I am converting over to using hand planes for finishing my table top panels (usually Ash or Cherry).
After glue up I have been using a Veritas Cabinet scraper to remove the glue, then Stanley No 7(Type 15) for jointing/flattening, followed by a Stanley No 4 (Type 15) for smoothing.
There may be situations where I need to scrub/hog the panel first, depending on its thickness.
Options appear to be:
A Jack Plane No 5
A Fore Plane No 6
Scrub Plane No 40
As for the No 40 — how can you tell its age(ie, what does one look for to establish when it was manufactured–they don’t have the same details that No 4’s have).