Antique Stanley Plane

You are bidding on an Antique Stanley No. This is a nice looking scraper but I haven’t been able to get the upright piece to move. People who know little or nothing about planes and cutting irons are always telling me how much longer their thicker harder irons last in a single sharpening, but I have tried them and they are indeed harder and thicker and don’t you know it when it comes to sharpening them which takes foreeeeeeeever. As a newcomer to hand tools, I started with several woodriver planes and they’re awesome.

I suffered through 4 or 5 different low quality block planes (from yard sale pickups to hardware store purchases) before finally getting a LN for Christmas a few years ago. The castings are smoother on the WoodRiver than the Stanley and LN due to the casting technique (wax reduction vs sand casting). So I like to take their vintage planes for a test drive – planing against the grain of whatever nasty stuff is lying around. That’s one way to go, which will only minimally alter the original patina – if you want to preserve the vintage look.

E exhibits the proper characteristics that would lead one to believe that it is an 18th century American plane dating from the mid to late 1700’s. However Nick lets have some fun” Gibbs, editor of British Woodworking Magazine, sent me two new planes from Stanley. I don’t mean to take away from anyone who prefers to do their final smoothing with hand tools. The easiest way to tell if your plane is collectible or not is to see if there is a lateral adjustment on the frog.

Usually, a close scrutinization of the piece will reveal a slip-up by the ‘artist;’ a drop of paint someplace it shouldn’t be, a small area of rust found in a hard-to-reach place, a replacement part that doesn’t match the vintage of the tool, etc. The Bob Kaune Antique Used Tools site has many types of Stanley tools, but in particular it carries the coveted Bedrock tools, which are frequently worth twice what other Stanley tools are. Some of you may have noticed in part 3 that the plane iron was cutting really rough, despite having trued all of the surfaces of the plane so far.

So when the need arises, I turn to just a few tool dealers whom I trust for their encyclopedic knowledge of old tools and their knowledge of woodworking. When the plane has sat in the solution long enough, clean it under warm running water with a grey Scotchbrite pad. Ya. as long as you can fully submerge the blade in the solution (you may need to take the handle off) it should loosen everything up. Then just finish up by scrubbing it by hand with wd-40 and a scotch brite pad to get all the loose stuff off.

Cost is a huge issue with hand planes, as a modern high quality model can cost as much as some of the power tools we want to add to our shops. Tried a couple old, cheap stanleys and buck brothers years ago and became so frustrated it took me years to even want to try hand tools again. Depending on what your time is worth, that can add up quickly and vault the overall cost of a vintage plane much higher.

That indicates it is a type 15 or earlier Stanley bench plane (made before 1932). I also thought so and when I learn with Japanese plane I was trained to do so, too. Since Stanley bought out the Siegley company, it is easy to speculate that this is where the idea for the micro-dial fence on the Stanley 45 and 55 came from. But, If I know the person has little knowledge about hand planes in general, the last thing I want them to try is make their own plane. It is always the way, no planes for twenty years then two come along at the same time. Rosewood handle is very crisp with three small nothces on the right top side for identification.

But…. The No. 4 is best for leaving a super fine smooth surface, mainly do to its small size, and is a must have for a hand tool approach. I can’t, in good conscience, recommend that someone use a Four Square or Handyman plane over a Bailey or a Bed Rock. As you can see, there is a fair amount of information out there when it comes to hand planes. Having owned more than 250 vintage planes over the course of the time, I’ve only had a few that were unusable, and each of them had other issues more critical than the flatness of the bottom. Masking is quite simple: use an X-Acto or Stanley knife to trim the tape to sharp edges.

There was no refusing this deal, so after several hours of frog fitnessing and sole lapping, I slapped on a reasonably compatible knob, a spare lever cap and an older Stanley blade/breaker then went at a piece of white oak. Make sure the plane base has all paint/japanning removed where it is machined to receive and seat the frog. I am a strong believer in rehabilitating or repurposing old tools; some are worth it, others aren’t. Here are some very simple rules to follow when looking to purchase an old Stanley hand plane. Now it’s your call of you want to use one of these old planes in your shop on a day-to-day basis.


Having said that, all that I have to say is that I found this plane about as useful as cast steel and brass paperweight. You can get by with an inexpensive Hand Plane and after working with it and getting a feel for it, then you may want to invest in a Higher Quality Plane. About the only thing I can think of to explain this is that I’ve found that I can rehab planes without too much trouble. I’m always eager to look at their planes because I started out by restoring old planes well before there were nice modern bench planes available.

The following pictures of vintage and antique woodworking planes present graphic view of some of the subtle differences that occur in antique tools that affect values and create a price range from a few dollars to many hundreds of dollars for a given antique tool or plane. The second easiest way to see if you have a collectible Stanley plane is to see where the round hole on the plane’s blade is. If it’s on top like the blade on the left, it’s a Prelateral plane blade. My personal favorite bench plane is a Stanley #5. They’re still pretty common too.

If you take the plane body out of the oven and see some very light rust, a couple of quick swipes with a dry grey Scotchbrite pad will clean it all off. You can check prices of misc tools we have sold in the sales archives or past sales prices / Planes should you be looking for a value for your planes or tools prior to selling them. I own just as many new planes (Veritas, LN) as vintage and appreciate them immensely, but some days I’m in the mood for using a transitional jointer.

Read the instruction manual and practice using this plane until you master the functions, and start out on softwood before going to hardwood. Planes do let you flatten a surface already glued to another which is great for those wood movement situations or the frequent oops” moments. A certain percentage of these planes have been surface ground and look better than new.

On many pre-war Stanley/Bailey planes there is no paint or varnish finish on any part of the plane that touches your work. The guy using hand planes was done much faster than the guy sanding (he did use power sanders). Once fettled and flattened these two planes knock the socks of any and all other metal cast planes and they are inexpensive at any price under $50. It is not as important to keep the negative one out, as nothing bad will happen to it. (Note: make sure you have the polarity correct, or you will dissolve your plane and make a clean piece of rebar!). I found one antique dealer who had some old tools, and they were universally junk.

This plane dates from the late 1800’s and is a popular and desirable collectible plane for several different reasons. I’ve just got my dad’s old brass blow torch that is well rusted and gunked up, so this will prove a good way to restore it for father’s day. It can do all the tasks that a low angle block plane can do (witch everyone should have) plus work as a rabbit plane.

Hand planes are superseded in many cases by the jointer and planer-but can still be invaluable for many uses. Both of these books cross-reference the original tool catalogues and literature produced by Stanley as the source for their information. I guess Stanley was trying to save money anyway they could back in the 1870’s and putting a recess in the adjustment knob saved them $.001 in brass. And finally, just above is what is considered a very rare Stanley rabbet plane.

Again, period irons are abundant, but if you’re buying the plane to use, you’ll want to invest in a modern replacement from somewhere like Hock, Lie-Nielsen, or Lee Valley Tools. Although I bought a cheap plane and did tune it up nice it still dont have the fetures as a premium plan has. Oh, of course if you are adding better handles and working them over for use, they’d be priced differently than just old planes. In the 1930’s, Stanley used a hinged tin box and in the 40’s it was back to pasteboard for the third time. I have several old planes that I tuned and I use, as well as a few LN’s and LV’s that I have.

If you don’t have those tools you can ask your mill to do it for you, or buy S4S lumber (more expensive yes, but an option) I think that hand planes are contagious personally but the addiction relies on getting good results from the plane. Made redundant as a manager at Record he saw the opportunity of continuing some of the old lines and products, retaining skills and keeping some jobs going. Most importantly, when buying on Ebay (or any auction): DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY! US models have rosewood handles because they stopped production and then relied on Stanley UK manufacturing. The blade and back iron mechanism is better than I’ve seen on any modern Stanley plane before, but that is not saying much.

But for tool users” who find beat up” planes in junk shops and want to return them to service again for daily use, I’m not so concerned about having the exact, perfectly sized, screwdriver for each screw head on the tool. Bench Planes in sizes #3, #4, #5, #6 & #7 – Bedrock-style construction, heavy castings, precision machining, heavy 3mm A-2 Irons, heavy Cap Irons – Premium Planes at affordable prices.

I sold my 20 best molding planes for approximately $10,000 a number of years back, and have not had the opportunity to obtain many more as the supply of rare wooden planes has pretty much dried up. Again, they may all look the same to the casual observer, but when it comes time to sell yours, you better know which is which. If talking about a heavier smoothing plane then go for wider 4 1/2 Stanley as a good best smoother too.