When I first started working with pallets I got it in my head that working with a bench plane would solve all my problems with the rough uneven wood.
In some ways I was right. But it took some work.
I ran down to Lowes. Actually I took a leisurely drive to Lowes. I found a Kobalt bench plane for about 30 bucks. I bought it, took it home, opened the plastic and started planing.
Of course I chipped the blade on the first go, catching a nail on the edge.
For a short time I was pretty depressed, thinking I just ruined my plane. So I jumped online and after several fascinating hours of research, I realized there is a lot more to planing wood than what I had imagined.
For starters, there are some pretty entrenched schools of thought when it comes to how to set up a plane, how to sharpen, and what brands are best.
The Kobalt is generally not regarded very highly by plane "purists", because of the cheap machining on the plane.
Here's where I'm going to help you out.
Yes, you can drop a couple hundred dollars on well put together planes, do the maintenance, and keep them going for years.
Spend 30 bucks like I did, and put in a little work to prep the tool and get your money's worth on the first go around. For now, in my situation, economical is better.
I took the plane completely apart.
I started with re-sharpening the blade that I ruined. Check.
I then went through each piece of the plane and checked the machining, sanding down irregularities, smoothing the parts that needed it, and generally fine tuning a cheap plane to bring it to life.
Once I put everything back together, things were great. 30 bucks well spent.
So for the DIYer I would absolutely recommend the Kobalt. Just be prepared to spend a good hour setting up the plane once you unbox it. Down the road, if hand planing becomes a big part of your craftsmanship, go ahead and spend more to get a more professional grade plane. For now, save the money, and use it to get the rest of your workshop set up.
Good luck, and feel free to message me with any questions. Thanks for stopping by!