Old Sargent Planes #3: Determining a 408 versus 5408

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Blog entry by Don W posted 12-20-2013 10:54 PM 2338 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Typing the type 2 or 3 409c (or maybe 5409) Part 3 of Old Sargent Planes series Part 4: Some information on typing the Sargent bench plane »

I bought this hoping it was a 5408, but knowing I would love to add it to my collection even as a type 3 #408. If you look at my last blog, in this series I compared what I believe to be a 409 and a 5409. So lets look at this new 408.

Working through the criteria for a 5400 series.
Here is what this 408 has.
- corrugated sole
- a blank cap (should have the number and a dot on the back though)
- Cutter marked with Oval Trademark with U.S.A. in center (type 2 Iron)
- Two-piece cutter adjusting nut, brass with a steel insert for the threads
- PAT. FEB. 3-91 on lateral lever (this is for both type 2 and type 3 laterals. They were issued patents the same day)
- They can have either the horseshoe or 2nd pivot lateral style to be a 5400 series. This has the second.
- # 400 series plane number might or might not be on plane body. usually not, no number on the 408.

Here is where I’m not sure.
Tote is mahogany. OK, I’m sure its mahogany and not rosewood, so that make its a 408 instead of a 5408, in theory anyhow.

To be a 5400 series it must have the thin casting. So determining the thin casting isn’t as straight forward. Here it is.

I think its the thin casting. But until I find a 408 to compare. I can’t be sure.

Here it is, just as I bought it. Not much for me to do but enjoy it.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

7 comments so far

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 1724 days

#1 posted 12-21-2013 01:21 AM

Are you sure thats mahogany? It looks a lot like a darker rosewood. Although I can see a bit of porus grain on the tote.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2034 days

#2 posted 12-21-2013 01:25 AM

I think (actually I know) its been stained. I hit the bottom on the grinder. Its lighter and smells like NOT rosewood.

Although a further look at the knob and that’s probably rosewood. Its a good possibility the tote has been replaced.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 1724 days

#3 posted 12-21-2013 01:29 AM

I have seen a light “pinkish brown” rosewood before on a few stanleys and they were type 7-9ish. That would put them about the same time period, 1908ish. The only rosewood I am familiar with the smell is cocobolo…. terrible!

View alohafromberkeley's profile


257 posts in 1871 days

#4 posted 12-21-2013 09:51 PM

Don, I have a 408c. It’s a VBM so yours is older. Has 408 cast behind frog and wood looks like Rosewood but no Rosewood smell. If I didn’t know better it looks like Rosewood. Read one source who said the “Mahogany” they used is actually a Pterocarpus spp- Padauk and Narra is in that family. Don’t have any fancy measuring devices but eyeballing with ruler it appears to be 1/8th” thick casting. Also the wings on it are flat across the top…yours seems rounded over. Sorry I don’t have a camera for pics. Hoping this helps somewhat.

-- "After a year of doing general farmwork, it was quite clear to me that chickens and I were not compatible"-George Nakashima

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2801 days

#5 posted 12-22-2013 09:05 AM

Great little plane. Good find Don.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile


11405 posts in 2307 days

#6 posted 12-27-2013 01:11 AM

Don I hope you find the one you are looking for. But until then the ones that are not it do make for nice users.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2034 days

#7 posted 12-27-2013 01:14 AM

The one? There is always one more Dave. Finding one to use never seems to be an issue. Thanks for stop by.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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