A motherlode of old planes

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Forum topic by Dave11 posted 05-16-2011 02:14 AM 977 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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33 posts in 2563 days

05-16-2011 02:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: old planes

Hi. This post is also an introduction. I’ve been lurking here for a couple years, and have learned a lot, but am finally getting some time to do some serious woodworking.

But a situation has come up and I need some advice. A friend of mine has a neighbor whose husband was a tool collector, and recently passed on. She’s selling the house, and wants to sell all his planes. There are, I’m told, a couple hundred in total, bench and block planes and other odds and ends. She says most are old Stanleys, but doesn’t know any other names, or what shape they are in.

So i’m going to take a look. Here’s the kicker—she wants to sell them in mass. As in, all of them together.

I have used some modern planes, but am no expert, yet. But I know almost nothing about older planes.

Whether it would be crazy for me to consider buying these depends on the price, of course, and the condition of the planes.

I know to check the soles for pitting, and to make sure all parts are there, but is there anything else to check to make sure they are usable or restorable?

Some will have a date stamped, but many will not, yes? And many will likely have no manufacturer name?

And is there any way to tell the old/good Stanleys from the later ones?

All advice appreciated.

5 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4093 days

#1 posted 05-16-2011 02:17 AM

There are type studies for the different planes. For Stanley good info can be found at this site

eBay completed auctions is a good place to see what things are selling for….

I would buy them if I could. (assuming they are in good condition)

Web references from my blog…

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

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3371 days

#2 posted 05-16-2011 02:26 AM

The Rexmill type study is another good source of old plane info.

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

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2663 days

#3 posted 05-16-2011 02:28 AM

Here is a lot of plane info for you ,have fun

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

View Loren's profile (online now)


10380 posts in 3643 days

#4 posted 05-16-2011 02:30 AM

Generalizing quite broadly:

Aside from Bedrocks, most Stanley bench planes don’t have a value
of much over $50 or so on the used market. Most old Stanley or
Bailey jack planes are worth $20-30. The handles and totes may
be worth more if in excellent condition and made of rosewood.
Some totes with stickers are sought after. If they are in original boxes,
that’s different and the box and even original instructions can increase
the value a lot. The Bedrock bench planes are worth more.

When you get out of the bench planes, into all the specialized planes
for joinery and trade-specific use, some of the planes can be
pretty sought-after. Some of them are really fun to use, too –
which is part of why they are in demand.

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2876 days

#5 posted 05-16-2011 05:39 AM

If he had that many planes it sounds like he was a big collector. A good collector like that will have a lot of nice planes in good shape. I am sure there are a lot of specialty planes in there that are worth some money.

I would ask if you can look at them and bring a pad of paper and write down the number (if there is one) that is on the specialty planes. Those are the ones to search the value of. As Loren said, most of the bench planes don’t hold a lot of resale value.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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