Help choosing a Block Plane

I had a rotted windowsill that I am in the process of repairing, I basically just removed the rotted piece, filled it and then replaced it with a new piece of cedar. I need to get the profile of the new piece of cedar to match the rest of the window sill and from what I can gather a small block plane is the tool for the job. At the 3:35 mark of this video you can see what I am trying to do

I have never used let alone bought a plane before so I am looking for some suggestions/tips. This isn’t a tool I will be using all the time, however I hate buying junk tools so I am willing to pay more to avoid some garbage. Any help is appreciated guys!

When I brought a new master carpenter on to the company, I’d give him (never had a “her” apply for the job) a choice of a Lie-Nielsen block plane.It was a message that I expected a high level of craftsmanship. I think you can’t go wrong with any of the block planes from Lie Nielsen - but you might find that a low angle one will provide more versatility - on later work if you want to plane end-grain. They don’t come cheap:

The plane I often have in my apron is this one which is a bit simpler - perhaps a bit less versatile:

Both of the above come with free shipping from Craftsmans Studio - a company I have found to be very reputable.

You might also want to look at Lee Valley - Veratas planes. They happen to be doing one of their free shipping deals right now:,230,41182,45204,47881

or their apron plane,41182,41189,46791

If you want to do the job on the cheap - you can create a profile sanding block by running a piece of Styrofoam over the old profile - then using it to back up some sandpaper to contour the new piece. Not bad - even if you wish t start with a plane.

I did some looking on Amazon at Stanley Planes.
At one time Stanley manufactured some of the best mass-market planes - but then after some years of making mostly poor quality or poor QC’d ones - they lost their reputation and in stepped Lie-Nielsen and Veritas.
Now they have reintroduced their so-called Sweetheart line - but they get mixed reviews:

they also make a low angle block plane in what they call "contractor grade:

With all planes you might expect to have to do some fine tuning to get it to consistently make wafer thin shavings. With the better planes maybe all you need to do is some slight honing of the blade. With lesser quality planes - you might find that the sole is not flat, the blade needs both sharpening and honing, the blade cap - chip breaker may need some filing, the frog may need some work, the throat may need some clean-up with a file, the adjustment screw may have too much backlash - and the list goes on. Take a look at online reviews and it may help you decide where the sweet spot is - balancing cost versus quality and/or some work to undertake to tune up a plane. I’ve restored quite a few old planes that started out as fundamentally go tools. When asked by a neighbor to help tune-up a plane he purchased on the cheap (made in India) - after a bit of inspection I suggested that it had so much wrong with its castings that it would never work well.

Have you considered using a table saw to rip the piece? I had to make a few pieces for my father, and if I recall, it was a 14 degree angle. He did have to finesse the material behind so it would sit flush when nailed. That part was a little fussy compared to using a plane to smooth it out.

As usual, Fred is spot on. Veritas and Lie N are readily available and high quality. An apron plane is least expensive and quite handy for these kinds of touch ups, but a low angle block plane is more versatile. The blade sits at a shallower angle making it easier to use on end grain. I’ve used it to touch up interior trim to make it fit properly. I prefer the extra weight as well. A LN adjustable mouth low angle block plane is my go to for stuff like this.

The thing with planes is you’ll need a method of consistently sharpening and honing the blade. So that’s a jig plus at least 2 waterstones or whatever method you choose. It takes a bit of practice, but you can do it. On the first plane that will easily double your up front cost, but if you plan to buy more planes down the road, it goes with the territory. If you only plan to own one and think it will be used infrequently, maybe another method of completing this job is more appropriate. Lastly, if you do buy a quality plane, get some oil you can use to clean and store it between uses or it will rust. LV and LN both sell oils that won’t cause problems with stain work when they transfer from the plane to your work piece.

I happen to like Camellia Oil for planes - since I got some “free” samples from Craftsman Studio when I bought a plane or two from them. They now sell it for $25

but you can but it elsewhere too:

As far as sharpening and honing goes - it is worth learning this skill. There are all sorts of tools and techniques - machines and hand methods - but the idea is to learn one and stick to it. Once mastered you can sharpen not only plane irons (aka blades) - but chisels. gouges, knives, garden tools etc. I, like RKA, like my Japanese water-stones and a strop/jeweler’s rouge for finishing. But buying a set (different “grits”) of high quality ones, setting then up with a holder and a stone pond may be more expensive than you want. A set of Norton waterstones (starter kit) is a possibility:

As you sharpen with them - they wear and need to be flattened from time to time.

There are lots of other stone choices - waterstones up to 12000 grit, oil stones (cut slower - and sort of old-school now) , diamond impregnated plates etc.

And Shapton “glass stones”

and then there are specialty “stones” - like diamond crowning plates and diamond lapping plates.

The other - less expensive approach is to use sandpaper on a piece of flat (float) glass or better yet a granite tile. You’ll need to buy some fine grits at Home Depot and then some really fine grits at an automotive store. A can of 3M spray adhesive to adhere the paper to the granite - and you have your surface to first flatten (if needed) the sole of the plane, back of the plane iron, back of the chisel etc.- then to sharpen the bevel (and/or secondary micro-bevel) on the plane iron.
Some skilled craftsman say they can do all of this by eye - but other mere mortals - like RKA suggests - use a jig to help hold a consistent angle.

Lie Nielsen and Veritas - again come to the rescue:,43072,43078,43072,43078,51868

but there are other lesser and cheaper ones too:

Just want to second Fred on the recommendation of a couple of water stones for sharpening whatever plane blade you buy ( and chisels) and a bottle of camelia oil that will last for years.

If it’s available, pick up a little nagura stone to go with your water stones too.

Good advice - the Nagura really works best with natural stones to form that bit of “mud” - sort of like jeweler’s rouge - that aids the sharpening process. The Nagura is not meant as a standalone sharpening stone - but is rubbed on a harder stone to leave a residue mud. They come in different grits and qualities/prices. Here is an inexpensive one in #8000