Author Topic: Hand Planes  (Read 257171 times)

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Offline lptools

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1155 on: December 26, 2020, 05:34:39 PM »
Looking good, Jim!!  And a late Merry Christmas!!
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Online coolford

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1156 on: January 11, 2021, 02:42:57 PM »
I'm wondering about these two Stanley No. 4 1/2 planes.  They both check out to be type 16's, except for the width of the side walls which makes the one on the right a type 17 (war production).  Everything else about them is type 16.  However, the adjuster knob is wrong for the one on the right to be a 17.  What to you think?

Offline Bill Houghton

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1157 on: January 11, 2021, 04:33:03 PM »
I'm wondering about these two Stanley No. 4 1/2 planes.  They both check out to be type 16's, except for the width of the side walls which makes the one on the right a type 17 (war production).  Everything else about them is type 16.  However, the adjuster knob is wrong for the one on the right to be a 17.  What to you think?
I think no one told Stanley the dates for the type studies, so they rudely kept doing stuff like using up existing inventory even after a type change.

The type studies are akin to management models, which are conceptual frameworks laid atop an organization to try to make sense out of what is, in actual fact, a somewhat chaotic mass of people working together.  That is, the type studies don't represent the reality of years of production of tools.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 06:12:06 PM by Bill Houghton »

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1158 on: January 12, 2021, 08:22:09 AM »
Hey coolford,

Thanks for stopping by the thread.  Bill makes a good point.  When these old planes were being manufactured, type studies were not a consideration.  As I’ve said throughout the thread, and as Bill states, Stanley did not waste inventory, and parts that were made for a plane that was later categorized by collectors as a “type x” would also fit in the same model plane that was manufactured many years later and categorized as a “type y.”  The parts were interchangeable.  That was pretty typical of standard bench planes like your #4 1/2 smoothers.  If you take a look at the bench plane type studies, notice that Type 16 examples ended right around 1941 and Type 19 examples began right around 1948.  Within a seven year period, four “types” were identified, those being, 16, 17, 18 and 19.  It’s foreseeable that left over, but still interchangeable parts from an earlier type could have easily been installed on subsequent later types.  Somewhere back in the thread, I might have mentioned the lack of uniformity in war year production planes.  They were typically assembled from a hodgepodge of parts the were cobbled together from the inventory that was on hand and for some reason the main body castings were thicker and heavier. 

From what I’ve seen, I believe the generally accepted bench plane type studies produced by those collectors with a vast knowledge of the facts are somewhat soft in terms of definitive traits that can be attributed to war era planes and those that were produced immediately after WWII.  There’s just too much variation and combinations of parts that were being used during that brief time period to say, “Type 16 planes had this, this and this..... while Type 17 planes had this, this and this...... “  I wrote a little bit about the #4 1/2 back on page 28, reply 419.  From my perspective, when it comes to the #4 1/2, it seems that Stanley was trying to figure out how to make it competitive with the heavy British made infill smoothers.  The parts they used to make the plane and when those parts were manufactured weren’t as significant as long as they worked and the plane was heavy.  I also wrote a little bit about war era planes specifically as they related to main casting thickness back on page 11, reply 163.  Take a look back if you have a minute.

Jim C.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 06:37:55 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1159 on: January 18, 2021, 06:15:09 PM »
Not too long ago, someone asked me (with my wife standing right there) if I really used all those hand planes in my collection.  “Well, of course I do!  Why else would I have them?”  I’ve been floating that story to my better half for years.  I think she’s wise to it, but figures I could be involved in worse things.  So my answer is still the same….. “Well of course I use all the planes!”  Anyway, since I do like using the planes when I’m engaged in some kind of wood working, I thought I might show you how I use them for the simple task of flattening a short board.

I wanted to use this short piece of maple to make a pizza cutter.  It was an easy project and I had this cut off piece of maple that was destined for the fireplace.  Still, I hate to waste wood, so I hung onto it thinking some day I’d use it.  The big problem with it was that it was badly cupped and had a little twist.  Looking at it standing on end, the defects are plainly evident.  So how do you fix it?  This was clearly a job for a few hand planes.  What I had to do was flatten one side by hand so it could be laid flat on the bed of a motor powered thickness planer, which would make quick work of surfacing the opposite face making it flat and co-planer to the face I flattened with planes. 

When I have a cupped board like this, I usually hand plane the convex side, leaving the concave face down.  Clamping the board securely is important.  Since I start this process with a #40 scrub plane, anything less that a tightly held work piece is unacceptable.  Recall that a scrub plane takes a fairly thick shaving, removing a lot of stock quickly.  The work must be secure in order to stand up to the force of the cut.  Starting in one corner of the board, and angling the plane at about forty degrees, I’ll start removing the apex of convex section of the board going from one end to the other.  Once I’ve gotten to the end of the board making several forty degree passes, I’ll turn the plane around and move back down the board again making forty degree passes that run opposite to those made in the first pass down the board.  It might sound complicated, but it’s not.  What I’m trying to do is knock down that high spot so that at least two thirds of the centerline of the board are flat and will run through the powered thickness planer without rocking and then creating a board where the two faces are not co-planer.  As one can see, the scrub plane makes quick work of knocking down that high spot that ran down the centerline of the board.

Now with a much flatter surface, the scalloped face left by the scrub plane can be initially smoothed by the jack plane.  Once again, angling the jack plane at about forty degrees, I’ll plane out the scallops going one way down the board.   When I get to the end of the board, I turned the plane and angled it about forty degrees in the opposite direction, just like I did with the scrub plane.  The formerly convex section is almost gone and the board is almost flat enough for the thickness planer.  I occasionally check my progress by laying the hand planed surface on a table saw top to see if the board still rocks.  If it does, I must identify the high and low spots and make the adjustments to eliminate them.  Once I’m close to having that one side of the board flat, I’ll finish with a #4 ½ smoother.  The board is now ready for the thickness planer.  Laying the hand planed face of the board on the bed of the thickness planer, only a few passes through the machine will level off the concave face of the board making both faces co-planer and project ready. 
« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 09:27:42 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline john k

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1160 on: January 18, 2021, 10:09:19 PM »
Just keep enough planes around to use, unless one comes by me at a giveaway price.   Was unpacking a box that been put away.  The middle one is quite different from the usual Stanley,  plane iron is Union tool.  Is this correct?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 10:13:48 PM by john k »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1161 on: January 18, 2021, 10:48:56 PM »
John,

Thanks for stopping by the thread.  From what I can see, your Union plane looks like a real deal X Series example. That’s actually a really nice plane.  The Union X series was seen by Stanley as a legitimate competitor to the Bedrock series.  Based on a little research, and looking at the features on your plane, it appears to be Stanley made.  It seems that Stanley bought Union at some point (likely to eliminate the competition) around 1921, and continued selling and manufacturing Union planes for a period of time, actually improving its lateral adjustment lever.  Clean it up and start using it!  If it doesn’t make the list of “users” in your shop, let me know!  Check out the link below. Thanks for the photo and feel free to post a few more!

https://www.unionmfgco.com/x-plane-series-study

Jim C.

« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 07:18:36 AM by Jim C. »
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Offline john k

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1162 on: January 19, 2021, 09:00:37 AM »
The rest of that box.  Sort of getting acquainted with old friends.  The Union plane has gotten some use, and is becoming a favorite.  Laid down some salvaged 120 year old flooring, had to smooth out some high spots.  No. 45 was in there because it needed some major cleaning.  I collect saws, drills, wrenches, just never got the plane bug.  Like I said, got them to use.
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1163 on: April 11, 2021, 03:45:38 PM »
I was traveling and had a lay-over in Portland, Maine.  I saw this in the airport. 

Jim C.
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Offline p_toad

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1164 on: April 11, 2021, 10:44:52 PM »
no free samples?   :embarrassed:

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1165 on: April 12, 2021, 09:51:07 AM »
Hey P,

How great would that be!?  The Portland, ME airport is not that big.  There are a few small shops and eating/snack businesses there but nothing even remotely dedicated to Lie-Nielsen tools.  There were other similar sized display cases that featured other Maine based businesses, products and manufacturing.  While I knew LN was based in Maine, I got off the plane not expecting to see that display case full LN tools.  Had there actually been a LN store or vendor selling LN planes, I probably would have missed my connection flight.  Anyway, I made my “pit stop” took a couple photos and got back on the plane.

Jim C. 
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1166 on: June 25, 2021, 07:47:50 AM »
Hello hand plane enthusiasts!  I hope all is well with you.  It’s great to see things finally starting to resemble life as it was prior to the COVID pandemic, including the return of tool auctions and swap meets.  I know I don’t write about hand planes as much as I used to, but that doesn’t mean I’m done collecting them or using them. I still go to the auctions and swap meets when they’re being held and I’m willing to travel a little bit further to attend them now that I’m retired.  You might recall that I’ve gotten more interested in making my own planes as well.  Still, if you add in a few other more recent hobbies like beekeeping and disc golf along with those I’ve been engaging in for decades, particularly woodworking, my days are full.  Anyway, I hope you’re doing okay and your hand plane collections have grown or at least are seeing some use out in your shop. 

A little while ago we got into a discussion about fiberboard planes.  The Stanley #193 specifically.  You might recall that I added several posts to the thread discussing its use, variations, parts, etc.  As I poked around on the internet, I found very little useful information about them, other than they’re not worth owning and that admitting to owning one was grounds for being officially banned from the hand plane collecting/using community.  As I learned more about the #193, I also discovered more information about a couple other Stanley planes with a similar stigma, the #194 fiberboard bevel plane, and the #195 hardboard bevel plane.  Like the #193, I never gave either plane a second thought.  But as a card carrying Stanley hand plane collector, the real crime was not knowing much about any of them nor having a least one example of each in my collection.  So for the last couple years the #194 and #195 have been on my list of planes to watch out for.  Like I said earlier in this post, I haven't been writing too much about hand planes, and I do apologize for that.  These days I need to be motivated by a certain plane in order to write about it.  I guess if I'm going to write about a plane, I'd like it to be one that has a story behind it or adds to the base of knowledge regarding the plane and its use.  Almost a year ago, I started drafting a post pertaining to the Stanley #9 block plane.  While it's a desirable plane to own, there's already a ton of information out there and I'm not too sure how much I can add to it.  Furthermore, my #9 really doesn't have a good story to go along with it.  I bought the plane from a collector, who bought it from a collector, who bought it from another collector.  That's literally it. Thats the whole story.  Boring.  I’m just not motivated to write about it, and every time I try to, nothing happens.  So by now you're probably wondering, "Where in Jim going with this?  Well, let’s get into it.

Ever since we covered the Stanley #193 a while back, I've been on the lookout for a #195 to add to my collection.  Last week I finally found one …… and it comes with an unusual story.  I've been a member of the Midwest Tool Collectors Association for a long time.  Prior to COVID, the MWTCA held two national meets per year. I believe COVID messed things up last year, but the schedule was resumed this year.  Are any of you MWTCA members?  Anyway, last week I attended a national MWTCA meet in Middleton, Wisconsin, which is sort of near Madison.  (I should mention that a few months earlier, a good friend of mine gave me a mint condition, Millers Falls ratcheting brace, but no bits.). So, I went to the MWTCA meet intent on buying a nice set of bits to use with the brace.  As I’ve described in the past, once inside the ball room being used to hold the swap meet, one is overwhelmed with the sight of old tools.  It never gets old to me.  So I started to walk around methodically taking notes of what I saw and where I saw it.

When I got about half way through my first tour of the tables which were full of old tools for sale, I came across a table that had several very nice sets of auger bits!  I looked them over carefully and then as I was about to pick up another set, I spied what looked like a #195 one table over.  I got the owner’s attention and told him I was interested in the #195.  So I finished my business with guy selling the bits and ended up with a real nice set of Greenlee’s.  Mission accomplished.  I had a good set of bits and I still had some cash left over for a plane or two.  With that, I turned my attention to the #195.  I picked it up off the table and took note of its condition.  It wasn’t in the top collector category, but given its relative rarity, it was definitely worth consideration. 

As I studied the plane, I noticed the seller thumbing through a copy of Blanchard’s price guide.  I wasn’t sure why he was doing that, but I soon learned why. While I don’t typically discuss the price of the planes that I buy, in this instance, knowing that adds some perspective to the story.  When I see a plane I’m interested in, one of the first things I look at is the price.  At a swap meet, it’s almost a given that the asking price isn’t usually the selling price.  The seller more often than not will knock off a few bucks. Well, the #195 was priced at $200.  Given its condition and rarity, I thought the price was reasonable.  I reached in my pocket for my remaining cash and started to peel off twenties.  At that point, the seller stopped me and said he couldn’t sell the plane for $200.  He wanted $250 for it.  In all my years of collecting planes, no one has ever raised the price above the price stated on the sticker or tag.  According to the seller, after conferring with the price guide, he came to the conclusion that he underpriced the plane and wouldn’t take less than $250 for it.  I protested to some extent, but he wasn’t going to budge.  I offered $225, asking if he’d split the difference.  Nope.  It was gonna be $250 or nothing. Well, you know the rest of the story. Anyway, that was a first for me, and hopefully the last time that happens.

If you were to do an internet search for the Stanley #195, like the #193 featured earlier in the thread, there’s not too much out there other than some sarcastic comments and a few pictures.  That being said, I do have to admit that the #195 is extremely limited in what it was designed to do.  Cutting a beveled edge on hardboard hardly seems like a task that was worthy of its own plane.  But like I’ve said so many times throughout the thread, Stanley tried to fill every real or imagined niche in the hand planing world.  At some point however, Stanley accountants, or sales people, or hardware retailers came to the conclusion that the #195 wasn’t worth the cost to produce, sell or carry in inventory.  As a result, the #195 was in production for a very short period of time, 1937 - 1943. Its limited use capabilities coupled with its short production life created a plane that is considered rare today, hence it’s $200+ price tag. 

While I may never use the #195 again, I had to give it a try at least once.  The problem was that I didn’t have a piece of hardboard, or Masonite, or some similar type of material.  After looking around my shop and coming up with nothing, it eventually occurred to me that the top of my workbench was covered with a 1/4” thick sheet of Masonite.  I added the Masonite to the top of my workbench as a protective layer that could easily be removed and replaced.  With just a minor adjustment to the fence and the depth of cut, I was able to slice off the edge of the badly worn Masonite with no trouble, leaving behind a clean beveled edge.  Had I sharpened the cutter before using it, I believe the finished edge would have been even crisper and cleaner.  I will agree that the intended purpose of the #195 doesn’t make a lot of sense, that is, cutting a beveled edge on hardboard, however I will say that it delivers very nice results and works as designed.

Finally, this is an expensive plane, if you’re looking for one to fill a hole in your collection, make sure you know what you’re looking at.  From a distance, and to the untrained eye, the #195 and the #194 are very similar looking planes with interchangeable parts.  Do your homework.

Jim C.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 04:28:15 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Bill Houghton

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1167 on: June 26, 2021, 10:39:17 AM »
I've never had anyone bump the price on something after I had it in my hand, either.  What gall.  Pulling it off the bench and correcting the price tag, sure; but, once you picked it up, he was obligated to honor his price, in my opinion.

I think I've commented before, when you posted about the fiberboard planes, that Stanley was offering them at the time that fiberboard of various consistencies was the Newest Best Thing.  I think I've also posted about the cabins near Crater Lake, Oregon, that we've stayed in (no longer open, alas), in which the top half of each wall is fiberboard of about particleboard grade, in terms of chip size and hardness, that are grooved to imitate vertical boards, most likely by a fiberboard plane.

Had drywall not done such an effective job of replacing plaster, I suspect we'd see a lot more fiberboard in use, because it's an efficient way to do interior finish walls in the same way that drywall is: big panels, installed quickly.  And, too, at the time fiberboard was in its glory, plywood wasn't yet a very reliable product.  So, between drywall and plywood, fiberboard's range of usefulness narrowed to the uses we see these days, few or none of which need a fiberboard plane.

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1168 on: June 26, 2021, 12:29:04 PM »
Hi Bill,

Great to hear from you!!  You did provide some excellent content when we were discussing fiberboard planes and it would be an understatement to say that you’ve provided excellent content and commentary throughout the thread.  You’re input is ALWAYS welcome and valued here.

As for the deal on the #195……. You could have been standing right there with me.  I had the plane in my hand and said the same thing.  I pretty much told the guy, it says $200 and I’m not even going to try to get a better price. I put the plane down and got my money out and started counting.  As soon as I started peeling off twenties, he said he couldn’t sell it for $200.  I told him, that’s what the sticker says and I’ll pay it,  He took the plane off the table and peeled the $200 sticker off its sole. Then he said it’s $250 and good luck finding another one.  At that point I should have said good luck finding another buyer and walked away.  But like a dummy, I offered to spilt the difference and threw $225 on the table.  He wasn’t budging and then referred to his out dated price guide saying the plane could sell for as much as $400.  I guess he thought $250 was a deal.  Anyway…….

I finished walking around, talked to a couple guys I knew and ended up buying a #194 from another seller for less than its initial asking price.  While it doesn’t make the #195 seller’s behavior acceptable, and I do think it was a bush league thing to do, he was right about one thing; I didn’t see another #195 anywhere in the room.

Jim C.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 12:57:31 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1169 on: June 26, 2021, 01:51:23 PM »
I guess while we’re on the topic of unusual hand plane deals, I’ll tell this story now.  I was waiting to tell it when I featured the plane associated with it, but who knows if or when I’ll ever get to it…….

Ten years ago when I turned fifty, I had set aside some cash with the intent of adding a Stanley #164 to my collection.  I figured I’d go to an auction and duke it out with other potential buyers.  Well, I went to the Fall Meeting of the MWTCA and couldn’t believe there was an older gentleman there with his wife and they were selling his hand plane collection.  Needless to say, he had some really high end stuff on his table to include a very nice Stanley#164.  I couldn’t believe my good fortune!  Here’s the plane, here’s a motivated seller (at least I thought so), the price for is within my budget and I have no competition or auctioneers fees.  I remember thinking, “Holy s**t, I’m gonna buy this 164!”  And after some very close inspection and some haggling, I bought it!!

Well, I should have paid for the plane and left immediately, but I didn’t.  I walked around a little bit, talked to a few people I knew and started heading for the door about an hour later.  As I stopped to zip up my coat, two older gentleman that I did not know and the wife of the guy I bought the plane from approached me.  The two men didn’t say anything but the guy’s wife asked if she could buy the 164 back.  She had my money in her hand and an additional $100 bill.  I told her I wasn’t too interested in selling it back.  She persisted and said she had been the driving force behind her “husband’s decision” to start liquidating his collection and he was very upset about selling the 164.  To make a long story short, I gave in and sold the plane back to her for what I paid for it.  I drove home kicking myself.   

Jim C.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 09:27:09 PM by Jim C. »
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