I recently came across your website and videos and such, and the idea of making high quality items out of wood using nothing but hand tools is really exciting to me. However, the problem is that I’m on a very limited budget since I haven’t been able to work for a long time due to illness. My main concern right now is about the cost of buying a smoothing plane. I’ve looked on ebay.ca, ebay.com, and even ebay.co.uk, and generally speaking I don’t see any way to buy a plane for as cheaply as you’ve reported being able to. Everything I see looks like it will cost at least $50 for the planes more worse for wear, up to and beyond $100 for more well-maintained ones. My concern is that by spending so much on it I’ll use up my entire budget on one single tool and not have any money left over for any other tools. Plus I’d have to add on the cost of sharpening supplies and whatever else I’d need to whip the plane back into shape, I assume. It’s quite a scary figure for me. Anyway, all this just to ask: are there any other makes of plane (other than Record – I looked and they seem equally expensive and more rare) that I could substitute for a Stanley, with the understanding that I’ve never used a hand plane before in my life?
I know that my blogging on the #4 and 4 1/2 does push the price up after posting for a week or two and then they come down again, but never to the low price. The issue is that more people buy after I post. I went straight to my computer this morning and the first on the list had four minutes to run for a #4 that seemed in reasonable shape with no broken handles and a good length on the cutting iron. I did not use a sniper which I always do and I bid directly at the lowest accepted bid of £10.99 plus £8 shipping. The shipping was £2 higher than it should be, but that wasn’t part of my criteria. I won the plane (you actually never win in anything, really. You are buying it.) So £19 ($30 USD) I have a lifetime plane. I actually looked and couldn’t find any at over $100. There were several other planes that went after that for not much more than $20-30 and that seems to always have been the case. Perhaps you just picked a bad day. Also, I saw many at Buy it now prices, which were higher, around £30-40 and that can take away the chance of being outbid yet still at a reasonable price. As I said previously, there will always be a plethora of # 4 Stanley planes as they are still there and always will be. They get cycled through and then recycled as people die, stop using and want rid of them. As there are less people using them now than when they were produced in their heyday, we today can reap the benefit and I am glad for that because these planes are top notch when you fettle them well and match any plane ever made. By the way, Record planes were no better than Stanley’s. Snobs might say so but that’s was never true.