Lateral's vs Pre-laterals, whats your opinion?

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Forum topic by Marn64 posted 12-10-2016 10:41 PM 479 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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295 posts in 719 days

12-10-2016 10:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question humor poll plane

Hey plane lovers,
I recently hatched the idea of kinda doing a poll around here on everyone’s opinion on lateral adjusters. Love em or hate em, I want your voices heard. Now, to start, I am talking about user planes, and the only pre-laterals in the whole Stanley type study that are common enough to really use without risking damaging a rare early plane is the type 4’s, which I absolutely LOVE. I have about four type 4’s in my collection right now and hope to one day have a whole set no 1 through no 8. Here’s why I love the type 4’s, for starters, I have long slender fingers, and when I first started hand tool woodworking with a Kobalt No. 4 from Lowes, I would get blisters and welts because my fingers would rub against the laterals. That was, however, because the Kobalt no 4 has a bent lateral, instead of a two piece like the Stanley’s.
As for why I have more pre-laterals than I do laterals is because I personally find the lateral adjusters as a whole to be unpredictable and temperamental from plane to plane. Some lateral Stanley’s that I have are AMAZING, and they are always on my bench with my trusted Type 4’s. But others are less than great, they’re too tight, too loose, or just don’t suit me for one reason or the other. So there’s my case for my lineup of users that consists of both laterals and pre-laterals, whats your plane collection look like and what do you think of the lateral?

-- Benjamin, Milwaukee

5 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4878 posts in 3894 days

#1 posted 12-10-2016 10:51 PM

All laterals here. All work well and are appreciated.


View corelz125's profile


361 posts in 909 days

#2 posted 12-10-2016 11:26 PM

same for me i have all laterals.

View GlenintheNorth's profile


244 posts in 469 days

#3 posted 12-10-2016 11:38 PM

Millers Falls always had lateral levers, so all my planes have ‘em. Them and the two Stanleys, and the Stanley-made transitional Siegleys.

And those random ones on top of that shelf that not only won’t ever get used, but if I get a chance to learn to iron casting, will be pig iron. They have laterals too.

In short, I don’t own a plane without one so really can’t answer the question…

But if I find one without in nice shape I’ll come back!

-- MFia-made man. But that doesn't mean I don't dig my 45. Minneapolis/St. Paul, burbs.

View HokieKen's profile


4663 posts in 1072 days

#4 posted 12-11-2016 12:06 AM

I have 1 plane without a lateral, first plane I ever bought. Never use it. Love my laterals! Only issue I’ve ever had is them being loose and rattling. Never had a single problem with them functioning properly.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2330 posts in 581 days

#5 posted 12-11-2016 12:29 AM

I have a bench plane (generic No. 4 … most likely Chinese) that has a lateral adjustment lever. I believe it was added simply as an annoyance because all it does is rattle … can’t say it does anything else! The rest of my planes are either wooden or pre-laterals.

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

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