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Argus

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There are some interesting posts going on about the quality nowadays of a tool that is to all intents an purposes obsolete, but has captivated everyone, me included, by the elegance of its basic design.

In another thread there is a conversation going on about the apparent quality of the Clifton version.

I saw my first one (can’t remember if it was a Record or Stanley) in the school workshop almost 50 years ago, but it was locked up and never used. (Probably because the woodwork teacher hadn’t a clue, most of the time – his heart wasn’t into it).

Along with a collection of restored wooden moulding planes and a seldom used electric router, I now have and utilise regularly a pair of well-used Stanley 55s. Not exactly the same thing as a Clifton or a Record, I know, but the Stanley version was the progenitor of all the multi-planes and it’s worth remembering that it was essentially a site tool when it was first offered, principally for making small quantities of the miles of dado rails, picture rails and for small repairs to sash windows that went into houses in those days and were generally made at site. It allowed the journeyman to leave most of the huge collection of moulding planes at home and to still produce a good moulded skirting board from bare stock.

Multi-planes are a fine tool. My customers love to see them on my bench because they look the part, but have you tried using them on hard Oak? Difficult and hard work! On anything other than straight grained pine they will dig in or skate….

Like the retractable ball pens that we used to get with four colours and four inserts in the same barrel, (and no-one ever used) it is essentially a design compromise, and for real mouldings I always go back to the beech moulding planes that used to adorn our pub walls, or a scratch stock. For big quantities there is always the electric router, but that’s a last resort for me…….

So, tell the truth. What do all the Multi-plane aficionados use them for and at what point do you consider another implement because it might just be a little less effort or produce a better result? Is using one of these multiplanes literally a labour of love or does it deserve a permanent place on the bench?
 

Bean

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Argus good point I think I use mine as I like to use handtools, they make less noise and mess than a router. Though I still use the router.
So i guess its a labour of love for an old tool, I suppose I'm a bit of a luddite.

Bean
 
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Anonymous

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mmmm... in 50 years time, will people have a Bosch router on their desk to hold papers ? A Multiplane is a fantastic object, not just a tool...

Cheers
Alberto

P.S. interested in the instruction leaflet ?
 
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Anonymous

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uh, sorry :oops: : the upper "guest" was me.
Cheers
Alberto
 

Argus

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Anonymous":z4n4m1sg said:
A Multiplane is a fantastic object, not just a tool...
Thanks, Alberto, ...That's exactly what I said!

Multiplanes are a fine tool... great to look at, fantastic to handle, a pain in the neck to set up sometimes but a fine tool.

A Bosch router? Not on my desk!

The Stanley versions were the first of their kind in the 1880s and appear to be a design icon from the interest they generate on this site at least and the fact that a version is still being made.
 

Alf

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Argus,

Well I use mine all the time, probably for similar reasons to Bean. If I didn't have a small plane problem :oops: I'd probably use them ( :oops: again) more, but when there are two rebate planes waiting to be used for instance, it's daft to use a #45 or #405 really. :roll: One of my favourite cutters is the ovolo moulding that wasn't offered with the Stanley #45; I just love those extrordinary shavings, and yes, the end result ain't bad either. Ploughing seems to work better for me with the big ones too; lots of power into the job that I just can't seem to get with the light combination planes. I've never really gelled with wooden moulders. You have to faff about so much to get the irons back to any kind of shape so often it puts me off. Life's too short or something. :D Much easier with the combi, 'cos that much derided lack of mouth means you don't have to get the iron perfectly matching anything. :wink: I can't say I've had as much trouble with woods other than pine as you seem to have. Yep, pine is its ideal hunting ground, but I've sucessfully used them on beech, ash, cherry, maple, sycamore, and even on some oak IIRC. You just need to be sensitive to the whims of the tool I suppose. But then doesn't that apply to all tools, if you want to get the best out of them?

Still, they're not a tool for everyone, I agree, and in these modern times I imagine the vast majority are doing time as decorative items in workshops while the router does the work. Trouble is I like to hear the commentary from the Test and stuff like that, so I'd sooner take a little longer over a combi than fire up the screaming demon. But then I used to have, and use, one of those four colour biros too... :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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I agree with Alf in that I don't use my multiplanes (#45's & #50) for rabbeting. I find they work very well for plowing (sorry, ploughing) and beading. I don't do much molding and I use wooden planes when I do.
 

dedee

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I do not own a router nor (at present) do I want one. I have a 405 which when used with the grain on Oak, Beech & even birch ply has produced acceptable (to me) results.

Unlike Alf I have never been that successful with the Ovolo cutters even when using her sharpening tips I struggled to get a reasonable result.

I have recently finished a 7 drawer tool cabinet, all drawers made from birch ply and all had the grooves for the drawer bases cut with the 405. All but one drawer had the top level ply running with the grain and were a cinch to do. On the one I got the wrong way round I scored with a Stanley knife the surface of the ply before I started with the plane, this kept the tearout down to a minimum.

Learning to start planing at the end furthest away was the quantum leap I required to get over my initial problems with the tool, although it is mention in the hand book it never sunk until until mention by someone here.

I do not do enough woodwork nor need get quick results to make the investment of a router. I also enjoy the piece & quite so the 405 is a sucess as far as I am concerned.

AndyP
 

Bean

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DeeDee
I have to agree with you, I also own a 405 and until recently a router which I used a bit. Now the router has broken I find that :
a) the workshop is a tranquil and quite place
b) Less messy as the shavings can be easily swept up, wheras the router fires them all over the shop.

Funny though its hard to get the hang of starting at the end and working backwards...dont you think ? :?

Bean
 
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