The wonderful madness of Stanley handplanes

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 776 days ago 1156 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!


-- "Make something you love tomorrow...and do it slowly" JLB

8 comments so far

View dpow's profile


443 posts in 1342 days

#1 posted 776 days ago

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


1830 posts in 1495 days

#2 posted 776 days ago

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

13923 posts in 1065 days

#3 posted 776 days ago

I love restoring these old plane. Madness, maybe.

-- There is nothing like the sound of a well tuned hand plane. - (timetestedtools at hotmail dot c0m)

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


9105 posts in 1116 days

#4 posted 776 days ago

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


4957 posts in 1096 days

#5 posted 776 days ago

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

View mafe's profile


9231 posts in 1587 days

#6 posted 773 days ago

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


4911 posts in 1341 days

#7 posted 766 days ago

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

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

View willie's profile


448 posts in 952 days

#8 posted 766 days ago

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!!!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase