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oldwoodie

A plane is just a plain ole plane

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I have Baileys, Fulton, Craftsman, Sargent, Stanley, and Stanley Bailey. I have found that one works as well as the other since they are nothing but a blade holder! The fact that they all work just fine, tells me that Lie Nielson, and the other modern ones that cost a lot of money tells me that a lot of folks, in my opinion, are spending a lot of unnecessary dollars! 

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I had a sweetheart 92... piece of painful poorly made junk...

a Veritas replaced it.. a comfortable dream to use...

same thing w/ the woodmaster V1 and V2 smoother/joiners... poorly made...

same thing for the Stanley Low-Angle Block Planes vs the Veritas LA block plane...

 

no...

not all planes are created equal...

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@oldwoodie, I knew I addressed this before. Here you can see my reply to the same question you asked here, it's a great question, and I hope perhaps I shed some light on it then just as I may now?

Here ya go.

 

A copy paste of the above reply so you don't have to go hunting and pecking:

 

Ol Woodie, the question you asked is a huuuuuuge subject and could ignite a firestorm larger than our California wildfires, as you can already see in @steven newman reply . So I'll try to be as neutral about the subject as I can without fraying any edges around here.

 

Talking about hand planes and trying to figure out which are best or better or different or worth the money or junk etc, is like getting two woodworkers together and both telling each other why their table saw is better than the other.

Let's put two tables saws together in the same room, one a Powermatic 66, the venerable table saw with a long history and reputation, and the Grizzly 1023 table saw, a staunch stocky powerful bugger that can rip with the best.

No doubt, you'll get a great cut from either TS, you'll get plenty of power, you'll get a lot of performance matches with both machines. (I owned a Grizzly Table saw and loved mine), but there is a fact that the Powermatic when observed closer is machined better, has better designed and stronger trunions, has better mechanics, smoother parts to turn and slide, the fit and finish from what I have seen and experienced in a PM66 is superior to that Grizzly machine, yet they both get the job done, and the Grizzly will cut just as good as the PM, and that ol Grizz will probably live just as long as the PM.

 

So if they both cut the same, and they both show great performance, then why spend the extra grand and a half for the PM? Now that my friend is a personal question that only the purchaser of that machine can answer.

 

So translate to that, hand planes. I have used many types of hand planes. I started out with old generic planes my dad gave me, plastic handles, thin irons, I have no idea what they were even called, they also rusted easily. Sure I could get good cuts from them, but they lost their edge quickly, they were a bear to get an edge, and they did skip because you could not get the components to line up solidly and register against each other perfectly. So ya, they were crap, they may have been old Wards planes for the homeowner back in the day, I can't remember.

 

Then you have the venerable Stanley's that are and were indeed the benchmark of hand planes, used by the common man and the elites, you have your fanatical fan base for those planes indeed, and for a great reason, they are great planes.

 

But there are differences in the old Stanley's and the relatively newer reproductions such as Lie Nielsen and Clifton planes produce. They are finer machines, the fit and finish is superior, the mechanisms are smooth, the depth adjustment wheel turns very smooth and precise, the plane irons are thicker and made of superior steel that holds an edge much longer than the Stanley's, I could go on and on, you just have to pick one up and feel it for yourself.

I like to say, the way those pricier planes are made, is akin to gunsmithing, they are very fine and very precise, and yes a bit more heavier. The fact is, over the years, we have learned how to make a better plane, it makes sense doesn't it? After all these years, are you telling me you cannot make a better plane than the venerable Stanley? Of course you can! It just makes sense that we could, and we do. We have CNC machining, superior metals, experience, and history, to make a better plane. It just makes sense. Is the Chevy truck today better than the Chevy truck of 1954? Of course it is! Because of the lessons learned, and the technology we have today. So it would make sense, that the relatively newer hand planes made by reputable makers today, are superior in craftsmanship and fit and finish then the older planes made over a hundred years ago.

 

As for the performance, again, you just have to pick one up and use it, and let your own experience be the judge, I have experienced both, and I fell in love with LN's and LV's too. Am I saying overall the Stanlely's or Fultons or Bucks are not great users, no I am not, and I cannot. Because a hand tool is a completely personal experience, because of the human to tool mechanics that happen when we use our hand tools, only the person using them can make that judgement.

I don't have a lot of money, but recently I came into a chunk of it when I sold off my woodworking machinery, and I am using the proceeds to re-tool my shop, I already had a decent collection of LN's and LV's and Stanley's and a few odds n ends for planes, but now that I have my funds, I am going to purchase a couple LN's. I could own 3 or 4 Stanley's for the price of an LN, but I just love the LN's.

 

As an aside, the extra weight the LN's have, for me personally is not even noticeable. It's a non issue. Some notice it, others don't. Steven notices it, it' a personal thing these hand tools, are Stevens concerns about the extra weight valid, heck ya!!!! Because he notices it, and he is the only one who counts when he uses his hand planes, like I said, it's personal.

 

Long winded, hope I helped.

If you feel like it, go to YouTube and look for videos that compare hand planes, there are many, many videos titled "Lie Nielsen vs Stanley" or insert plane maker name here video, their are many, and varied opinions on the subject.

Cheers!

 

Oh yes, one more thing, are the LN's and LV's and Cliftons pricey? YEP! But, I bet if a mathematician, of which I am not, took the price of a brand new Stanley in 1886 and the price of a brand new LN or LV or Clifton today, and did the math, inflation and all that, I bet they are a great deal, if not the same cost.

 

Here is the follow up to my own question about cost at the same topic:

 

Just did a little research.

 

Average annual salary of a skilled worker in 1900 was $449.80

 

Average salary of a skilled worker in 2017 was $44,500

 

In 1902 the cost of a Stanley No. 4 was $2.90 and 0.64% of that annual salary in 1900.

 

Today the cost of a Lie Nielsen No. 4 is $350.00 and 0.78% of that annual salary in 2017.

 

I'd say those LN's are a pretty good deal still today.

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11 hours ago, oldwoodie said:

I have Baileys, Fulton, Craftsman, Sargent, Stanley, and Stanley Bailey. I have found that one works as well as the other since they are nothing but a blade holder! The fact that they all work just fine, tells me that Lie Nielson, and the other modern ones that cost a lot of money tells me that a lot of folks, in my opinion, are spending a lot of unnecessary dollars! 

 

Jim, I understand your view and experiences. Like you, I have a variety of older planes and have learned from several experts on this site how to clean, adjust, sharpen, fine tune and get good performance for most everything I do, have done or likely will ever be capable of doing with hand planes. Certainly our fore-fathers got along quite well with their Stanley/Bailey's. For me (and I suspect for you too maybe) it's as much about the find and restore of those old tools as it is the performance. It saddens me to see old tools get tossed or rust away.

 

That said, the top of the line, newer manufacturers have taken the old designs, incorporated the new technologies of manufacturing and metallurgy along with first learning the design flaws of the old tools, then improving those features in a modern day tool. All of that drives cost but if one would convert the cost of a tool made late 19th & early 20th Century into "today's" dollars, you'd have  pretty expensive tool.

 

In a way it's like comparing a Model T truck to a new F-150. Both will get you where you're going eventually, but it's about the comfort of the ride, the performance and pleasure along the journey. I likely will never own a new Lie Nielson or Veritas plane...(1) Budget (2) Justification for the work I do. There again, it will be unlikely at my age I'll ever own a new F-150 either. One thing I have learned though, both hold their used value quite well because people see the quality and value in the product and see it as a wise investment for their needs.

 

Do some people spend a lot of unnecessary dollars for tools? Probably. Do others spend unnecessary dollars for boats, airplanes, motorcycles, golf clubs, electronic devices, travel, clothes, season tickets for professional sports events, lottery tickets? IMO, yep, but that is the choice they make. Sorry for the long winded rant. Just my $.02.

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1 hour ago, steven newman said:

Too busy USING my "old" planes, right now.....and would rather spend the budget on lumber.....

Steve, how are those Woodriver planes? Do you like them or are they just kind of meh. I have not tried one yet.

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Never got used to that #4.....unless you wanted see-through shavings everytime....took way too long to get a task done...

 

The low angle one has issues.....wants to plane at a bevel.....rather than flat.   A Millers Falls No. 11 does better work, and has zero tearout....

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1 hour ago, steven newman said:

Never got used to that #4.....unless you wanted see-through shavings everytime....took way too long to get a task done...

The low angle one has issues.....wants to plane at a bevel.....rather than flat.   A Millers Falls No. 11 does better work, and has zero tearout....

The low angle planes take some getting used to Steve, I have heard the same complaint from those who aren't used to them.

Typically those Wood Rivers work out of the box, but properly tuned they sing, some really great reviews on them, perhaps you got a couple lemons, unfortunately.

I'll buy those planes from ya Steve, no sense in having em sit around. I would buy them, tune em up, and donate them back into into The Patriot Woodworker community, I think that would be pretty cool, if you want to sell them, let me know.

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