The Stanley #72 Chamfer plane was on my list of Stanley specialty planes that I wanted to own. I like this plane from both a collector and a user view point. What I mean by that is its fun to use and its also fun to look at on the shelf.
This is the kind of plane in which I normally wouldn’t restore to a like new condition. Had this one been in good condition and had nice patina I would have just sharpened the iron and left the rest alone. However this #72 did not have nice patina and it was in very poor condition. There was hardly any japanning left, it was rusted and the tote and knob had weathered to a grey like color and you couldn’t even tell they were rosewood. I paid a premium price for this plane so I figured I would bring it back to looking like a premium plane.
Here are the before pictures of the plane..
I first took apart and soaked all the metal parts in EvapoRust for a few hours. After that I sanded down the area to be painted, hit it with a wire wheel and cleaned surface to be painted. After the paint dried I polished up the unpainted metal using wet/dry sandpaper. I stopped at 800 grit. I had to do some pretty heavy sanding to the tote and knob in order to get rid of the layer of weathered wood. I finished the wood with Bullseye Shellac Clear.
Here is the plane after…
My first thoughts on using this plane-
I have only had the chance so far to test the plane out on a few boards. In order to give it a real review I will have to have more time with it. On my first test piece things did not go well. The front end of the plane is adjustable, you loosen the star shaped knob on the back and you can lift or lower the front. The position of the front end determines the depth of the chamfer. On my first trial run with the plane I had the depth set to deep and I didn’t really get a nice looking chamfer. I basically just hogged off the edge of the board. I re adjusted the front end and tried again on a new piece. Adjusting the front made a huge difference, I got a much nicer chamfer on my 2nd attempt. For the third board I adjusted the front yet again and planed an even smaller chamfer. I tried taking photos of these boards but I was using light color wood and due to the lights in my shop and camera quality I couldn’t quite capture the chamfer the way I wanted. I will have to use a darker wood and try and get pictures to post in a later update.
After figuring out the depth adjustment I ran into another problem. I was having a hard time both starting and ending the chamfer. Starting the chamfer from the end of the board was tough so I found it best to start the cut an inch or so from the edge, once chamfer is established I found it easiest to just turn plane around and plane off that first inch from the other direction. The other issue was finishing the cut at the other end of the board. Of coarse if your doing a stopped chamfer this would not be a problem but if your going all the way to the end I found you have to make sure to keep good pressure on the back of the plane. On the first and 2nd test pieces I was not keeping enough down pressure on the back so when I reached the end the cutter would dig down making a deeper cut at the end. Both of these are just minor user issues that will just take me some time to master.
Is this a handy user plane to have?
I think this plane is great for times where you need to cut long straight perfect chamfers. For smaller projects I will probably stick with my block plane but if I want to bevel the edge of a table or cut chamfers on casework I will reach for the #72. I will have to spend some time with it in order to give it a real review but thats just my early thoughts.
-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"