Identifying Antique Wood Planes

Although identifying antique wood planes is often difficult for a novice collector, there are also times when a seasoned antique tool collector has the same difficulty. Hey muddler, I’m new to this forum and came across this topic on google, and found it interesting because I happen to have a plane, that on the H” it’s stamped C-73 and, on the lever C-116 but what confuses me is the fact that I have two plan beds, that are the exact same, the one I know is a stanley because of the lever, whereas the other lever is just blank… but if you found any more info on the plane I would love to hear what you found out!

I do think you could do the whole job with one provided you have a means of holding the strip in place that wasn’t too much hassle when it came to flipping one side to the other AND the plane is tuned for the job as Darryl wrote ie. the frog needs to be set so the mouth has a very fine opening just as you need on a block plane and is achieved with the adjustable throat.

Here is something interesting: last year I bought a book Working Wood 1 & 2: the Artisan Course with Paul Sellers and read it, also he has a lot of interesting videos on You Tube which are by all means, phenomenal, in his opinion, he’s using only ONE” plane a #4 Stanley vintage, I saw him this year at a woodworkers show in NJ, with ONE” plane (he has a lot of them, but swears by that #4).

Because this lever was often removed from the plane (the owner simply found it easier to adjust the sole without it), and because the same lever was offered on the smaller block planes, it’s sometimes possible to find planes with an improper lever – a lever from the smaller #60 1/2 will not permit the sole to be adjusted over as wide a range as a proper one will.

I currently have a micrometer adjustment basically using the same system as the old transitional Baileys but while that’s OK for a bench plane it’s not fine enough for a single handed bench plane (it’s not a block plane with the iron set this steeply) where even just a very little backlash makes it too difficult to get the right depth of cut for this sort of work.

I’ve got currently only a Stanley Bailey #4 so I’m looking for a hand plane to complement it for finishing type of work (ergo in my limited understanding that would be a low angle block plane of some sorts?) and possibly a longer plane for flattening one side of boards to be able to push them through a lunchbox thickness planer (once I get one) since I don’t have a dry space to have a proper planer/thicknesser.

Block planes are characterized by the absence of a chipbreaker and the cutting iron bedded with the bevel up. The block plane is usually a smaller tool that can be held with one hand and is used for general purpose work such as taking down a knot in the wood, smoothing small pieces, chamfering edges, and making the end of a sawed board square and smooth.

The original handle is easy to distinguish from the reproduction – the original is cast and is hollow inside whereas the reproduction is milled from round stock and shows machining marks inside it. It’s a good idea to remove the side handle before purchasing the plane (unless it’s priced ridiculously low) to inspect the side rail for any cracks or missing chunks which the side handle can easily hide.

I use Toyota Land Cruiser front coil springs for chisels and a great bench hook that I use to hold the strips in the form when I attack them with a bench plane. The cutters are of the square corner type used on the Bailey and are marked in three lines VICTOR, by Stanley (in script), No.1104 or 1105. Of all the antique hand tools made, the wood plane is one of the most highly sought after by tool collectors.

However, they may be used as a single plane to create a simple decorative cove or round-over on the edge of a board. The premium No.3 bench plane has the base and frog cast as one piece to reduce chatter. This was prompted by the Bench Plane thread and I hope it is of use to some of you. Rely on the block plane to wipe out the wavy machine-milling marks on lumberyard stock, leaving it satin-smooth. In fact, it’s quite possible to do all the typical bench plane chores with just one tool (more on that later).

I don’t actually use an initial or intermediate form any longer for this reason but just put the strip in the final form and plane it. You get to the stage of having to think seriously about accurate work pretty fast if you use one. On some variations, the slit is accompanied by a circular bevel, cut in the side of the plane which causes the shaving to eject to the side through the open body of the plane.stanley block plane identification

This minor point is only mentioned in the event that you have a handle and you’re trying to fit it to a plane. Stanley #101 Block / Thumb Plane This is an early model w/ B casting marks on the body and cap. When it comes to hand planes, the first thing I always recommend to listeners is they should invest in a good, quality block plane. Stanley #100 1/2 Round Bottom Block Plane This block plane is in very nice condition. The throat is OK. It has seen lots of use, but it is still a good usable plane.