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ByronBlack

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I've done a lot of reading on these forums and elsewhere (The Handplane Book) and it seems that old stanley's were very good planes, but their newer ones are a bit rubbish.

How do I know whether a Stanley is the good old version or the crappy new ones, and also how do the old stanley's stand up to Lie-Nielsen, Lee Valley and Clifton.

The main reason I'm asking is that I would like to buy a number of planes, but can't stretch to new ones, and wondered whether the Old Stanley's are good alternatives, or will I always be wanting one of the newer manufacturers?

Cheers!
 

MikeW

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Hi Byron,

Old Stanleys, Records, Sargents and Ohios (and others) are all good planes and can be made to perform quite well. It does help to find ones that are in decent shape to begin with.

That's why web purchases can be a bit of a gamble. It helps to begin with a used plane from a known source from which you can judge other purchases. As I'm in America, that means I can only go by recommendations such as Alf has given in the past, such as Ray Iles (http://www.oldtoolstore.co.uk/).

Also, a list of links is on Alf's site:
http://www.cornishworkshop.co.uk/tooldealers.html

Car boots are another source. It helps to be able to inspect the plane if you are unfamiliar of what to look for.

If you do see something online, feel free to post a link and ask for an opinion.

Others will be along sooner or later with other recommendations, I'm sure.

Mike
 

Mittlefehldt

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A wise old PERSON once said that you should buy the best possible tool you can afford for whatever job you want to do. The reason being I suspect, that it will outlast you.

Having said that I have in my possesion a post war Stanley Bailey #4, that I tuned up in a class I attended, and it is one of my best planes. If you read reports of those postwar planes they do not get rave reviews but this one is just fine.

I also have a made in England Stanley Router Plane I bought new from Lee Valley about five years or so back, and I have done things with that that I am sure the Stanley company never envisioned, but I am pleased with it. Yet if you read the reviews of the last Stanley routers, they discontinued it a few years back, they are all rubbish.

Maybe I have low expectations but in my opinion you could do much worse than to seek out older Stanley Planes and you have the joy of the hunt as well.

I should also add that I have a peculiar fixation with Ohio Tool Planes but that is another matter, that possibly verges on, dare I say it, collecting.
 

ByronBlack

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Thanks for the tips guy's and espeically as this time of night!!

So i take it so far then that older Stanley's/Records are worth finding, cleaning and fettling?

Basically, i'm looking to get a 4, 5, 7, block and a shoulder plane. At the moment though the 4 & 5 are my priorities, i'm watching about 8 of them on ebay at the moment, but will be going to my local carboot on sunday.

What would be an average price to pay for a semi-decent condition Stanley/Record 4/5 ?
 

Frank D.

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Hi Byron,
I'm no expert but I have several old Stanleys and can say that they are good tools. It helps a little if you can tell when a plane was made. I perused this site,
http://www.hyperkitten.com/tools/stanley_bench_plane/dating/
and with a little practice could tell the different Bailey "types" apart. You might fall on a good recent plane, but I think it's a question of probabilty, you have more chances of getting a good plane made between around 1910 and WW2 (types 11-16). Planes made before this don't have all the design changes that we have come to appreciate, the ones made after are apparently of less consistent quality, although I haven't tried them all. If you can get one with no major cracks, no missing pieces (or replacement parts that don't fit properly, like the Sargent chipbreaker that I got on my #8 ), and a relatively flat sole, you're in business (this is not too hard to do, but as others have said as with any used tool there's always some element of risk, especially on Ebay where you can't inspect the plane).
Good luck!
 

David C

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Old bench planes can work very well indeed when fettled, but I do sugest replacing the blade with a 95thou Hock or Lie-Nielsen, A2 replacement blade.

These will keep you working at least thee times as long and help to reduce chatter.

For block and rebate planes nothing beats a new high quality version.

David Charlesworth
 

ByronBlack

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are you THE david charlseworth? If so, i'm honoured to receive your advice, I wanted to go on one of your courses, but it seems you are in popular demand! I'm going on the Bruce Luckhurst course instead, hence i'm in the market for some old bench-planes to use on his tuning days.

With regards the block-planes (this is a question for anyone) would it be a good investment to get one of the new LA Block's from Veritas, or should I go for one of those nice bronze LN's, neither of them are expensive IMO. I've read Alf's review of the veritas, and it seems a fine tool indeed, but I don't have any other reviews to compare with the LN.

I have found this Stanly 5 1/5 on ebay, would something like this represent good value?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6208459068&rd=1&sspagename=STRK:MEWA:IT&rd=1
 

mahking51

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ByronBlack
IMO the 5 1/2 at £15 starting bid + £12 postage = £27 is enough money for a fairly common plane, don't know what anyone else thinks.
That said it looks a fair example.
They are not hard to find but I tend to use my No6 more than the No5.
Good hunting and........ stay away from Dorchester!!!! :lol: :lol:
Regards
Martin
 

ByronBlack

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Martin, don't worry, i'm in essex, so no competition for you.

I'm going out hunting tomorrow at the car-boots, there are some pretty good ones around here so i'm quite confident of picking up a few planes.
 

Chris Knight

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Byron,
The 5 1/2 is a wonderful size - ask DC! Also the older English Stanleys are nice - heavily cast as the post suggests. It would be great value at the present price plus postage, short of some undisclosed fault.
 

Alf

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What on earth is going on with that front knob on that #5 1/2?! I think I'd sooner go with a reconditioned from Ray Iles myself, but then I have a mortal fear of the 'bay.

If it was me, and I like the #5 1/2 size plane above all else, I'd go one of two ways. If it was just me and I didn't have to combat the entrenched habits of a tutor (honourably earnt, I don't doubt, but often fixed nevertheless), the BUPP (aka the Veritas Low Angle Jack) would be my weapon of choice. Possibly the best plane I've ever had the good fortune to use - and I say that without prejudice, really I do. 'Course it's even better with a rear tote a la Alf, but I may be a tad prejudiced there... However, I gain nothing from the recomendation except folks rolling their eyes and saying "Oh no, Alf, not again" :roll: Otherwise I'd do my damndest to track down a #5 1/2 with a 2 1/4" blade and stick a Hock carbon steel blade in it. It's just about the only Stanley I use nowadays, and it's a real gem. It was a sad day when Stanley went sensible and standardised their blade widths.

Trouble is USA made Stanleys aren't exactly ten a penny over here in Blightly like they are in the colonies. However, Record made some fine planes, and much better than Stanley in their latter years. If Ray Iles isn't for you, I say look out for an early Record (Rosewood totes are an excellent sign). But to be honest, to ensure happy harmony, I'd go with what Mr Luckhurst suggests, whatever that may be. A shilling to a penny he'll be happier teaching you about something he's comfortable about.

As far as block planes go, the archive has much debate. Try this thread for a starter.

Cheers, Alf

P.S. Yes, it is THE DC
 

ByronBlack

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waterhead37":muxcqjhi said:
Byron,
The 5 1/2 is a wonderful size - ask DC! Also the older English Stanleys are nice - heavily cast as the post suggests. It would be great value at the present price plus postage, short of some undisclosed fault.
Cheers for the vote of confidence chris, the seller also has a 4 1/2 so I might be able to get both and save on the postage.

I'll have a wee minor gloat as and when I secure these planes.
 

mahking51

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Byron
See, what do I know? I bow to Chris's superior knowledge with due humility.
Good luck with the booting.
TIP: if they have the usual box of junk, always ask the woman if there is anything else as men have been known to retrieve stuff for later hiding in the garage. TPTB will usually dig it back out of the car just to wind up hubby!
Regards
Martin
 

ByronBlack

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Alf":3t3o0csb said:
What on earth is going on with that front knob on that #5 1/2?! I think I'd sooner go with a reconditioned from Ray Iles myself, but then I have a mortal fear of the 'bay.
Alf, I assume the front-knob is not standard? Should it be wooden?

Also, I gather from your post that the US models are better than the UK models, or have I mis-read you?

P.S I was really considering buying the vertias LA jack, but I really should get some oldies to practice honing with first. Although I do have an old record no.4 ... hmm, I must think on this.
 

Frank D.

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ByronBlack":3g04rmw6 said:
P.S I was really considering buying the vertias LA jack, but I really should get some oldies to practice honing with first. Although I do have an old record no.4 ... hmm, I must think on this.
Aha, I was trying to be tactful by not mentioning a new plane, some people just can't justify the expense, but if it did cross your mind I'd go along with the others and say get the LV LA jack right off the bat. It works just fine for practicing honing, and you won't waste any time or money buying a jack plane twice.
 

ByronBlack

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Frank D.":tsoz6ukl said:
ByronBlack":tsoz6ukl said:
P.S I was really considering buying the vertias LA jack, but I really should get some oldies to practice honing with first. Although I do have an old record no.4 ... hmm, I must think on this.
Aha, I was trying to be tactful by not mentioning a new plane, some people just can't justify the expense, but if it did cross your mind I'd go along with the others and say get the LV LA jack right off the bat. It works just fine for practicing honing, and you won't waste any time or money buying a jack plane twice.
I can feel the temptation building - but I also want a block plane, and if I buy that, i'll also want a shoulder plane, and if have that I might aswell complete a collection with the scrub, no.5 etc. etc. Damn you all to hades!! :twisted: :twisted:
 

Alf

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ByronBlack":2xa3zca5 said:
Alf, I assume the front-knob is not standard? Should it be wooden?
Well I assume it's not standard, although I think there were aluminium (?) knobs and totes offered in the US at one time. (Roger? Mike? Frank? Anyone?) I don't honestly know, but it worries me. If the wooden one is gone, why? Broken? How? Was the whole plane dropped at one time? It'd worry me, anyway.

ByronBlack":2xa3zca5 said:
Also, I gather from your post that the US models are better than the UK models, or have I mis-read you?
Broadly speaking, yes. In reality it's a chronological thing rather than a nationality thing. The UK ones happen to largely inhabit the latter era of Stanley's reign, when things began to go to pot - not 'cos they were made in England. Not to say all UK Stanley's are total rubbish, 'cos they're not. But you have to watch it a bit to make sure you don't get a stinker.

ByronBlack":2xa3zca5 said:
P.S I was really considering buying the vertias LA jack, but I really should get some oldies to practice honing with first. Although I do have an old record no.4 ... hmm, I must think on this.
No amount of poor sharpening will ruin a plane - if worst comes to worst you can always get another blade. But you'd have to really screw up to get to that point, I reckon. Don't let inexperience put you off; other reasons are fair enough, but don't worry about "Newbie-ness".

Cheers, Alf
 

Matt1245

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I'm very happy with the old planes i have bought so far (record 4, stanley 41/2, stanley 6 etc etc). One piece of advise i'd give is fettle and sharpen the damn things as you buy them, don't save them all to do at once as i did. I've been sharpening for over a week now, and have blisters under my finger nails, and have scary sharpened 4 of my fingers :shock: .

One thing to think about tho, cabinet makers etc have gone for over a hundred years using these planes to produce there wares, so they can't be all that bad.

Are the modern planes not just a case of instant gratification?

Matt (can't decide betwteen LV and LN for his BU jack)
 

Frank D.

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I agree with you Matt,
such fine work has been produced with Stanley planes (not to mention crude woodies), it would be foolish to think you can't produce the finest work with them. It's always a question of making do with what you have. This said, I won't give up my LV and LN planes, and I do think they perform better (are easier to get good results from) when the going gets rough than my old Stanleys.
As to the LN and LV La jack, I have both but if I had to choose one I'd keep the LV because of the longer nose, heavier mass, wider blade and easier adjustment (pretty much in that order), regardless of price.
 

ByronBlack

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I am very tempted to go with a newer, more instant gratification LV, LN's are simply too much for me, and when I look at the reviews, i find it very hard to justify the extra cost of the LN's when the LV's work almost as well.

However saying that, I bought an old Stanley no.4 today, has some surface rust and the wooden front-knob has seen better days, but overall it's very solid and should scrub-up nicely. I have 2 No4's now - I have a very old and knackered Record.

Just got to find a No.5 1/5 now, and for a block plane i'm going either going for the LV Apron or LA Block.
 
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