Woodworking for Beginners: The Hand Plane

Woodworking for Beginners: The Hand Plane

The hand plane is one of the staples of the hand tool woodworking shop. And one of the most common questions I get from beginners is whether they should go all in for new plane from Lie Nielsen or Veritas or purchase an old Stanley on the cheap and refurbish it. Let’s find out!

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  1. Seth Fontenot on November 6, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    I’ll go one step further, you can find craftsman or millers falls planes made prior to WW2 that are 30-50 bucks and function at a high level like the others. Stanleys have become hilariously overpriced as "collectables". Generally, the higher end planes are going to have less adjustment, a better blade that holds the edge longer, and extra newer features like micro adjustment, precision grinding, and contours in locations that are traditionally uncomfortable.

    A great example of a hand plane that eventually becomes a necessity is a shooting plane. Yes, you can use a low profile or jack plane, yes they work well, but after 1000 cuts you are losing time/money/effort using a tool for not it’s intended purpose.

  2. Don Esry on November 6, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    I’ve got my great grandfather’s Stanley #4. I will never get rid of it but I never use it. I don’t know if it’s pre 1950 but I did a lot of work on it; getting it flat, getting the blade sharp, getting the frog adjusted. I consider myself mechanical but that plane just hates me. I have a modern #6 with a thicker better blade and easier frog adjustment and I never think about using the old Stanley on a piece of wood. I know the thing that really matters is the edge of the blade that touches the wood but dialing in the opening of the mouth makes a big difference too. So I buy once and cry once. One day I hope to have a nice shop where I can display the old Stanley.
    Anyway, thank you for your videos. I’m a fan!

  3. cjod33 on November 6, 2023 at 9:59 pm

    A good tradesman never blames the tool ! Never.
    I’ve seen some fantastic work done with so called cheap tools and absolutely shit jobs done by those with all the best tools.
    I’ve been in woodwork for about 50yrs and the old tools are by far better quality than the newer ones.

  4. Nic Kuetemeyer on November 6, 2023 at 10:05 pm

    I’ve got my great grandfather’s number 4 from when he bought it new in the 10s or 20s. It has a tote with half sapwood as well

  5. 22busy on November 6, 2023 at 10:07 pm

    My first two planes were a Stanley #4 and a Record #5 off eBay. Tuned them up and they work great. I use them all the time. My next plane was a Veritas low angle block plane. I love it. My next will likely be a Veritas low angle jack plane for an all round shooting board plane.

  6. Charles Beresford on November 6, 2023 at 10:08 pm

    By a good Hock iron and make your own plane for 50 bucks……….

  7. cjod33 on November 6, 2023 at 10:11 pm

    Aghhhh 😢 you are comitting one of the cardinal sins of plane usage. Always rest place your plane on its side, not on its sole . That’s how you damage your razor sharp iron😢

  8. Mike King on November 6, 2023 at 10:12 pm

    Hand planes might be my weakness, I have too many. Including a Woden and a Bedrock.

  9. ajssbp on November 6, 2023 at 10:28 pm

    Erik, thanks for this video! I love your style. I know you’ve done it 1000 time for the lie Nielsen demos, but I’d personally love to see your version of setting up one of these planes. I greatly appreciate your videos. Thanks!

  10. ejd53 on November 6, 2023 at 10:29 pm

    I have both the Veritas low angle jack and the Lie Nielson. I also have my grandfather’s Stanleys that are over 100 years old. They still work just fine.

  11. Woodshop Squared on November 6, 2023 at 10:30 pm

    To "win" an argument on the internet, I tuned up a sheet metal (rather than cast iron) PEXTO plane, widely considered useless, the reality is that it works beautiful, although still using it to see how well the paper thin blade holds up.

  12. Johnny Lyons on November 6, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    I use old wooden hand planes.

  13. Brian Kiviat on November 6, 2023 at 10:35 pm

    I’ve got a few vintage planes which I’ve setup and sharpened. The unmatchable joy of using a 125 year old Stanley #7 to make a board smooth as baby’s butt is worth every hour of cleaning, tuning, and sharpening….and it was many hours 😂

  14. M Bradley on November 6, 2023 at 10:38 pm

    With the Lie Neilson hand planes, would you recommend the iron or the bronze? And why? I’m looking to buy one.

  15. AndyC on November 6, 2023 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks Erik, a good balanced overview ! We’re very fortunate here in the UK there are plenty of old Stanleys, Records etc, all of my planes came from E-bay for between £15 & £50 and once tuned and sharpened can do anything an expensive new one can ! What people forget is that even these planes were expensive in their time that’s why cheap modern ones are so poor !

  16. Old Top on November 6, 2023 at 10:48 pm

    Love your stuff! Sage advice for new woodworkers, and informative without being a fanboy of one method or product over another.

    I have almost exclusively (minus my 30 year old block plane) either old Stanley or a bit more current German wooden bodied planes (Ulmia etc.). I tend to use power tools, but when the work needs detail I bring out the planes and hand routers. I also hate to sand (don’t we all), so planes and scrapers save a LOT of hassle for me.

  17. Chris Moore on November 6, 2023 at 10:49 pm

    What a helpful and informative video—thank you! Out of curiosity, do you still teach people how to use hand tools? I ask as a brand-new learner located somewhat near the previous employer you referenced.

  18. Paul Mitchell on November 6, 2023 at 10:49 pm

    Nice video. My one disagreement is regarding the blades that come with the old Stanleys. Replacing them with Hock blades is a massive and relatively inexpensive upgrade. Even razor sharp I don’t think the old blades compare well with Hock blades…

  19. Gerard Del Monte on November 6, 2023 at 10:50 pm

    All true. One can also, for grins, build a Krenov-style plane, give it a Hock blade, and Bob’s yer uncle.

  20. cjod33 on November 6, 2023 at 10:51 pm

    You’ve been in woodwork for about ten years eh, so your barely out of your apprenticeship then 😂

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