Author Topic: Hand Planes  (Read 277887 times)

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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #240 on: March 29, 2014, 04:20:50 PM »
Jim C, Branson and Scott, thank you for this wonderful thread. You have long since gone beyond my knowledge base. That is pretty much why I don't post much, but I have certainly learned a lot With 3800 views, I suspect there are quite a few more like me.  Jim, we know a bit about Scott and Mike and their backgrounds, maybe you could tell us a little about how you got to where you are?

Hey John,

I'm glad you're enjoying the thread, but I'm also a little concerned, because it sounds like you might like to post some content and/or comments now and then, but are maybe a little hesitant to do so.  I started the thread with the sincere hope that EVERYONE, regardless of their familiarity level with planes, would join in without feeling any sense of intimidation.  It's simply about enjoying hand planes no matter where you are in the grand scheme of things, and on your own individual terms.  I'm presenting content in an effort to stimulate conversations about hand planes.  Ask a question, make a comment, feature a plane from your shop, etc.  Jump in John!!!

As for how I arrived here, well, probably the same way mostly everyone else did.  I love old cars, machinery, traditional woodworking, and consequently the tools associated with such things.  When it comes to hand planes, woodworking naturally led me directly to them.  It took a while to figure out that they were really useful tools, but once I saw the light, I was hooked.  That's how I got here.  One man in particular really got me started on collecting planes.  He was a real gentleman, super knowledgeable about old tools and Stanley planes, and a good friend.  We talked about old tools and planes at least once every week or so for several years on the telephone and via emails.  As seemingly unbelievable as it may sound, we never met in person due mostly in part to the fact that we lived several states apart from each other.  Unfortunately he died almost two years ago.  I miss those conversations and I miss my old friend.  In a way, I started this thread in his memory.  Several of the planes that I have already featured, and will feature here in the future, came from his amazing collection.  He sent some planes my way that I NEVER would have found with out his help and generosity.  I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do, and I hope you'll stay tuned.

Jim C.   
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 10:31:54 AM by Jim C. »
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Offline Papaw

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #241 on: March 29, 2014, 09:07:16 PM »
We will all stay tuned, Jim!
Member of PHARTS - Perfect Handle Admiration, Restoration and Torturing Society
 
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #242 on: March 30, 2014, 08:26:22 AM »
We will all stay tuned, Jim!

Okay Papaw!  This has been the perfect venue for this thread.  Thanks for following along, and thanks to everyone who has stuck with it this far.  I still have a few more planes to feature.

Jim C. 
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Offline Branson

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #243 on: March 30, 2014, 09:56:47 AM »
>The knuckle cap design provided a solid smooth surface on which the user could rest his/her palm, thus aiding the user’s ability to apply more downward and forward pressure as the plane was put into motion.

Perhaps a bit too much aid in the user's ability to apply more pressure.  I have one -- grabbed it quickly for theft-quality price.  When I had a chance to look carefully at it, I found the back of the mouth had a crack on each end, and that the mouth had been pushed down from the sole slightly.  I've still got it, but I'm just not sure what to do with it.

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #244 on: March 30, 2014, 10:40:58 AM »
Hey Branson,

Good point!!  Thanks!!  Like almost ANY hand plane or cast iron tool, over tightening its parts just a little too much will more than likely cause something to give.  That's definitely one of the drawbacks to low angle planes.  The sole immediately behind the throat feathers down and is relatively thin.  Too much downward pressure from over tightening a knuckle cap, or even the more traditional lever cam type cap could potentially cause a crack.  If you couple that with an iron set for an aggressive cut, or if it's a little dull thus causing the operator to really push, the elements are all there for a crack.  I REALLY do appreciate you mentioning this!!  I should have stressed that point and made sure to say that low angle block planes in particular should not be over tightened and they should be set for a light pass for the reasons stated above.  I guess that should be the rule of thumb for most cast iron planes and tools.   

Jim C.   
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Offline scottg

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #245 on: March 31, 2014, 01:04:18 PM »
Well its been raining for days straight here. no light for a good outdoor picture. So I finally broke down and took a flash picture of my Millers Falls gauge.
 
 Even back in the old days before tools were hardly collected at all, the Stanley 396 gauges sold for money. Not a lot of money, but then I didn't have any. heehhee
 There were a number of tools I wanted but never got to have because the price was just a little too much for me. Anything approaching 10 dollars was over the top.  Mostly anything over 5 dollars was too much.
 As tools became more collectible the price only rose.
 
 But Millers Falls? Nobody cared about Millers at all once. I got this from a junk dealer who called himself Arkie Don. He ran a junk shop at the edge of Medford Oregon for 5 or 6 years. Don loved to haggle. You never paid his asking even after the third re-offer. It was back and forth for 1/2 an hour with insults and threats and gnashing of teeth and all the rest of it. I love it too.
  "May they pull things from your body not even science can identify!!"
   I remember this was about 4 dollars.
 
 I have been using it when needed these past 35 years and thensome.  Its simple to attach with its little cam levers, and easy to set and operate.
 I don't use it that much. Most of the time working by eye is close enough.
But I wouldn't give it up either.

 

 yours Scott

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #246 on: March 31, 2014, 03:41:42 PM »
Well its been raining for days straight here. no light for a good outdoor picture. So I finally broke down and took a flash picture of my Millers Falls gauge.
 
 Even back in the old days before tools were hardly collected at all, the Stanley 396 gauges sold for money. Not a lot of money, but then I didn't have any. heehhee
 There were a number of tools I wanted but never got to have because the price was just a little too much for me. Anything approaching 10 dollars was over the top.  Mostly anything over 5 dollars was too much.
 As tools became more collectible the price only rose.
 
 But Millers Falls? Nobody cared about Millers at all once. I got this from a junk dealer who called himself Arkie Don. He ran a junk shop at the edge of Medford Oregon for 5 or 6 years. Don loved to haggle. You never paid his asking even after the third re-offer. It was back and forth for 1/2 an hour with insults and threats and gnashing of teeth and all the rest of it. I love it too.
  "May they pull things from your body not even science can identify!!"
   I remember this was about 4 dollars.
 
 I have been using it when needed these past 35 years and thensome.  Its simple to attach with its little cam levers, and easy to set and operate.
 I don't use it that much. Most of the time working by eye is close enough.
But I wouldn't give it up either.

 

 yours Scott

Scottg thanks for posting a picture of your Millers Falls #88 jointer gauge!  A picture really is worth a thousand words, and definitely a lot better than my weak attempt to describe it and compare it to the Stanley version.  I really appreciate your efforts!  Thanks again.

Jim C.

P.S.  I also enjoyed the story about how you acquired it!! 
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #247 on: April 05, 2014, 05:38:56 PM »
Lately I’ve been trying to feature planes that are truly useful, relatively accessible, and are not priced to break the bank.  Stanley and many other manufacturers made several such models through the years and they sold very well.  Today I’m NOT going to feature one of those useable, “everyone should have one of these” planes.  I’ll go back to them in the future, but every once in awhile, it’s fun to throw a curve ball and keep things interesting.  A few days ago, another hand plane enthusiast/collector contacted me with a few questions about one of Stanley’s lesser known, more obscure planes.  I went out to the shop, pulled it out of a box, took a few pictures of it and sent the requested information to my friend.  As I was about to return the plane to its box, never to be seen again, I decided that since it was out on my bench, I’d feature it in this thread.

Stanley #278:

By just looking at this particular plane, it might not be obvious that it’s a rabbet/fillister plane.  Don’t feel bad if you didn't know that.  The first time I saw the thing, I had no idea what it did either.  I’ll say that it’s a neat looking little contraption, but that’s about where my admiration for using it ends.  It has several features that one might think are handy like a fence and depth stop that can be mounted on either side of the plane.  It has spurs milled into both sides of the nosepiece for scoring across the grain ahead of the cut.  The nosepiece is removable thus allowing the tool to function as a small chisel plane.  All those factors would seem to add up to a well conceived plane that’s capable of cutting clean accurate rabbets and joints.  In most cases, that would be true.  Unfortunately, in this case, it’s not, for basically one reason.  The lack of ergonomics designed into this plane make it practically impossible to hold and/or operate.

The plane is small to begin with, so there’s not much room to wrap one’s fingers around the handle.  Furthermore, the end of the cutting iron and the lever used to set the iron’s depth run right into the middle of the handle’s opening in the main casting!  There’s absolutely no comfortable way to position one’s fingers in the handle’s opening without being poked and scraped by the iron and the lever.  I don’t have big hands, but as you can see in the photos below, my fingers just don’t fit in the opening.  At the top of the nosepiece, there’s a circle/loop that I believe was intended to accommodate the user’s index finger.  The problem is that it’s much too far away from the plane’s handle to reach with the index finger or any other finger on the hand at the rear of the plane.  To make matters worse, the top of the depth stop on the nosepiece actually protrudes into the opening again poking and scraping any finger that one might try resting in the loop.  After trying to hold the plane with one hand, I came to the conclusion that it was impossible.  The best way I found to hold the plane was to avoid putting my fingers into the handle opening all together and to just put the palm of my right hand at the rear of the plane, keeping my fingers along side the body of the plane.  That doesn’t provide much control however.  By putting my left thumb into the circle/loop on the nosepiece, I was able to get more control on the plane and guide it through a cut.  (Notice the position of my right hand and fingers and left thumb in the two photos below.  I had to take two separate pictures because I had to hold the camera.  I’m sure you get the point.)  Even after repositioning my hands, I found the #278 to be one of the most non-user friendly planes Stanley ever produced.  Amazingly, even though the plane is difficult to use, Stanley produced it between 1915 and 1943.  Its patent number is 1,201,433.  I cannot imagine how the #278 stayed in the Stanley product line for nearly three decades when there were several other models that had similar features and were much easier to use.  The plane depicted below was most probably manufactured at some point between the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Stanley logo stamped on the top of the pressure cap screw and the remains of the yellow Stanley decal on the back of the plane's handle give me some clues as to its approximate age.  Hopefully I made it clear that I would not ever recommend buying a #278 to use…… because it’s practically unusable!  From a collector’s standpoint, it’s a gem.  It’s not a plane that I’ve seen too often in complete condition.  It has many small parts that are frequently missing.  It also has several parts that are specific to it and only it, to include its fence, pressure cap, cutting iron, and depth stop.  Those small parts alone, when missing, can be very expensive to replace…..that’s if they can be found at all.  Before buying a #278, make absolutely sure that it’s complete and undamaged.  Do your homework, and for the sake of your fingers, don’t ever try using this plane.   

Jim C.           
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 07:43:37 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #248 on: April 05, 2014, 05:39:11 PM »
Stanley #278 continued.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 05:41:50 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #249 on: April 06, 2014, 05:07:52 PM »
I’m not so sure if the Stanley #278 rabbet/fillister plane was a big hit with followers of the thread or not, but still, in an effort to provide more interesting (hopefully) and informative content regarding the plane, I wanted to add one more short note and a photograph.  As I mentioned yesterday, the #278 is a tough one to find in complete condition.  In yesterday’s write up, I mentioned that the #278 had been in production from 1915 to 1943.   The featured plane was a Type 2 version.  There was an earlier version of the plane (Type 1) that I thought might be worth mentioning.  It was supposedly produced between 1915 and 1921.  What makes the Type 1 different from the Type 2 is the shape of the handle.  The Type 1 handle was lower than the Type 2 handle.  What I find interesting is that the Type 1’s handle came to a point right about where the middle of the user’s palm would be placed.  Can you imagine that point pressing into your palm as you pushed forward to make a cut?  I made a big deal about the ergonomics of the plane yesterday, saying it was uncomfortable to hold and use.  Looking at the Type 1 version of the plane, I guess it was doomed from its very inception.  Good thing the Type 2 version was “improved.”  With the exception of the two handle styles the Type 1 and Type 2 are virtually the same.

Taking a look at the photo, you’ll see the Type 1 in the upper right section of the picture, and the Type 2 in the lower left section.  As I mentioned earlier, the Type 1 was allegedly produced between 1915 and 1921.  I have my doubts.  To date, I have never seen a #278 Type 1…..ever, other than in this one photograph.  That leads me to believe that they are extremely rare and may not have been produced for much longer than a year or two before the Type 2 was introduced.

Jim C. (who enjoys the mind numbing tidbits associated with rare odd ball hand planes)     
« Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 05:12:48 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Art Rafael

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #250 on: April 06, 2014, 08:09:42 PM »
Jim, thanks. 
I too enjoy rare odd ball hand planes.  That is exactly what I look for in my hobby of building miniatures.  Initially I built copies of some full scale planes that I had collected or remembered seeing in the past as in my grandfather's carpentry shop.  When the supply of readily available models was exhausted I started building miniatures based on pictures found here and there.  I've even bought some planes to have "live" models to copy and have bid on numerous others that I failed to win and couldn't possibly afford.  The Stanley #278 rabbet/fillister plane that you feature here is one such creature.  I have bid on several to no avail.  The pictures that you posted here are as close as I've come to visualizing one in miniature.  I do appreciate all the pictures and literature on this model.  I don't know that I am any closer to building one, but that may be due to other life's distractions right now.  There in may lie the real value of your documentations.  Now when the time is right and my head has more space for hobby miniatures, I will know exactly where to go for a complete documented reference with plenty of pictures of this plane.  Thanks again to you and to Papaw for documenting and cataloging this fine string.   Ralph

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #251 on: April 06, 2014, 10:48:17 PM »
Hey Ralph,

Thanks for checking in.  First let me say that I truly hope your current "life's distractions" are nothing serious.  It sounds like you might have a lot on your mind.  I hope that you find resolution and time to get back out in the shop.  Just to be sure, I'm going on the record to say that any time I feature a plane that you'd like to make in miniature, or otherwise, all you need to do is let me know.  I'll give you all the photos, details, measurements, drawings, tracings, etc. that you need.  That's never a problem.  If you're inspired, just tell me how I can help.  As for the #278, it's a tough plane to find in complete condition.  Stanley made a few other models in the #239 series of weather strip planes that are similar looking to the #278, but are slightly more user friendly.  The #239s are also a little bit scarce.  I'll certainly feature them at some point down the road.  In the near future, I'm going to shift back to more common, useful planes.  I feel like the readership connects more to practical tools versus some of the odd ball/speciality stuff.  Thanks for following the thread.  If I can ever help you with any of your future creations, just let me know.

Jim C.         
« Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 10:51:29 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Branson

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #252 on: April 07, 2014, 09:56:57 AM »
For some reason, I'd like to try both of them out.  Can't think of a reason to need one, but curiosity is needling me.

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #253 on: April 07, 2014, 11:36:55 AM »
For some reason, I'd like to try both of them out.  Can't think of a reason to need one, but curiosity is needling me.

Branson,

The trick would be figuring out how to hold the darn thing.  After writing the posts above, I started trying different things and determined that placing my right palm on the back of the plane and leaving all my fingers and thumb outside of the handle along side the plane, while putting my left thumb in the loop at the front of the plane, worked best for me.  That's basically what I described/depicted above.  The alternative method would be to place your right palm on the back of the plane and then wrap only your middle finger around the handle keeping it above the iron and lever, and also wrap your ring finger around the handle keeping it below the iron and lever.  Your index finger, pinky finger and thumb would stay along side the plane.  Again, your left thumb would be placed in the forward loop.  The plane itself is relatively sturdy and does incorporate some nice features. The problem is that it's small, and from my perspective, requires two hands to operate it sufficiently.  While ergonomics does seem to have been a consideration when the handle was redesigned, the matter of where to comfortably place one's fingers was not addressed.  Perhaps Stanley decided to leave the plane as is, rather than totally redesigning it.  In my opinion, Stanley made better and more user friendly rabbet/fillister planes, to include the #78 and #289 to name a couple.   

Jim C.         
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Hand Planes
« Reply #254 on: April 12, 2014, 09:38:09 PM »
Many times throughout the thread, I’ve mentioned that Stanley, and some other fairly well known manufacturers, made some well designed, useful hand planes.  Amazingly, the plane that I’ll feature today was made by a little known entity, R. M. Rumbold, Co., in Thornton, Illinois.  More often than not, Stanley was the innovator when it came to designing job specific, specialty planes.  Sargent had their share of good ones too, like the #507 block plane that was featured earlier in the thread.  It was not unusual for Stanley to “buy out” smaller manufacturers, thus allowing Stanley to continue manufacturing the smaller company’s products under the Stanley name.  The plane depicted below seems to have escaped Stanley’s notice.  Either Stanley didn’t believe in its design, or perhaps it didn’t fit into Stanley’s product line.  I’ll talk more about that a little later. 

R. M. Rumbold Butt Mortise Plane (BMP):

The BMP was specifically designed to cut shallow mortises that would mostly accommodate hinges, lock sets, strike plates, etc.  At first glance, it could very easily be mistaken for a “contraption” or gimmick item, and therefore dismissed as such.  On the contrary, its simple, well thought out design makes it one of the most useful specialty planes that a wood worker could own.  The BMP functions much like a traditional router plane, flattening the bottom of a shallow mortise with ease.  What makes it so handy, and separates it from other router planes are its dimensions.  A traditional router plane is wide across its handles and short going front to back.  Consequently it’s more prone to rock/wobble as it’s pushed and/or pulled along the edge of a work piece.  The BMP on the other hand is long and narrow (9 5/8” long and 1 9/16” wide) making it stable for working on the edges with less tendency for rocking/wobbling.  The BMP can be pushed or pulled in either direction, thus allowing a user the ability to work into the very corners of the mortise being cut, without having to rotate or adjust the work piece itself.  The large window/throat (2 ¾” long and 1 1/16” wide) in the sole provides a clear view of the cut.  The cutting iron is ¾” wide and set into the plane with the bevel side down.  The BMP has very few parts.  Its pressure cap is cast in such a way that it’s captive on a steel rod that runs from one side of the plane to the other.  The cutting iron ramp is part of the main body casting of the plane.  The BMP appears to be fragile, but never leaves me feeling like it’s not capable of making the cuts for which it was designed.  If abused, misused, or dropped, it will crack just like any other plane.  If used appropriately to make cuts for various window, cabinet, and door hardware, then I believe that it’s more than up to the task at hand without any disappointments or apologies.

Using the BMP could not be easier, and good results can be had with just a little bit of practice.  To cut a shallow mortise, the work piece needs to be marked, and the waste to be removed, outlined with a knife.  I like to further clarify the lines with a sharp chisel and a rap or two from a mallet.  Using the chisel and mallet, flake up the surface of the cut as shown below.  Stay inside the lines and don’t cut too deep.  I like to set the iron on the BMP to about half the depth of the final cut.  Carefully remove the flakes created with the chisel.  Starting in the middle of the mortise, carefully push the BMP to the end of the mortise.  Now, turn the plane around and pull it toward you and the other end of the mortise.  Once the flakes have been removed, set the iron, using one leaf of the hinge, to the final cutting depth.  Again, starting at the middle of the cut, push the BMP to the end of the mortise.  Turn the plane around and pull it to the other end of the mortise.  If the cutting iron is sharp and care is taken to stay inside the lines, you’ll end up with a flat bottomed, square cornered mortise, that’s cut to the perfect depth.  Care while using the plane is a must because there are no fences or depth stops to aid the user.  The mortise is the result (good or bad) of freehand operation.  Still, this plane is really a pleasure to use and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to try something a little different when it comes to making hardware mortises.  There are most certainly other ways to cut shallow mortises, but using a BMP is my favorite method.

The Rumbold BMP was patented in December, 1951.  If you would like to do a little more research, its patent number is 2,579,911 and was invented by Wilbert Dohmeyer.  I’m not entirely sure how long the plane was manufactured, but my guess is that by the mid 1960s it was out of production.  In my opinion, the BMP was well designed, and easy to use.  So why didn’t Stanley make something with a similar design, or better yet, why didn’t Stanley just buy out Rumbold?  My guess is that the BMP was too late for the party.  By 1951, Stanley’s hand plane offerings were decreasing.  Most of the specialty hand planes once produced by Stanley were long gone nearly a decade earlier.  The BMP just didn’t fit into Stanley’s plans.   Today, I occasionally see old Rumbold BMPs in online auctions, or at tool shows.  They don’t seem to show up too often at neighborhood garage sales or at flea markets.  They’re available, but you’ll have to look a little harder for them.  Lie-Nielsen currently makes a BMP modeled after the old Rumbold.  Generally speaking, original Rumbold’s cost a little bit less than the Lie-Nielsen version.  If Stanley had in fact made a BMP for a few years, say during the 1920s to 1940s, today it would probably be very collectible and cost prohibitive, like so many of its other specialty planes that are now long gone.  By virtue of the fact that the original BMP was manufactured by an unknown company, it’s still relatively affordable, and worth owning.  If you come across one at a reasonable price, buy it and use it.  It’s a great tool.  In a later post, I’ll show you Stanley’s answer to cutting shallow hardware mortises.  Without giving too much away, I’d opt for the Rumbold BMP, and I think you’ll agree.

Jim C. 

(See the Rumbold BMP in use on the next page of this thread.)               
« Last Edit: April 12, 2014, 09:56:02 PM by Jim C. »
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