Stanley plane, No. 4, Type 20 as a user?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 03-23-2011 07:52 PM 4060 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2676 days

03-23-2011 07:52 PM

I bought a Stanley No. 4 hand plane, type 20, at an antique mall recently (paid $11 for it). The metal and wood parts are all sound. Metal surfaces were covered in a thin, bright-red layer of rust, but the rust came off with Evapo-Rust. All of the original blue paint appears intact.

Some questions:

(1) Is this a good user plane, or are the Type 20s considered inferior to some of the older types?

(2) I noticed that there is no frog adjusting screw on this model. Will it be hard to adjust the frog using only the frog screws?

(3) I have begun the process of fettling the plane, using sandpaper on glass to flatten and brighten the bottom and sides. What can I used to polish other metal parts like the screw heads, the lateral adjustment lever, and the adjusting nut?

(4) The bottom and sides of the plane were gray after I removed the rust. Is the gray color a byproduct of all the rust that was on the plane (for years, evidently)?

(5) The adjusting nut is not brass. Is had been covered in rust, but after the rust was removed, the surface is a now uniform gray color. Is this color also just the result of pitting from the rust, or is the metal actually gray?


-- More tools, fewer machines.

4 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10371 posts in 3641 days

#1 posted 03-23-2011 08:08 PM

1) yes

2) not really. Adjusting the frog is an uncommon operation anyway.

3) buffing wheel and rouge

4) It’s a patina. I try not to remove it or damage it as little as possible in making the
plane serviceable. It takes a long time to develop and, personally I prefer the
way it looks, as do many other collectors.

5) I don’t know the answer to that one. If it’s had rust on it there’s iron in it.

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2873 days

#2 posted 03-23-2011 08:56 PM

The type 20 planes were made a little cheaper but I am sure some hard work and fine tuning will make it a good user.

As far as polishing the rest of the parts I can suggest two methods. A dremmel tool with wire brush, abrasive and buffing attachments will work great on the small parts or you can do it by hand with the wet/dry sandpaper and just work up to higher grits for a finer polish.

If you are interested I have a blog series on here where I show and describe how I restore my planes. There are a lot of pictures and I talk about all the products I use.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2676 days

#3 posted 03-23-2011 09:46 PM

Thanks for the info, Loren and Dan. Dan, I’m looking forward to reading your blog.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4928 posts in 3953 days

#4 posted 03-24-2011 01:09 AM

You can work yourself into a stupor while getting a plane to meet somebody’s idea of a “user”. Clean, sharpen, adjust, and wax the darned thing and GET TO WORK.


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