All of my Jointer planes (used to edge plane boards for gluing, such as tabletops, or for general leveling), were bought used, which saved me hundreds of dollars. That left me with enough money to buy a fancy plane blade for the 22″ long Stanley #7C (that’s the iron one, with a corrugated sole). It’s an extra thick cutter, made by Veritas/Lee Valley in Canada. It will seriously slice up some wood, even though it cost more than the plane did.
The plane is something of a mashup of parts, with a wrong sized lever cap (the thing that holds the cutter on), and handles of different kinds of wood. I did just order a new correct sized lever cap from Fleabay, as I have numerous projects which MJ has ordered me to complete.
However, when I really want to flatten some wood, I reach down in my tool rack under the workbench, and grab the German made old 23 1/2″ beech wood Ulmia/Ott jointer (also in the top picture). It’s light, sharper than a razor, and easy to use. It’s the only large plane that permanently lives under the workbench. It’s that useful, and I used to feel guilty about how little I paid those Canadians for it, on Fleabay. Used to.
And then there is the first jointer I bought, a Stanley/Bailey #31. It’s a full 24″ long, but they made these in two inch increments up to 30″ long, the last of which must have been a special order by Andre the Giant. These are called “transitional planes,” as they are wood bodied, but with iron adjustments. They were completely out of favor when I bought five different ones at an Indiana Flea Market, and I doubt I paid $50 for the lot. They are excellent tools.
For a good long while, hand tools like these were only sought after by country living Luddites such as myself. Now a whole boutique industry has emerged to make planes that are fantastically expensive. A jointer this size from one of those companies now costs more than the monthly payment on our Prius Eco. I’ll buy one, as soon as one comes out that I can ride to the Farmer’s Market at the Festhalle, like our Prius.