The Slippery Slope #5: A Couple of Union Thugs

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Blog entry by chrisstef posted 08-09-2011 02:11 AM 7521 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: New addition to the family - Tool Gloat Part 5 of The Slippery Slope series Part 6: Turds, Treasures, and Transitionals »

I bumped into these 2 union guys over the weekend.

Ohh you thought there was gonna be a couple of ironworkers with spud wrenches and beaters? Instead i had a good week hunting hand planes or possibly them hunting me. The #4 was given to me by my father inlaw who had it kicking around in his garage for who knows how long. And the #3 i ran into at an antique shop.

I had never seen a union brand plane before this and then 2 in one week, good clean livin i tell ya. Looking deeper at the #4 its got an old stanley iron, but damn its awful short. Ever seen one ground this far down?

I havent done much research on the Union brand but i know theyre local to Connecticut and operated right until around 1920. If anyone knows any more about it id be glad to hear.

-- Something, something, something.

14 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13279 posts in 3817 days

#1 posted 08-09-2011 02:13 AM

They are a good quality plane. I have seen blades that short, time for a new one…. : ^ )

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View chrisstef's profile


16651 posts in 2726 days

#2 posted 08-09-2011 02:18 AM

I guess 120 years of being in the union will really grind away at you.

-- Something, something, something.

View spunwood's profile


1198 posts in 2556 days

#3 posted 08-09-2011 02:46 AM

You definitely had me fooled :) good finds.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View 489tad's profile


3196 posts in 2731 days

#4 posted 08-09-2011 03:38 PM

Good find on the planes. I too was looking at an antique mall. No real bargains or anything I would use. I did see barrel maker planes. My guess was to cut the groove for the top and bottoms. They were cool but too expensive for a decoration. I just got it, Union Thugs.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3393 days

#5 posted 08-09-2011 03:54 PM

Those are some nice hand planes.

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

316 posts in 3266 days

#6 posted 08-09-2011 05:37 PM

As far as I understand Union was purchased by stanley. And in later planes,post purchase of union, that stanley made for other companies ie Keen Kutter etc have the Union lateral lever. Unions were made for sometime after the purchase as well. The union lateral has a 90 degree twist at the tip where the stanleys have a tab that is folded to 90 degrees.

-- Got Wood?

View chrisstef's profile


16651 posts in 2726 days

#7 posted 08-09-2011 05:46 PM

Thanks for the info Joe, i like knowing the background behind the tools.

Dan, nothin sneaks by you big guy. ;)

For anyone else here in CT, the antinque shop also had an older #6 bailey in very good shape, id venture to guess it was a type 9.

-- Something, something, something.

View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2512 days

#8 posted 08-09-2011 05:53 PM

I think that blade has seen more work than all my planes combined. It’s either that or someone enjoyed sharpening more than most.
I have seen some old gouges shortened to those standards though.
Nice find.

-- Mel,

View chrisstef's profile


16651 posts in 2726 days

#9 posted 08-09-2011 07:07 PM

Mel, id have to agree with you on that one unless the previous owner was planing rocks. Ive never seen an iron ground down that far.

-- Something, something, something.

View Bertha's profile


13132 posts in 2413 days

#10 posted 08-09-2011 07:45 PM

That iron’s standing tall! I love planes with irons like this, even though I don’t particularly like buying replacement irons. These are very desirable planes to me. I generally like my cap irons devoid of embellishment but if you’re going to do it, do it like Union did. I really like these two thugs. WV is kind of famous for Union thugs, after all.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View chrisstef's profile


16651 posts in 2726 days

#11 posted 08-09-2011 07:57 PM

Ive got a couple of spare irons from some junky planes i have bought in the past so ill probably throw one in the #4. As for the #3 i looked at the iron and its gonna take some serious grinding to get that one back, its totaaly round off, not a candidate for sandpaper in my book.

-- Something, something, something.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2738 days

#12 posted 08-09-2011 10:31 PM

You may replace the irons but do not throw out the old one, the plane would be more valuable with the old blade as well! Nice finds.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View 489tad's profile


3196 posts in 2731 days

#13 posted 08-10-2011 02:11 AM

With that short iron you could split it (grind) and make yourself a special plane. Someone here made a plane using an old iron a while back.
Your right, not much gets by me, it just takes a while to pecolate.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View chrisstef's profile


16651 posts in 2726 days

#14 posted 08-10-2011 02:24 AM

I got to work on the #3 tonight and its in amazing shape, japanning at least 95%. The iron needs a ton of work probably a few hours of reshaping. Ive got my grandfathers blood bearpie, no good tool or lumber will go to waste aroumd here.

You nailed it dan, i remember someone making a shoulder plane with a spare iron. Thats what i will do .. Ive got some thin strip purpleheart and a nice chunk of white oak. Now does anyone have some spare time kickin around?

-- Something, something, something.

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