Identifying planes

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Forum topic by Belg1960 posted 04-26-2010 03:45 AM 1421 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1075 posts in 3243 days

04-26-2010 03:45 AM

Guys, I was wondering how you identify planes I have several that I’ve gotten from different friends(all used) and have no idea what they are and if they are worth taking the time to get them sharpened properly? Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

7 replies so far

View bigike's profile


4054 posts in 3466 days

#1 posted 04-26-2010 03:49 AM

any plane is good just as long as it does the job after the you put in the work. i’m sorry the only help i can offer is try to do a search for it here on LJ cuz i think there was another question about it awhile ago. ;)

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

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John Gray

2370 posts in 4063 days

#2 posted 04-26-2010 04:48 AM

These 3 sites will get you started.

And these are good blogs to join with information about hand tools.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3409 days

#3 posted 04-26-2010 05:24 AM

If there are no cracks, or warps / twists in the castings, pretty much all planes are worth putting a little bit of effort into flattening / honing. Having said that, there are some planes that are just, well bent, or badly cast to be not worth bothering with… Or made with such cheap materials as to not be worth it…

Modern Stanley block planes like you see at Home Depot are a waste of time and effort. Pretty much anything with the Buck Bros name is worthless. Although I have seen one Buck Bros #4 smoother that was lapped and honed up just fine, a good working plane. For the money I would buy a Groz, Anant, or get a used 1980s or older Vintage Stanley, Bedrock, etc…

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View Belg1960's profile


1075 posts in 3243 days

#4 posted 04-26-2010 01:16 PM

John, your links have so far confirmed two of the planes I have are only beginner models and not worth a bunch. One is a 596a Craftsman Corrugated jack plane and the other a Stanley handyman, both have a reputation of NON quality parts and actions.
Ike, I guess my time will be the only real measure if these were worth the time to sharpen them. Since I’m not the type that uses hand tools much, it was more along the lines of was it worth the time to do it.Is there a nice how to for restoring a plane’s finish,lapping and assembly tips?
dbhost, et al thank you for taking the time to respond, what’s your opinion on worthiness of these two items so far? Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

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1075 posts in 3243 days

#5 posted 04-26-2010 01:29 PM

The two smaller ones are both Stanley 220’s, one is much older the coloring on the older unit is blue and the newer one was a no brainer since it still had the Stanley tag on it. I was hoping to use one of these little ones just to knock the edge off of some poplar edge banding, they are the ones I feel a little more comfortable using and spending time on.
Ok, here goes the first duhhh question. On the larger planes both blade irons were installed with the sharpened edge down against the sole and on the two smaller ones the sharpened side is up. Is this right and how should they relate to the chip breaker in the bigger ones? Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View knotscott's profile


8141 posts in 3553 days

#6 posted 04-26-2010 02:53 PM

The block planes are usually bevel up, and the larger planes are usually bevel down but there are some specific “bevel up” larger low angle planes like the Lie Nielsens.

Your Stanley 220s are definitely worth sharpening and using. If the bevel is in good shape, you might find that just honing the edge will be enough. My Stanley 220 was my grandfather’s and is one of my favorite tools. Even if you don’t use many planes, a block plane is an essential IMHO.

Some pics of your planes will tell us a lot.

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

View Newfounlandwood's profile


63 posts in 3212 days

#7 posted 04-26-2010 03:32 PM

This is an excellent site for identifying stanley planes:
As well there is some very nice how to articles at the bottom of the page about restoring hand planes.
This guy does a very nice video about fettling hand planes, both wooden and metal. Check out the rest of his videos on hand tool use as well.


-- My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.

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