I read a blog entry where the author is experimenting with using a small smoothing plane (a reproduction Stanley #2, from Lie-Nielson) instead of a block plane.
That idea seemed worth pursuing, so I checked out my favorite online used woodworking tools website, based in Australia, to see what a used Stanley #2 might cost -- or maybe a Stanley #1 (even smaller). I like that tools website because it has both collectable and "user"-grade tools.
But -- it turns out that Stanley #2s and #1s are rare -- and thus collectable. In fact, #1s are super-rare. So the prices on the Australian website for a #2 is AU$295 (US$235), AU$365 (US$290) and up; and for a #1 (only one was listed!) it's AU$385 (US$308).
In contrast, the moderately botique-y Stanley reproductions are US$275 for the #2, and US$225 for the #1. Huh.
So, for a similar price (or perhaps less), you can get a new, slightly fancy model.
I guess "used" isn't always "cheaper". Especially when the "used" item is collectable.
Meanwhile, though, I have a variety of block plane-sized planes that I ought to experiment first -- before doing the oddball things.