January 27, 10 Comments. Stanley was surely not lacking in its appetite for block planes, offering models and variations of models in every size and flavor imaginable. Trying to figure out all the models and differences is maddening. Note that the functional groups are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Therefore, you will see a lot of duplication. I listed them this way on purpose.
The first corrugated sole came out in Type 8 Check the rest in case the knob was replaced. Type 15 Type 17 Type 20 Part 1 Bench Plane Restoration Guide. Part 2 Hand Plane Restoration by the no soak method.
Dating Hand Planes Dating Stanley. Don - January 27, This Study is based on the number 4 lines.
Other sizes will have varied attributes. Click on any type heading for more details and pictures of the features. Share this:.
About the Author Don I've been finding, restoring and collecting hand planes for over 10 years. This was normally used on the longer planes, where the amount of 'friction' is certainly greater than that formed on the shorter planes.
But for a plane this small, corrugations are rather overkill. It was never a popular feature of this particular plane, thus its scarcity. In fact, I have seen fewer 2C 's than I have 1 's.
Perhaps I need to ask more 2 's if they mind if I check their bottoms? I've seen some very crude appearing corrugations on many of the bench planes. Some of the planes date prior to Stanley's production of them. Whether the planes were corrugated in an attempt to deceive collectors, or whether the planes were corrugated by the owner for his own use is impossible to tell.
I suspect the reason is true in both cases. Original corrugations run lengthwise to the sole and are perfectly parallel to each other, stop before the toe, the heel, and before and behind the mouth. The corrugations are about as deep as they are wide, have a crisp definition to them, and terminate in a pointed fashion.
The corrugations often become filled with workshop schmutz. You can remove it by taking the pointed end of a common nail and scraping it out. I once was invited over to a woodworker's shop to look at some tools that he wanted to sell.
The fellow didn't have much, just a few newer tools from that tool company in England that is still making pitiful copies of Stanley's bench planes. However, the fellow did have several original Stanleys with soles the likes of which I've never seen before or since. Each sole had a series of 1" wide roughly cutouts, dados, if you will, that spanned the width of the sole spread along the length of the sole.
In other words, the cutouts were parallel to the mouth! Amazed by what laid before my eyes, I asked the fellow what caused or what was the reason for this strange treatment.
He told me that he had taken the planes to a local machinist and asked him to cut some corrugations into the soles since he had heard that corrugations help to make the plane perform better. For the first time in my life, I was left speechless, and could only muster an "Oh, I see" as an answer.
The planes have since left his shop, so you folks out in western Massachusetts be careful out there while tool sleuthing. If you ever see one, and unknowingly buy it, I suppose you could always flip it over and use it as a boot scraper, or something like that. A very common smoothing plane, which some prefer over the larger 4. As in all the metal bench planes, check that the bottom casting or bed isn't cracked anywhere - more often than not, the cracks appear on the arched sides or around the mouth.
The mouth proper is also prone to chipping. Now and then you might stumble across a bench plane that has some cosmetic surgery, where the entire forward of the mouth portion of the main casting was broken off and subsequently welded back onto the rest of the plane.
Run, don't walk, away from these examples, unless you're snarfing parts. Stay away from those planes that exhibit tool leprosy, pitting. A few minor pits on the sides isn't going to hurt the plane's use, but badly pitted examples are generally a lost cause. Make sure the frog isn't broken - curiously, many of them have their frogs snapped off at their tops where the lateral adjustment lever is supposed to be the earliest models, pre, never had a lateral adjustment lever.
I've also seen a frog that had the 'web' of cast iron between the two frog screws snapped off. This is rare damage, but it just goes to show you that these planes can be damaged anywhere and it's just good practice to examine them thoroughly before you buy. Some planes are missing their lateral adjustment lever. It's attached to the top of the frog with a small, peened over pin. Through hard use, the pin can wear out, detaching the lever from the frog.
If the hole is not present, the plane is an earlier model that dates prior to the introduction of the lateral lever which made its debut in the first lateral has a bent up edge that engages the cap iron, while the later style, first introduced inhas a circular disk to engage the cap iron.
Don't retrofit your plane with a lever, if it never had one. Sell it to a collector, then take the proceeds and buy a model that is equipped with the lever. Most of the models have rosewood for the knob and tote WWII years, and from the mid's on, had stained hardwood. In what has to be an error, the catalogue states that cocobolo was used for the totes and knobs on all the bench planes, except for the 11C2and 2C. I have never seen a Stanley bench plane with cocobolo used, and the mention of a fictitious 1C offers some proof that something may have been rotten in New Britain.
A cracked tote isn't anything to get bothered over, provided it's tight and glueable. The 'horn' of the tote is often sheared off on many of the bench planes. When the tote is gripped, its horn should extend about an inch beyond web of skin between your thumb and forefinger.
Many of the horns are repaired with nails, screws, glue, or scarfs.
Look them over carefully. Totes are also prone to cracking near their bases, just above where they extend forward to meet the main casting. The totes on these larger planes sit over a raised tote receiver into which the screw and threaded rod are screwed.
This is as good a place as any to mention that Stanley loved to use non-standard threads, and it's nowhere more apparant than the hardware used to attach the wood to the main casting. There are reproduction totes out there, and some of them are quite good. A reproduction tote isn't so much a concern on a common plane that's to be used, but it is a concern on the collectible examples of the series, like the 12and 2C.
During the 's, Stanley applied a brightly colored decal on the left side of the totes on many of their planes. Generally, the presence of this decal increases the value of the tool as it's indicative of the tool's condition since the decals wore off rather quickly and easily from use.
Some of the reproduction totes are available with decals, which themselves are reproductions. You should be very careful when buying a collectible plane that has a decal on the tote unless you're sure you can recognize the reproduction. The background of the original decal is an aquamarine color whereas the reproduction's background color is a darker blue green.
Plus, the reproduction decal has a 'thicker', almost silk screened, appearance to it. Sometimes, you'll find a plane with a hard rubber tote with "B of E" embossed on each side.
These were sold by Stanley to school systems as replacement totes for the poor planes that suffered the onslaught of destruction as wrought by the punks of yesteryear. These replacement totes were offered during the 's's, when they were replaced with aluminum totes during the early 's.
The knob can suffer chipping or cracking about its base. This is most commonly found on the earlier planes, with their squatty, mushroom-shaped knobs. The damage is caused during the plane's use, when the plane is pushed at the knob; the knob leans forward, putting stress at its leading portion, making it split. Many folks found the low knobs difficult to grip, especially on the shorter planes.
A taller knob, called the "high knob" in the tool collecting circus, was offered starting ca. This knob, being taller than the low knob and thus having the force on it applied higher up from its base, suffered the same chipping at its base, but only more so than the low knob. Good idea, Stanley, but you didn't quite get it right. Some 10 years later, the solution to knob chipping was discovered - a raised ring was cast into the bottom casting to receive the knob. This solution really did work, and knob chipping became but a distant memory.
If you're into originality, there is a minor, but important, detail about the high knobs - the later high knob is turned so that its base tapers slightly to fit into the raised ring, while the first high knob is turned so that its base doesn't diminish where it seats onto the main casting.
The degree of the sole's flatness is a personal preference frankly, I think the current notion of perfect flatness on a bench plane is simply hypebut definitely stay away from those that are badly twisted along their length. You may need to file nicks out of the plane's sole, if they project - these will leave scratches on the wood, which defeats the plane's purpose. The bottom casting not the sole proper, but its leading and trailing edges should be slightly convex at its toe and heel.
I've seen some planes, especially jack planes, that have had their toe and heel ground off so that they are squared across the width of the plane.
You'll also stumble across many bench planes that have a hole drilled through their bottom castings. This was done so that the plane could be hung from a hook when not in use. This 'feature' does nothing to the plane's use, but it does kill it as a collectible, especially on the scarcer planes. Similar holes can be found along the sides of the planes so that they could accept one of the many fences ones that can be adjusted to bevel an edge that were offered over the years.
The Stanley bench planes are equipped with irons that are very thin when compared with the thick irons used on the older wooden planes. Leonard Bailey was the first to use these thin irons prior to Stanley purchasing his patents.
Stanley made it a point to mention the iron's thinness in their marketing propaganda by claiming that: 1 They are easier to grind; 2 They require less grinding "as a thin cutter can be kept in condition by honing"; 3 There is "less tendency to 'stub off' the cutting edge when honing, hence the original bevel is kept much longer"; and 4 It "seats firmer on the frog.
While these irons are high quality, they are also often too thick for the plane to accept them without having to file the mouth wider, and that's something you should think long and hard about as it's a modification that can potentially affect the value of the tool in the long term. Make sure there is enough meat on the iron and if it is pitted, your best bet is to toss it. You'll probably find some amount of corrosion on the face of the iron where the cap iron makes contact.
This corrosion is often black in color and can be lapped out quickly. The corrosion occurs from the plane sitting idle where moisture is trapped between the two irons. Inspect the iron, even on its backside, for any cracks. The Stanley irons do crack due to their thinness, but it is not a common occurrence.
I've also seen an iron de-laminate; look them over around the bevel for this flaw Stanley did equip their bench planes with laminated irons up to about WWII - click here to see the company's propaganda for laminated irons. Make sure the cap iron fits tightly against the iron; you'll have to re-grind it if it doesn't. Strangely, you'll stumble across irons and cap irons that have mushroomed ends, like the kind you see invariably on wooden planes.
Stanley planes that show this 'handiwork' must have belonged to transitional woodworkers, where the line between master carpenter and ham-fisted hack was but a mere hammer away. Why anyone would smack the heel of the iron on this kind of plane is lost on me. If your plane has this feature, a file will make short order of it.
Stanley Bench Plane Typing
Rarely, and I do mean rarely, you might find an bench plane with a strange iron in it. It looks as if someone screwed a razor blade onto the cutting edge of the normal iron.
If you see this, sell the iron to a collector, and find yourself a replacement. What you have is another one of Stanley's boneheaded ideas - "Ready Edge Blades. Whenever the plane's cutter dulled, he could pull out a new one and screw it onto the holder.
Four categories seem sufficient to describe and roughly date a plane: Pre-lateral for any plane that has no side adjusting mechanism for the cutter, low knob, SW model or tall knob (SW stands for Stanley Works but is usually called Sweetheart) and late models for WW2 vintage and later. A great deal of research has been dedicated to dating Stanley's bench planes over the years, with type studies established for the Bailey and Bedrock lines, as well as many of the most popular specialty planes. While comprehensive type studies exist for the no. , no. 9 . Type Planes made by Stanley You plane appears to be a hybrid of Types 4 and 5. Use the Plane Type Study or the Plane Feature Timeline to further identify your plane. Type 5. Planes made by Stanley Go to the Plane Type Study for information on features introduced in .
A few chips on the lever cap along its edge of contact with the cap iron are nothing to fear. These chips are from a previous owner using the flat end of the lever cap as a screwdriver to loosen the cap iron screw prior to the sharpening of the iron. This flaw lessens the value of a plane to a collector, but does nothing to hinder the plane's use provided the chips are not severe enough to prevent sufficient clamping pressure on the iron.
The lever cap underwent a subtle design change in the hole through which the lever cap screw passes. The first hole is symetrical and shaped like a key hole. During the early 's, the hole was redesigned and patented so that is has a kidney shape design.
This change was done to address the supposed problem with the lever cap backing upward, off the lever cap screw, as the iron was drawn back while turning the adjusting screw.
The planes had been made some 70 years, and used successfully for that same time, without the kidney-shaped hole so it seems that Stanley made the design change as a gimmick to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. Look for stress cracks or outright chips about the lever cap's screw hole. This flaw can diminish the plane's utility since the lever cap is apt to loosen during use. It's best to pass examples with this problem, unless you can salvage it for parts.
Test the brass depth adjustment nut to see if it turns freely - a lot of times these are seized. If the knurling on the nut appears stripped or the nut is mis-shaped not a circleit's a good indication that someone took drastic measures, like the use of vise-grips, to free it. Chips in the bottom casting are sometimes found where the sides meet the toe or heel of the plane. These, too, have no harmful affect on the use of the plane, but they do lessen its value to a collector.
Also, these chips are rather jagged so you may want to file them smooth lest they rip your hands to shreads during use. Check the depth adjustment fork, which is held captive in the frog. It resembles a wishbone, with each side terminating with a round shape to the casting.
Each side engages the circular groove in the brass depth adjustment nut. Sometimes, one of the sides of the fork breaks off, making the fork bind when it's adjusted. These forks are cast iron, but starting around the early's they became a cheesy two-piece steel construction.
You might think it strange that the cast iron fork can break, but break they do, usually as a result of too little pressure from the lever cap on the iron, which then results in the iron being thrust backward during planing, putting an extreme amount of force directly on the fork, ultimately snapping it.
Stanley, in their instructions for using the planes, specifically addresses just how tight the lever caps should be - "If the Cam [of the lever cap] will not snap in place easily, slightly loosen the Lever Cap Screw. Some modern day tool authors, sure in their scholarly advice, recommend taking a pair of pliers and squeezing the 'tines' of the adjusting fork toward each other to take out some of the slop in the mechanism.
You'll snap the thing as sure as that plaid shirt and toolbelt wearing guy will use a bisquick joinah. If the fork is broken, you can pilfer one from a dogmeat bench plane by knocking out the pin that allows the fork to pivot. The pin normally pops out when driven from left to right as viewed from the rear of the frog. There were many modifications made to the bench planes over their production. These are outlined in the type study, but the major design change, that of the frog and the way it seats on the bottom casting, is mentioned here in greater detail.
There are four major frog and corresponding receiver of the main casting designs found on the Bailey bench planes. Sure, there were some experiments gone awry and a few minor modifications, but the descriptions of the four that follow are those that were in the longest production.
The first design resembles the letter "H" when viewed from the front or rear of the plane. The frog is machined to sit on the sides, or rails, of this machined area of the main casting. The frog is screwed to the cross 'beam' that spans the rails.
This design was the one Leonard Bailey finally settled upon prior to Stanley purchasing his patents. Stanley continued this solid design for just a few years until ca. The second major design dispensed with the experimental frog ca. This design is simply a broad and flat rectangular area that is machined on the bottom casting.
This machined area is rather low, and has two holes that receive the screws which are used to secure the frog in place. Likewise, the bottom of the frog is machined flat to fit onto the bottom casting. This method of securing the frog was sound and it worked well, but the amount of machining, after the parts were cast, certainly made production more costly and slow, and they eventually cast two grooves into the main casting's frog receiver ca. Still, this construction was too costly.
Thus, Stanley needed to modify the design if they were to become "The Toolbox of the World. The third design made its debut inand was again patented by Stanley. This re-design of the frog likely was an attempt of Stanley's to keep the competition at bay, since their original design's patents had expired just 5 years earlier.
Under the new design, the frog receiver on the bottom casting is made up of a cross rib, a center rib, and two large screw bosses that flank each side of the center rib. The leading edge of the frog itself has a support directly behind the mouth to offer a solid base as a measure to reduce chattering. The rear of the frog rests on the cross rib, across its full width.
The frog has a groove that is centered across its width and is perpendicular to its front edge. This groove sits atop the center rib and is used to align the frog, keeping it square with the mouth.
No No Yes Types Types Is the lever cap back recessed or simply flat? Flat 1 Recessed Types Types "BAILEY'S PATENT" "AUG. 31, , AUG. 6, " on the depth nut? tote)? No Yes Type 1 Type 2 ) Is the frog receiver a broad rectangular area with an arched rear (toward the No Yes Type 3 Type. Type 3 Type 13 "Stanley" appears on lever cap. Type 4 Type 14 "Made in USA" appears cast into Type 5 Lateral adjustment lever appears. archotelzeeland.com Size: 63KB. Jan 27, Stanley was surely not lacking in its appetite for block planes, offering models and variations of models in every size and flavor imaginable. Trying to figure out all the models and differences is maddening. Since search phrases most frequently entered by those visiting Virginia Toolworks include which block plane to buy, I thought it might.
The center rib was slighty modified to a larger and arched shape starting around The two screw bosses, used to receive the screws that fasten the frog to the bottom casting, are purposely large and deep.
They were made this way to prevent the sole from deflecting upward when the frog is screwed securely into place. The entire frog is adjustable forward or backward to close or open the mouth, as the case may be by a set screw that is accessible directly below the frog's brass cutter depth adjustment nut. This frog adjusting screw was first offered on the Bed Rock series of planes, but soon found favor with frog adjusters everywhere and was added to the Bailey series starting around The fourth design, made right after WWII, has the frog receiver with the center rib now cast to resemble a wishbone.
There is a 'break' in the machined area of the cross rib, right above the frog adjusting screw. This new design wasn't patented.
Hand Plane Tune-Up - Amazing Results from Your Plane
This means that the plane didn't meet the quality specifications during its inspection. Usually, the imperfection is something trivial, like a flaw in the finish or a casting defect a pockmark or two. I've only noticed this marking on the planes made during the midth century. The earlier planes that had quality problems were likely trashed and never made it out to the adoring public.
Go see the 17 for some other 'imperfect' information. During the late 's and very early 's, Stanley decided to paint some of the frogs on their sides only a bright, Cheeto's-colored orange - you almost go blind looking at it. This orange paint covers the normal japanning that was used on the frog and main casting.
Why Stanley did this is anybody's guess. Perhaps they were trying to go one-up on the Millers Falls' line of bench planes, where that company painted their frogs a bright red.
If this is the case, it's rather laughable as Millers Falls was never going to dethrone Stanley as the world's leader in metallic bench planes. However, Millers Falls did debut their bench plane line inwhich is the same time Stanley offered their orange frogs. This orange paint craze wasn't just limited to the Bailey line of planes.
It can also be found on the Bed Rock series of bench planes, some of the block planes the brass knob and adjuster are painted orangeand on the 78 rabbet the embossed logo on the right side is highlighted in orange. There are probably other planes that got the treatment as well. The bench planes are the most commonly found orange decorated planes, with the others being somewhat scarce.
Stanley produced a very short-lived frog design during the early 's pictured in the image to the left. Stanley, realizing the genius of Leonard Bailey, may have thought that his new design would prove to be a threat to the conventional design and then decided to mimic his.
Bailey's Victor design certainly proved easier to manufacture as there was less machining involved, but it does have two real flaws: there is no ability to adjust the frog to open or close the mouth; and the cross-rib that carries the frog is susceptible to cracking or breaking due to the stress placed on it from overtightening the lever cap or during planing. This frog is secured to the cross-rib via two screws that are oriented horizontally.
Nice attempt Leonard and Stanley, especially since one size frog could be used on multiple sizes of the bench planes 3 through 8but the one frog fits all definitely didn't satisfy all users of the planes. Many folks find it confusing about whether Stanley or Bailey made these planes.
If you have a Stanley bench plane and you want to know roughly when it was made, you've come to the right place. Otherwise perhaps you'd be happier elsewhere. How to use this page Start by reading Patrick Leach's comments on Stanley plane dating. Then check out the Plane Dating Flowchart. Jan 27, Dating Hand Planes Dating Stanley. Stanley Bench Plane Typing. Apparently the number marking of the no. 2 planes was intermittent during the period All sizes will not be found in all types, i.e. the #41/2 was not offered until , the #51/2 in , and the #51/4 in Some planes including the #8 size were eliminated in It's also the first fractional number designation in the Stanley series (if you think this numbering system is strange, don't ever try to memorize the model numbers of The Union Manufacturing Co, as they took to numbering some of their planes to the 1/8's; e.g., #4 3/8). Stanley, and other companies, would try to slip new models of planes into.
The answer is, both made them. Leonard Bailey, while working in happening Boston, Massachusetts during the 's and 's, came upon the fundamental design of planes with which we are all familiar. Stanley, having been a manufacturer of rules, levels, squares, etc for some 15 years, was looking to expand their toolmaking business, so they bought out Bailey's patents in They produced the planes with little change, where the only Stanley markings were on the iron and on the lateral adjustment lever.
Many people believe that the lever caps are replaced on these models or that they aren't Stanley products since they have "BAILEY" on them. They most assuredly are Stanley products.
The Bailey-made stuff, from Boston, is very scarce and highly prized by collectors. The corrugated version of the 3. Like the 2Cthe advantages that corrugations supposedly offer the plane during use are somewhat questionable on a plane of this size.
The standard smoothing plane. This, along with the 5are what made Stanley a fortune. This plane will out-smooth any sanding, scraping, or whatever on most woods. There are woods that present themselves as problems for this plane, and the rest of the Stanley bench planes for that matter, but this shouldn't deter you from owning one. The planes were designed to be general purpose and affordable, not to conquer any wood tossed their way. Many modern woodworkers have their first plane epiphany with this little tool as the curls come spilling out its mouth.
Occasionally, you might find an early version of this plane with a built-in oiler located at its knob which holds oil that is drained through perforations drilled through the sole, directly beneath the knob. This was an aftermarket addition, and unlike other aftermarket ideas, like the tilting handles on modified 10 's, which Stanley eventually put into production, the oiling device soon became a genetic deadend in the tool tree.
The same oiling device can also be found on 5' s. The corrugated version of the 4. One of Stanley's dumber ideas, as can be inferred from their short time of offering, was the aluminum planes. The bed and frog on this plane are made from aluminum, which makes the plane lighter. This was the supposed appeal of these planes, that they are lighter than the iron planes. That, and that they weren't prone to rusting. Rosewood was used for the knob and tote. Despite all these swell features, the planes were a miserable flop.
Dating stanley no. 4 planes
These planes were produced at a time when nickel plating appeared on the lever caps. All the ones I've seen have the old-style lever cap, without the new kidney-shaped hole that was first produced in If you see one of these planes with a lever cap that is nickel plated and has a kidney-shaped hole, it's probably a replacement. The depth adjusting knob is also nickel plated, as well as the lateral adjustment lever. They'd be useful tools if you were planing over your head all day, but not many of us do that.
Since aluminum oxidizes easily, these planes leave despicable skidmarks for lack of a better word on the freshly planed wood. The planes - those that were used, that is - also tend to develop a very ratty look to them. The surface of the aluminum becomes riddled with dings and scratches making them blech to even the casual Stanley collector well, maybe not all of them, but many of them for certain - most of them take on a striking resemblance to the lunar landscape after being used.
Those that are in mint condition have some appeal about them, but they still have look like of an aluminum pot or piece of foil. If you're collecting this stuff, make sure it's aluminum and not some iron plane in aluminum paint clothing - if the weight of the thing doesn't clue you in, a magnet will.
The aluminum planes were appreciably more expensive than the cast iron models. You have to wonder if any heads rolled for this braindead idea? Lucky for us that Stanley didn't make a mitre box, or something like that, out of aluminum. Hey, wait a minute, they did!
Let's just say that the company was going through a phase and be done with it.