plane is perfect for fine tuning the fit. Personally I’d get that before the 5-1/2 but YMMV.

  9. J Byron Payn on April 1, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    cannot find a 5 1/2" bench plane…..can you be more specific or do they go by another name. I went to woodcraft as you suggested just to see if i was doing something wrong in my search. Help me out please.

  10. Au/Ag 999 on April 1, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    5’5" can cut salami 🍕

  11. Joerg Schoenmann on April 1, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    I agree, a No 4 is not the first choice. But neither is the 5 1/2 in my opinon. I disagree with Paul Sellers and Rob Cosman. Both favor almost exclusively classical methods of woodworking. I combine machines and hand tools to achieve my goal. I think the right choice is a No 62. With the No 62 and the right iron angle, you can work almost the same as with the classic No 4, No 5 or No 5 1/2, but you cannot replace a flat angle plane with these planes. By adding a second iron lapped at a different angle, you have the most versitile plane you can get.
    The No. 62 also works well on a shooting board. Nevertheless you still need two planes.
    If you are a woodworker a block plane is necessary. You also can’t avoid buying some chisels if you regularly work with wood, even if you mainly use machines.
    Since I don’t live in the Americas, and Woodriver planes aren’t available in our country, I recommend planes from Veritas, a brand Rob Cosman doesn’t seem to know, even though they both come from the same country.

  12. robin alexander on April 1, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    May I suggest a no. 5 hand plane is better than a 5 1/2, why for most people A 5 1/2 is heavy and bulky to handle, a a no.5 is sleek and light. And if you are trying to do some fine work, light and sleek works. cheers from Tasmania like you video .

  13. Darin on April 1, 2022 at 6:42 pm


  14. Snowwalker on April 1, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    I find a number 3 (or 4) works better than a block plane for me because of their weight and the size of the blade. A block plane is more useful for my outdoor projects. A 5 1/2 is what I use for 75% of my hand planning. I rarely use anything larger than that.

  15. Jeffrey Rucker on April 1, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    I have always appreciated your views. Like others that watch your vids, I also watch many other vids to get a full perspective on the subject. You are consistent, and respectful of others. I have always bought the best I can afford to eliminate spending money twice on the same tools. Performance of the tool and the return on the money is top priority for me. Thanks for helping me make solid decisions on tools .

  16. J V L on April 1, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Great presentation.I am a retired professional getting into wood working as a hobby.Cheers from India.

  17. Joe Spilman on April 1, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Words of wisdom tks

  18. diowk on April 1, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    My block plane is really the only plane I use anymore.

  19. Keith Chamberlain on April 1, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    One of the most useful planes I have is a No.3 from Clifton. Heavy, accurate and very well made. Compares with the best on the market. And made in the UK.
    I gave up buying cheap and Chinese.

  20. Kenneth Holmes on April 1, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    I believe power tool guys would also benefit from a chisel plane. (Production wood worker for over 30 years.) I say this because they work great on lots of modern joints.

  21. Lee Reep on April 1, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    Glad to hear you agree with Rob Cosman on the 5-1/2 jack plane. I am a power tool user that wants to add a hand plane or two to my arsenal of tools. I had already decided to get a low angle block plane, and now I,m thinking I’ll go ahead and get a 5-1/2. Thanks for helping me decide!

  22. lordmcted on April 1, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    i’ve got a jointer plane that i named william flatner, that i paired with a block plane that i call…. mr block, along with a number 4 i use for shooting which i’ve called "shotty", i think im covered

  23. walter hluchyj on April 1, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    so true great show

  24. Jim Pepper on April 1, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Agreed. I’m a power tool guy and those are the only two planes I have ever had or ever needed.

  25. joewrosenthal00 on April 1, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    I could not survive without my block plane: it’s always sharp and close at hand.

  26. JordanNiks on April 1, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    James, you’ve done a fantastic job here! But buying the planes isn’t the problem but being able to keep them rust and pit free, sharpening them, tuning them and setting them up correctly strikes me as challenges that are very intimidating. If this is the video detailing the bare minimum planes to be useful and effective – what maintenance items go along with them… and how do you know when to tune them (aka when it’s the tool and not the user) and what does that process look like- do I need the diamond wheels and a massive grinder? A whetstone and a jig? Is the maintenance time and skill needed on a plane going to effectively ruin the experience?

    With a tablesaw, when the blade becomes dull – I can recycle and buy a new hq blade… planes and chisels are somewhat intimidating to spend money on because you can’t just replace the iron when it dulls… if I set a budget of $1000 for chisels, planes and their maintenance equipment- how far will that go to getting set up so I can always reach for them.

  27. Shelton Smith on April 1, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    good info

  28. Russ Veinot on April 1, 2022 at 7:08 pm

    As a power tool user, I agree with the 1st go to plane being the block plane. I find that my second most used plane is the scrub plane. I use it to help "semi" flatten boards quickly before putting thru the planer or the jointer. It cuts down on the number of passes (saving time & potentially thickness loss) to achieve final flatness on the planer or jointer. While we are on the secondary choice theory, my third would be the #7 because I can shoot or flatten with less effort than the smaller planes. Great conversation. I rarely comment on your channel but I always watch. keep ’em coming :>)

  29. Ron Calverley on April 1, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    This was a GREAT video! Thank you for taking the time to pull it together. I have a question that I hope I can get some guidance on. After watching your video I went over to the Woodcraft website and looked at the woodriver planes you recommended in the video. You mentioned a 5 1/2 "Bench" Plane from wood river. The only 5 1/2 on their site is a 5 1/2 "Jack" Plane. There is a 5 bench plane. I had previously watched one of your videos where you made a distinction between a smoothing plane and a jack plane and I see bench, smoothing, and jack planes so I think I am a bit confused as to what to do here. I have a knowledge gap obviously. Thoughts? Thanks and love your stuff!

  30. Al Yanchak on April 1, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    I have never had the opportunity to use a 5-1/2, but I can see the appeal. I do use a number 6 much like you describe using the 5-1/2. I also have two number 4’s, one set up as a scrub with a strong camber on the blade and another set up as a smoother. These two planes get by far the most use. I don’t have a jointer, but I can get twist out of a board with my scrub plane very, very fast before sending it through my planer. I also have a couple of number 5’s that I picked up in my travels, but they pretty much only get used if I need to joint smaller boards. To be honest, I find that I get far more control with a number 4 than I do with a block plane, so unless I need to work in very tight area, I will grab the number 4 smoother for joint cleanup and to break edges.

  31. Jack Alltrade on April 1, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    You are right on the money that the block plane should be the first plane for a power tool woodworker. When I left the workshop to become a site carpenter the first plane that I acquired was a block plane. A bench plane is on very little use without a bench. The second was a bullnose plane which is very useful for tweaking rebates and close into the corners. My third and specific to my specialism of sash window renovations was a side rebate plane.
    Hand planes offer an advantage over machines for jointing in that there is no snipe when used correctly.
    On one occassion when I wanted to lay flooring through a lounge I wanted to produce a long straight edge to act as a datum. This I did with several pieces of ply clamped together and planed like a rubbed joint testing as I went to ensure that they were absolutely true.
    When using a jack plane I prefer wooden jack planes as they are lighter and with a beeswaxed sole slip like greased eels reducing effort for longer jobs.

  32. Robert Dailey - Dailey Woodworks on April 1, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    Great primer. As a power tool woodworker wanting to dive into more hand-tools this was very helpful.

    Question: why a 5 1/2 over the “low angle jack plane” that many hand-tool guys promote? Why would you choose one over the other?

  33. Derek Jackson on April 1, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    I think you recommended a 62 over a 5 for its simplicity. What about a 62 VS 5 1/2?

  34. Robert Roberts on April 1, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    Thank you. As a very good price compelling argument for both of these planes I’m sold on the five-and-a-half thank you

  35. Daniel Romans on April 1, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    Just got my first 5 1/2 Woodriver at your recommendation. I set it up according to Rob Cosman’s setting up a new plane and his 32 seconds to blade sharpening. All I can say now is WOW! I enjoy Paul Sellers but I’m more of a power tool guy and I’m physically a lot bigger than he. The number 4 is too small for my hand.

  36. Richard Cagle on April 1, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    Definitely save your money for a better block plane. Got a new stanley Bailey 6.25 an splent like 4 hours fixing it. Flattening the bottom took forever, the blade wasn’t square or flat and the throat for the iron wasn’t ground flat so no matter how much I tilted the blade a corner always dug in. I fixed it. But how much is four hours of your time worth to you?

  37. Eric Schenkenberger on April 1, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    As a new weekend woodworker, I used a simple Kobalt block plane to even out the dining room table that I built. While I want to build up my tool selection and use more power tools going forward, you can definitely achieve good results with basic tools if you put in the extra effort.

    Thanks for all your great tips! I wish I’d found this channel before finishing the table, but I’ll definitely watch for new content as I continue learning and making new projects.

  38. Tom Joseph on April 1, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    I fully agree with you on your choices. I am a Paul Sellers devotee but I have found that a block plane and Sargent VBM (an equivalent to the 5 1/2 without the stupid cost) are my most used planes.

  39. Aaron Salberg on April 1, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    As always, excellent!

  40. Mr. B.W. on April 1, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    A block plane. Great little tool.

  41. Nej Sanerkin on April 1, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    I would be interested to know whether your WoodRiver 5 1/2 is square – shoulder to base. I bought one to use on a shooting board and it was .4mm out of square across the 70mm base to the shoulder. Woodriver responed – "WoodRiver set a master tolerance for the plane to be within with reference to square. THIS TOLERANCE IS 0.5 DEGREE ANGLE . Checking a plane there can be a gap up to 0.45mm (0.018’’) when checked with a good quality square. "

    They couldn’t agree to provide me a unit that was square – my definition of square being – I cannot see a witness when refenced to my wood working square . They did eventaully agree to a refund .

    I was bitterly disappointed that an otherwise beauitfully finished plane which was a joy to use (except for shooting) could not be made square. I then turned to a simarly priced 5 1/2 plane from Axminister Tools – their Rider brand and the shoulders was also out of square by differing degrees to the base.

  42. Paul Otter on April 1, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    This video came at the right time. I already have a nice block plane and was about to get a another but I think I will upgrade to a 5 1/2.

  43. I'm sorry on April 1, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    I just stumbled onto this right after purchasing a No 5 1/2. Many complain about weight but being a young athletic guy I love it and prefer it over all my other places. For the exact reasons why you said in the video

  44. Woodworks by Grampies on April 1, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    Love this video! Great info and perspective. My brother in law just gifted me a block plane, thanks @MnM Wood Works 👊!!! I don’t recall having heard of a 5 1/2 hand plane, thanks for that tip. I’ll definitely be looking into that. Keep these awesome videos coming, take care and have a good one. Adios! 🖐

  45. John Bray on April 1, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    I really enjoy watching Pual!!! But my woodworking style is a lot closer to yours… but I would have to disagree with you, Paul nailed this one the number four is the way to go!!!

    I have a premium block plane and it is not nearly as user friendly as my number four

  46. guaroshadow on April 1, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    I am new to fine woodworking and I am learning the Art of Lutherie in order to make Venezuelan Cuatros (a 4 string instrument similar to a Baritone Ukelele). I will be using power tools in combination with hand tools; So far, I have a DW735 planer with helical cutterhead and a Veritas Apron Hand plane with regular blade and toothing blade; I agree with you that I would benefit more from a 5 1/2 plane and a block plane to compliment my power tools. Thank you for your videos!

  47. Mark Koons on April 1, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    Amen, Stump, and as nice as 5-1/2s are, they’re kind of scarce and expensive on the used market. #6s however, are plentiful and cheap. Millions of carpenters lugged them to the job site for generations to have many of the same attributes you’ve mentioned for the 5-1/2 plus they’re a little better suited to jointing. At tool swap meets you ought to be able to get a battered and maybe rusted #6 with rosewood handles and no casting breaks or boogered oddball threads pretty quickly for about the same money as a #4. I happened into the pieces to put together a 606 Bedrock, put a premium blade in it and am tuning it for use in a shooting board. Pretty snoot, huh?

  48. Phlebas on April 1, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    I’m a trim carpenter and carry a low angle, Veritas block plane (apron size). It’s used almost every day.

    The main work it does is scribing baseboards to the floor.

  49. Jim Anderson on April 1, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    541k subs! Way to go James. Thanks for the video. Always helpful tips.

  50. Jim Challender on April 1, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    I appreciate your wisdom – excellent info.