I use a No: 5 Stanley bench plane, I use it for jointing on a shooting board and cleaning up timber, I replaced the blade with a Smooth Cut Japanese laminated blade, it takes and holds a razor sharp cutting edge a lot longer than the blade that came with it. When I bought the japanese plane iron it cost around £38 know its £49 from Axminster, what a difference mind you I bought one 3 years ago.
The japanese iron is really a great improvement on the Stanley. The only issue is occasional vibration that can come when planing very figured and hard timber. This is because the blade is quite thin in section. Couple your blade with a thick back iron like Clifton or Hock and you can resolve that.
All the very best,