Case of the Mystery Hand Plane

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Forum topic by GerardW posted 06-17-2013 10:06 PM 1668 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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44 posts in 1816 days

06-17-2013 10:06 PM

Trying to figure out what I’ve got on my hands here. I got this from my dads garage where it has been buried for years untold. Notably it is stamped “made in usa”, and features a “4 way blade” (square blade sharpened on all sides- presumably to rotate?). Is this just a piece of knock off junk that happens to be twenty years old, or is this an actual tool of some kind? Ideas?

-- Gerard in Bowie MD

8 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4928 posts in 3954 days

#1 posted 06-17-2013 11:22 PM

I’ve never seen that puppy before.
Keep us posted about the use.


View Wally331's profile


350 posts in 2019 days

#2 posted 06-18-2013 12:40 AM

Craftsman used to make a plane like this, is the casting aluminum by any chance?

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2561 days

#3 posted 06-18-2013 12:45 AM

Never seen nothing like it! Is that L shaped piece the iron or is there something under it?

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

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3353 days

#4 posted 06-18-2013 02:45 AM

I believe that’s a variation on a scraper plane. The blade has 4 edges and you just rotate it as the edges becomes dull. I think someone told me that they can’t be sharpened and that’s why they’re made with 4 edges.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View GerardW's profile


44 posts in 1816 days

#5 posted 06-18-2013 03:29 AM

I believe the body is cast iron- I think its too heavy for aluminum. Here are a few more pics to show detail of the blade and the top plate (the L shaped bit)

I had a local sharpening service sharpen it up, but its still not razor sharp (probably limitations of the material). The sole isn’t dead flat so it doesn’t perform well now- I’m going to hone it down this week. Even so it looks like it’ll be rough- no lateral stabilization, so the blade tends to cock to one side.

-- Gerard in Bowie MD

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2561 days

#6 posted 06-19-2013 01:21 AM

here is one just like it,

I don’t think its a Sargent, but maybe!

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

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3642 days

#7 posted 06-19-2013 02:18 AM

It may be useful to you, but don’t invest a lot of energy
expecting such a tool will get you fine woodworking
results. It’s similar to a paint stripper with a turnable
blade. I reckon if this was a good way to make bench
planes it would have caught on better.

Turn the iron upside down and you may find it a good

There is a European line of plastic and sheet metal
planes called Rali planes with replaceable blades. They
apparently work pretty well – and for the handyman
or power tool carpenter jettisoning the need to
be able to sharpen tools may be an advantage
(there are chisels with replaceable tips too), but
for the bench woodworker, such gimmickry
will probably be a distraction.

I’m not bashing your plane, btw. The limited depth
of the frog and mass of the iron may affect its ability
to take a fine smoothing cut. I don’t know why
traditional plane irons are so long, but there must
be some reason other than tradition I reckon – I
posit that the mass and long frog helps stabilize the

View GerardW's profile


44 posts in 1816 days

#8 posted 06-19-2013 03:10 AM

Thanks for all the responses! I think the eBay listing is this exact plane- but ironically even the seller isn’t sure what type or brand of plane it is.

After some cursory testing, I don’t think this is going to be “my plane” (it would be my first). So far all I’ve invested in it is cleaning off the rust, polishing, flattening the shoe (all free) and $15 to have the blade sharpened. Figure its something I’ll give back to my dad all cleaned up that he will appreciate-possibly just as a conversation piece.

Having never used a decent hand plane I don’t have any basis of comparison, but the Mystery Plane was not easy to use, smooth, particularly effective. Although due to the previous statement, this could be a GIGO situation.

-- Gerard in Bowie MD

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