Your First Hand Plane To Start With – Maybe the only one you need !
Your First Hand Plane To Start With – Maybe the only one you need !
Your first hand plane to start with – Rob Cosman gives you his recommendation for your first plane and possibly the only bench plane you need for woodworking!
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Are you sponsored or paid by Wood River? That’s the only reason I can think of that anyone would single out their mediocre planes for attention.
I have to admit that I like the low angle plane. I also use the 5 1/2, 5, and No. 6. I can’t even say why, but sometimes I will swap out one for the other, and things simply go better. It might be mood, some sort of nearly indetectable muscle hitch, but they all work, and work well.
Now what am I going to do with my 300 other planes?
I take your point regarding modern vs. vintage. But for $300, one can go on eBay and get a 4-1/2, a 5-1/2, a 7, and an 8, spend 128 seconds getting all of them sharp and have a decent set of tools that can take you from rough sawn to finished piece. Or, for $300, you can get one Woodriver 5-1/2 and still have 15% of your planing needs not covered. I think for someone just getting into hand planes and willing to drop three c-notes, there’s a strong argument for acquiring a set of planes even if they may require watching some Rob Cosman hand plane cleaning and tune-up videos before you start making curls. Admittedly, I’m biased because that’s the route I went when I decided to move to hand planes and got sticker shock from the modern planes.
I love the 5 1/2, which seems way more common in the UK. Sometimes I also use a no. 3 for smaller areas and a no. 7 for jointing. I never liked the 4 1/2. It always feels a bit ackward on smaller projects eventhough it does fit in my hand nicely.
Just purchased my first plane after much research, 5.5 WoodRiver Jack. It is very intimidating in the selection process. Hopefully the WoodRiver product performs as easily as you make it seem. Thanks.
Check out Rob’s, "Hand Plane Basics" playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqUOljnY0d9foFZY0OpBFiYNsefYhffsb
5 1/4 has been available for years at Lee Valley.
Micro bevel are usually 1 to 2 degree at most
Hey Rob! The long hair looks good. Makes you look 10 years younger.
Rob, in your comparison of the low angle jack to the 5 1/2, I was surprised you did not mention the biggest annoyance of the LA jack…that being how difficult it is to adjust the blade with the tiny and awkwardly placed knob on the LA. I have a Lie Nielsen LA jack that I bought in the 90s. Yes, I use it because it’s a beautiful plane however, even without your AdjuSTAR, the ease of adjusting a standard bench plane blade in and out is tenfold easier than on the LA jack.
I always wonder why he never talk about veritas tools! Yet they are in the league for best tools as lie-Nielsen. Love robs video!!
I’ve gotta throw a curveball. Your first plane should be a razor sharp block plane.
Rob convinced me a couple years ago to make the Woodriver 5-1/2 my primary plane, and it has proven to be a good choice. I have a dozen old Stanleys, including three #5s and a #605 which is the bedrock style, but the Woodriver 5-1/2 is way better than those old planes even though they are in very good condition.
If you’re watching this and thinking about where to spend your money on your first plane, I say go with the Woodriver 5-1/2. If you have a #5 and are frustrated with it, get a Woodriver 5-1/2, you won’t be sorry.
But if the price is out of reach right now, a #6 or #606 would be a good choice and when you can get the 5-1/2.
Very surprised to hear you dissuade beginners from vintage tools which they can buy for a fraction of the price of a brand new WoodRiver. If the blade is the problem, they can use a Hock blade, which again, is a fraction of the price of a new one.
I am glad I used Paul Sellers as my virtual mentor rather than you, he showed beginners like myself you don’t need to make a massive upfront investment to get started and it CAN be done with older tools. I certainly would not pay £££ for brand new plane without testing the waters first.
My only planes so far are vintage Stanley no 5, 4, wooden jointer (again, fraction of the price of anything brand new) and recently another 4 which I converted to a scrub plane after repairing the tote by gluing it back together. All of this cost me peanuts compared to the plane you’re pushing.
Wood hasn’t changed much over the centuries, oak is still the same oak as before as are others, so not sure why in 2022 the older blades are such a problem when craftsmen have pushed out and are still pushing out amazing items using the same.
Hi, Rob, I started with a vintage Stanley number 4 that I tuned up myself. As you said, it was a learning process and took some time for me to get right. It is a lovely plane now, especially after the addition of a Hock blade and cjip breaker. Then a friend gave me a Keen Kutter 5 1/2. Tuning it was not as much of a chore having been through it once. I added a Hock blade and chip breaker, and my eyes were opened.. i have three blades now, a heavily cambered one that I use for heavy stock removal, a less heavily cambered one, and a straight blade with eased corners for smoothing. This is my go-to plane for almost everything.. I love the weight and the width. My number 4 is permanently set as an ultra-smoother. I have a number 7 that I use for jointing and flattening large stock. But it is the 5 1/2 that I find in my hand 95% of the time. Stu (PS: all of my planes have your AdjustStars — the best bang for the buck addition you can make to a working plane)
I came here because someone on Reddit was complaining about this video and watched the whole thing. I do think it would have been worth mentioning your affiliation with woodcraft (as you do on many other videos so I presume it was just an oversight here) and overall found this to be a great video, well presented as always. Thank you for your wonderful ongoing videos.
A small but necessary awareness to the adjustment in closing the mouth on a Bedrock style plane is that the projection of the iron increases, which means a heavier cut, without backing it off. If somebody is planing apiece of wood and starts to cut, it will be a deeper slice, and could damage the wood.
Great tip again Professor Cos. I have my uncles go to plane, a 5 1/4. He had a special pocket in his vest to hold it. But man are the new ones so much better.
Yep called it lol then again not like I been watching for 3-4 yes now 😂
For me that would be a Piper Cherokee.
3:57 no dirty jokes about the difference between a 13 year old and a 53 year old allowed
I watched all the videos on this channel several times. Inspired me to start woodworking with handtools. Saved money and ordered a no5 1/2 woodriver, a RC diamond stone and a shapton 16000 from Rob. It is a joy everyday to work with this tools. ( allso saved the plane box with Rob’s autograph). Rob, you are a chest full of knoledge, may you live long so you can share this knoledge with us.
Before it starts imma say 5 1/2! You can use it from scrubbing to smoothing and shooting!
Another great video—and one worth a re-watch. Due to 5-1/2 shortages, I took your advice of a 4-1/2 and a 6. You phoned me about my order and recommended the full squaring service on the 6 as it was to be my shooting board plan. I’m SO glad that you called and that I took your advice. Like another commenter, my shop is always full of shavings!
I love my 5 1/2!!! I totally agree.
Why are you blocking people who are mentioning that it is a bit disingenous to push Woodriver while not making it explicitly clear that you are being paid for it?
My first was a #4 Stanley. My favorite handplane though is transition plane. Wood sole and metal upper frame.
I swear this guy gets younger over the years.
So…avoid a honing guide and hand tool sharpen so you build a skill, but buy my new plane so you don’t have to learn how a plane works? $280 for a new 5 1/2 vs $80 for a 100 year old type 11 that took 3 hours of actual work and may 4 hours of research to understand what I needed to to it to not only make it match any new plane, but left me with an experience and the knowledge to push further. I bought a #4 wood river and a #4 type 11. The wood river is currently for sale, but that’s just me. Love the techniques though.
Hi Rob, I have been a cabinet maker in the UK since 1977 when I first started my apprenticeship; so quite a few years. When I started I had a no 4 and a no 7 and both suited all the needs I had at the time; both Stanley’s. Over the years I have collected lots of planes only from no 3 up to no 7, mainly as I see no need for a 1 or 2 and a 8. These tools have been a mixture of Record’s and Stanley’s, I must say I really have never had a problem with any of them as they have been easily fettled to work as I need them to. I totally agree with your comment regarding low angled jack’s, I purchased one a few years ago to see what all the fuss was about; and found there was nothing extra I could do with it that I could not already do with my existing planes, also agree with what you say about those angles as you say very little difference. I guess there is good advertising regarding these as it seems most hobbyists always seem to think it’s a go to plane. As my planes are of the type non Bedrock design if I need to alter the frog it takes a few seconds longer, however I rarely need to change as I find the most important thing is a razor sharp blade. In the UK we have a brand called Quangsheng which are Chinese made; but look identical to your Woodriver ones. I am not sure what these would offer to me over what my old Stanley’s do, I can get thicker blades and cap irons which would involve getting a slightly larger yoke; but I really have never had a problem. The new Stanley’s and Record’s which you can buy now are probably the worst planes I have ever seen and I always advise new apprentice’s to look on eBay for the old ones; which can be picked up for less money.I think the cost of the newer modern makers put off most, and most of these end up in the hands of older hobbyists rather than new young apprentices; certainly in the UK that is.
I needed this!!!!!! Thanks Rob!!!!!
First year shop class all we had were #4s. It was impossible for a 13 year old to learn joint long boards with a smoothing plane. Second year we did everything with a #5. By the end of that year most of us could make acceptable edge joints of any length using that #5. 50 plus years later I own a lot of planes and enjoy them all, but still use an old Stanley #5 more than the others due to the muscle memory gained from mastering that plane when I was just 14. Thanks for the excellent video.
Your First Hand Plane To Start With ? give me a jetplane 😁👍👍 yes i know
I began with a stanley no 5 and a big piece to my decision was price. I wasn’t entirely certain I wanted to stick with hand tool woodworking so I wasn’t willing to invest in the high end quality tools just yet. This also gave me a chance to learn how the plane itself works as I had to tune it. Like you said, as a newbie you don’t know what you’re doing. But the process of learning to tune it and seeing results improve taught me a great deal about hand planes and about sharpening..since I had to do it a few times to get it right… this could also discourage someone just getting in to it, it can be a source of frustration. So I think the biggest factors would be budget as #1 and then willingness to take your time in learning. If you want to just get up and go, buy a Wood River, every time.
Hand tool God word is gospel
Beautifully explained Rob. I have every size of vintage Stanley and Record planes. All are tuned up after many hours. I love the results I get from them. I concur with what you said about the newer high end planes. They do indeed provide excellent results and much quicker. To the newbies out there: pop the bucks and get good stuff right out the shoot. It will save you money and lots of time in the end.
Yet to see Rob demonstrate the proper use of the cap iron
i.e honed to at least 50 deg, set no greater than under 1/32" from edge, and an OPEN mouth,
and maybe a smoother with everything the same bar cap iron closer, like 1/64" or thereabouts to demonstrate
and give an honest comparison between premium planes and the older Bailey’s.
Just saying, as many here, have progressed watching Rob’s videos, have a bench and designated space for their planes by now, so might want to try out some of the vintage flavour which doesn’t need to have square sides and indestructible qualities.
As yet to hear Rob say "this plane will tackle ANYTHING", which suggests the planing videos isn’t upto speed with the rest of the work Rob produces and theres a lot of content yet to be published from our favourate Canook.
I suspect this is an older publication, as there seems to be a few videos made recently which has certainly stepped things up a notch.
All the best
Rob, Another great video. Have you done a video on your tips and tricks for fighting off corrosion on your tools? I could use some help in that department and I’m guessing there are plenty of other ‘garage and basement’ woodworkers with the same struggle!
If a back bevel pushes the chip breaker further back from the cutting edge and a finely tuned one assists with planing difficult grain then is there a downside to a employing a back bevel?
I am also a convert to the Woodriver No. 5-1/2. I had an old Stanley No. 4 I inherited from my grandad, and couldn’t get it to do decent work. After watching Rob’s videos on plane selection, use, and sharpening during the Covid lockdowns,, I ordered 1) my 5-1/2 from Woodcraft and 2) Rob’s recommended hardening stones/system. (You need BOTH, don’t cheap out on either one or you’ll regret it!!!) I thought I knew how to plane before, but I was wrong. The quality and weight of the 5-1/2 made it possible for me to learn how to mill my lumber flat by hand, to mill it to length and dead square with a shooting board, and to smooth my wood without sandpaper. Better tools make your wood working so much easier and better!
Many thanks for your planing videos including this one, Rob. You opened up the pleasure of hand tool woodworking to me and many others.
Thank you for explaining the concepts in clear and understandable language. So nice!
I was debating which plane to get (I’m in Canada) . The Woodriver looks great but there is no option to get them "unprepared" from the store and therefore makes them quite a bit more expensive compared to an equivalent Veritas for example. I think that for a first buyer it is a great option but since I already have all the sharpening tools, I feel like it’s just too high of a cost.
Great content I’m a 51/2 convert. The grey iron is a bit of a misnomer though there’s a vast difference in purity and casting and heat-treating against the old Stanley’s. There is a video of an old Clifton dropped from stepladders on to concrete with no damage, few pros for grey is thermal stability much better less likely to deform as it’s not a malleable steel like ductile, and more liquid in casting for thin parts. I can attest to some of this I have a Veritas I dropped and it lumped up next to the mouth like a puddle ripple almost. Impressive it didn’t crack but equally screwed. This also isn’t info I searched for on wiki. I contacted Cliftons foundry and the grey iron is worlds apart. I think there’s some good marketing out there and some miss information from companies. I don’t think there’s anything in it with modern quality planes I think it’s availability of steel and setup. Also the numbers in tensile strength their talking holding bridges up not pushing a plane at that point anyway the steels moving all over. Sorry haha thought I’d share some of my research, I won’t be dropping my beautiful Clifton either to check haa
Excellent. For someone just getting into wordworking, this was extremely helpful. Thanks!
great video again, thank you…. also for this video. sadly the 5-1/2 is hard to get in eu and the shortage in handplanes in general worsens it. guess i have to choose between #5 and #6. i remind, you started with a #6 or a #7, right? could you recommend one besides a #5-1/2? i already have a blockplane and a wooden (german) bench plane similar to #4
All great points to purchase the newer planes. I got back into hand wood working this year and it does my heart good to be using my vintage 4 and 5 in a new century, still working perfectly.
Recently purchased some new chisels, and only have your 300/1000 and 16000 ceramic. Was wondering if I could use 3000 and 8000 whetstones in between the two instead of having to purchase 4000 ceramic?
I have a "Made In England" Stanley 12-205. It sat in a tool drawer for many years unused until I was helping a neighbor with a woodworking project and he was attempting to use a hand plane to shave down a piece of wood. I decided to break it out and have been devouring all of the plane sharpening and set up videos. My question is, "What size category does this 12-205 fall into?"
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I think Rob should be embarrassed by this video. Blatant sales pitch with opinions way outside of what most experienced people say, and said with the conviction most commonly found in politicians and salesmen. Go find well-regarded experts who are NOT selling things, and you’ll find cohesiveness on the other side of the argument. I was sad to watch this display.