Memories #3: Honey the Plane is Only $350 bucks!

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Blog entry by Sam Yerardi posted 01-29-2008 07:14 PM 1064 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Going In Halves On a Lot of Wood Part 3 of Memories series no next part

When my wife and I were first married, money was a bit scarce and we struggled but from time to time we would splurge on something. Since I was into woodworking and was in the process of building our kitchen and its cabinets, I was usually making a case to my wife that I needed this tool or that load of wood and more often than not, I did. One night she & I were laying in bed and I was looking at an issue of Fine Woodworking magazine for a few minutes. I saw an ad where a fellow in Juda, Wisconsin had a Stanley #45 plane in mint condition with all of the parts in the original box. It was one of those choir-light-through-the-clouds moments. A Stanley #45! Back then (1983) the internet was unheard of in people’s homes and finding a tool like this was a rare occurrence. I was so excited I told my wife “It’s only $350!!”… “but honey, it will replace all of the other planes I need to buy…” Eventually she relented. Instead of dinner for the next couple of weeks I would spend the money (JUST KIDDING)… Actually I had set some money aside for the kitchen remodel and it fit the budget even though in reality I ended up never using it for the kitchen.

I called the guy and had a long talk with him. That was what sold me. Actually what sold me was he answered the phone. I knew I wanted it. At work the next day I was telling a guy I worked with that I was buying a tool from a guy in Juda, Wisconsin. He said ‘You’re kidding, right? I grew up beside Juda!” It turned out his family knew the guy. Small world. That convinced me it was fate :). So I nervously sent the check for $350 to someone I had never met or knew in a land far, far away for what I thought at the time was the Holy Grail of desirable woodworking tools. I was terrified I would never see the money again nor the plane. Well, in about 2 weeks it showed up. It was in a cedar packing crate (still have the box). I was in seventh heaven. So here I am that night sitting on the edge of my bed saying “Honey! It has rosewood handles!” Like THAT made a difference to her.

As it turned out, I never used the plane until about two years ago. It sat on the shelf in my shop for almost 12 years before I ever opened it again and used. Yes, from time to time I would open the box and look at the parts, etc. and dream away but I never tried to use it. I knew one day I would and I was still glad I bought it. They’re actually cheaper today (I assume because of the availability due to the internet) but I still don’t regret it.

Another heart-warming woodworking story of spending more money than we have for something we really don’t need but ending up but still being glad we bought it. Sound familiar?

-- Sam

11 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4212 days

#1 posted 01-29-2008 07:26 PM

Great story.

Sometimes I’m really grateful for dual incomes and separate checkbooks. If I had told my wife in 1983 that I wanted to spend 350 of our scarce dollars on a plane, I’d still be treying to get the frying pan dent out of my forehead. <g>

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4168 days

#2 posted 01-29-2008 07:31 PM

That’s a great story, Sam.

Reminds me of a conversation with the wife this past weekend when we were at Woodcraft (looking specifically for hardware – unfortunately, this store doesn’t carry the new line of handles, so it was all in vain.) I ended up looking at the case holding the Lie-Neilsen planes…

She asked, “What are you doing? You don’t need any more planes!”

I gave her an incredulous look and replied, “What do you mean?”

She said, “You already have two or three! You don’t need any more!”

I actually have quite a few more than that, but I didn’t want to go there. So I proceded to go into a diatribe about the necessity of different planes for different tasks. Her eyes quickly glazed over and after about three sentences I just let the discussion trail off into nothing.

But it was a great learning experience. I learned that as long as I keep my woodworking spending money out of our financial budget money (money I get from gifts, project sales, ebay sales, side jobs and the like), I should never tell my wife what I buy for woodworking.

Lesson learned.

-- Ethan,

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3790 days

#3 posted 01-29-2008 07:46 PM

Great story.

I just recently splurged and dropped $19.99 on a Stanley #45. A far cry from your $350, to be sure, but mine is FAR from complete. By the time I’m finished, I might have $350 wrapped up in mine :)

And that doesn’t figure in sweat equity in cleaning it up and making it look good!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4030 days

#4 posted 01-29-2008 07:47 PM

Nice! I’ve spent a lot of money on tools that I just HAD to have and then a few years later got a chance to use. Good story.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Grumpy's profile


23914 posts in 3845 days

#5 posted 01-29-2008 11:20 PM

A little tip Sam. Next time you want a tool don’t tell the wife. She may find out but more likely not. If she does and says where did that tool come from you just tell a little fib and say you have had it for ages.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3816 days

#6 posted 01-30-2008 12:10 AM

Great story. An integral part of our woodworking journey is the simple acquisition of tools. At times this is more rewarding than making sawdust.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4154 days

#7 posted 01-30-2008 12:56 AM

they might be cheaper today but do they come with a cedar packing crate?!!! I think not!! ha-ha—yah… they wish!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4189 days

#8 posted 01-30-2008 02:05 AM

Another plane story..great, ‘cause I can’t get enough. A couple of years ago, I had 2 planes, and didn’t even use those. Ahh, the age of innocence.
I also found a Stanley 45 not too long ago and have been practicing making lots of shavings. (Actually it’s a Wards master quality 45…made by Stanley and identical [and parts are interchangeable] except for the wards name imprinted on the handle. You can sometimes save money on them, as Wards ones don’t seem to be in as much demand to collectors, I think)
I haven’t actually made a project with it, yet but it’s fun just playing with it.
Speaking of planes, I found a Stanley #5 at a thrift store yesterday for $7.00. Now I have two # 5’s, one smooth and one corrugated bottom, and I have to decide if I should sell one of them. (am I a collector, or a user?) Of course, if I set one for deep cutting and one for shallow, I suppose I could keep both…oh, oh…the slippery slope is in sight, and I’m getting that sliding feeling again -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 3890 days

#9 posted 01-30-2008 02:07 AM

“New? Nah, I’ve that old thing for a long time. Don’t you remember?”

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4394 days

#10 posted 01-30-2008 02:41 AM

You mean your wife goes into the workshop. My wife stays in the house. I only get in trouble when the tool ends up in the house.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View forkboy's profile


48 posts in 3769 days

#11 posted 01-30-2008 03:51 AM

As the old saying goes…

Its better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Nice story.

-- Perth, Australia

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