WT206 – We’re Thankful

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On today’s show, we’re talking about Lie-Nielsen vs Veritas, loose tenons and bed rails, refurbish or buy new, and what we’re thankful for!

What’s on the Bench?

– Marc – Kitchen Helper nearly complete. Episode of Rough Cut aired.
– Matt – No real shop time. Mostly yard work and horsing around. Toying with the idea of where his bench belongs in the floor plan.
– Shannon – Learned not to hand plane after spraying paint.

Poll of the Week

Are you making gifts for the holidays?


– Glen suggests we watch this review of that fancy Finnish axe we discussed a while back.

– Darryl uses a strobe light as his lathe. Here’s a demonstration:

Tools We’re Thankful For

Shannnon – old school wooden rabbet plane
Marc – Table saw
Matt – moxon vise


– Lon is trying to decide between Lie-Nielsen and Veritas for various tools. Shawn has a question about a single plane for power tool woodworkers.
– Barron is making a twin size bed with Dominos and is considering pinning the joints.
– Bob is wondering if rehabbing planes is worth it.

Reviews and Thanks!

Are you interested in setting up a recurring donation to help support the show? Use the links in the left column! We’d like to thank Steven Danenman as well as everyone else for their continued support.

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11 replies on “WT206 – We’re Thankful”

OK I watch the axe video now….and I was right! Though I don’t remember what I said about that axe originally so I’m not sure what I was right about. Oh yeah and ouch, but its not that graphic so Matt can fee safe watching it.

Regarding the guy who had such bad luck restoring old Stanley planes: I’ve gotten a couple No. 4’s and a 5 1/2 off eBay, for around $50 or less. Also, some other types from eBay, Craigs List and local fleam markets. Restored them all with original blades and they work well. It’s hard to tell what the problem the problem he is having. Does he have any experience in restoring, tuning and using planes? The fact that he bought so many and says that they are ALL junk sounds fishy.

All that said though, restoring a plane takes a bit of work, as the hosts said. I personally enjoy the process. I love using old tools and love knowing that I personally restored them to a usable condition. But if that’s not your idea of fun and you just want a tool that’s ready to use, get a new one for sure.

Regarding restoring old planes versus buying new…

Most of the planes I own are flea market finds or tools I inherited and restored. I only replace the blades and cap irons when the vintage ones are beyond repair or missing. This said, I only buy vintage tools that I can physically inspect in-person or from a reputable source such as Joshua Clark from Hyper Kitten. So far, I have managed to avoid buying vintage tools that are beyond repair (or require a huge investment of time to restore) by sticking to this plan.

Though I have never owned or used the Woodriver planes or the newer Stanley’s that came out a few years ago, I believe I have read a couple of reviews that mentioned that both of these brands require a little bit of tuning beyond final honing of the blades straight out of the box. I can say with certainty that the premium planes I have purchased new (Veritas) required nothing more than honing the blade before being put to work.

Personally, the vintage tools that I have restored are the more common bench planes (Stanley 3 -7) , block planes ( Stanley 9-1/2), and spoke shaves. I think the most I have ever paid is $65 for a Stanley #7 in exceptional condition (but I have found Jack Planes in great shape for as little as $10). My specialty planes (shoulder planes etc) I have purchased new and are from Veritas.

I restore planes based on a Fine woodworking article published several years ago.

I just listened to the podcast. Thank you for spending some time answering the LN v LV plane question. It is so very helpful to have you guys helping to fill in the knowledge we lack as beginning woodworkers learning this craft. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Marc, Matt and Shannon for sharing their knowledge and experience with the rest of us.

On eBay handplanes: In Woodworking, the key for me has been eliminating the variables. If something does not work, I need to know that it is a fewer rather than greater number of factors to get it right. Handtools introduce the greatest number of variables, because they lack the “precision” of power tools, with fixed fences, etc. If the handtool is a variable in and of itself, then the problems are compounded. Hence the problem with eBay. You inherent a a lot of history (my eBay 4 1/2 has the name “Hammerkool” stamped in it), but also the unknown history. Did Mr. Hammerkool maintain this tool? Did he drop it repeatedly? Did he overtighten the frog screws? I have worked it and the rest of my eBay planes into workable pieces with Hock blades, but it has taken time and fostered a lot of doubt. If you are starting out, it would be worth your while to buy a new, properly set up tool to reduce the variables. Buy the old tools when you know what you are doing.

After listening to the show, and what people are thankful for, I’m thankful for my ‘table saw’. It’s my take on what you guys are calling a “contractor” saw. I always wanted a “triton workcentre”, but could never justify the cost. So, I made my own out of my old makita circlular saw. As far as modern, ultra-accurate & ‘safety-oriented’ go, it doesn’t quite cut it, but it does cut it for me. I’d love to include a pic, but it’s on my instagram.

My first handplane was a new piece of junk that turned me off of hand planes for years. The internet has changed all of this for the better and for worse. The good is that it is easy to find information on how to setup planes so that they will work. The bad is that the prices of old planes has gone up on ebay! This is partly do to the demand and partly do to the price of new tools. Care and selective buying can help when buying off ebay but it is still sort of risky. I have paid between $20 and $100 for my planes and I have been satisfied with the results. I have a Stanley #4 #5 #41/2 that all work fine I have a Craftsman #7 that took a little bit more work, but it works! I have a Craftsman #78 that sort of works but that just may be me. I have a Miller Falls #71 router plane clone that works. All of my planes except the 41/2 have the original blade. The 41/2 now has a new Stanley blade that I bought from the UK. The old thin blades work just fine when I sharpen them correctly! Just ask Paul Sellers about old Stanleys with thin blades!

Granted, the only plane that I acquired new, my Lie Nielson block plane, worked right out of the box. Considering what it cost, it should work out of the box.

Those folks that don’t like refurbishing old tools are in luck because the quality of new hand tools has never been better! If, on the other hand, you like the challenge of refurbishing and old tool or you do not have the money to spend on new tools careful buying on ebay is still an option. If you are lucky enough to live near a good used tool store or tool collectors meet, you can go naked! (http://lostartpress.com/products/the-naked-woodworker)

I’ve bought 3 planes on ebay. A Stanley #8 and a #5C both of which worked fine with a new Hock blade in place and a little bit o clean up. I also bought a #8 that was cracked and useless. The lesson there is, if the seller isn’t showing every single piece of the plane with clear photos that you can enlarge, walk away – they are hiding something.

I just got the 5C for just under $50. I don’t remember what I paid for the 8, but it was under $100.

Both have needed some very minor flattening on the sole and the chip breaker. I haven’t done any fettling or other messing around with the bed, mouth, and frog. The lateral adjuster on the 8 has a lot of play in it, so getting it where I want it is fiddly, but it holds position once I get it there.

On the other hand those are both relatively “rough” planes, and I have a wood river smoother because I didn’t have much experience and wanted something that would work (and I couldn’t yet afford a LN). I also have a Groz door stop that I got before I knew anything, and even the busted plane I got on ebay works better than that thing did.

I also didn’t want to deal with cleaning up lots of rust , chipped totes, etc. So I only bid on tools that were clean, had lots of photos showing no cracks, chips, etc. and avoided once that looked like they’d been obviously re-painted. They may have been cleaned up by the seller to bump up the price (fine, less work for me), or they may be well used & cared for. And I’m not worried about the seller putting a lot of effort into faking a quality tool for that price (aside from using poor-quality photos). With some patience I got what I wanted at a decent price.

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