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Forum topic by mcase posted 02-11-2010 04:49 AM 1185 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mcase

438 posts in 1883 days


02-11-2010 04:49 AM

I purchased the new version of the Stanley Sweetheart no. 4 plane. I regret to say that it was huge disappointment. Here’s how it was. The saddest thing about his plane is that Stanley really tried to get it right. Boy was I happy when I first got it home. I checked the sole against a machinist straight edge and square. It was dead flat and required no truing. If you ever trued a plane like the cheap Stanleys or Records or whatever you can imagine what a relief this was. It was heavy and well made. The handles were Cherry and the plane was very handsome. I’m finicky about sharpening and was very happy to find the iron had a flat back and was a full 1/8” thick. It was a breeze to polish the back. Again no truing required. I put it on the Tormek and put a hollow grind on it. I marched it up through the stones all the way to a surgical black Arkansas. I put the iron in the plane, dialed everything in and tried it out. Here’s where it got disappointing. The iron would just not hold an edge. It chipped up in a twinkling. It gouged and tore. I put it back on to a white hard Arkansas and worked back up to the black surgical. Same thing. A few passes (over poplar for crying out loud!) and it chipped up and went dull. So I went back to square one and worked it up from an 800 Japanese water stone all the way up to Arkansas Black. Same result – chip and tear. I did this three times! Chipped up and tore every time. What junk! I use this the same extensive sharpening procedure on all my tools – British-made Sorby chisels, German-made two Cherry chisels, inexpensive Marples and ironically the planing irons in the inexpensive Stanley planes. They all take and hold an edge way, way, way, better than whatever the hell kind of steel is in this new higher-end Sweetheart by Stanley. In light of all the nice workmanship evident in this plane I have no sure answer for this strange anomaly. Maybe I just got a bad one. Maybe whoever supplies the steel to Stanley is ripping them off. But, whatever the reason the plane was absolutely useless. It was like buying a Rolls and finiding out it had an Izuzu transmission. Needless say it went right back to the store. Has anyone else had this experience? Anyway its a shame because the plane was really a keeper otherwise. Well I guess I’ll continue to use my old cheap Stanley planes with their thin, but usuable irons while I save up to buy planes from Lie-Nielsen.
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12 replies so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12302 posts in 2851 days


#1 posted 02-11-2010 05:04 AM

Does anyone make aftermarket blades for these planes?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

536 posts in 2235 days


#2 posted 02-11-2010 05:19 AM

You may have got an iron that wasn’t heat treated properly. You can see if they’d be willing to replace it for you or look into getting a Hock blade for it.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View Bovine's profile

Bovine

114 posts in 2081 days


#3 posted 02-11-2010 05:27 AM

Yes, I know of a couple of places you can get decent blades for Stanley planes:

Lie-Neilsen sells Stanley Blades here

Many people swear by Hock blades found here

Woodcraft also sells the Hock blades on their site. If you like the plane, but hate the blade you definitely have inexpensive options.

-- Kansas City, KS "Nothing is as permanent as a temporary solution"

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112939 posts in 2331 days


#4 posted 02-11-2010 05:29 AM

I’ve always used Hock blades

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5387 posts in 1986 days


#5 posted 02-11-2010 05:47 AM

Wow, my Groz blades aren’t like that at all. They were dead flat (unlike the sole of the plane) but once honed stayed insanely sharp through way more walnut and oak than I thought it should…

From what I heard about those planes, call Stanley and see if they will send you a replacement blade. Something is VERY not right with that thing… Of course if you have the $$ to do it, just grab the hock iron for it and be done with it…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View FreshPants's profile

FreshPants

10 posts in 1846 days


#6 posted 02-11-2010 06:20 AM

Perhaps the edge needs to be ground back a bit? I remember reading about it on the Schwarz’s blog.

*ah, found it

http://blog.woodworking-magazine.com/blog/Why+Some+New+Tools+Have+Poor+Edge+Life.aspx

Might be worth a shot.

FP

View Sean's profile

Sean

156 posts in 2369 days


#7 posted 02-11-2010 06:33 AM

Chris Schwarz wrote about this type of thing happening, he talked to Ron Hock about it…he mentioned that several times he’d get a premium tool and the blade wouldnt hold an edge…Hock explained what had happened. Damned if i can find the blog post…he even said how to fix it, which if I remember correctly included grinding off the entire beveled edge and regrinding the bevel.
At any rate, I’d be damned if I’d pay for a ‘premium plane’ and then have to turn around and buy a premium blade for it. I agree with your response: Take it back, if the blade they replace it with does the same thing, take the whole thing back.
Of course, I’m not all that impressed by the Stanley company…seems like they are trying to bite into the market but still do it on the cheap. If I’m going to save and buy a plane, I’d be just as happy to save another month or two and get a Lie-Nielsen.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12302 posts in 2851 days


#8 posted 02-11-2010 06:37 AM

Perhaps I should clarify my question above. I did not think this plane used the same blade as a classic #4. That is why I was asking if there were aftermarket blades available. I do not think Hock has a blade for this plane.

Stanley #4

I would suggest you try what Sean proposed.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Sean's profile

Sean

156 posts in 2369 days


#9 posted 02-11-2010 06:39 AM

thats it, the one fresh pants posted.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12302 posts in 2851 days


#10 posted 02-11-2010 06:54 AM

It is about $120 more for a Lie-Nielson

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5610 posts in 2129 days


#11 posted 02-11-2010 07:16 AM

Since the new Stanleys sell at a premium price, there really shouldn’t be a need to buy a $40 aftermarket blade for it. Hopefully this is just a fluke, but I’ve read of a few disappointments from other owners too. It’s a shame…I’d love to see Stanley make some real quality planes, but making cheap defective imitations isn’t a good way to try to recapture their once dominant market share.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View mcase's profile

mcase

438 posts in 1883 days


#12 posted 02-12-2010 02:01 AM

Wow!

I really love Lumberjocks! Thanks for all the responses. It sure gives me a lot of options think about.

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