Great Hand Planes – Not Expensive – UK
As a woodworker who just loves to handle real tools, I have put together this selection of affordable but good hand planes.
I have seen so many poor-quality tools sold to Newby woodworkers with unrealistic promises.
The selection here is made from my own experiences and knowledge of what tools can be tuned and what cannot. I cheap tool is not always bad as long as it is possible to tune the plane to meet your needs.
Each of the images in this page will take you to Amazon.co.uk for that particular woodworking hand plane. If you do decide to buy via amazon we thank you as we do receive a small commission which helps us to provide you with my honest ‘time served’ opinion on these tools.
Stanley is a tool brand that has been with us for a very long time. If you think of hand planes the first name that will pop into your head is the Stanley. Stanley started to lose favour with professionals as their quality at the point of sale degraded somewhat. Not that they were useless but the finish presented to us was lacking.
But we have this new range of Stanleys Sweethearts that have swept away any bad feelings. The SW range of Stanleys is a great turnaround as this new range is well finished and well-tuned straight out of the box.
The Sweetheart N04 smoothing plane is no exception and definitely should be a consideration for anyone considering a new quality woodworking tool which is well priced. For the price, I do not know of an N04 smoother which comes close to this quality for the price.
The original Stanley or even better the Stanley Bailey was a better tool back in the day. But do not dismiss this contractors woodworking tool as the castings are good. With a little tuning and pimping, that tool with a new handle (TOTE) and knob you will then have a higher-end tool capable of matching planes cost way more. The format of this plane is tried and tested for over a hundred years so expect it to be a great performer. Frederick Stanley founded Stanley…
A jack plane is a great tool for levelling medium length boards or shooting in the lead on a door.
Another offering in the Stanley Sweetheart range of tools. If you have experience with any of the new Sweetheart range you will know that the low price of these tools is surprising because the quality is good.
Like a low angle block plane, the plane iron of the low angle jack plane can peel away shavings of short-grain boards or even end grain.
My favourite plane in my tool cabinet is my pimped vintage Stanley Bailey N07. The quality of this tool is exceptional and with the work, I put into this tool it is certainly a high-end performer. The more modern offering from Stanley is a good tool anyway but like the N05 variation, the N07 would also benefit from some tuning. Yes, it is ready to use straight from the box after you sharpen the plane iron for the first time.
A handy little block plane which I have two. This Stanley 110 has not changed much over the years and is still a keen workhorse.
I have no criticism of this tool but if I was in the market for my first block plane I would prefer to buy a low angle block plane.
Like the Stanley low angle block plane, this Record is a good tool and will last for years but just do not drop it on its back. I dropped mine and broke the adjuster thread away from the sole, It does weld OK. I had to weld mine and it is fine now.
A very popular tool that has been around for years and one that you must have in your tool kit. My father owned this block plane for years and now I use it on a daily basis.
Faithfull is one of those brands which has been around for a while now but not as long as the Stanley. The Badger plane is basically a large-format shoulder or rebate plane. The badger plane is not easy to find these days unless you are happy to pay for high-end brands like Veritas so I am thankful Faithful has now this new offering.
I do not own this tool but a friend has and he assures me it is a good tool which does as expected. I use mine to clean up table saw rebates in door frames.
If you are considering to buy a used Badger plane be sure to inspect it around the shoulder areas as these planes are known to crack as there is not a lot of metal in that area. Or just buy a new one.
The Duplex is not a tool that is used very much these days because of the wide use of machines.
Veritas is a high-end brand which performs. I own this scrub plane so it seems fitting to include it here although they are not cheap. The scrub plane has a curved plane iron which is capable of removing a lot of material in every pass. It is ideal for levelling boards such as a tabletop glue-up. You use a scrub plane across the grain of the wood.
One size down from the No7 the No6 is a plane that has fallen out of favour and although a great tool the Stanley Bailey No7 makes more sense with it’s longer sole.
Qiangsheng Luban is distributed by Rutlands in the UK. A superb tool considering the price tag.
Another tool in my collection and it is a super tiny bundle of joy. If you are a jewellery box or guitar maker this miniature low angle block plane from Veritas is superb.
A scraper plane is a substantial tool which does the task of a cabinet scraper but with more ease. The scraper is like a plane iron mounted in a virtually vertical orientation.