Thursday, November 21, 2019
20 August 2019

19 Aug 2019 Vintage Stanley Planes

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For the purposes of this blog, I’ll stick with the Bailey. The number system put in place by Stanley for their Bailey bench planes is still common today. Stanley used a numbering system 1 - 8 with each number’s sole being slightly larger than the subsequent number. The size of the sole really determines the plane’s primary purpose. Numbers 1-4 are considered smoothing planes for preparing wood for finishing. The 4 appears to be the most popular with the 3 as a close second. Numbers 5 & 6 are considered to be jack planes for more rough smoothing. The jointer planes the 7 & 8 are relatively long planes used for flattening or for preparing an edge for jointing. 

In addition to the number system that represents the function or purpose of the plane, seen above, there’s also a type associated with each plane. The types are 1 - 20, and they represent the timeframe when the tool was produced. Each type has a few different characteristics some are very minor. Additionally, some types are assessed to be better than others. Below are the dates for each type: 

  • Stanley Type 1 Handplanes: 1867-1869
  • Stanley Type 2 Handplanes: 1869-1872
  • Stanley Type 3 Handplanes: 1872-1873
  • Stanley Type 4 Handplanes: 1874-1884
  • Stanley Type 5 Handplanes: 1885-1888
  • Stanley Type 6 Handplanes: 1888-1892
  • Stanley Type 7 Handplanes: 1893-1899
  • Stanley Type 8 Handplanes: 1899-1902
  • Stanley Type 9 Handplanes: 1902-1907
  • Stanley Type 10 Handplanes: 1907-1909
  • Stanley Type 11 Handplanes: 1910-1918
  • Stanley Type 12 Handplanes: 1919-1924
  • Stanley Type 13 Handplanes: 1925-1928
  • Stanley Type 14 Handplanes: 1929-1930
  • Stanley Type 15 Handplanes: 1931-1932
  • Stanley Type 16 Handplanes: 1933-1941
  • Stanley Type 17 Handplanes: 1942-1945
  • Stanley Type 18 Handplanes: 1946-1947
  • Stanley Type 19 Handplanes: 1948-1961
  • Stanley Type 20 Handplanes: 1962-1967

I’ll close this lengthy blog with a couple of significant references. First of all, the quickest and easiest access source is a website built by Patrick Leach called The Superior Works: Patrick's Blood and Gore, Beginning of the Saga located at http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0a.html. Unfortunately, some of the best references are books that are out of print and because of that are quite pricey. The first is called Stanley Plane by Alvin Sellens. The second is Antique and Collectible Stanley Tools, A Guide to Identity and Value by John Walter.

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