The wonderful madness of Stanley handplanes

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 03-01-2012 12:47 AM 2263 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ahh…... the sweet sounds of thin shavings tearing in perfect rhythm…...followed by more shavings….lol. What is it that we love about these old Stanley planes?

Here is just a wonderful foursome I was lucky enough to obtain in the last few months via auction

From top to bottom #3 two #4’s…(I know…the madness!) and this boss 4 1/2!
Out of the four one needed a little TLC the 4 1/2…..and 3 of four needed a light honing on the stones.

I won’t get into numbers….but I got all of this for LESS THAN…one Veritas or Lie Neilson #4 handplane!...with change left over.

The Veritas and Lie Neilsons are awesome….no argument….but they get so pricey in my outside workshop they would be just too dam pretty for my liking…lol

Which I find is one of the true charms of these old schoolers…....their patina…rust…grease….the smell of experienced working hands that once made these instruments talk to the wood and create well before I was an idea….lol

Also the lines…..these old handplanes have the lines and artisanship of what wood working and garages all over this country for over 100 years is really all about…..wether it be an old door needing some work to fixing your kids soap box derby car. From making a pile of shavings and earning your stripes as a jointer all the way to achieving your first rocking chair build…..they were and will always be a shelf for these Stanley planes.

I think these are the new…old cars….lol…..your really not that ….”cool”.... in the ranks of the wood working world…..until you at best own a 40-50 year old Stanley #5….lol…crazy…..but I think it’s become true.

Perhaps this whole plane mania business comes from our primal instincts?....I believe it does….the feeling of satisfaction as a human can power and learn to tame a working instrument made of iron….cutting wood and ultimatley make something from it all.

Who knows….lol…..I think it is also a historical comfort to those who are old enough to remember a time when things were slower…when our country made such craftsmanship like a badge of pride.

Now we stop into Lowes and pick up a twenty dollar #5 Stanley …..plastic handles….crummy blade…using one is like seeing your favorite vinyl record getting stepped on and tossed in a bin. Makes me scratch my head and go ….what happened?

I guess all we can do is enjoy it…it’s too fun not too…lmao. Enjoying handplanes is a like partaking in a special underground society in its own whacky way. Thousands of people collect them, build with them, clean them, pamper them, pay more than they should for them…lol….but somewhere on our globe in an old workshop at this very moment there is that person just dropping the fresh sharpened blade in…clipping the cap…hear it??....and ahhhhhh…..there it is again friends…those dam wonderful shavings!

Great shavings to you all, have fun!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

8 comments so far

View dpow's profile


503 posts in 2871 days

#1 posted 03-01-2012 01:55 AM

Ah, the madness prevails here at my shop too. I just came in from using my Stanley 60 1/2 low angle block plane, man does that work nice. I’m beginning to amass a small collection of my own of these old beauties.(#8, #7, #5, #4, (2)#60 1/2, #220, #80, and#113) There is room for more. Many craftsman, even some here at LJs criticize the old Stanleys as being junk. They have forgotten about some of the masterpieces of yesteryear created with some of these very planes. I like to think of them as small slices of Americana. Plane on!

-- Doug

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3024 days

#2 posted 03-01-2012 01:57 AM

Good to see the restorations. Glad you enjoy these old planes as much as I do.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#3 posted 03-01-2012 03:52 AM

I love restoring these old plane. Madness, maybe.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2645 days

#4 posted 03-01-2012 04:12 AM

Ctiticize old Stanleys as junk? Really? Joe, you’re hanging around with The wrong crowd.

Come on over to the Epic Thread if you’d like to catch it bad!

Very nice rehabs, for sure. I feel the same affinity for old hand tools…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View ShaneA's profile


6956 posts in 2625 days

#5 posted 03-01-2012 04:24 AM

Great post Joe. Gotta love the Stanleys. They look good buddy.

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3116 days

#6 posted 03-04-2012 12:46 PM

Wonderful words, lovely thoughts, I follow you on your travel, the feel, the shaves, the patina, the joy of feeling the love that has been in the hands of previous users.
Nothing like a old well used Stanley.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Brit's profile


7387 posts in 2870 days

#7 posted 03-10-2012 10:56 PM

Great blog Joe. I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and some Stanleys with us.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View willie's profile


534 posts in 2481 days

#8 posted 03-11-2012 02:38 AM

I’m a little partial to my old Stanleys. The #1 Lie-Nielsen I bought because it’s less money than a #1 Stanley and easier to find. I’m still looking for a Stanley #2.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

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