I have been sitting on this information over the past two years, and after re-reading my personal emails, I realized that what Charles shared with me was NOT published and was thus copyright free. Charles authored the Shaw’s Patent Type Study in David Heckel’s ID Guide. His full name is in that guide, for those seeking that information, I am not including it here.
Anyway, here are some personal email exchanges (NOT LJs PMs), with identity links removed, concerning identifying characteristics of some of the earliest Sargent Planes from ~1880s through the 1920s or so. I think fellow hand plane enthusiasts will enjoy the added details/information on their Sargent Plane collection:
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I am hoping you might be able to help me nail down some dates on a Sargent #418 plane passed down to me from my great-grandfather. This plane has never been on the market and was used by my GGF to make a living. He was born 18xx, sired #x kids from 18xx-1890s, and eventually died in 19xx. My grandfather and father were both machinists (never carpenters) but saved this #418 and my GGF’s 22” Auburn Tool Co. wooden jointer and passed them on to me some 50 years ago.
Please take a look if you can, and possibly head me in the right direction for dating this thing.
Thanks for the email, It looks like you done most of your research quite well. But your plane is more likely around 1909-1910 era. Not to say anything bad about Dave Heckel but he did the research that he wanted to & I let him put the Type Study of the Shaws Patent in the book. Quite a few people overlook that Sargent Started using Rosewood, Then East India Mahogany, & then in 1925 or so they just used any Mahogany that they could get. Yours looks to have East India Mahogany . A simple way to check it is if you have a user Stanley handle or knob, & the one off of your plane. On the bottom side of the handle or knob in a area not to damage it put it to a bench grinder for just a touch & then smell it. Rosewood will have a sweet smell & Mahogany will not. The proper blade would have helped in finding the year it was made. Also the pads that the frog screws into are round up to 1906 & squared off after that. Dave said that I over researched the Shaws patent & He left out a good bit in the book. But If you would use both the 400 series info. & the Shaws Patent Type Study it mite help in dating them. Good luck with the 418, The earlier Sargent planes were just as good as the Stanley planes , So since it belonged to your GGF you should find the proper cutter for it & let it retire on a shelf. There are a lot of users out there to use as a roughing plane. If I can be of any other help please let me know. Thanks Charles
I’ve got a bug in my ear that keeps reminding me that Dave only used part of your Shaw’s Patent study. I keep wondering what I am missing…
Have you thought about publishing the full Shaw’s Patent study and/or making it available in some form or fashion? I really liked finding out about how the pad shapes changing in 1906. I am now wondering about how the “tote placement” has changed over time as my GGF’s 418 tote is ~5/8” closer to the frog than the 418VBM’s tote. Also the base of my GGF’s 418 has NO identifying marks (plain) just as some early Type 1 and 2 planes I have seen posted on eBay on occasion. Any ideas on tote placement and plain bases?
Thanks for the email, I also added a couple photos of the basic 3 types of bodies. I didn’t have a pre-lateral at this time so we will call them Type 2,3 & 4. The one with the round post for mounting the frog has a very thin area behind the mouth & the leading edge of the frog doesn’t touch it 1891-06 ,The Type 3 has square post for mounting the frog & a thicker area behind the mouth.1907-09. The lateral lever will be twisted on these types & could have the hores shoe lateral or the standard lateral on the No.418 Type 2 & 3 the body is 2 7/8 in. to under 3 in. wide, On the Type 4 It still has the square pads for the frog but now has a raised machined area for the leading edge of the frog to sit on.the lateral lever will be the folded type on the type 4 to the end of production. No.418 will be 3 in. -3 1/8 in. wide. 1910 & later. Also this type had the handle in a differnt pos. It would take quite a while to do a complete type study since every size was a little differnt. On the No.414 they also moved the handle , The type 2 & 3 No.414 was 13 1/2 in. long & about 2 5/8 in. wide & the later ones were 14 in. long & 2 3/4 wide. The dates that I used are just aprox. they could very a year or two. On the Shaw’s patent Type Study in Daves book he changed a few words here & there & I had about 7 types. One main thing is on the type 1 Dave has ” The area behind the throat is very small” It should have read ” The area behind the throat is very thin where the leading edge of the frog sits”. I hope this helps you a little, I wish I had the time to complete this type study & a few more but I just don’t have the time, If you are ever down this way I’ll let you go through all of my Sargents & do it yourself. Thanks Chuck
Boy this Sargent plane stuff is addictive! I just picked up another off eBay for $50. I found a #422 jointer that looks to be Type 2-ish. It has the twisted lever, Wright’s Patent date stamp, but has the second standard lateral working end that you say dates from 1907-09. This one is cleaning up real well and has much japanning left:
I added some side-by-side comparisons of the #422 with the two 418s here:
Boy! I could not believe just how thin the entire casting is on this 422, especially the sides of the body where it looks like half as thick as those on the 418s (even though it has the squared frog mounting holes). This thing feels like a toy compared to my other planes! Again, NO emblems or plane numbers on the cast base (plain).
As always, any additional advice or shared knowledge is always welcome. Got any more tidbits on these early castings? Ever get an image of the pre-lateral casting?
Michael, Thats how I got hooked on SARGENT. It is a wide open research area. If you use the Shaws Patent Type Study & the other imfo. in Daves Book It should guide you in the right direction. I don’t know if I added in the last email but I have noticed that Sargent started not useing the plane numbers on the planes after they started the corragated bottom planes. & were useing the 5400 seris . As they couldn’d use the No.402 etc. numbers when they were corragated. So that is why you find the earlier ones marked & unmarked , I hope this helps you & just don’t confuse you that much more. Thanks Chuck
Well that at least gives me another explanation for the unmarked castings. I guy off eBay was insisting (dismissingly) that ALL the unmarked plane castings were only for Sargent’s off-brand production/business.
BTW, I use your Shaw’s Patent Type Study information quite a bit, but any additional images you might have of the frog mounting areas on earlier and later planes would be an added bonus. I am trying to build a graphic image library of the general changes made to these bases over time. I am amazed that David chose to leave such information out of the 2nd Ed. book, especially after you shared your research with him. Maybe he was/is afraid of the effect it would have on his own plane collection when trying to “establish” value after acknowledging the existence of additional “Types” in the early years.
QUESTION: How long did the production last for the twisted Wright’s Patent lever with the standard lateral (beyond the 1907-09 timeframe)? Was it used on other models later? It seems to me that that short 3 year period may make this particular lateral MORE scarce than the highly touted “Horseshoe” lateral that was apparently produced for a longer period of time (1891-1901). Just a thought…hmm…
Michael, That would be hard to say, I would say that any of the Sargent planes with the twisted lat. 1st. or 2 nd. type are quite scarce. Also if you take into the fact that Sargent more than likely started useing the horseshoe lateral while they were waiting on the patent, & when they came out with the later type they more than likely used up any old stock. Then the same thing when they came out with the folded lateral they used up any remaining old stock of the twisted laterals. Chuck
-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."