Hand Plane Brands
The name on the iron (blade) or bed of the plane is not as important as the construction of the plane. Most vintage planes constructed along the classic Bailey patent can be tuned to run just fine. Most modern plane manufacturers follow that pattern and are acceptable. If you are looking at new planes, quality runs pretty parallel to price. The more you pay for a new plane, the closer it will be ready to run out of the box. Lie Nielsen planes arrive ready to go, but you pay a premium for these heirloom quality tools. Veritas planes are pretty much ready to run out of the box. Bench Dog is close, maybe hone the blade a bit. There are more…
If you want to save money and invest in an experienced tool (vintage) Stanley, Sargent, Millers Falls, Fulton, Merit, Union, Keen Kutter, Winchester are fairly common and all made planes that fit the “standard Bailey mold” and can be easily tuned to serve you well. Several makers made stamped frogs planes at some point and should be avoided. Not that they cannot be made to function well, just that it us usually more difficult. Look at remaining iron (blade) length and knob/tote condition before purchasing a vintage plane from these makers. If possible, you want an iron that extends the full length of the lateral adjustment lever. Avoid deep, pitting rust. Surface rust can be easily dealt with. If you are completely unfamiliar with hand planes, watch a few YouTube hand plane restoration videos and you will quickly see what you are facing.
There are so many choices in both new and vintage hand planes, it comes down to budget, time, talent, and your goals.
“Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”