So you’re looking to get into woodworking, and you figure the cheapest route is probably to avoid the big expensive power tools and go with small hand tools. You figure, it was good enough for our 18th century forefathers, it’s good enough for you. Then you get the shock from seeing the price of some of the nicer planes on the market. Well, Anant out of India has got the planes you want at more reasonable prices for the everyday normal guy.
Most experts will agree that you have three choices when it comes to hand planes. You can spend big bucks and start using your plane out of the box; for a reasonable amount, you can either get a used vintage plane of high quality or get one of the average-quality new planes out there and spend some time tuning it, flattening the sole, sharpening the irons, etc. before you can start using it; or lastly, you can buy a cheap plane at the big box, and have it be so far from usable that you’ll stop using the hand plane out of frustration.
An example of the second school of thought, the Anant block plane replicates the classic and well-loved Stanley 60-1/2 block plane. You’ll need to spend a little time tuning up the plane before you use it, but it’s not so far gone that you can’t make it into a very enjoyable working plane. It won’t have the same tool p0rn feel of the Lie-Nielsen or the Veritas planes – but you’ll be able to buy more than just a single plane at a time, because at $40, it’s about half the price of the premium planes.
Anant makes a full line of planes based on classic, proven plane designs, often with their own improvements built in. As much as I love the idea of using a classic, vintage plane, I love the idea of it being brand new even more.