|Review by Dan||posted 03-05-2012 07:27 PM||5574 views||1 time favorited||12 comments|
I just checked Amazon.com and found that they have now dropped the price on this plane to 112.25 with free shipping included. I think this plane is well worth the sale price.
The sides and sole are polished and looked nice but the black finish job on the plane was done poorly. Not only did the finish look poor it has also started to chip off on a couple areas of my plane. I have only used my plane a handful of times and the black finish has all ready chipped a little on the front toe part and on the blade cap. I am personally not all that upset by this because I paid far less then retail for the plane so I can live with a little paint chipping. However Stanley really needs to correct this for future releases. I read a lot of reviews where people had the same problem with the chipping paint.
I think the rear tote/handle for the plane is ugly, especially when compared to the shape of the vintage Stanley planes but thats just my opinion and I did not mark it down for that. Even though I think its shape is ugly the tote and knob are very nice cherry wood and well finished. The handle at first felt really uncomfortable when I was holding the plane but after using it I was not bothered at all by its grip. So my complaints are strictly cosmetic.
The iron/blade is very thick and it was pretty sharp out of the box. It had a nice straight 25 deg bevel on it and the back was pretty flat. It did take me some time to polish the back and hone the iron but I think thats to be expected with any blade.
After sharpening the iron I went to try the plane out to see if it would require any more work. After just a few minuets of planing I ran into my first problem. The bottom edges all the way round the bottom of the plane were very rough and sharp. I was planing a piece of soft wood and what was happening was if I was not careful the front bottom edge would put a dent in the work. Even just setting the plane down on the bench or on a board it could dent it if you were not careful. The edges were sharp enough to damage the wood. I fixed this problem by taking a sanding block with 180 grit paper and I sanded along the edges to take that sharp edge off. This only took me a few minuets and I consider it a minor issue but I did mark the plane down for this and I do believe Stanley needs to fix that issue as well.
I also discovered that the adjustable mouth on the plane will not close enough to allow the plane to have a very tight throat opening. I did not measure the mouth opening and personally this is not a real big issue for me but the mouth should have been made to close tighter. I can see where many would complain about this and this is another area I marked the plane down for.
The last issue I had with the plane was the sole not being flat. Before ever using the plane I checked the sides and sole with my straight edge and they both looked flat. I must not have looked close enough because I later found the sole to be cupped in the middle. I was not getting real consistent shavings with the plane and it was very hard to get a full width shaving. I checked the iron and that was square so I checked the sole again and thats when I realized there was cup. That must have been the problem because I lapped the sole of the plane, which took me a while, maybe because of the type of iron? After much time spent I got the sole flat and noticed a big improvement with the consistency of the shavings size.
I believe Stanley was on the right track with these new SW planes. Other then the poor paint job I would consider these planes premium when it comes to the materials used to make them. The issues that I found with the plane are just minor things that would be really easy for Stanley to fix on later models. I personally consider the minor flaws nothing more then kinks that need to be worked out. Keep in mind these are Type 1 of the new Stanley planes. Looking at Stanley’s plane history and type study you will find that with each type Stanley made little improvements. Hopefully Stanley has realized some of these issues and will fix them when or if they plan to release future models. I would have been a lot more disappointed with my purchase had I paid the near 200 dollar retail price but for just over a hundred dollars I am not upset that I had to correct a few problems. There are only a few options for a new low angle jack plane and the Stanley on sale is a lot cheaper then the other options.
-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"