And here you thought routers are the stuff of the modern workshop. Nope! They've been around much longer than the abNORMal kind has, but these kind ain't the 'lectrical kind. These kind are pushed or pulled, and are suited for smoothing the bottom of a groove, mortice, or whatever, which is lower than the general surface of the piece being worked. They were very popular tools, especially with patternmakers and stairbuilders. Every shop should have one. Stanley's minister of propaganda, in a leaflet distributed with the tool, stated:
"For surfacing the bottom of grooves or other depressions parallel to the surface of the work. There are many applications in pattern making cabinet work and in fact almost all kinds of woodworking that call for these tools. They are particularly practical for routing dadoes for shelves, stair stringers or where pieces of hardware are to be recessed into the surface or edge of a board, such as large hinges or lock strikes, etc. It is not possible to show all these, but the user will soon discover places where these tools will prove their value."
They are sorta D-shaped, with two turned hardwood knobs (beech or maple) on each end. The knobs flank an adjustable L-shaped cutter, which protrudes through a large, circular opening in the plane's sole. A grooved post receives the cutter, which is locked into position by a thumb screw activated clamping collar. This collar, as well as the cutters, are very easy to lose, and these planes are often found minus them. The grooved post is also grooved on its backside so that the cutter can be reversed, making the plane function in a bull nose fashion.
Originally, it came with only two cutters - 1/4"W and 1/2"W. These two cutters are ground to a straight edge, so that they operate just like a paring chisel. They weren't well suited for smoothing, due to tearout, so a third, patented cutter was added in 1917. This one is V-shaped.to make it function like a plough (the farmer's kind) as it cuts the wood. The earliest version of this cutter is a one-piece construction, and can sometimes be found with the patent date stamped in its shank. Because the V cutter has two bevels on it, it proved difficult to grind and hone. Subsequently, the cutter became a two-piece design so that the end be removed for sharpening. Late production models of this plane have all three of their cutters graduated in 1/16ths along their shanks for fine adjusting.
The plane underwent many modifications during its production by Stanley. The first of which was arching the portion of the sole, forward of the cutter, into an open throat configuration. This was done ca. 1890. Then, probably during the mid-1890's, a mechanism to close the throat's opening was added so that the plane could work narrow surfaces, like grooving the edge of a board, to add lateral stability to the tool. This mechanism, or 'shoe' as Stanley called it, attaches to the round depth gauge rod that slips through the arched area of the main casting and 'closes' the throat to give more of a bearing surface, or sole, on the tool. It took Stanley a few designs to get this right as the first design of the shoe has a separate cutter collar casting that projects forward to carry the shoe and the depth gauge rod. Stanley soon redesigned this to the simpler method most are familir with today; the newer design was less costly to manufacture and much easier to use. The shoe's use is very limited for most work, but functions best as a depth stop, which is explained next.
At the same time the shoe was added, a round depth gauge rod was made part of the shoe clamping assembly. This rod controls the tool's depth of cut as the cutter is adjusted deeper. It permits consistency from cut to cut, which would be difficult to achieve were the rod not provided. The rod has a smaller diameter portion on one end. The use of the stop might not be intuitive to most, but it's very easy to use and rather clever in its simple operation. The rod is slipped through the round opening for it, atop the arched portion of the main casting, so that the smaller diameter is downward. The tshoe is then slipped onto the rod (over the large diameter) so that the shoe is above the arched portion of the main casting. The rod is then positioned to the desired depth (relative to the sole of the main casting) and the screw of the shoe is tightened onto the rod. The rod is left free to move up/down through the arched portion of the main casting - do not tighten the screw to lock it in place. As the cuts are made, the rod will slip down toward the casting until the shoe stops it from moving downward anymore. Once the shoe makes contact with the arched portion of the main casting, the desired depth has been reached. Pretty simple, eh?
Next, in 1902, a vernier cutter adjustment mechanism was added to the grooved post; the cutters were redesigned to have a notch at their top to engage a wheel, which traverses a threaded rod to regulate the cutter's depth. This vernier adjustment made it possible to make fine advances in the cutter's set than is normally made when done manually. The feature makes it possible to advance the cutter in successive fine increments as the recess is cut deeper and deeper; i.e., instead of hacking out the recess with just a few settings of the iron, you rout the area with the cutter in a fine set, loosen the blade clamping collar, turn the vernier wheel a bit, clamp the cutter firmly, then rout the area. This procedure is repeated over and over until the desired depth is reached.
In 1909, countersunk (from above) screw holes, through the sole, were added to allow wood bottoms or fences to be attached. This allows the tools to work recesses that are larger than the tool is wide. In other words, the tool can be made physically 'larger' by attaching a wooden sole to it.
In the same year, 1909, the shoe to close the throat was redesigned and repositioned so that it became part of the arched portion of the main casting. During this redesign, the depth gauge rod was repositioned, and in fact, the shoe attaches directly to the rod.
An adjustable fence, which is screwed to the sole, was added in 1939. It is fastened to the underside of the tool's sole by means of a single screw and washer, both of which are often missing. Two small screw holes that flank a larger screw hole (on either side of the cutter) indicate whether your version originally came equipped with the fence. The sole is also grooved to receive the fence. The fence is used for the times when the cutter is run parallel to an edge. The fence has a straight edge for straight work, and the other side is curved to allow the tool to follow either concave or convex edges.
As is the case with many Stanley planes, the first models were japanned. The earlier models have maple handles that are finished with a clear varnish. Toward the close of the last century, they became nickel plated. This plane follows that same course. The later models have hardwood knobs that are painted black, while even later models have composition or plastic knobs. The plane is still being made in England, but its quality pales in comparison to the older American versions.
You'll also see many of these planes cast in brass. Stanley never made them in this metal. The source of these brass planes is from the many patternmakers who made copies of ones they borrowed. It is an easy plane to make, and with it being particularly useful in the patternmaking trade, it was inevitable that enterprising patternmakers would 'roll their own' and save themselves some dinero.
Good old Stanley, coming up with a new model number to designate a plane that was born after the redesign of the #71. This plane is nothing but the first model version of the #71! It has a closed throat; i.e., there is no arching of the sole forward of the cutter. It did follow the same evolution of features, except for the throat adjusting mechanism, as found on the #71. It was a less expensive version of the #71.
One might wonder why Stanley chose to manufacture the two different models of the routers, which only differ in the portion of the sole ahead of the cutter. Stanley claimed that the open throat of the #71 allows for easier passage of the shaving, and that it's easier for the worker to view the cutter's edge as the tool is being worked. However, there are some applications where the open throat design proved difficult to use, such as grooving a narrow piece of work, in which case the more sole that makes contact with the wood, the easier it is to control the tool's lateral stability. The #71 was hyped to be more versatile and user friendly, but at a greater cost than the simpler #71 1/2, which can do all that the #71 can. The image of the two routers shows the differences in the throats; the one on the left is an earlier model of the #71 and has the open throat, while the one on the right is a #71 1/2 with its closed throat.
There are fewer #71 1/2's out there than there are of its non fractional sibling which should clue the reader that many guys didn't go for the closed throat design back then. Even today, they are tougher to sell to users, who prefer all the bells and whistles that the #71 offers.
This plane is used to chamfer the edges of stock, although it can't do stopped chamfers all that well. The plane has an inverted V-shaped sole, with each "leg" of the V serving as a guide while the plane is worked. Located toward the front of the plane is an inclined area onto which an adjustable sole section is secured; the mating surface between the main casting and the adjustable sole is a broad tongue and groove joint, with the adjustable sole part carrying the tongue.
The adjustable portion of the sole carries the cutter, and can be raised or lowered to decrease or increase, respectively, the width of the chamfer. With the sole positioned in its lowermost position, the plane can function as a smoother. A brass five-spoked adjusting wheel (later examples have a nickel plated adjusting wheel) is used to secure the sole in the desired position. It can strip out from repeated hard use, so it's worth checking that. A small washer, usually long lost, fits below the spoked adjusting wheel.
A typical rosewood tote and knob, like those found on the bench planes (the #3's are the exact size), are used to push the plane. The cutter is single (it has no cap iron). The plane's original cutter is sometimes lost, and replaced with one from a common block plane. Remove the lever cap and inspect the backside of the blade; an original cutter will not have a series of grooves, like those of a block plane, machined into it. A bullnose sole, which is usually long-lost, was added in 1909 to help the plane cut stopped chamfers (you still have to work the stopped areas by hand, however, since there is an amount of sole ahead of the iron). The image below shows the plane with the bull nose section.
The planes do not use a cammed lever cap like those on the common bench planes. Instead, the lever cap is a japanned cast iron piece that is activated by thumb screw. The earlier models, such as that in the image, use the same japanned thumb screw that's common to specialty planes of the same vintage such as the #78. Later examples have the nickel plated lever thumb screws that have "STANLEY" embossed in them. The latest models have the nickel plated flat thumb screws with the fine knurling about the circumference.
The earlier models will have a beaded knob and the patent date cast into the right side of the plane. The iron, which is bedded bevel side down, can also be found with the patent date, "PAT APR. 21, 85", stamped in the iron right below the Stanley name.
Curiously, many of the planes can be found with holes drilled into the main casting from both sides. Guys would fit a piece of wood or metal into the V portion of the sole so that the plane has a sole like a common smoothing plane; i.e., the wood or metal acts as a filler, with the holes in the main casting to permit screws to hold the filler in place. It might seem odd that this filler would be inserted into the sole, but it was done so that the plane would cut along the edge of stock. Were the plane not retrofitted with this filler, only the plane's toe would be the flat bearing surface of the tool, which is far too little an area when planing an edge, an edge normally narrower than the width of the plane's iron; i.e. were the filler not in place, the heel would want to bear on the edge, with the toe being raised off the edge.
This plane is identical to the #72, except that it has an additional attachment for molding the chamfers. The attachment could be bought separately, but it seems that not too many guys bought them as they aren't that numerous. They are a real pain in the arse to use, even though they are supposed to function just like the #69 does.
This attachment is secured to the plane like the other soles are with the spoked wheel that tightens it to the plane's main casting. The attachment has a two-piece cast iron construction, where the lower piece (the one that carries the cutter) slips under the upper piece (the one that carries the spoked wheel). The two pieces are held together with a screw that has a knurled adjusting 'nut' midway along the screw. This screw allows the lower section to be raised or lowered relative to the upper piece so that the depth of cut can be regulated.
The cutters supplied with the attachment are identical to those supplied with the #69. The cutters scrape a bead, reed, or flute on a flat chamfer after that is cut by the plane using one of the normal soles. The plane itself is marked #72 but the beading attachment has no markings, save for the patent dates that are normally found stamped into the blade securing nut. This nut, originally brass and slotted, was later made as a nickel plated thumb screw. The cutter is held in place with a staple like cast clamping piece. If this clamping piece is broken or missing, good luck trying to make it look original.
The plane is very seldom found with all its parts (bull nose, regular sole, and beading attachment). If you're a collector, buying just the molding attachment alone, with its cutters, can set you back a few bucks. The earliest models have polished brass on all but the two cast iron pieces, but the later ones are finished with nickel plating.
Check that the adjusting wheel isn't stripped. Also check the lower piece where the adjusting screw engages as it buttresses the cutter's carrier. This area is rather small and somewhat fragile and can crack.
Don't think many of us are gonna be using this one. It was designed to plane broad wooden surfaces such as bowling alleys, ship decks, floors, or whatever. This is Stanley's only plane that is used not on a bench in the standing position - a long handle is used to push the plane. It's also one of the most difficult planes to find in original condition; for example, it's far easier to find a #196 or #212 than it is to find one of these in minty unmodified condition with the original handle.
The plane has a 45" long turned (round) handle that slips into a pivotting hollowed receiver that's attached on the main casting, below the blade. The handle is maple or beech (I've seen a birch one, too) and is tapered from its overall diameter of 1 1/8" down where it joins the receiver.
On the handle are two maple or beech totes. Each of these totes sit atop a nickeled casting to provide a flat base. The casting has a hole through so that a forging can pass through it; the lower end of the forging is looped to slip over the handle and the upper end is threaded to receive the brass tote nut. The brass tote nut is unique to this plane as it's oversized from those used on the common bench planes - it measures 5/8" diameter and is 13/16" long.
The totes themselves are rather primitive looking things (floor planing is a rather oafish job afterall and there's really no need to provide a Mercedes when a Yugo will do) with a mostly 'vertical' profile. They don't have pronounced horns like those used on the bench planes. Some users removed the horns altogether so that they could butt the totes in the palms of their hands rather than wrap their hands around them.
The totes can be positioned anywhere along the length of the handle and anywhere around the handle. The brass tote nut is loosened with a screwdriver, which then allows the handle to be rotated or moved along the handle. When tightened, the brass nut draws the looped end of the forging upward against the wooden handle to secure it in the desired position. Many of the brass nuts are munged from use. Many of the totes are also damaged, more often than not cracked, from use. Some guys shim the tote nut with washers in the tote's countersunk cavity so that the tote nut stands proud of the top of the tote.
Most of the planes are found without the handle. It's a good bet that guys found them better for staking tomatos than for floor planing. Most of the handles found on the planes are latter day reproductions. A missing handle seriously devalues the collectibility (and that's all the plane is good for, right?) of it - an original handle is worth more than the plane itself.
The main casting is just the #101 on tool sterrhoids, but with the aforementioned pivotting receiver. The receiver is secuted to the main casting with a rod that screw through the cheeks of the plane (the rod is slotted on the left side). Check that the receiver isn't damaged where it pivots about the rod - it can crack or break out there.
A double iron is used in this tool. The iron is the same as that used on the #8 sized bench planes, but the cap iron is unique to the plane as it isn't cut out to accept an adjusting fork; the iron is adjusted manually. If you need a cap iron, good luck finding it as this is the only Stanley plane that was equipped with such a cap iron. In fact, the only part you can snarf from this plane to use on others is the iron. But, you'd be foolish to do that, so don't.
The iron rests upon two sloping projections that arise from the main casting. These projections are milled so that they are coplanar. The iron is held in place with a simple lever cap; the lever cap is oversized and has a notch cast on its front so that it can slip under and engage another rod (screwed through the cheeks) when the lever cap screw is turned. The lever cap screw is nickel plated and has "STANLEY RULE & LEVEL CO." embossed around it much like that found on the #113. The earlier models of the plane have the patent date, "PAT. DEC.15-85.", embossed at the rear of the main casting.
The plane is sometimes found modified. As mentioned earlier, the totes are reshaped. The plane can also be found with the sides of the sole chamfered to reduce the surface area in an attempt to cut down friction. Sometimes wooden soles are screwed to the main casting. The most common modification is the handle receive is drilled to accept a screw so that the handle can be secured to the plane. It seems Stanley forgot this important feature. Some guys also bend the heel of the iron upward to allow for a greater range of movement on the handle receiver.
Being 6' 3" tall, I can't find a position of the totes to make for a comfortable grip. One would likely be bent over somewhat to use this thing and I suspect workmen's compensation would go bankrupt if there ever were a wave of floor planing with this thing. Have pity on those old hunchbacks you see lurking around your local Acme Bowling Lanes for they probably suffered these planes during their youth. Lucky for us floor sandahs was invented, hunh?
This is a cheap, little rabbet plane, that is very useful in the shop. It has a top section that arches forward of the blade to form the front portion of the sole. This section is adjustable, forward and backward, to regulate its mouth. This is done by means of a simple screw, which is threaded to lower section, the rear portion of the sole, of the plane. A washer sits under the screw, with the earlier examples having a brass washer. The plane does not have its number cast into it. The lower portion of the plane's sides is machined, with the rest above the machined area japanned.
The lever cap has a thumb screw to hold it and the iron in place (earlier examples will have a slotted screw). There are two lugs cast into the top section under which the lever cap fits. Sometimes the lever cap is snapped and repaired. The plane can choke easily since the lever cap serves as the chip breaker and it sits well back from the cutting edge. Despite the tendency to choke, the plane is useful for trimming and odd rabbeting. I found it very useful when cleaning up years of grunge and paint within the window frames of double hung sash.
The section of the sole ahead of the iron is not co-planar with the sole behind the iron. The plane is purposely made this way to assist it with its cut (you guys what owns the 'lectrical jointahs should know why the plane's sole is the way it is) so there's no need to practice sole lapping on it.
This is another popular Stanley plane, on which the company built a great fortune. Nearly every workman of the time had one of these planes in their kits. This plane was so popular and functional, that it still is made today. Any handtool enthusiast should consider this plane, or one like it, be it a competitor's or a wooden version, as part of his arsenal.
The plane has two beds for the cutter - one positioned for normal work, and the other for bullnose work. The cutter has no cap iron, and is held in place by a thumb screw activated lever cap. Earlier models, with the common floral vines cast into the handle, required hand adjustment to set the iron, but in 1925, a lever, which engages machined grooves in the backside of the iron, was provided to accomplish this. Around 1910, the handle has a fish scale-like pattern cast into it.
There is an adjustable depth stop on the right hand side of the plane, secured in place by a thumb screw. Directly below the depth stop, is a three-pronged spur to score the grain that sits flush with the side of the plane. It can be turned up out of the way when it isn't needed. There is no spur on the left of the plane.
A rod, threaded on one end, is used as the arm on which the fence is secured. The arm can be attached either to the left of the plane, for working right-handed, or to the right of the plane, for reversing the plane to work left-handed. This is a nice feature designed to handle problem grain while working. However, there is no provision for the depth stop on the left side of the plane, so you'll need to plane to a gauged line, or do it by eye, when using the plane left-handed. The threaded rod has a hole drilled through it on its end. This hole permits a nail, or something similar, to pass through it in order to tighten or loosen the rod. Many of the rods are bent right where the threads start so check this area by unscrewing the rod - you'll notice whether it's bent as you unscrew it.
The fence is secured to the arm with a thumb screw. Sometimes you'll find examples where the thumb screw is replaced with a slotted round head screw. This is due either to the thumb screw being misplaced, or the original thumb screw being stripped. Also, the fence is sometimes broken; when the fence is attached to the left side of the plane, the back portion of the fence is longer than the front portion by about 3/4". Look at the fence, with the thumb screw toward you. The aperture for the arm should noticeably be to the left.
This plane is often found with parts missing - most often it is the depth stop and/or fence. You can usually scrounge parts from other models, but this approach usually ends up costing you more for an assembled one than it does for buying a complete one. It's also possible to find the plane with the section of the sole ahead of the bull nose bed snapped off. Some guys ground this section off so that they could use the plane as a chisel plane or to worked stopped rabbets right to their very end, which can't be done with this portion of the sole present. Planes that were accidently broken will have the section brazed back onto the main casting.
The #78 pictured with its original box dates from the 1920's, with the most obvious clue being the depth adjustment lever for the cutter. It has the common decal on the handle, which Stanley applied to many of their planes and other handtools. It can be found applied to the totes on the Bailey and Bed Rock bench planes, special purpose planes such as this one, sliding bevels, try squares, etc. The block planes and some of the other smaller planes, like the #95, used a smaller decal that's noticeably yellow (see the #220 for an example of this decal).
This #78 also illustrates another common occurrence with Stanley - the use of early labels on boxes of later planes. The label on this plane, often called the "picture label" because of the line drawing of the tool contained within, was in widespread use starting around 1905. When this plane was made, Stanley was in the midst of what is known as the sweetheart era, where tools have the heart logo stamped in them somewhere. Even the box labels had a tiny heart on them as part of the logo. However, Stanley was also frugal in their unwillingness to toss something that was still perfectly usable, in this case a label. So, here is a plane made during the 1920's with a label used a few decades earlier. Keep in mind that it's impossible to date accurately Stanley stuff by the boxes alone. Generally, the latest feature on the tool, in this case the label, is the more accurate clue to the plane's approximate date of manufacture.
This is a very special purpose plane, which none of us are likely to use. It is designed for the installation of weather stripping. The plane is like the normal #78, except there is a detachable steel runner on the sole of the plane. This acts as a gauge for cutting a 3/8" rabbet on either side of the plane, without the need to adjust the plane to do so. Stanley claimed that this rabbet cut was particularly useful for installing the weatherstripping on the lock jamb and the head of the door. Since the gauge is centered, the plane can be worked left or right handed (in other words, reversed) so that it won't split out the grain on the end of the door.
The plane does not have the number 78W cast into it, and looks like any regular #78, especially since the runner is often missing on the plane. The dead give-away of this plane is a captive knurled locking nut or pivotting steel locking lever located right below the cutter adjustment. The nut or lever locks the runner to the sole of the plane.
The runner has two pins - one located toward the front and the other toward the back - which fit into holes that are drilled through the plane's sole. At about the mid-point of the runner is attached a projecting boss, onto which the the locking means is fixed above. There are several means by which the runner is locked in place. Some models carry a captive nut on the main casting, and engage threads on the boss. Others, like the two illustrated here, have pivoting levers that engage a groove machined on the boss.
Stanley did not originate this idea. Some unknown firm retro-fitted #78's a decade or two earlier, and then resold them. These models have a runner with two long pin-like projections that engage the plane. The runner locking mechanism is a bit different in that it is a pivoting piece of metal that swings into place to engage a hook-like projection on the runner. There is an elongated slot milled into the sole of the plane to accomodate the hook-like piece of the runner.
Thankfully, the last of the aluminum abberations. Same as the #78, but cast in aluminum, including the fence, lever cap, and depth stop. If you're a collector, don't buy one that has iron anything on it.
Just imagine if this thing sold like no tomorrow giving Stanley fits of aluminum marketing opportunities. I'd probably be writing about an aluminum shootboard or something like that.
The #79 is a popular plane (heck, it's one the few that is still available new). The only knock against it that I have is that the trailing cutter's set ought to be backed off completely so that it doesn't drag behind the leading cutter, which is what is doing the actual cutting. The #79 is also longer than the #98/#99 pair, which may be a concern if you're working small areas. The depth stop has two screws that must be loosened/tightened when adjusting it. Those are the only real differences.
These are handy little goobers used to clean up rabbets, dados, and grooves. There are two opposing cutters locked in place with thumb screws. The plane can be used for left or right cuts. There are two nose pieces which are reversible to allow for bullnose work (the first image shows the plane in its bull nose configuration).
If anything bad can be said about this plane's use, it has to be that its cutters are too narrow. There are times when a rabbet is larger than this plane can handle. For these rabbets, the wooden plane versions of the side rabbets are ideally suited - they are capable of cleaning up rabbets up to ~2" wide or deep.
The earlier models have a semi-circular cutout on the top of the plane, between the two cutters. Later planes, starting ca. 1950, don't have this cutout, but do have a hole in the middle for hanging the plane on a hook. A depth stop, which runs nearly the full length of the plane, was also added about the same time. The depth stop is held in place by two small nickel plated thumb screws, but the last production American ones use slotted screws as do the current English manufactured models. The depth stop is made of stamped steel. You can find first model examples that are modified to accept a homemade depth stop.
The cutters are secured with small cast iron clips, which are held to the main casting with small thumb screws. These thumb screws, as well as the thumb screws that are used to hold the depth stop, can strip out. Be sure to check these as it's a fairly common problem on this plane and the #98 and #99. The screws that hold the nose piece in place are countersunk so that they don't interfere with the plane's cutting action. These screws are often seized in place from the plane's sitting idle for so long.
Some common damage to be aware of for this plane, and the #98 and #99 side rabbets, is a stress crack that runs parallel to the cutter. The crack is easy to spot by examining the plane from its backside, the flat side of the plane. Look carefully about the top of the mouth to the side where the bed meets the mouth. The crack is usually the result of too much pressure being applied by the plane's blade clamping device, which is nothing but a cast piece secured by a thumb screw. On the models with the depth stop, you have to remove it to examine the areas for stress cracks.
Most of these planes are found fully nickel plated. During WWII, the plane was japanned. These models are fairly scarce.
These are hybrid planes, where wooden plane meets metal plane in a short-lived union. In fact, these are Stanley's only planes they ever offered that may remotely be considered wooden planes. Stanley may have made these planes as their answer to the finer infill planes that were all the rage in England. Of course, this is pure speculation, but it does seem strange that an iron plane slinging company would take to making a plane that sure has a goodly amount of wood as part of it.
The plane is made up of a one piece U-shaped metal sole, which is bent upward to form the sides of the plane. Sandwiched inside this chunk of metal are two pieces of wood stuffing - one forward of the cutter, and one behind the cutter (as the bed). These pieces of wood are secured to the metal with countersunk screws. The wood stuffing has the patent date stamped forward of the cutter, and the company logo behind the cutter. The plane is not marked with the model number.
A long rod extends through the back piece of wood, onto which a cast iron japanned clamp is attached on the cutter side, with a brass thumb screw (over a brass washer) threaded on the heel. When the thumb screw is turned, it pulls the clamp up against the slotted cutter, increasing the pressure on it to hold the cutter in place. This method of securing the cutter is nearly identical to one of the first blade securing mechanisms ever patented in this country - the one by Thomas Worall, a former Baptist minster turned planemaker. His patent of 1856, while working in Charlestown, Boston, and Lowell, MA, had to be the inspiration for the later Stanley design, and Stanley didn't have to worry about patent infringement as the Worall patent had expired by the time Stanley put this plane in production.
These planes are very difficult to find in good condition. Makes a guy wonder whether the planes were used for rabbeting railroad ties, or something like that. Most of the planes have their mouths filed wider to open them up, probably because many an American woodworker of the day wouldn't appreciate a tight mouth if it came up and hit him on his, well, his mouth. Actually, the planes have a major design problem - they choke very easily with the mouth as Stanley provided, and in order for them to work well, the mouth had to be filed open somewhat; the face of the iron, along its edges, butts right against the steel (see the #90 version of this plane for an image of the other side of the plane, where there is a very slight relief to the steel ahead of the iron, but only for a too short distance). Thus, you're more likely to find the proverbial needle in a haystack before you find one of these planes that hasn't been on the wrong end of a file.
The plane was first offered without the iron skewed, which is fine for rabbeting with the grain, but Stanley soon realized that most most wooden rabbet planes have skewed irons to assist the plane when working across the grain, so they soon redesigned the plane to have a skewed iron. The first model also uses a captive lever cap and a round brass thumb screw to secure the iron. The lever cap pivots on a pin that is fastened to the steel sides.
The clever reader might take notice that there are two #80's offered by Stanley. This plane, the wooden #90, and the bull nose #11, are the only common Stanley plane numbers that were re-issued; there are two #80's - this rabbet plane and the cabinet scraper (follows) - and two #90's - the other wooden rabbet plane - and two #11's - the beltmakers plane and the bull nose cabinetmaker's rabbet plane. The #80 and #90 planes were never offered concurrently, so there was never any confusion over which plane was which, but the #11's were offered concurrently, with the bull nose rabbet likely only offered over in England.
The common scraper that many a cabinetmaker owned, if he didn't want to burn his fingers. The middle portion of the cast iron tool is semi-rectangular in shape and has two handles, sorta gullwing-like, which flank the 'rectangle'. The blade is fit into a milled 'bed' of the rectangular area and is secured in place with a flat bar of metal; the blade tilts toward the flat bar. The flat bar puts pressure against the blade by means of two thumb screws that thread into the main casting; this arrangement is what secures the blade to the tool, and a nail pushed through the holes in the thumb screws permits the blade to be secured tightly. To the rear of the blade, on the other side of the casting, is another thumb screw, which when turned puts some pressure on the blade from behind causing the blade to bow or spring. This action puts a slight curve on the blade and is, in essence, the blade's depth adjuster; turning the thumb screw to the right increases the blade's set, while turning it to the left decreases it. The handles each have a hole drilled in them so that it can be hung out of the way.
The blade is ground to a 45 degree bevel and has the hook turned toward the flat side of the blade. When the blade is inserted into the tool (do this from the sole so that you don't injure the burr), be sure that the hook is oriented so that it's toward the direction in which the blade leans. The tool is pushed with the blade leaning away from you. A solid grip and moderate downward pressure on the handles will have you scraping in no time. Your fingers will thank you daily when you use this common tool. The one knock on the tool is that it doesn't have the fine adjusting mechanism that the #12 family of scrapers do and that the blade can't be pitched for optimal performance on a given wood like the #12 can.
The entire plane is japanned, but the thumb screws and flat bar are nickel plated. The tool's vintage can be determined by the logo stamped on the flat bar and on the cutter. The first model of the scraper has the leading edge (relative to the direction the tool is pushed) of the main casting cast straight across, whereas the later models have the same edge cast convex. The earliest model has the patent date embossed into the tool.
This is the malleable iron version of the tool, probably aimed at the punks that populated the trade schools to keep the tool intact after they got done throwing it at each other, running it through the tablesaw, using it as a doorstop, etc. The plane is embossed "80M". This model isn't found as frequently as its grey iron brother, the #80, but that doesn't make it valuable, except as a user or maybe even as a boomerang in the outback.
Curiously, Stanley chose to slap a red label on the box for this tool instead of the common green label that was in widespread use when this plane was manufactured. Red was the color used for the Bed Rock line of bench planes. Perhaps Stanley had some red ink left over, and rather than using it on the balance sheets they chose to use it for this plane's label instead.
This is a nickel plated and fancier version of the #80. It has a captive pivoting lever cap that is activated by a thumb screw to secure the blade into place. The scraper has a rosewood sole screwed to the bottom with four screws, one each near the corners of the sole. This was offered for the finest scraping, where wood on wood is thought to be preferable by some. The tool also has holes drilled into the handle to hang it out of the way while not in use. What it doesn't have is a fine adjustment mechanism for the blade, so you'll have to have a light touch, and be very familiar with the finer points of scraping, before you tackle this one. That is, if you intend to use it and not collect it.
Like the #12 1/2, which also has a rosewood sole screwed to the main casting, this tool is often found with the sole shot from years of use (hell, even Stanley would sell you extra soles in anticipation of the wear on them). If you find one that has the screw points poking through the sole, it's time for a replacement, if you intend to use it. The reason why is left as an exercise for the reader. You can use whatever wood you wish as a replacement since finding a source of brazilian rosewood isn't easy for most folks. The sole's original thickness is around 1/4".
The blades used in the #12 family scrapers are not interchangeable with this tool - they are too wide for it. The blades used in the #80 are too short for this tool. So, if you need a blade for it, you'll have to search for it as the blade to this one is a unique dimension. And all the chuckleheads at Stanley had to do was make the fool thing 1/2" wider to make for scraper harmony.
The WWII version of this tool is japanned, and is rather rare, but since no one collects worlwartwotypes (said in as few syllables as possible) no one really cares about them. The handles have the rippled texture to the casting, like that of the #66 beader. The blade is prepared like the the #12's.
Another scraper, which sorta looks like the #70 box scraper. It has a long, turned wooden handle, which has a pivoting portion to hold the scraper blade. This pivoting portion has a turned knob, which is gripped in the other hand, and a clamping mechanism to secure the blade. The advantage of a scraper of this design is that the blade can be adjustable to different angles, and the workman could bear down on it better than other designs.
There are two designs of this tool. The first model has the lever cap screw on the face opposite the turned knob. This model uses a simple thumb screw that passes through a slotted arc-shaped piece to secure the blade at one of four angles (there are four notches cut into the slot of the arc-shaped part). During the early 1930's, the tool was redesigned to take advantage of a new patent that called for notches cut into two opposing mating surfaces. These notches don't allow the 'infinite' freedom of the blade's position either since the notches in the pivotting assembly slip into each other in a predetermined fashion. On the positive side, these notches offer greater 'holding' power and won't slip under a heavy load like the previous design can. The redesign also called for a spring, located behind the front knob on the opposite face, to cushion the blade and eliminate chatter. To accomodate these two changes, the turned knob was moved to a position slight lower on the clamping mechanism and the lever cap screw was repositioned to the same face as the turned knob.
Because of the way the blade is clamped in place, and because the clamping mechanism is unencumbered to either side, the tool is capable of holding blades of any width, making it useful for scraping into weird locations that aren't accessible by the other scrapers. Paint scraper blades, in the shape of a broad and flattened U were also provided for this piece later in its production.
The handle and knob are maple, and on the earliest examples they have a clear finish on them. Starting in the early 1940's, the finish became a deep maroon. A ferrule is situated at the juncture of the handle and where the cast iron 'tang' is inserted into it. The cast iron portion of the plane is japanned, while the thumb screws are nickel plated.
This is one of those strange tools that makes you wonder who would ever design such a thing, let alone manufacture it. The obvious answer, in case you're in suspense, is Justus Traut and The Stanley Rule and Level Co.
It's basically a rectangular casting that accepts a caster-like roller, and has a turned wooden handle screwed onto it. The handle, which is maple or beech with a clear finish on it, is shaped like a dumbbell but with sausage-shaped ends that are gripped in each hand. Between the two 'sausages' is a cylindrical portion through which a countersunk screw fits into the main casting. The handle can be removed to permit the scraper to work into odd corners.
The main casting is nickel plated, and has 3 thumb screws threaded into it. There are two screws that hold the blade in place; the blade slips into two slit-like slots cut into respective swellings of the main casting. These areas can crack since they carry much of the strain placed upon the tool during its use; look about them for any repairs or hairline cracks. The earliest examples have the patent date proudly embossed above the handle.
Between these two swellings is a conical portion of the casting which rises above the rest of the main casting. This conical portion has a vertical hole drilled through it and accepts a sliding post that in turn terminates with a roller. The sliding post is positioned within the conical portion via a thumbscrew. This area of the main casting also is susceptible to damage since it, too, carries a great amount of strain during use; a close scrutiny about it is wise.
The roller itself is maple or beech and it, along with its captive post, is usually missing in action. The wooden roller is sometimes found cracked or with missing chunks out of it. The roller came in two widths - one measuring around 5/8" in length and the other about 1" in length. The post that carries the roller has a flat milled on it so that the thumbscrew can lock it in place better and so that the roller aligns properly relative to the blade; if the roller were allowed to be positioned so that its axis isn't parallel to the face of the blade, the tool would want to wander in a direction you don't want it to go.
So, what's the supposed appeal of this contraption? The presence of the roller eliminates the strain placed upon the wrists and hands during the tool's use. Also, the pitch of the blade can be customized simply by sliding the post up or down through the main casting; moving the roller closer to the main casting pitches the blade at a steeper angle. The roller can be positioned so that the scraper is oriented to make inoperable. The tool can be pulled or pushed. You want to make sure that the roller precedes the blade so it doesn't leave any track marks on the wood; i.e., the tool is oriented so that the roller is away from you.
Forget this dumb tool and get a real scraper, like a #12 or #112, instead. It does have a plus side, however - it's the widest of all the Stanley-made scrapers since it can accept a 4" wide blade, but the blades are normally long gone in these things. A #12 blade will not fit into this tool; it's too wide and too thick to slip into the slits cut for it in the main casting. You need a thinner iron to work in this tool.
This is a scraper plane with a rabbet mouth and tilting knob and tote. It is designed to work into corners, where the knob and tote are tilted to prevent smashing your knuckles, an application that every woodworker does at least 3 times daily.
The plane resembles a conventional bench rabbet, like the #10 1/2, but the frog design is totally different. It is a two piece construction, where a captive pivoting lever cap is pinned to another L-shaped piece, which is in turn screwed to the bottom casting much like the frog of the common Bailey bench plane is. The blade is secured into the frog using a thumb screw, as might be guessed, but it does so in a manner opposite what is common on other planes. The thumb screw is not on the pivoting lever cap but is located behind the cutter. As the thumb screw is tightened, it throws the top of the cutter forward toward the top of the lever cap, causing the lever cap to pivot, ultimately placing pressure at the bottom of the lever cap over the width of the cutter. The plane has the lever cap screw arranged thus since there isn't enough room to accomodate it freely due to the fact that the frog leans toward the knob; there isn't sufficient clearance between frog and knob. Look for any signs of repair or breakage where the lever cap is pinned to the L-shaped piece.
The frog can be adjusted forward or backward somewhat to regulate the opening of the mouth. This is done manually, by backing off the pressure of the two screws, which hold the frog to the bottom casting. Between these two screws, and a bit behind them, is another smaller set screw. This screw can be turned to adjust slightly the blade's pitch. If it is set too much, and too much presure is applied to the frog's other two screws, cracking of the frog's casting can occur about the set screw. Check this area very carefully, if you're to purchase one of these.
The tilting rosewood knob and tote are susceptible to cracks and breakage about their bottoms. Both are secured in place like the #10 1/4's are. Look both the knob and tote over carefully for any signs of damage, repair, or replacement. You can't salvage replacement knobs and totes from any old bench plane - you have to snarf them from a broken #85 or #10 1/4, both of which aren't found under rocks in any part of our great and wealthy country.
During use, the blade springs backward, which then allows the shavings to escape. The tool is pushed and gripped like a regular bench plane. Despite all its clever features, it wasn't very popular, and is now a very collectible tool. The blade is unique to this plane as its width increases (over its length) to fill the rabbet mouth. There isn't a lot of useable meat on these blades, and they are often long gone having been used up in a day or two. The most desireable planes will have the Stanley logo stamped on the cutter, which gives the collectors a warm and fuzzy feeling over its originality.
This is a very rare plane, which never was popular due to the other cheaper and more versatile scrapers Stanley offered. This one is very much like the #85 in appearance, except that it doesn't have a rabbet mouth, nor does it have the tilting knob and tote. On this model, the knob and tote are secured to the bottom casting with a brass slotted screw and a threaded rod. Other than that, the plane is identical to the #85 in every regard, and suffers the same possibility of damage that that one does. The plane was practically DOA with the ballsy #112 doing the same duty, and much better at that, than this one does. The mind goes apoplectic when pondering why Stanley didn't offer a corrugated version of this one - wow, imagine what one would be worth if they had?
Copyright (c) 1998-2012 by Patrick A. Leach. All Rights Reserved. No part may be reproduced by any means without the express written permission of the author.