Help with found plane?

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Forum topic by MarkwithaK posted 689 days ago 689 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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370 posts in 1811 days

689 days ago

I found this old Stanley #4 stashed in my garage. It was stashed away in a tool chest that was left behind when I bought the house. I tried searching on-line to figure out the approximate date but I keep getting stuck in a loop and get frustrated. It was in the original box along with it’s manual. I looked for a copy write date on the paperwork to get a rough idea of it’s age but couldn’t locate such a date….it does however list the prices for replacement parts. There was also a Stanley “Handy Man” plane but from the info I managed to gather from the interweb it’s not considered to be very good. This is the first hand plane I have ever owned and despite not knowing much about proper set-up i did run the iron on my Worksharp and the thing seemed to cut fairly well.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

11 replies so far

View pwgphoto's profile


67 posts in 849 days

#1 posted 689 days ago

I would need to see more images to date it. A good site I use for dating them is the Rexmill site. go there and hit the type study link.

View Loren's profile


7431 posts in 2281 days

#2 posted 689 days ago

Yellow paint on the cap iron, high front knob, Rounded
iron corners.

Look for a heart on the iron.

Maybe a type 13 or 14.


View Handtooler's profile


1074 posts in 765 days

#3 posted 689 days ago

Look for an alphabet letter and a number on the frog, the letters and/or numbers are the codes to finding the date range; but I haven’t found the information sheet that answers the same question for me. Mine has U and 6 on the frog as weell as the red orange background on the cap iron that reads Stanley, this color has some significance I’m told; the sole has Bailey No. 4, Made in the USA. Also the shape of the cap iron’s opening straight v.s. kidney shape makes a difference. Am I on target LJers? Good luck.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View CharlieM1958's profile


15691 posts in 2851 days

#4 posted 689 days ago

It’s not real old. Mid 20th-century. Still should make a perfectly good user.

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

View Mosquito's profile


4648 posts in 925 days

#5 posted 689 days ago

Given what looks like a steel adjustment knob, and the yellow kidney shape, probably 70’s is my guess… Not a type 13-14, those had keyhole lever caps. Kidney’s didn’t show up until later.

Charlie’s right, not real old, but should make a perfectly good user. Just have to tune it up a bit. Still a great find

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist -

View BTimmons's profile


2116 posts in 1118 days

#6 posted 689 days ago

Not too bad. You may need to move the frog forward a little bit. The throat looks kinda wide open, which may make it harder to get the ultra thin shavings that a #4 can produce. That’s if you plan to use it for that type of planing, anyway.

-- Brian Timmons -

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 1811 days

#7 posted 689 days ago

Thanks for all of your help. After reading through the web site given I was fairly certain it was newer than the any of the ones listed. No patent date, the plane body is maroon and there isn’t a bit of brass anywhere on it. Ultimately all I care about is that it is a quality tool and that I won’t be wasting my time on tuning it up. Thanks again guys.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 1325 days

#8 posted 689 days ago

I agree with Charlie, it can probably be made to work well enough, but could take some work to get it there.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View Handtooler's profile


1074 posts in 765 days

#9 posted 689 days ago

Mark, Incidently, with regard to the HANDYMAN, I own a what I’ll call a No. 3, but the original box simply says Stanley Smoother, $6.27. My father bought it new at a local hardware store used it a few times out of the box. It was fair, but when I began to learn about tuning and flatening the frog, sharpening the blad and setting the cap iron forward, golly that baby will turn out gossmer strips also. It takes some attention.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Don W's profile

Don W

14883 posts in 1201 days

#10 posted 689 days ago

This is the best place to type it.

It will be a good user and it shouldn’t take a lot to get it there.

Handyman planes take some work. Its not the place to start.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View hhhopks's profile


564 posts in 1010 days

#11 posted 689 days ago

I am impressed with the quality of the detective work given with the amount of information given.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

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