So I picked up a No. 8 jointer plane from the flea market in San Jose back when I lived in California. I broke some fundamental plane-buying rules: The frog was broken at the top so it no longer had a lateral adjuster, and there was a welded-up crack from the mouth up the side of the sole. The top of the tote was broken off, and the body has a been chipped at the front like someone dropped it on to a concrete floor. This plane has had no love. Lastly, there is no manufacturer mark on the iron or body; it only says ‘ No. 8’.
But, for $20, I couldn’t resist. This thing is massive!
Here’s the thing: it works wonderfully. I have never used any other jointer plane so my experience is limited, but I can get thin shavings (as well as nice thick ones) and I can adjust the blade laterally by tapping the side of the iron with a small hammer or by just pushing firmly with my thumb. I am in no rush to find a shiny Stanley replacement.
If you are ever at the San Jose flea market and meet the friendly European man at the back with a shed piled high with hand tools, tell him that ‘El Gigante’ has worked like a dream.