Thursday, October 31, 2019

#5 Planes

I normally just keep a couple of #5 planes in the tool cabinet behind the main workbench. A (I think) type 11 to 13 Stanley with a cutter sharpened as a Jack plane and a LN with Veritas O1 iron sharpened with less camber. The LN even with the thinner Veritas iron is still a heavy sucker. I also have a stack of #5 Japanese bi-metal replacement irons and a few Stanley #5 stuck in various cubbly holes in the shop, not many like I expect Bob has but a few. BTW I weighted the planes and all the Stanleys came in around 2100 g. while the LN is a hefty over 2500g. with the lighter Veritas iron. Four hundred grams doesn't sound like much but it feels like a lot.

The line up. The Stanleys run from a Type 9 to type 11 and 13 with one Bedrock in the mix. I expect to work through the bunch picking the best to replace the LN in the tool cabinet. While some have OEM cutters, the OEM cutters will be replaced with Japanese irons.

The Japanese irons come with very flat backs, are easy to sharpen, being high carbon steel get very sharp and hold the edge very well. Here is a photo of the back of one of the Japanese replacement irons after just a few swipes on a 600 grit diamond stone. It is ready to go to the finishing stones.

More as I work through the #5s.



  1. Steve D7:55 PM

    What a lovely family portrait.

    Reading your comments about weight (again ;)), I thought "Ken must have a stockpile of A5 Stanleys that he will unload once the world sees the value of ultralight planes."

    Am I right? You could probably drill out one of those to get down near a kilogram.

    I'm surprised how pronounced the hollow is on the Japanese iron.

  2. Steve,

    Make 'em look like a 60's racing car :-). That should do the job. Going back to selling the sizzle and forgetting the steak. Most folks or at least the new plane buying cohort is positive heavier is better so new lighter planes will never happen. As some would say "sad".


  3. 2500!! Thats over a ton!. Oups, my bad, its grams not pounds :-)

    You correct in your assumptions, i have a few more planes :-)

    Bob, the day after Halloween, with lots of candies left over. Rained out

    1. Bob,

      I thought you might. I hope they are the ones you like :-).


  4. Ken, when you say Japanese "bimetal" irons, do you mean they are laminated like old style western irons? I really love some laminated irons I have and would love to know where to get new ones.

  5. Matt,

    Yep, that is one of the reasons I like the cutters. I know they are available but I expect someplace like The Japanese Woodworker would also carry them.

    The biggest downside is I've only found them in limited sizes. I'd love to have one for my #3 planes.


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