No. 6 Bench Plane
"The No. 6 bench plane, which Stanley actually called a fore plane, gets a bad rap. Patrick Leach, who administers the excellent Blood & Gore plane-reference site, runs down the No. 6 as a fairly useless chunk of iron. Here's how he puts it: "You Satan worshipers out there might find them a useful prop during your goat slicing schtick by placing three of them alongside each other". I've owned a few No 6s and actually like them. I've set them up as fore planes, and they work quite well at that task. I've set them up as jointer planes, and they work surprisingly well at that task. In fact, I've found that it's easier to teach someone to joint an edge with a No. 6 than one of the longer planes. There's just less iron swinging around I guess. I also have one set up with a scraping insert. Did I hear you say that's nuts? Well, I thought so too, but it's a great set-up for glued-up tabletops. Here's why: When you glue up a tabletop from narrower boards, it's tough to get the grain in all the individual boards going the same direction and looking good. So when you go to plane down the tabletop, you run into lots of grain reversals. One way around this problem is to change planing directions several times while working the top. That can be tough sometimes. Or you can scrape the top – and that's one of the best tasks for a scraper plane. And with a scraper plane that is long (like my No. 6) I can scrape the entire top without leaving any dished areas, which is more a problem with cabinet scrapers, card scrapers and short scraper planes. The good news is that No. 6 planes are fairly plentiful on the secondary market and reasonably priced. Thanks Patrick!"
Christopher Schwarz is editor of Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine