18 December 2011

Wooden planes

This is a first post in what should be a series about wooden planes.  A series because I have too much material in mind too write it down in one session.

After reading mainly American blogs I started by buying metal planes.  But to cut costs I bought wooden jointer planes something like a #7 and a #9, with woodworms and all, cheaply on the second hand market.  As an afterthought I regretted not buying also standard wooden planes. Later on I got back in wooden planes when buying a set of hollow and rounds,  they are more fun to hold than say a Stanley #50.

Searching the web for technical details about modern wooden planes I found The Best Thing strongly supporting wooden planes:  For fine work, the ECE 711 Primus plane will easily outperform Bailey type smoothing planes like the Lie-Nielsen. Only the best antique (or reproduction) British infill planes can match or sometines outperform these ECE Primus planes, and then only on the most difficult woods.

Jim Toplin answers in his book The New Traditional Woodworker the question: Why aren't I showing wood bodied bench planes? with There's nothing wrong with the traditional wood-bodied plane.  In some (if not all) ways they are inherently superior to the metal plane ... ...  but I've never learned to tune and use them ... plus, few students show up with wooden planes.  

Personally I don't see major reasons why wooden planes should be superior,  but they are made of wood and you can set them by hitting them with a mallet and when that goes well it's more satisfying than fusing over setting screws.  So looking for a smoothing plane I dropped in the end the idea of buying a #4 bedrock or the excellent new Veritas Small Bevel-Up Bench Plane and started to look for wooden planes.