Mystery Number 7 Hand Plane

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Forum topic by Minorhero posted 04-09-2011 04:29 AM 7843 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2568 days

04-09-2011 04:29 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hand plane no 7 identify

Hello all,

I started woodworking about a year ago but spent a lot of that time restoring old woodworking machines to build up my shop. Despite my love of power tools I have recently had several projects that simply require the use of hand planes. I previously did not own any hand planes so I went to ebay and bought a few. So far the few I have gathered are obviously made by stanley. However the jointer plane I purchased is not so easy to identify. It was originally advertised as a stanley but I now have my doubts.

I have gone to a number of websites trying to identify this plane on my own but the vast majority of those sites are geared to either stanley planes or planes with patent dates. This plane has neither. The only markings on the plane are the words “No 7” at the front of the plane and the word “COLUMBIA” on the blade. Below are some pictures I took of the plane and the hardware.

Anyone have any idea of who made this plane?

13 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4182 days

#1 posted 04-09-2011 05:16 AM

Interesting mystery.

I’ve been searching the internet, and have found a couple of sale listings for these planes, but no other information about the manufacturer or when they were produced. It looks very similar to an old Stanley, though, and should clean up into a good user.

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

View cabmaker's profile


1720 posts in 2772 days

#2 posted 04-09-2011 05:30 AM

It does look a lot like a stanley but if I had to put money on it(very small amount), I would call it a richards-conover aka rich-con made ,I believe in kansas city into the early seventies.

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2844 days

#3 posted 04-09-2011 08:24 AM

It may not say Stanley on it but its def made by Stanley. Stanley made planes for other companies to sell that were not marked with the Stanley name. Looking at the pictures I can almost promise you it came out of the same factory as the planes marked Stanley. All the parts are identical to the Stanley planes.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3318 days

#4 posted 04-10-2011 03:47 PM

@Dan: are you 100% sure? I’ve recently caught the restoring old planes bug (primarily from your blog postings!) and am in the process of restoring a #4, #5 and #6. I don’t have a #7 yet, but the Stanley’s I have have a slightly different raised casting where the front knob attaches. This one looks like it has central post that goes into the knob, where as I believe mine have more of a ring that stands up. Otherwise I’d agree, this looks more or less identical to the Stanley planes. :-)

View poopiekat's profile


4349 posts in 3698 days

#5 posted 04-10-2011 04:32 PM

The twisted lateral-adjustment lever suggests a Union plane, or an off-brand built by Union.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2656 days

#6 posted 04-10-2011 04:41 PM

I’m with poopie, the lateral adjuster doesn’t look Stanley to me, but the rest of the plane does. Either way, look at the frog bedding and frog; this is a desirable plane. Wherever the mystery takes you, the #7 is my favorite user plane of all times.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2568 days

#7 posted 04-10-2011 04:49 PM

To add a little bit more information the small tote screw that came off of this plane is not the right screw. I noticed when disassembling that the screw that was in the plane was simply spinning in its hole. I at first thought it was stripped but further examination showed it was just the wrong screw. Research online showed that stanley used an odd-ball screw for this hole, specifically a 12-20 screw. The large brass capped screws are the same size and fit the hole perfectly. I ordered a replacement from stanley and it should be in next week. I do not know if Union used the same odd-ball sized screw on their hand planes. I do know from my research that Stanley and Union were always strangely close together and stanley eventually did buy Union out. After the buy out stanley for a brief time did make lateral adjustment levers in the twisted union fashion.

So at this point it is either an Off Brand Stanley made after the Union take over or an Off Brand Union.

View Bobin29's profile


12 posts in 2749 days

#8 posted 04-10-2011 09:33 PM

Please look at this web site. Stanley made a lot of variations on their planes.
It might help. Also look real close at the lateral adjusting lever. There might be some info or a trademark on it. Bob

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2568 days

#9 posted 04-11-2011 04:02 AM

Thank you Bobin, there is an awful lot of information there but it looks like most of it won’t apply to the plane. According to that website stanley started putting a cast ring around the forward knob sometime in the early 1930’s. My plane lacks this ring so that would mean my plane is older then 1930. However Stanley did not acquire Union until much later, they therefore did not have a twisted lateral adjustment lever until after they started casting the ring around the forward knob. My plane therefore can not be a stanley plane. So as of right now it is likely an off market union plane.

There are a lot of sites that deal with the history of stanley planes. Anyone know a site that deals with the history of union planes? Preferably one with pictures ;)

And because pictures are fun here are some shots showing the current status of the mystery plane’s restoration.

Here is the plane after it was lapped (that took a really long time).

And here it is after it went through electrolysis, met up with a wire brush, and then finally got taped up ready for painting.

Here are the handles after being sanded and then having half a dozen coats of lacquer sprayed on.

Here is the plane after being painted:

And a closer shot of the paint job – very shiny.

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2631 days

#10 posted 04-11-2011 04:16 AM

Go to my blog lots of info
Hand plane info #1: Places to find info on hand planes

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View knotscott's profile (online now)


7980 posts in 3339 days

#11 posted 04-11-2011 05:57 AM

You’re doing a nice job restoring it. I really have no idea who made it or when, but it does have some resemblance to some of the older Bailey’s. FWIW, this plane lacks the support ring around the front knob, which Stanley introduced on the type 14 after 1928, so I’d guess that it’s likely that this plane was made pre WWII.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4182 days

#12 posted 04-11-2011 04:21 PM

Looking great, whoever made it!

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

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2568 days

#13 posted 04-13-2011 12:27 AM

Just wanted to put one last update on this thread for the mystery Union? plane. Here it is after being re-assembled. I am still missing the tote screw but I have one ordered and it should be coming in this week. This is my first hand plane restoration and overall I am quite happy with how it turned out. I have some other hand planes I want to restore but I will probably next move onto a J-Line lathe that has been sitting around for a few months.

Thank you to everyone that helped narrow it down.

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