Author Topic: Hand Planes  (Read 281904 times)

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Offline Bill Houghton

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1215 on: May 10, 2022, 06:57:24 PM »
I've never quite understood what made those superior to regular block planes.  You could get pretty precise with a good block plane, and the longer series planes (7") aren't that much shorter than this one.

Still, there must have been a market.

Online lptools

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1216 on: May 10, 2022, 08:29:28 PM »
Hello, Bill. From what I have read , ( Patrick leach),  the sides of the No. 9 were ground square, more accurately to the sole, than your average block plane. This made the No. 9 a good candidate for a shooting plane. Regards, Lou
Member of PHARTS-  Perfect Handle Admiration, Restoration and Torturing Society

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1217 on: May 11, 2022, 06:13:39 AM »
I wish I could provide an answer that’s based on my experience using a #9 in comparison to other block planes.  But like I said, I have never used a #9 in any capacity.  Maybe the time has come.  I will say that I’ve used several block planes over the years and I’ve gotten more than satisfactory results in relation to the application of such planes.  Basically I’m saying that I try to use the right plane for the job at hand.  If I’m going with an old Stanley for cabinet work then the #60 and #65 are typically my go to planes.  If we are using Leach as the as the standard, then the #65 gets very high praise from him.  Of course there are some great block planes currently being made by Lie Nielsen and Veritas that I know will deliver top notch results.  I think any block plane that’s really well tuned, outfitted with a razor sharp iron and set for a light pass will produce a nice cut on end grain as long as the user isn’t applying it to a job that it’s not suited to do………. It may be time to give that #9 a try.

Jim C.
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1218 on: May 20, 2022, 07:54:56 AM »
Like so many other posts to the thread, this one is no different.  I was out in my shop this morning working on a project and stopped to look for a particular plane.  As you may recall, we moved about one year ago and that consequently caused me to pack up my planes along with the rest of the tools, machines and other stuff.  Anyway, while my shop is back up and running, a lot of the planes and vintage tools are still packed.  I get them out as I need them and if it’s something I don’t think I’ll use too often, I’ll repack it.  I’m really trying to keep my shop free from clutter and that includes never used or infrequently used planes.  Fortunately, I took the time to clearly and completely label each box and the contents of each box when I packed them.  So while I was digging through a box looking for a Rumbold butt mortise plane (see page 17, reply 254 if you forgot about this one), and I came across this.

Stanley #378:

I know I said it at least once or twice in the thread….. I like weather stripping planes.  I can’t say exactly why I like them, but I do.  Maybe because they harken back to a time when people made repairs to wooden windows and old places that required skilled craftspeople who needed such tools to maintain them.  Having replaced and repaired a few dozen window sashes in my previous house, I have an appreciation for that sort of work and can imagine what it took to make such repairs with hand tools.  While I did engage in some hand tool operations to complete the task, my shaper and two table saws were the work horses.  When it comes to weather stripping planes, there’s also a certain level of “contraptionism /gizmosity” that seems to attract me to them.  The Stanley #378 is no exception. 

What I know from reference materials, is that the #378 was designed to make cuts for installing metal weather stripping.  If so, it seems like a very specialized plane aimed at a relatively specific task.  But if you’ve been reading along all these years, you’ve seen me say that for the most part, Stanley tried to fill every hand plane niche whether it truly existed or not.  Still, the #378 remained in the Stanley product line for about twenty five to thirty years.  For a plane to stay in production that long, someone must have been buying them.  Now I say the plane was available for “about twenty five to thirty years” because there seems to be discrepancies in terms of when this plane actually went into production and was available to purchase.  I’ve seen reliable sources that say 1928, 1930 and 1933.  I’m really not sure which is correct.  The consensus however is that the #378 was last offered in 1958.

There are other aspects of this plane that seem to also lack definitive answers, and again, depending on which source one might consult will provide conflicting information.  Looking at the photos below, you’ll notice that the #378 was equipped with several depth stops each of which has its own unique length and width and could be mounted on either side of the plane via included thumb screws.  When I acquired the example depicted below, it came with four such depth stops.  Well, depending on which source one may rely on, the plane included either four depth stops or three depth stops.  I’ve seen various photographs of the plane being offered for sale that advertised it as “complete” but only included three depth stops.  Again, it really depends on the source of information you might look at.  I can’t think of another plane off hand that is described by reliable sources with conflicting information, particularly as it relates to the parts included with the plane itself. 

Prior to 1937 or 1939, again depending on the source of information one might refer to, the #378 was outfitted with an 11/16” wide cutting iron.  After 1937 or 1939, it came from the factory with a 13/16” wide iron.  The example below has a 13/16” iron that appears to retain its original factory grind.  From what I can see, the plane appears to have never been used, or used sparingly at best.  Optional cutting irons could be purchased separately that came in 11/16”, 3/4”, 7/8” and 1” sizes.  These aren’t the easiest to find today.  I’m still looking for a set! 

As you can see, the #378 came with several little parts that could very easily be separated from the plane.  You know what that means.  Buying an incomplete example and then trying to find the missing parts could be frustrating and expensive.  I try to avoid that at all cost, as I really dislike chasing parts!  So do your homework and make sure you’re getting a complete example.  Along with the four (or three) depth stops, the #378 came with two brass stop collars that could be mounted on the rear fence rod and are held in place with slotted head screws.  By mounting a collar on either side of the fence, two repeatable cuts could be made by securing the fence against one collar or the other.  You may recall that Stanley incorporated other methods of making repeatable cuts on other weather stripping planes as well.  I believe the #378 fence is unique to the plane.  Don’t buy one without the correct fence.  Finally, there’s a little cotter pin that was included with the #378.  Some sources don’t even mention it, but if you look very closely at Stanley generated drawings and advertising materials depicting the #378, the cotter pin is installed in the rear fence mounting rod.  I suspect that it was a preventative measure taken by Stanley to make sure the outer collar didn’t slip off the rod and get lost if it came loose.  That would be a real bummer particularly if the person using the plane didn’t notice the collar had slipped off.  Certainly low tech, but it probably worked.

I’m not so sure anyone really needs this plane today.  If you’re a collector and you find one that’s truly complete, maybe you add it to your collection.  In an effort to provide you with the best and most accurate information available, I can honestly say that the example shown below represents a complete #378 with all of its correct parts and is assembled in the configuration intended by Stanley. 

Jim C.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2022, 07:25:26 PM by Jim C. »
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Online Yadda

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1219 on: May 20, 2022, 05:52:00 PM »
Neat info Jim!
You might say I have a tool collecting problem....

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1220 on: May 20, 2022, 09:42:25 PM »
Hey Yadda,

Thanks for stopping by the thread and checking out the Stanley #378.  It’s sort of an odd ball plane, and with all the discrepancies associated with it, I thought it might be an interesting plane to feature……….. but I could be wrong about that. 

Jim C. 
« Last Edit: May 20, 2022, 09:46:19 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1221 on: June 02, 2022, 09:14:39 AM »
Back about fifteen to twenty years ago, I used to attend an annual swap meet and antique tool auction in rural Indiana.  The venue was a place called Darley’s Barn.  Anyone here familiar with it?  Anyway, one of the highlights of the trip was the lunch provided by Scott Darley.  I think that was his name, and if I got that wrong, please forgive me Mr. Darley.  The food was great and worth the trip all by itself.  I always had pretty good luck at that event in terms of finding a nice plane or two either on someone’s for sale table, or at the auction, or both.

Like most auctions, potential bidders have an opportunity to look over the lots before the fun starts, and the Darley’s Barn auction was no different. After I walked around looking at all the tools for sale and taking some notes, I made my way into the barn to see what was going to be auctioned off.  There were some good tools and among them several nice planes in mostly top user quality shape.  Well, one in particular caught my eye.  As I stood just a few feet away pretending to show interest in another plane, I listened to two gentlemen discussing the plane that I intended to bid on.  After they moved on, I took a closer look at the plane and satisfied myself that everything was correct and sound in terms of the plane’s patina, continuity of its parts, and its overall condition.  It wasn’t gem mint perfect, but its original box had protected it from the “white paint splatters” and other shop mishaps that seem to occur over time.  So the auction started and the plane I wanted was lot #32. Things moved pretty quickly as they always do at an auction and lot #32 was only a couple away from hitting block.  All along I kept an eye on the man who I had seen earlier showing interest in the plane.  Up to this point, he hadn’t bid on anything.  I got to thinking he was saving his money for lot #32.  I was doing the same thing.

Finally lot #32 was on the auction block and his bid card went up as soon as the auctioneer opened his mouth.  Not just up with a bent elbow, but a fully extended arm.  This guy was serious!  Just a couple rows ahead of me, another man jumped in and these two went back and forth for what seemed like a long time.  In reality it probably wasn’t much more than a minute and by then, the plane was reaching what I thought was its reasonable value.  Apparently, the man in front of me thought so too and he dropped out.  The auctioneer looked around the room, asked if there were any more bids and started the count down.  As he got to “…….Going twice.” I raised my card, blurted out my bid and hoped the man I had seen earlier looking at the plane wouldn’t counter, because my one and only bid was my budget and I had to save a little for the buyer’s premium too.  The auctioneer looked around the room, asked for any more bids, waited a second or two and the count down started again, “Going once. Going twice. Sold!”

Stanley #72:

I didn’t go to the Darley’s auction looking for anything in particular but when I saw this #72 chamfer plane in its original picture box, I knew I’d have to at least take an honest shot at it if I ever expected to add one to my collection.  The #72 is not a very common plane, and in its original box, it became almost too much to resist. I got lucky on that one.  This isn’t the type of plane that the typical homeowner/DIYer would have likely purchased back in the day.  I’ve never seen one at a garage sale, flea market or antique shop.  Maybe a professional cabinet maker would have had some need for a dedicated chamfer plane but even still, it reminds me of tool that’s a luxury versus a necessity.  I think it’s just another example of Stanley trying to fill every potential niche in the world of hand planes.  Cutting a forty five degree chamfer along the length of a workpiece can easily be accomplished with a simple block plane. Still, there must have been some measurable demand for the #72, as Stanley offered it for more than fifty years between 1886 and 1938. 

In 2009, John Wells and Chuck Wirtenson, published a type study regarding the #72 chamfer plane.  In that paper, they speculated that, “An economical size batch of chamfer plane castings was probably made, then castings were used as needed to assemble planes required to fill orders.”  I tend to agree with that statement.  Like I said, cutting a chamfer can easily be done with a block plane.  Those examples that I’ve examined over the years didn’t change too much, suggesting that they were sold only as requested from the plane using public.  So parts and castings for the #72 could have been used for years into the future even as trademarks on cutting irons changed and casting marks and patent dates progressed and were evident on other Stanley models.  Like I’ve said so many times, Stanley did not waste inventory.  They used it until it was gone, and in the case of the #72, that could have been several years after the parts were made. I guess in short, I’m of the opinion that the #72 was a specialty plane that one had to order and was not necessarily available in hardware stores across America.  It’s very likely that a #72 could be ordered several years after it was eliminated from Stanley catalogs, so long as there were castings and parts still in Stanley’s inventory.  Based on the referenced type study, the example below has physical characteristics that are consistent with a Type 6/Type 7, manufactured at some point between 1910 and 1920. 

At some point right around 1909, the #72 included a bullnose attachment that allowed the user to cut a chamfer into the corner of a workpiece.  As you can imagine, it’s a part that’s frequently missing, and it’s fragile along the leading edge and corners.  It’s an expensive part that’s tough to find.  The cutting iron is another part to closely inspect.  Since the iron is adjusted by hand or with the aid of a small brass hammer, there are no slots or gear engagement ridges that one would find on a typical block plane outfitted with an iron advance/retract mechanism.  Basically, an original, correct #72 cutting iron is flat on both sides.  It will have a trademark stamp, but that’s all.  A block plane iron will work, but be aware that it’s a replacement.  The rear tote is also unique to the plane itself.  If you look closely, notice that its toe is sort of squared off to fit the casting below. 

Over the years I’ve used the #72 when I have a long chamfered cut to make on a table leg or some other relatively long workpiece.  While it delivers a very nice, uniform chamfer, it’s difficult to start the cut.  Because there’s really no support on the front section of the plane, the user must start the cut a couple inches away from the end of the workpiece.  Then as the cut develops going towards the opposite end of the workpiece, the user must turn the plane around and cut the chamfer on the few inches that were uncut at the beginning of the chamfer.  Typically, that means cutting those few inches against the grain.  That might cause some tear out.  But if the plane is set for a very light pass and outfitted with a sharp iron, such tear out can be minimal or even avoided.  By raising the front section of the plane, the chamfer will be subtle.  Lowering the front section of the plane will result in a more prominent chamfer.  What’s nice about the plane is that the chamfer is repeatable.  That being said, until the inverted “v” sole on the rear section of the plane fully registers on both sides of the workpiece, the user is essentially cutting the chamfer freehand.  Only when the plane is fully seated on both sides of the ninety degree corner of the workpiece will a forty five degree chamfer be achieved.  I know that might sound confusing, however I hope the photos below will help with my explanation.

This is a fun plane to use and it will deliver a uniform chamfer.  It’s considered somewhat rare even though it was offered by Stanley for five decades.  If you’re going to buy one, inspect it carefully, do your homework, and if it’s missing parts, pass on it.  Parts are tough to come by and they won’t be cheap. 

Jim C.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2022, 06:47:39 AM by Jim C. »
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Offline Bill Houghton

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1222 on: June 02, 2022, 02:32:31 PM »
Jim,

Thanks for the interesting discussion, not just on the history of the making of this plane, but on its use.

Like many hand tool folks, I've always been intrigued by the No. 72, but, yes, never enough to go buy one.

I did acquire a No. 65 chamfer spokeshave (they, at least, are affordable), and wonder - if you happen to own a No. 65, too - how use of one of these compares to using the plane?

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #1223 on: June 02, 2022, 06:56:08 PM »
Hey Bill,

Thanks for stopping by the thread.  I’m glad you enjoyed reading the Stanley #72 post. Unfortunately l do not have a Stanley #65 spokeshave so I can’t make the comparison.  During the past twenty or so years, I’ve been making chamfers with various block planes, my Delta joiner and the #72, in that order from most frequent to least. I don’t want to put you on the spot, but if you get a little time, maybe you could post a few pictures of your #65 spokeshave.

Jim C.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2022, 07:02:45 AM by Jim C. »
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