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Stanley No. 1, What is it's use?

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Forum topic by Luthierman posted 07-12-2015 01:00 PM 855 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Luthierman

157 posts in 552 days


07-12-2015 01:00 PM

I have been reading at great length about the No.1 trying to figure out what it was really used for. There was a pretty good thread over at another forum where they would go from it being a sales pitch model (due to it’s diminutive size) to a field tool for bee keepers, to a plane just made for small children. While all of this may be true as to ways they are and have been used, I sure would like to know the truth as to why stanley made them. I want to know what engineer thought, Hmm…. I bet you could use this for “X” Maybe somebody here has an explanation directly from stanley (one cane hope) as to what if any the primary reason for this plane may have been. If anything, it can be an interesting topic to read and research.

I went ahead and purchased my own No. 1 from woodcraft just to see what my personal way of use might be. I am too curious to not know. At the very least, it would make an incredible paper weight.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana


17 replies so far

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CharlieM1958

16242 posts in 3683 days


#1 posted 07-12-2015 01:10 PM

This is from a site I’ve used as a history reference for Stanley planes for a long time. He pretty well shoots down the idea that they were salesmen’s samples.

http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan1.htm

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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Luthierman

157 posts in 552 days


#2 posted 07-12-2015 02:58 PM

Thats a pretty good bit of information. I have come across that before when looking up other things. I will read it again. I do wonder though, if there is somebody I can get directly in contact with that is in charge of being the historian for Stanley tools. Surely there is a position like that…

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

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Deycart

444 posts in 1723 days


#3 posted 07-12-2015 03:36 PM

If I am not mistaken One make made a No. 0 1/2 size smoother that was a pinch smaller than a No. 1. It may have been made by Ohio tool or Union, maybe a Chaplin. I think really it was a way for a maker to show off their skills. Most makers didn’t bother with this size. I’m sure sales were extra slow. The plane also did not change much over the years except for the marks on the blades.

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Luthierman

157 posts in 552 days


#4 posted 07-12-2015 03:42 PM

As I have been reading and researching this, I did find a maker of the more contemporary times making a 1/2 scale and even a 1/4 scale version of this. I will see if I can find it. Now those are small planes. Wouldn’t they technically be finger planes at that point? Finger bench plane perhaps.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

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Luthierman

157 posts in 552 days


#5 posted 07-12-2015 03:43 PM

The full article is somewhere. But this is the gist:
http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/25101/stanley-no-12-scaled-from-stanley-no1

All I know is now I want one of those too.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

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ElChe

630 posts in 801 days


#6 posted 07-12-2015 03:57 PM

To make more money? Every woodworker needs a No. 1 would be the pitch. Can be held in one hand? Yes, completely unbalanced perhaps. A block plane is much easier to balance in one hand. To smooth a small area? So can a card scraper.

It just strikes me as a gimmick plane. It’s very cool and I’d love to have one but from a utility perspective I have my doubts.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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upchuck

540 posts in 1130 days


#7 posted 07-12-2015 04:27 PM

Luthierman-
I have been told by a local tool dealer that he’s seen auctions of shop class stuff from school districts where a dozen #1’s was one of the lots. This was decades ago. #1’s would fit the hands of many elementary kids. Each of the #1’s was marked with the school districts identify. This dealer regretted not buying this lot.
chuck

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Luthierman

157 posts in 552 days


#8 posted 07-12-2015 04:30 PM

Studley has one in his tool chest. Maybe they are geared more towards the Luthier? I can’t see someone painstakingly make such a grand tool box and make a slot for just a gimmick plane. He surely would have used it.
Gimmick or not, it has a use. Maybe older fellas with issues with their hands have an easier time using this plane instead of a block plane.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

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Luthierman

157 posts in 552 days


#9 posted 07-12-2015 04:36 PM

Upchuck-

I wonder though if a child would actually be able to use it like you could a full size version made for adults. That would require a lot of upper body strength that may not be possessed by a child. I am not saying schools didn’t purchase these, I am more bringing up the question of their intended use.
I will report back when I get mine here.
I imagine that they were just small smoothers. For instance I was working on a small top of a table I built many years ago that had warped due to the client leaving it in a very moist area. I reached for my No. 4 to smooth it out. Too big. No. 3, was a bit better. No. 2, awesome. Makes me wonder if the No. 1 would’ve worked even better. It is a very small top, 14×14 with about a 1/4 to 3/16 of bow to it.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

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upchuck

540 posts in 1130 days


#10 posted 07-12-2015 04:50 PM

Luitherman-
I have no experience using a #1. I have held one in my hands at St. James Bay Tool Co. of Mesa, AZ. But I could not see it as a tool I would use. I like small planes. And block planes aren’t the answer for some situations in my hands. But the #1 is not a plane I covet. Good luck with your research. It’s an interesting topic and I hope you’ll keep us informed.
chuck

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14594 posts in 2148 days


#11 posted 07-12-2015 04:54 PM

Have a Liberty Bell #122. A bit smaller than a #3. While it has no rear handle, there is a metal “grip” where the handle should be. And uses about the same hand grip as the #1. Just a two handed block plane…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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Luthierman

157 posts in 552 days


#12 posted 07-12-2015 04:58 PM

Upchuck-

Right-o sir. I am interested in just that, the research. I do not covet this tool either. I just found it really interesting that it was made for so long and now they are so scarce. I think the rarity probably has something to do with the war effort and helping out with “extra” iron sitting around. This plane doesn’t seem to be that useful with the exception of maybe a few instances where a larger plane just isn’t as good. Which could perhaps be a reason to pitch it when the time came to help out for the greater good.

As I have said, I have one on order from woodcraft and I intend on making it fully known what uses this will get from me.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View Don W's profile

Don W

17966 posts in 2032 days


#13 posted 07-12-2015 11:08 PM

If you hold a #1 like a block plane, it works very well. My #1 is an early Stanley, so I don’t use it, but I’ve tried it and I agree with this. My hands tend to be a little big for a block, so one of these days I’m buying a user #1.

I’ve read finish carpentered used it like a block plane. It’s the only reason that makes sense to me.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

3556 posts in 2026 days


#14 posted 07-12-2015 11:16 PM

I wonder what a Stanley #1 type 1 in great condition would cost?

-- Please help me help other Vets click..> http://www.gofundme.com/m1abko.....It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13734 posts in 2083 days


#15 posted 07-13-2015 12:09 AM

+1 to what Don says. How Stanley came up with the number system they did (if indeed it wasn’t something though inherited through acquisition) is a mystery, but you just can’t have a Two without a One, right?

Used like a block plane, for small smoothing tasks. If you just aren’t a fan of blocks when it comes to smoothing, and you’re working parts (like Studley was), a #1 makes a lot of sense.

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

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