Stanley hand plane dating

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 hype , but 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: 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. 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.

Stanley Plane Features Timeline MegaChart

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.


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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 circle , it'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.

How to Identify Stanley Hand Plane Age and Type (Type Study Tool)

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 in , and 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.

“How Many Patent Dates do you see behind the handplane frog?”

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. 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. 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 in , which 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 orange , and on the 78 rabbet the embossed logo on the right side is highlighted in orange.

Stanley plane dating

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: 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 8 , but 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. 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 2C , the advantages that corrugations supposedly offer the plane during use are somewhat questionable on a plane of this size.

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The standard smoothing plane. This, along with the 5 , are 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.

Pawn Shop Hand Plane RECLAIMED! Part 1-Stanley-Bailey #4.

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.


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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. Where possible, the flowchart uses parts that were probably replaced less often, such as frogs, depth adjustment screws and lateral adjustment levers.

This approach doesn't guarantee that you'll date your plane correctly, as the flowchart can be thrown off by some hybrids. The best approach is to use the flowchart to date your plane, and then visit the Plane Type Study and Plane Feature Timeline to verify the type. Please let me know if I can improve the flowchart. The lighting makes some of the bench plane castings look like they're made of bronze or something, but they're really all cast iron.

Although the plane iron has the Sweet Heart stamp, similar style to a type 12, supposedly discontinued with the type The other is somewhere between a type 18 and It has the vertical Stanley on the adjustment lever of the 19, but the diagonal knurling on a brass depth adjustment nut and rectangular plane iron of the So what have I learned in this? The older one is a paper weight as the sole has a crack and the newer one is a user. Stanley plane dating I have a made in Canada Sweetheart blade that has the number stamped on the back. I asked on a few forums about it a couple of years back.

People found it curious but no one had any information beyond the fact that the number stood for the third quarter of I would suggest that Stanley used the stamps on blades until the stamps wore out. Because Canadian production was smaller in volume, the stamps lasted longer. I don't have any "facts" to back up my suggestion, but why else would they keep using them? I have heard many times that the type studies for Stanley planes are a result of collectors looking at thousands of planes and noticing when certain "features" started or stopped.

In real life at the Stanley factory, when the parts bin was empty the workers would start using the new parts. If the bin in Canada had lots of the old parts they might be put on planes for several years beyond the dates in the type studies. It was not as precise as the type studies would suggest. It is fun to try and figure out just how old these tools might be.

Originally posted by Darrell Pink View Post. If I consider my time I have more invested in composing this message than the four combined are worth!!! Stanley plane dating Hi Darrell and Glen I am working on a type study of Canadian Stanley bench planes but a web page is a long way off right now. It will be more a study of changes and features than a chronological record of production Rob in Niagara Falls. Originally posted by Brophy View Post.