Dating stanley planes

Contents:


  1. Dating Stanley planes
  2. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Stanley Bed Rock Planes
  3. How to Identify Stanley Hand Plane Age and Type (Type Study Tool)
  4. Stanley-Bailey Type Study

Schade patented the frog adjustment feature that would initially be used on the Bed Rock planes, and eventually would become a mainstay feature of the Bailey line of planes. Traut Patent ,, Apr 2, Schade Patent ,, Sept. The introduction date of Bed Rock planes is a little uncertain. They first appeared in Stanley catalogs in , but there is some evidence they may have begun manufacture as early as Apparently there was a dispute over the Schade patent, because those sold for the first year or two have the Sept.

By , the milled out date was gone and just the single APR 2, 95 date from the Traut patent remained stamped into plane bodies until about , when Stanley introduced a major design change. There were two primary differences between the Bailey line and the Bed Rocks, and both were in the frog design. The mating surfaces of both plane body and frog was substantially larger than on the Bailey planes, and the frog on the Bed Rock fit into a groove on the body, eliminating any slop or shifting of the frog once in place.

As Stanley described it in their marketing material:. The frog and the Bottom are so perfectly fitted together, that from the Plane Iron to the Bottom, the Plane is as one solid piece of metal. Additionally, the Bed Rocks originally featured the frog adjustment mechanism that was patented by Schade on Sep. This same feature was eventually added to the Bailey line in Again, as described in a Stanley catalog:. Of course, there were other less significant differences as well. Interestingly, Stanley used the same numbering system for the Bed Rocks as the Baileys for the first 2 years of manufacture.

Stanley also had a Bed Rock branded lever cap that was used to help distinguish the two lines. After the frog adjustment feature was added to the Bailey line in , there was little to clearly differentiate the Bed Rock planes from the Bailey planes. For example, while the frog base design was arguably superior, it was a feature that was not readily apparent unless one were to disassemble the plane. On March 14, , Schade was granted another patent for the use of pins and set screws to both attach and adjust the position of the frog.

Schade Patent ,, Mar 14, In addition to the new frog attachment and adjustment design, Stanley, in a move of marketing brilliance, also changed the profile of the body casting, flattening the tops of the cheeks to give the Bed Rock planes a unique look all their own. The third major change was the addition of a raised receiver for the front knob, and the transition from the low knob to the high knob. The Bed Rock line included pretty much the same assortment as the Bailey line, with the omission of a number , which was never produced. The line included everything else from the to the , including half sizes and corrugated versions.

Bed Rocks were slightly heavier planes with slightly greater mass. The Stanley catalog offers a comparison, with the no. These planes were very similar in design, varying mainly in the lateral adjustment levers, lever caps, and numbering system. Please note that all type studies are approximate as production variations throughout the manufacturing years were quite common. You can remove it by taking the pointed end of a common nail and scraping it out. I once was invited over to a woodworker's shop to look at some tools that he wanted to sell.

The fellow didn't have much, just a few newer tools from that tool company in England that is still making pitiful copies of Stanley's bench planes. However, the fellow did have several original Stanleys with soles the likes of which I've never seen before or since. Each sole had a series of 1" wide roughly cutouts, dados, if you will, that spanned the width of the sole spread along the length of the sole. In other words, the cutouts were parallel to the mouth!


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Amazed by what laid before my eyes, I asked the fellow what caused or what was the reason for this strange treatment. He told me that he had taken the planes to a local machinist and asked him to cut some corrugations into the soles since he had heard that corrugations help to make the plane perform better. For the first time in my life, I was left speechless, and could only muster an "Oh, I see" as an answer. The planes have since left his shop, so you folks out in western Massachusetts be careful out there while tool sleuthing.

Dating Stanley planes

If you ever see one, and unknowingly buy it, I suppose you could always flip it over and use it as a boot scraper, or something like that. A very common smoothing plane, which some prefer over the larger 4. As in all the metal bench planes, check that the bottom casting or bed isn't cracked anywhere - more often than not, the cracks appear on the arched sides or around the mouth. The mouth proper is also prone to chipping. Now and then you might stumble across a bench plane that has some cosmetic surgery, where the entire forward of the mouth portion of the main casting was broken off and subsequently welded back onto the rest of the plane.

Run, don't walk, away from these examples, unless you're snarfing parts. Stay away from those planes that exhibit tool leprosy, pitting.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Stanley Bed Rock Planes

A few minor pits on the sides isn't going to hurt the plane's use, but badly pitted examples are generally a lost cause. Make sure the frog isn't broken - curiously, many of them have their frogs snapped off at their tops where the lateral adjustment lever is supposed to be the earliest models, pre, never had a lateral adjustment lever.

I've also seen a frog that had the 'web' of cast iron between the two frog screws snapped off. This is rare damage, but it just goes to show you that these planes can be damaged anywhere and it's just good practice to examine them thoroughly before you buy. Some planes are missing their lateral adjustment lever. It's attached to the top of the frog with a small, peened over pin. Through hard use, the pin can wear out, detaching the lever from the frog.

If the hole is not present, the plane is an earlier model that dates prior to the introduction of the lateral lever which made its debut in the first lateral has a bent up edge that engages the cap iron, while the later style, first introduced in , has a circular disk to engage the cap iron. Don't retrofit your plane with a lever, if it never had one. Sell it to a collector, then take the proceeds and buy a model that is equipped with the lever. Most of the models have rosewood for the knob and tote WWII years, and from the mid's on, had stained hardwood.

In what has to be an error, the catalogue states that cocobolo was used for the totes and knobs on all the bench planes, except for the 1 , 1C , 2 , and 2C. I have never seen a Stanley bench plane with cocobolo used, and the mention of a fictitious 1C offers some proof that something may have been rotten in New Britain.

A cracked tote isn't anything to get bothered over, provided it's tight and glueable. The 'horn' of the tote is often sheared off on many of the bench planes. When the tote is gripped, its horn should extend about an inch beyond web of skin between your thumb and forefinger. Many of the horns are repaired with nails, screws, glue, or scarfs. Look them over carefully. Totes are also prone to cracking near their bases, just above where they extend forward to meet the main casting. The totes on these larger planes sit over a raised tote receiver into which the screw and threaded rod are screwed.

This is as good a place as any to mention that Stanley loved to use non-standard threads, and it's nowhere more apparant than the hardware used to attach the wood to the main casting. There are reproduction totes out there, and some of them are quite good. A reproduction tote isn't so much a concern on a common plane that's to be used, but it is a concern on the collectible examples of the series, like the 1 , 2 , and 2C.

During the 's, Stanley applied a brightly colored decal on the left side of the totes on many of their planes. Generally, the presence of this decal increases the value of the tool as it's indicative of the tool's condition since the decals wore off rather quickly and easily from use. Some of the reproduction totes are available with decals, which themselves are reproductions. You should be very careful when buying a collectible plane that has a decal on the tote unless you're sure you can recognize the reproduction.

The background of the original decal is an aquamarine color whereas the reproduction's background color is a darker blue green. Plus, the reproduction decal has a 'thicker', almost silk screened, appearance to it. Sometimes, you'll find a plane with a hard rubber tote with "B of E" embossed on each side. These were sold by Stanley to school systems as replacement totes for the poor planes that suffered the onslaught of destruction as wrought by the punks of yesteryear.

These replacement totes were offered during the 's's, when they were replaced with aluminum totes during the early 's. The knob can suffer chipping or cracking about its base. This is most commonly found on the earlier planes, with their squatty, mushroom-shaped knobs. The damage is caused during the plane's use, when the plane is pushed at the knob; the knob leans forward, putting stress at its leading portion, making it split. Many folks found the low knobs difficult to grip, especially on the shorter planes.

A taller knob, called the "high knob" in the tool collecting circus, was offered starting ca. This knob, being taller than the low knob and thus having the force on it applied higher up from its base, suffered the same chipping at its base, but only more so than the low knob. Good idea, Stanley, but you didn't quite get it right. Some 10 years later, the solution to knob chipping was discovered - a raised ring was cast into the bottom casting to receive the knob.

How to Identify Stanley Hand Plane Age and Type (Type Study Tool)

This solution really did work, and knob chipping became but a distant memory. If you're into originality, there is a minor, but important, detail about the high knobs - the later high knob is turned so that its base tapers slightly to fit into the raised ring, while the first high knob is turned so that its base doesn't diminish where it seats onto the main casting. The degree of the sole's flatness is a personal preference frankly, I think the current notion of perfect flatness on a bench plane is simply hype , but definitely stay away from those that are badly twisted along their length.

You may need to file nicks out of the plane's sole, if they project - these will leave scratches on the wood, which defeats the plane's purpose. The bottom casting not the sole proper, but its leading and trailing edges should be slightly convex at its toe and heel. I've seen some planes, especially jack planes, that have had their toe and heel ground off so that they are squared across the width of the plane.

You'll also stumble across many bench planes that have a hole drilled through their bottom castings. This was done so that the plane could be hung from a hook when not in use. This 'feature' does nothing to the plane's use, but it does kill it as a collectible, especially on the scarcer planes. Similar holes can be found along the sides of the planes so that they could accept one of the many fences ones that can be adjusted to bevel an edge that were offered over the years.

The Stanley bench planes are equipped with irons that are very thin when compared with the thick irons used on the older wooden planes. Leonard Bailey was the first to use these thin irons prior to Stanley purchasing his patents. Stanley made it a point to mention the iron's thinness in their marketing propaganda by claiming that: While these irons are high quality, they are also often too thick for the plane to accept them without having to file the mouth wider, and that's something you should think long and hard about as it's a modification that can potentially affect the value of the tool in the long term.

Make sure there is enough meat on the iron and if it is pitted, your best bet is to toss it. You'll probably find some amount of corrosion on the face of the iron where the cap iron makes contact. This corrosion is often black in color and can be lapped out quickly. The corrosion occurs from the plane sitting idle where moisture is trapped between the two irons. Inspect the iron, even on its backside, for any cracks.

The Stanley irons do crack due to their thinness, but it is not a common occurrence. I've also seen an iron de-laminate; look them over around the bevel for this flaw Stanley did equip their bench planes with laminated irons up to about WWII - click here to see the company's propaganda for laminated irons. Make sure the cap iron fits tightly against the iron; you'll have to re-grind it if it doesn't.

Strangely, you'll stumble across irons and cap irons that have mushroomed ends, like the kind you see invariably on wooden planes. Stanley planes that show this 'handiwork' must have belonged to transitional woodworkers, where the line between master carpenter and ham-fisted hack was but a mere hammer away. Why anyone would smack the heel of the iron on this kind of plane is lost on me.

If your plane has this feature, a file will make short order of it. Rarely, and I do mean rarely, you might find an bench plane with a strange iron in it. It looks as if someone screwed a razor blade onto the cutting edge of the normal iron. If you see this, sell the iron to a collector, and find yourself a replacement.

What you have is another one of Stanley's boneheaded ideas - "Ready Edge Blades. Whenever the plane's cutter dulled, he could pull out a new one and screw it onto the holder. A few chips on the lever cap along its edge of contact with the cap iron are nothing to fear. These chips are from a previous owner using the flat end of the lever cap as a screwdriver to loosen the cap iron screw prior to the sharpening of the iron. This flaw lessens the value of a plane to a collector, but does nothing to hinder the plane's use provided the chips are not severe enough to prevent sufficient clamping pressure on the iron.

The lever cap underwent a subtle design change in the hole through which the lever cap screw passes. The first hole is symetrical and shaped like a key hole. During the early 's, the hole was redesigned and patented so that is has a kidney shape design. This change was done to address the supposed problem with the lever cap backing upward, off the lever cap screw, as the iron was drawn back while turning the adjusting screw.

The planes had been made some 70 years, and used successfully for that same time, without the kidney-shaped hole so it seems that Stanley made the design change as a gimmick to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. Look for stress cracks or outright chips about the lever cap's screw hole. This flaw can diminish the plane's utility since the lever cap is apt to loosen during use. It's best to pass examples with this problem, unless you can salvage it for parts. Test the brass depth adjustment nut to see if it turns freely - a lot of times these are seized.

If the knurling on the nut appears stripped or the nut is mis-shaped not a circle , it's a good indication that someone took drastic measures, like the use of vise-grips, to free it. Chips in the bottom casting are sometimes found where the sides meet the toe or heel of the plane.

These, too, have no harmful affect on the use of the plane, but they do lessen its value to a collector. Also, these chips are rather jagged so you may want to file them smooth lest they rip your hands to shreads during use. Check the depth adjustment fork, which is held captive in the frog. It resembles a wishbone, with each side terminating with a round shape to the casting. Each side engages the circular groove in the brass depth adjustment nut. Sometimes, one of the sides of the fork breaks off, making the fork bind when it's adjusted. These forks are cast iron, but starting around the early's they became a cheesy two-piece steel construction.

You might think it strange that the cast iron fork can break, but break they do, usually as a result of too little pressure from the lever cap on the iron, which then results in the iron being thrust backward during planing, putting an extreme amount of force directly on the fork, ultimately snapping it. Stanley, in their instructions for using the planes, specifically addresses just how tight the lever caps should be - "If the Cam [of the lever cap] will not snap in place easily, slightly loosen the Lever Cap Screw.

Some modern day tool authors, sure in their scholarly advice, recommend taking a pair of pliers and squeezing the 'tines' of the adjusting fork toward each other to take out some of the slop in the mechanism. You'll snap the thing as sure as that plaid shirt and toolbelt wearing guy will use a bisquick joinah. If the fork is broken, you can pilfer one from a dogmeat bench plane by knocking out the pin that allows the fork to pivot. The pin normally pops out when driven from left to right as viewed from the rear of the frog.

There were many modifications made to the bench planes over their production. These are outlined in the type study, but the major design change, that of the frog and the way it seats on the bottom casting, is mentioned here in greater detail. There are four major frog and corresponding receiver of the main casting designs found on the Bailey bench planes. Sure, there were some experiments gone awry and a few minor modifications, but the descriptions of the four that follow are those that were in the longest production. The first design resembles the letter "H" when viewed from the front or rear of the plane.

The frog is machined to sit on the sides, or rails, of this machined area of the main casting. The frog is screwed to the cross 'beam' that spans the rails.


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This design was the one Leonard Bailey finally settled upon prior to Stanley purchasing his patents. Stanley continued this solid design for just a few years until ca. The second major design dispensed with the experimental frog ca. This design is simply a broad and flat rectangular area that is machined on the bottom casting.

This machined area is rather low, and has two holes that receive the screws which are used to secure the frog in place. Likewise, the bottom of the frog is machined flat to fit onto the bottom casting. This method of securing the frog was sound and it worked well, but the amount of machining, after the parts were cast, certainly made production more costly and slow, and they eventually cast two grooves into the main casting's frog receiver ca.

Still, this construction was too costly. Thus, Stanley needed to modify the design if they were to become "The Toolbox of the World. The third design made its debut in , and was again patented by Stanley. This re-design of the frog likely was an attempt of Stanley's to keep the competition at bay, since their original design's patents had expired just 5 years earlier. Under the new design, the frog receiver on the bottom casting is made up of a cross rib, a center rib, and two large screw bosses that flank each side of the center rib.

The leading edge of the frog itself has a support directly behind the mouth to offer a solid base as a measure to reduce chattering. The rear of the frog rests on the cross rib, across its full width. The frog has a groove that is centered across its width and is perpendicular to its front edge. This groove sits atop the center rib and is used to align the frog, keeping it square with the mouth. The center rib was slighty modified to a larger and arched shape starting around The two screw bosses, used to receive the screws that fasten the frog to the bottom casting, are purposely large and deep.

They were made this way to prevent the sole from deflecting upward when the frog is screwed securely into place. The entire frog is adjustable forward or backward to close or open the mouth, as the case may be by a set screw that is accessible directly below the frog's brass cutter depth adjustment nut. This frog adjusting screw was first offered on the Bed Rock series of planes, but soon found favor with frog adjusters everywhere and was added to the Bailey series starting around The fourth design, made right after WWII, has the frog receiver with the center rib now cast to resemble a wishbone.

This Type can be picked up cheaper than a Type 10 and is only missing the frog adjusting screw that you seldom use.. A smaller bearing surface is now cast into the bed, toward the tote. Two circular bosses, to receive the screws are located just ahead of this bearing surface, toward the mouth. A rib runs from the mouth to bearing surface, over which the frog rests.

This is to align the frog laterally, to keep it square to the sides of the plane, and, thus, make the iron parallel to the mouth. The frog has a slot at its bottom the portion nearest the mouth to fit over the rib cast in the bed. The number designation is now cast just behind the knob. The original type study doesn't mention this - It's about this time that the brass nuts used to secure the knob and tote to the rods undergo a change.

They now have a waist to them whereas the earlier ones are cylindrical over their length. A frog adjustment screw, first offered on the Bed Rock planes, is now added. This is located below the frog, and engages a fork that is screwed to the frog. A turn of this screw will move the frog forward or backward, depending on the direction it is turned. The rib the one the frog rides over is enlarged and arched. A bizarre logo is now stamped on the iron. It reads in four lines: Type 11 All of the features of the previous, except: Type 12 All of the features of the previous, except: This is referred to as a "high knob" in toolie dialect.

The brass depth adjustment nut is now larger and measures 1. The lever cap has a subtle change in its shape - it is not as rounded about the edges as the earlier style is. A series of logo changes are found on these planes. All 3 of the logos are the result of the merger between Stanley Rule and Level, the tool producer, and The Stanley Works, the hardware producer. These new logos are know as the "sweetheart" logo in the tool collecting biz. This isn't in the original type study - Some of the lever caps can be found with the outline of the sweetheart logo cast into the backside.

I've only noted one of these planes, a 5, with this lever cap. Its iron is stamped with the first sweetheart trade- mark. Another tool pal of mine, from longuyland, has seen one before. These two examples are the only ones I know of in tooldom. So far, that is. Again, not found in the original type study - it's about this time that the backs of the cap iron are no longer blued, but are just finished like the fronts, with nothing. Three Patent Dates on Bed. Type 13 All of the features of the previous, except: APR is the only stuff cast behind the frog.

The original type study doesn't mention it, but there are several treatments of the lever cap, where its finish and the background color of the notched rectangle follow what seems to be a 'style du jour'. I can't date accurately when each of these lever cap treatments occurred, but I can list the order in which I believe they were made: The lever cap is machined and finished as before, with the notched rectangle's background japanned.

I believe this to be the earliest since the earliest Bed Rock planes have lever caps of the same treatment Bed Rock lever caps always had some embossing on them, and the earliest ones have the japanned background. My experience tells me that this lever cap treatment is rather uncommon.

The entire lever cap is entirely nickel plated, including the background of the notched rectangle. The lever cap is nickel plated, but the notched rectangle's background is painted in Stanley's trademark orange color. For a short period, with the lever cap nickel plated, the notched rectangle's background is decidedly reddish in color.

This may due to Stanley's working relationship with Winchester, whose planes have the same color. Either that, or someone sabotaged Stanley's orange paint supply. The later planes have a yellow background in the notched rectangle. These planes typically have the rounded iron. Another thing not mentioned in the type study is that on some examples the frogs have an orange over paint on them. When this was done is during the 20's.

Stanley-Bailey Type Study

Why it was done is unknown. It may have been for a large customer, like New York City's school system, to signify that these planes belonged to someone else as an attempt to counter those with bad intent. Or, it simply may have been that the dude who discovered the vivid color for Cheetos was ahead of his time, and wanted to start cashing in. You take your pick on a theory here. First Year One Patent Date. Last Year for No Raised Ring around knob base. Planes made late in production run may have this handle decal. Type 14 All of the features of the previous, except: A raised ring is cast into the bed to act as a receiver for the knob.

This is to stem the splitting of the knob, about its base, which was a very common thing to occur. The high knobs were very prone to this, prior to the introduction of the raised ring, due to the greater leverage capable of being placed on them than could be placed on the low knobs. New Raised Ring cast into bed where knob base sits to stop splitting of knob..

Type 15 All of the features of the previous, except: This is opposite to all prior types. New Shorten Horn on Tote. Last Year for Sweetheart Logo. Last Year of this Frog Style. Last Year for this Style Frog. Early Made Planes have this Handle Decal. This is identical to the previous logo, except the heart and "S. A kidney-shaped hole in the lever cap replaced the old symmetrical keyhole-shaped hole.

This was touted as making the cutter less likely to loosen when the depth was adjusted; the lever cap wouldn't be apt to move along its length as much. The toe now has a raised, broad, flat rib cast into it. A similar rib is found at the heel. The frog now has an ogee-shape s-shape to the back, on either side of the lateral adjustment lever. Early Lever Caps had a Patent Date. New Shape to Rear of Frog.

Stanley's cute little #1 hand plane- What was it for, and why's it so rare?

Non Stepped handle over hang. First Year for New Frog Design. Type 17 All of the features of the previous, except: Plastic or Steel Depth Adjusting Knob All Steel Screws for Handles Black Paint or Stained Beech Handles These are the war production planes, and all bets about what is and isn't proper on these examples, and those made in the years immediately following, are off.


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This is an area where the type study is very weak, in my opinion. But it's understandable since there are so many configurations of these planes. My observations tell me that any combination of the following features is possible for these planes. And, to make matters worse, some of the examples have the standard features rosewood, brass of the previous type in conjunction with some of the features of this type.