Vintage Tool Rehab Projects #22: A Problem-child Stanley Transitional #26

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Blog entry by Brad posted 02-09-2014 05:33 PM 2644 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 21: Rehabbing a Millers Falls No. 9 Smoother-And comparing it to my trusted Stanley No. 4 Part 22 of Vintage Tool Rehab Projects series Part 23: Into each life a #4 must fall: Stanley #4-T11-pictoral essay and rehab »

While meandering through an antique store, something toolish and vintage wooed me into a stall. It was a Stanley #26 transitional jack plane. Not that there’s anything remarkable about them. But what set this one apart was its just-came-off-the-assembly-line looks. Even the tote and knob were intact with but one chip to show for its long life. Here’s what I brought home, $20.00 the poorer for it.

It had no checks.

And the Stanley logo dates it c. 1909-1912.

So it fits right in with my favored 1910-1918 vintage tool time frame. You Stanley plane collectors will recognize that range as the type-11 period. I really like the retro styling and STANLEY lettering font.

At home the metal parts got dunked in Evaporust while the wood pieces slurped up a coat of BLO. The reassembled plane went into the vise upside down. Then a few light passes with a #8 trued up the sole. After sharpening the iron, I put the rehabbed jack to the test on some pine.

Stroke—clog. Clear clog. Stroke—clog…and so on. “What the…oh. That’s why.” The chip breaker wasn’t mating fully to the iron and shavings were getting trapped between them. After fixing that, I took a few more passes. And clogged the mouth big time. After an hour of fettling I gave up and it collected dust upon my home office tool display shelf. Every once in a while I’d see it there, mocking me, and be egged on to try again. Clog. Clog and clog were the results. Each time back to the shelf it went.

Then, I watched Shannon Rogers’ video From Boat Anchor Junk to Fore Plane.

And that got me to thinking. I already have three jack planes including this one. So why not configure it as a fore plane like Rogers does?

When I got to the step to open the throat, I scratched my head. I could have sworn that my previous fettling attempts included moving the frog backward. But as I inspected it, there was clearly room to spare. So I adjusted and tested it.

A few passes on some pine produced thick, clogless shavings. That was good, but I still had a third jack plane. In order to make this a fore plane, its iron needed a camber. Rogers puts an 8” radius on his jack. I wanted something a bit less pronounced and opted for an 11” radius.

With that done, I tested the camber by cross-planing a rough-sawn board. Open Sesame.

That did the trick. And I’m glad. Because now I have a woodie jack to fore plane with. “But Brad, what are you going to do with two fore planes?” Well, Grasshopper, I’m going to use the lighter #5 transitional for strenuous cross-grain flattening duties and the #6 along the grain to take out its predecessor’s track marks.

Thank you Shannon Rogers for helping me get the you-can’t-tune-a-transitional-plane monkey off my back. And for clearing space for another tool on my display shelf.


-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

6 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18791 posts in 2624 days

#1 posted 02-09-2014 06:07 PM

Nice save Brad.

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

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8520 posts in 2039 days

#2 posted 02-10-2014 03:45 AM

Cool. I’ve never been real interested inn transitionals….but I’ve never seen one in that good of shape. I would’ve taken it home too!

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2797 days

#3 posted 02-10-2014 03:10 PM

I agree BRK. Most of the ones I’ve come across have nasty checks, and/or the rear tote is mangled. I think that Dan has restored a number of trannies.

Don W had some excellent feedback regarding the vintage of the plane and iron via a PM. I post it here for all to benefit from.

“Transitional types don’t follow the same numbering as bench planes. According to John Walters, the logo on the toe of yours is from a Type 14, or 1912-1920.

The iron is actually older, dating from 1905-1908 for transitional planes. There is overlap, but different dates than the same logo on bench planes.

I hope you wanted to know this, and as we all know, this type study stuff is subject to some interpretation.

Either way, nice job on the save. It will make a great fore plane. “

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2897 days

#4 posted 02-11-2014 01:04 PM

A super plane Brad.

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

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2797 days

#5 posted 02-11-2014 04:37 PM

Someone asked me what my camber is on my #6. I don’t know. I ground it by hand. However, it is less pronounced than the 11” camber I put on this transitional. That’s why I’ll use it to clean up after using the #26 transitional.

I’ve used it several times since posting and am growing to like it more. I really like the lighter weight of it for one. And it flattens just as well as the steel planes I’ve used in the past for this purpose.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2897 days

#6 posted 02-11-2014 05:00 PM

Brad I love the lightness and feel of all my wood planes. That is the reason I use them still over a metal plane.

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

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