Ebay Plane Problems.

Posted by on Jun 27, 2015 in Blog | 2 Comments

I have not blogged recently. Mainly because of severe problems with my web site. These problems have now been resolved, thanks to my Techie Guy, Pete Stevens http://web-marketing-advisor.co.uk/. Anyway I’m back now and I thought I’d start with a rant!

We do a lot of plane refurbishment and fettling on my courses, so I buy quite a few planes on Ebay for those without planes of their own to work on. Recently I have had a number of planes arrive with faults. This is usually to do with deficient packaging. A plane is quite a heavy object, just wrapping it in bubble wrap and putting it in a cardboard box is not sufficient. When the parcel is thrown around, as they inevitably are, the force of the flying plane crash landing will lead to breakages. In the past month I have had one plane arrive with a crack in the side and one with a broken handle, both due to bad packing. A while back I actually had one arrive in two parts.

broken plane handle
Brokenj plane

Handle broken in transit due to bad packaging.

This plane arrived in two parts thanks to deficient packaging and the TLC from ParcelForce.

The sellers are usually very obliging and accept a return and refund. But it’s all a bit of a hassle which could be avoided with a bit of care. The trick is to put the plane into a larger box and pack it tight with bubble wrap, newspaper or polystyrene, something that will stop the plane sliding around in the box.

When looking at a plane on ebay possibly the most important consideration is whether the sole is cracked. Sellers would make it easier if they posted good images of the sole so it can be checked. Pictures showing the plane number are not really that useful if you have already said it’s a 5 ½ for instance. If the images do not show the sole I always ask the seller specifically if it’s cracked, this follows buying a couple of “turkeys” a few years back.

woodwork plane damage: cracked sole

Two turkeys! Note the small crack in right  corner of the left hand plane, the other is badly cracked on both sides of the mouth. If you can’t see the sole and sides clearly in the ebay images ask the seller if there are any cracks before bidding.

Another thing I find annoying! Sellers who spoil a plane trying to tart it up. I recently returned a plane because someone had been at it with a flap wheel or something, although this removed the rust, it also rounded over the edge of the sole and the iron and left a sharp edge on the side. The current price for used planes (Record/Stanley 5/5 ½) on Ebay is around £25-35 plus postage. I have received some that have been stripped down and repainted and the handles varnished. This makes them look nice but does not improve their performance. I like planes to look like they have been used and to have the patina of previous users, this is all gone on a refinished plane. I also doubt the price justifies the cosmetic work done. So sellers, leave the refurbishing to the buyer please.

Plane bottom showing flap wheel damage.

Overzealous “renovation” by the seller has spoilt this good plane. The edges all round appear to have been attacked with a flap wheel so they are rounded over, not good on the sole.

I will be actually a seller soon. I currently have a stock of planes that have been refurbished on my courses. Students have the option of buying the plane they have worked on but some decide not to, hence my stock of planes. The work done in fettling includes:

  • Flattening the back of the blade often the blade is replaced if flattening is not possible or the blade is too short.
  • Regrind and hone the blade.
  • Clean up and polish the chip breaker and bed it onto the back of the blade.
  • Relieve the front of the mouth.
  • Flatten the sole to a tolerance of around 2 thou.
  • Sometimes we also rebed the frog if required.

Planes that have had this treatment can take a shaving of less than one thou in hardwood and leave a wonderfully burnished finish. We don’t repaint or revarnish by the way.

If you would like to buy one of these plans keep an eye on ebay or contact me directly. I will make sure you purchase is packaged properly when I post it

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Thankyou, Chris.



  1. Armando Leon
    4th August 2020

    Hello Chris!
    He bought an airplane through eBay and came up with a defect exactly like the samples in the third photograph, a small crack in the corner of the mouth, measuring approximately 7mm. What I can do? Will it significantly affect the performance of the plane? I will appreciate your valuable help. Greetings from Chiapas, Mexico.

    • Chris
      4th August 2020

      Hi Armando. You could try asking for a refund because the plane is damaged. If that doesn’t work the plane is still useable but you may find problems with keeping the sole flat. This is not so important for general work but when you want a very fine finish a flat sole is important. There is also the risk that the crack will extend if you drop the plane.


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