Stanley Type Study - Type Preference

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Forum topic by davidroberts posted 07-21-2012 06:56 PM 3320 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1027 posts in 3663 days

07-21-2012 06:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stanley handplane type

So I’m in the market for a Stanley No 6. Zip over to the bay and find several offered. Then start milling around Hyperkitten, RexMill, B&G, and all of the sudden I’m full blown into researching the Types. Now I can spot with some success a pre-Type 5, a 5, a 6, a 9, a 13, a 14, with usually just one average picture if the heel, toe, knob, cap and possibly back of frog are shown. Or at least I can get close. Problem is, I have no ideal which is considered the better Type. I’ve read where some folks prefer the Type 10, while other like Type 15. Each has their preference, based on experience. Since I have no experience other than going down a timeline checklist, which a monkey could do, and now me, the types mean nothing.

On the bay, there seems to be a lot of Type 6 or in the general vicinity, type 9s, and then type 13, 14 and 15. I’m pretty sure types later than 14 and eariler than say Type 4 become harder to distinguish with just a photo or two. I guess ending price could point me in a direction, but I would need to accumulate a lot of price and type data, and someone may be buying that Type 4 at a higher price just because he needs it to round out his collection.

So what Type do you prefer for an everyday user. Is there a big difference say up to the last of the pre-war Types. Is there a cutoff in Types, say Type 5 and older you just would not consider as an everyday user. Thanks for your input and experience.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

10 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


7044 posts in 2775 days

#1 posted 07-21-2012 07:03 PM

While I am no expert, I prefer the aesthetics and use of the type 10-15 planes. The ones with frog adjustment screws and the Sweethart irons. But not based on any real science, just what i like.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5107 posts in 4137 days

#2 posted 07-21-2012 07:13 PM

Why a #6? Not bein’ a smart a$$. I use a 5 1/2, 4, 3, and 7. There’s a block plane too.
The 5 1/2 is cambered for roughing, 4 is lightly cambered, I have a square iron as well for the 4, 3 is square, and 7 is square for jointing. I just never knew what the 6 could do that the others couldn’t.
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View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3663 days

#3 posted 07-21-2012 08:08 PM

Bill, my apologies. I’m talking about the TYPES of Stanley planes, the design modifications to the frog, etc, over time. I think you are referring to the NUMBER, such as a No. 3 smoothing plane, or No. 6 fore plane.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View poopiekat's profile


4384 posts in 3911 days

#4 posted 07-21-2012 08:10 PM

David: This is a very good point you have made, and it bears a comprehensive study. The regulars in the ‘Handplanes of your Dreams” thread all seem to debate the merits of particular types, and they are not in full agreement. For example, I have perhaps 12 Stanley #4s of various types, from the 3 patent date ones to 1204’s made 10 years ago. I’d have trouble choosing which type is personally favored over another, it is more the luck of the draw as much as selecting which era it was born in. Indeed, a few simply refuse to work no matter what I do to tune them in! Someday, when I cull the herd, all of the surplus, less user-friendly planes I got will be brought to market. Though, I can’t really recommend buying yourself a smorgasbord of planes and then choose the best of breed for each size. But.. it’s fun to collect anyway, better than stamps, coins or baseball cards!

-- 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 davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3663 days

#5 posted 07-21-2012 08:16 PM

Shane, thanks for your comments. I’m leaning that way just based on my twisted logic that Stanley must a some point reached the pinnacle of good design, and a few Types, possibly, probably the 10 through 15 incorporated those best designs. Then after the war, they went commercial for the DIY boys coming home, and were made cheaper and cheaper. Just a guess. It seems the 1 through probably 8 or so were practice to get the next few Types right, better control, alignment. I think I will stick to 9 or 10 up to 15. I actually haven’t seen much if any above 15 on the bay recently, but my dataset is small.

By the way, I want the #6 as a shooting plane. My #5 seems a tad small, but not by much, and the #7 is just a monster, hard to control it seems.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3663 days

#6 posted 07-21-2012 08:29 PM

Poopiekat – I really didn’t know what I was in store for when I when out looking for a #6. I had no idea the level to which folks had studied Stanley planes. Now I must review my other planes because I have no idea of their Type. I did clean my other up, flatten the sole, angle the mouth a bit for the thicker crop of blades, work the frog and lever cap, but basically I just sharpen the best I can then go to town, looking for that whispy, whispy shaving I can read a woodworking article through! By what you’re saying I could get hold of a bad Type 10, made on Dec 26th or a Monday :>( or a really smooth Type 4. It may be the luck of the draw, and I can’t depend on my luck these days….

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18990 posts in 2745 days

#7 posted 07-22-2012 01:39 AM

So my opinion is as follows. Its impossible to say the type X is the best user. Its really a personal preference. My favorite is a type 10/11. Why? its the first with the frog adjustment screw, still has the low knob, has a lateral adjustment, has rosewood, and has the small brass blade adjustment.

Is the frog adjustment screw a must for a good user? Absolutely not. I just happen to like the damn thing. I’ve got a lot of bench planes with out it and they work just fine.

Now I know folks who like the sweetheart era because they like the high knob, and the large blade adjustment knob. And i agree the large adjustment screw is easier to grasp. As for the high knob being better, i’m not sure I agree, plus I like the looks of the low knob.

I know folks who will not buy newer than type 16. They say it to hard to tune. Here is my argument to that.

I’ve got a nice Union #6 for sale. should you want to steer clear of the Stanley type all together.

Good luck in your quest for a perfect #6. Its a fun adventure for sure and I like reading other peoples opinions on this subject. My favorite users, at least for now is the sweetheart era bedrocks… go figure!!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2727 days

#8 posted 07-22-2012 01:46 AM

Type 11. Last one with solid frog (I’m pretty sure on that) So basically the peak of useful, then started cutting corners. But they all work fine as long as you stay pre-blue in my opinion. I honestly, you can probably make a blue one work if you really wanted to.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3825 days

#9 posted 07-22-2012 02:05 AM

I’m not particular. All of my Baileys are older, excepts for
a later English made one and a wartime one with a rubber
knob. Other than that they are all pre-war I think.

My only real preference with Baileys is that I like the jack
planes with the corrugated bottoms. The English
made #4 is a bit heavier than an American one.

Oh – and I prefer the high knob style unequivocally.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4249 posts in 2738 days

#10 posted 07-22-2012 02:24 AM

I know I like the earlier modles with the round sides, but they are not worth as much as the flat sides.

I have started buying abunch of hand tools including planes for the new Woodworking Club I want to start for Vets and I have bought some planes that have No Manufecturing Marking on them at all.

I have found 1 plane type I really like because it means so much to me and that is the “76” Liberty Bell planes. To me it means history and our freedome on the first 100 years.

I have 2 of the Liberty Bells and hope to get more sometime. I also found out that Stanly also made the Transitional Liberty Bells along with the Flat planes.


PS – I saw an old brass and wood (I forget what it is called) but it is used for drilling holes. It was made in the early to mid 1800’s That would be an awesome tools for me too.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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