This is my tuned up Stanley 5 1/2
Got my Hock blade in with a spare A2 Lie Nielson waiting to have a go. This is the way to get a cheap top class plane. Tuning the sole and frog are the most important things you can do.
There are many blades to try, depending on what you do, the Japanese blades are good (RC68!) but of course I would recommend them wouldn't I ?!
You can see from the reflection in the bottom picture the finish I got after hours of lapping. Many thanks to David Charlesworth, read him study him. You can see how much he is influenced by James Krenov - read him and study him too!
I used to really hate beardy retired woodworkers who gathered at shows to scratch, contemplate and measure their shavings from their planes.
GET ON WITH THE REAL THING!
is what I used to quietly scream inside...
But I too measure my shavings now and again, however it is when they do not register on my micrometer and I consider getting one that measures down to a micron (0.001 of a mm) that I start to worry. This is happening a little bit more now I am tuning Dai (japanese planes) up better.
This metal plane has 2 hollowed areas, naturally, in exactly the right places, just like a japanese plane, I think it works all the better for this and it was 'meant to be'