a tool question

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Blog entry by BigTiny posted 09-23-2010 05:55 AM 1036 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Greetings all.

A local buy/sell site has an ad for a ‘Stanley wood tool, complete and in good working condition.” The accompanying pictures show what looks like a plow plane of sorts, with the Stanley name embossed on it and the number 45 on one of the pieces,

Anyone know what this might be and what it is worth? I’m tempted, but know absolutely nothing about it and don’t want to over bid on it, no matter how much I love old tools.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

5 comments so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3024 days

#1 posted 09-23-2010 07:24 AM

Well, it depends on if you want a tool for collecting or for using. I have a #45 and I really don’t like it.

It has:

Lousy depth adjustment.
Poor iron support.
Lateral iron adjustment that never seems to get right or stay in one position if you need to adjust cut.
Miserable chip clearance.
Uncomfortable tote that loves to bring up blisters.
Sharp skates that bang into and hang on things.
Fence adjustments that don’t stay put.
Depth stops that are far enough away from the cutter that you end up with inconsistent depth of cut.

It is the proverbial jack of all trades and master of none. I have yet to find anything that it is particularly good at. The only thing I can think of that I would dislike more is a #55.

The only thing going for it is that it is smaller and cheaper than having the individual planes it is supposed to replace. If it is a plow you are looking for, I have heard good things about the little one from Lee Valley (and I seem to remember rumors of a full size plow in the works). If you are looking for tongue and groove, the match plane that Lie-Nielson sells is supposed to be a winner and cheaper than the collector Stanley original. Wooden hollows and rounds work better and who knows what black hole in the universe that all the hollow and round bases for the #45 were sucked into. If you want it for rebates, there are many vastly superior options.

But some people love and swear by them. Go figure. I have seen them priced between $100 and $300 depending on condition and vintage. Generally, it is a collector item and price doesn’t reflect any particular value other than how much someone wants one. I think the best use for one would be nailed to a wall in a restaurant for decoration since they are too light to get any real purchase to use them as an anchor.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2914 days

#2 posted 09-23-2010 10:00 AM

I had no intention of using it, but strictly as a collector’s item, or possibly to buy and resell at a profit, as I know some of the older Stanleys are worth a lot to collectors. However, the asking price is up there with the prices you quoted, so it ain’t a bargain, and I have this strange aversion to paying full price for anything. Must be the Scottish blood in me.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3115 days

#3 posted 09-23-2010 10:54 AM
Bets thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


31393 posts in 2892 days

#4 posted 09-23-2010 11:11 AM

I would like to have one just because sometimes I want to do something with nothing but hand tools and the 45 comes with a set of irons that allows you to make different cuts that you couldn’t do otherwise. Plus I have a collection of Stanley planes and I don’t have a 45 or a 55. So far I have not been able to part with the $200 – $300 that they can fetch if they have everything and are a good user. I will have both one day, God willing. Here's a page on the 45.

You see I would like to have a set of tools that I could make anything without having to turn on a light bulb or plug in an an electrical cord. What if we had an electromagnetic pulse that temporarily sent us back into the dark ages for a few months. Really just for the satisfaction and joy of knowing I could work without the electricity if I had to or just wanted to. Besides, I like hand tools.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3023 days

#5 posted 09-23-2010 01:17 PM

Uh….......I have them !(They intigue me, I bought the first one I saw, then have added to the collection, wanting the pristine model one day !) For appearance sake I enjoy the type 1 thru type 4)
There claim to fame was 7 planes in one !
I have not used all the cutters YET !
You will pay $250 for the #45 in the wooden box and has all the cutters and pieces with it.
As with any plane these need sharp irons,set up before using them,(lots of knobs and depth adjustments to play with) adjust the fence,depth of cut is important, as you make your cuts you will have to set the depth deeper each pass ? If you are in a hurry (use a router), if you want to duplicate what the old craftsman did, (use a 45,it can be done).When you have mastered the 45, buy the 55. (If you thought the 45 took time to set up, try the 55 !)
How many do you want..?.(ha ha)

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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