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The Tool Gathering Odessy #7: A Setback

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Blog entry by Tomcat1066 posted 01-25-2008 02:42 AM 1034 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Oddities of Gatherings Part 7 of The Tool Gathering Odessy series Part 8: I'm cleaning up! »

One of my proudest purchases was a #4 Stanley plane and a #919 Brace off of eBay for $1.25. I thought I had made a hell of a deal, and I really did. The brace alone is well worth that price. However, the plane is a bit of a disappointment.

First, and I knew this from the pics on eBay, the knob was missing. Second, the tote is slightly cracked, though it still looks like it could be serviceable. These are no big deal really. I checked the sole when it got here and it looked flat. Besides, the blade looked usable as well.

Then I cleaned it up. Apparently, that was a mistake. It turns out the Japanning is in horrible shape (40% maybe?). Also, after cleaning it, the sole wasn’t as straight as I thought, though I’m not sure if it’s serviceable as-is or not. After cleaning the blade and chipbreaker, I reassembled the two pieces, with the chipbreaker closer to the edge of the blade. Now, I find that the blade won’t advance out the mouth of the plane. Apparently, this bad boy saw a LOT of use and there’s not enough blade left to keep things tight in the mouth. Oh joy.

A new blade will cost me about $30-$35 easy. Depending on the blade, I may need a new chipbreaker at another $35. I’ll still have to replace the knob (I haven’t seen knobs individually, so I might as well get a new tote as well)...another $30-35. All this would put me at about $100. This says nothing of all the work it would take to make the sole flat.

And after all that, there’s still no guarantee that it’ll be a good user. That’s the gamble I took though. My #5 has turned out to be a pretty good plane so far as I can tell. I can get some nice curly shavings with it right now, though I’m not entirely sure if that’s as good as it gets or not just yet. I still have to clean up my DE7, which I’m planning on doing later tonight. So far though, it seems pretty well put together, which isn’t surprising since it looks like Stanley built the blasted thing.

The thing to remember here, boys and girls, is that there are always setbacks in life. What’s important is how we deal with them. Me? I’m taking it as a sign from God and looking into the Shapleigh’s Hardware smoothing plane I stumbled across earlier today ;)

-- "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!



11 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3289 days


#1 posted 01-25-2008 03:28 AM

Tomcat that is a great attitude. On Ebay you take your chances but there are some really good deals out there. Keep trying and good luck on future tool purchases.

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

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3263 days


#2 posted 01-25-2008 03:36 AM

Thanks sbryan! I really was feeling a bit dejected until I found that Shapleigh’s plane. I find the Shapleigh’s and Diamond Edge (Shapleigh’s house brand) stuff fascinating for some reason. In my world, planes are Stanley, saws are Disstons…unless they are Diamond Edge ;)

-- "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 jcees's profile

jcees

1015 posts in 3266 days


#3 posted 01-25-2008 03:51 AM

Welcome to plane land, grasshopper. Do not despair, if you purchased a new Stanley for $75 you’d still have to joint the sole, tune the frog AND replace the totes as they would be PLASTIC! Yes, you’d have a new blade but it wouldn’t be the BEST. You done good, don’t kid yourself.

Do you have any idea what vintage your #4 is? If not, I can send you a copy of a Stanley plane manufacturing matrix so you can ID that puppy. I’ve done quite well on eBay over the years. Before eBay my middlin collection of roustabouts gleaned from yard sales and flea markets was suffice it to say, wanting. While it has become more difficult to get a real deal on eBay as the years and eBay’rs have progressed, it’s still a good place to shop if you know how to discern the steal from the paper weight.

I think that replacing the original blade on ANY Stanley should be a forgone conclusion. You just can’t beat a Hock blade held down by a Clifton StaySet cap iron. Don’t get me wrong, I use old Stanley blades if they have life in them but I use them mainly for the rough stuff. Hone it up to razor sharpness and they won’t disappoint you in any way except in edge retention. But when it comes time to smooth something to the level that you wouldn’t dare follow with sandpaper, perusing a Hock or Lie-Neilsen blade will be an epiphany.

BTW, how do you flatten your plane soles? I use a chunk of plate glass longer than my longest plane by a foot and stick down a succession of wet-dry paper liberally lubed with water. Smoothers are easy to get done, it’s those long_ss jointers that take the wind out of you. Just make sure that everything is in tension as if the plane were being used. Don’t forget to retract the blade. Good luck.

Just remember, do it right and you only have to do it once. You’ll thank the saints afterwards.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3263 days


#4 posted 01-25-2008 04:04 AM

jc,

Yep, it’s a Type 19 (1948-1961), though it does have a few Type 18 features, so I’m figuring it as 1948 (usually I go with the more recent number, but not so much this time).

As for a new Stanley, ain’t gonna happen! If I buy a new plane, it’ll be something like Veritas, Lie Neilsen, Clifton, and similar. Nope…not gonna do it!

I was looking at the Hock blade for my planes too, though Lie Neilsen’s offerings seemed interesting as well.

Thus far, I haven’t flattened soles, but basically my plan was to do exactly like you do. Still have to get the stuff for that though. I’ll probably be getting that this payday if money permits (which it should).

-- "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 jcees's profile

jcees

1015 posts in 3266 days


#5 posted 01-25-2008 04:19 AM

Check your local glass supplier for an offcut and you’ll get it cheap. 3/8” or 1/4” at least and longer than your longest plane. I’m here to tell you that a flat sole is paramount to proper function of the blessed/cursed things. Also, I’ve limited myself to type 10 thru 13 Stanleys only. After 1936, the quality of mfr started to decline. Not to say that you don’t have a good one, just tune it up to get the most from it. You’ll be glad you did.

always,
J.C.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4012 posts in 3531 days


#6 posted 01-25-2008 07:02 AM

TC,
If you decide to go with the Hock blade (and/or chipbreaker – you might not need the breaker unless you really need it) get it from Craftsman Studio a tip from WayneC. They are cheaper than getting them directly from Ron Hock’s site and the shipping is free (as of the moment 10:05pm CST 1/24/2008). Price $31.50 for Oil quenched and $39.50 A2 cryogenically treated steel. The chipbreaker is $23.50.

I’ve had great luck with a Stanley #4 (great user for $45), two Sargents; a #408 and a #409 both for under 35 bucks (combined, incuding shipping). I’ve had to lap the soles, but I got some freebie returned Performax ready-to-wrap cloth rolls from friends that work at a tool store. Stuck them to 1/4 safety glass I bought and got a work-out, and the chance to hot-rod these old goodies, by refinishing the good rosewood totes and knobs, cleaning the irons and castings with citric acid and sharpening and lapping the Chrome Vanadium irons and flattening the soles.

Recently I got burned on a Sargent smoother. But I let my guard down because I got discouraged trying to get a Stanley 4 1/2 for less than 60 bucks plus shipping. This plane’s seller wouldn’t take PayPal (First bad sign), had only posted a side-on shot (no shots from all angles – second bad sign). He said that the tote was cracked but firm and I figured that was full disclosure, after all he had a !00% satisfaction rating. Well, three weeks later the old thing showed up. The sole will be lapped, I just do that. The chipbreaker was usable but there was no chipbreaker screw. I was going to get a Hock A2 anyway, and decided to go all in with the chipbreaker as well, which comes with it’s own screw. So the $46 smoother now has $65.00 added for great breaker and blade. And the knob and tote were soft, torn up and black as night as if they had been stored in cosmoline. Add $40.00 for the Crown rosewood replacement set plus a few bucks more to get the right screws and brass heads. And the jappaning sucked. So I stripped it totally and will probably do David’s modified Parkerization technique, and maybe even a full- blown black full Parkerization technique. This gets me perilously close to the price of a brand new Veritas bevel-up smoother, something I wanted but thought would be too dear for my budget. Plus sweat equity. Hi ho. At least there is some history as the casting was stamped “Holbury Joiners”. Likely as not these were pre-1927 planes that saw daily use in Great Britain. How they ended up in Texas (home of Honest John, my seller) is anyone’s guess. Got to say, the casting is thicker than I have seen on any other smoothers, and it’s one heavy plane with the new guts (roughly 4.5lbs). I will likely blog this all when I get it looking like a million, both as a gloat and a cautionary tale.

I have to put a good face on it, by looking at the total cost of all my rehabs versus buying brand new planes of similar configuration. And I get to dink around with them which isn’t bad inside work in the dead of a Nebraska winter. And these planes were retrieved from the rust bucket and will be my own one-of-a-kind individually customized hot-rods. I know a lot more about how a plane is tuned, how they work and how to sharpen them. I think of them as my step-children and will get more pleasure out of their use than a store bought plane. And if that damned Sargent #410 wasn’t such a deceptive sale I would have been remorse-free. I guess I learned how to be a more intelligent eBay-er from that one.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 3342 days


#7 posted 01-25-2008 10:46 AM

I have been looking for a no. 7 on ebay, but I have not been willing to go as far as other bidders. The good news is there seems to be no shortage, so my day will come.

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3263 days


#8 posted 01-25-2008 12:51 PM

Doug,

I’m really sorry to hear about your Sargent. That’s a shame too. This plane was my first eBay tool purchase, and for the price, I definitely can’t say I got screwed. Still, if I do continue with rehabbing it, it’s going to be a lot term project. I may still rehab it, but then put it in my son’s tool kit that I’m going to put together for him. Since he’s only 6, he’s got time before he’ll need it to much :)

Rikkor,

I can relate about the #7. I was looking for one for a while too. When I found my DE7, I did a lot of research first to find out more about it. Once I found out it was made by either Stanley, Sargent, or Union, I figured what the heck. At $19.99, I figured it was worth a gamble. Well, the tote had been broken and repairs, and there’s some rust on the sole, but other than that, it’s a darn good plane. I just wish I could date it.

If I had waited for a Stanley #7 or #8, I’d probably still be looking. At the prices some of those go for, you’re almost in the range with a Lie Nielsen!

-- "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 Eric's profile

Eric

875 posts in 3251 days


#9 posted 01-25-2008 04:58 PM

This is good stuff from all the commentors – I’m gonna have to “Favorite” this post to keep it handy!

-- Eric at https://adventuresinwoodworking.wordpress.com/

View Paul's profile

Paul

660 posts in 3560 days


#10 posted 01-25-2008 06:47 PM

Just keep it for parts. You have a good body, frog and tote, sometimes you will find the same plane that has been dropped and the sole is cracked or a chunk is broken off the side. You’ll pay more for shipping than the plane.

No. 4s are so common that chances are pretty good of putting a plane together, if you’re willing to wait.

-- Paul, Texas

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3263 days


#11 posted 01-25-2008 11:40 PM

Good suggestion Paul. I figured I can put together a Frankenplane for my son, who won’t really care if it’s a type 15 or what!

-- "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!

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