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The Infamous Stanley "Handyman" Line of Planes & Tools

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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 07-03-2013 05:34 PM 6997 views 0 times favorited 54 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

3733 posts in 2479 days


07-03-2013 05:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stanley handyman planes

We’re all aware of the decline of quality in Stanley tools over the last few decades. In type studies of Stanley planes, they all come to a screeching halt after type 20’s, approximately 1967 or so.

They Handyman line of planes rarely, if ever gets mentioned. I know, they’re generally not held in high regard, Don W hates them, but I’ve seen the occaisional positive comment about them.

So, where to start? should we try to categorize them, identify better ones from real clunkers, assign a “type” to the various permutations, or what?

As you can see, there are several differences among my various Handymans. Some have a bright plated lever cap, others with hammertone finish or solid gray paint over a crudely cast cap. Lots of other subtle manufacturing differences too, from one to another. I suspect that these planes, based on the ones I own or have seen offered for sale, they were originally purchased in department stores for Father’s Day gifts by well-meaning family…and put away and forgotten.

Maybe we could generate a list of other non-plane Handyman products, too? Any pics or info? What say you? Thx!

-- 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!!


54 replies so far

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Don W

15516 posts in 1312 days


#1 posted 07-03-2013 05:46 PM

ok, I’ll watch. but just for fun and even though they may not easily make silky smooth shavings, they are part of the tool history. Do we even know the years they were made?

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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bandit571

7474 posts in 1427 days


#2 posted 07-03-2013 05:56 PM

The Handyman line was the budget line. It took the place of the Defiance line of tools. That’s right, tools. Each line up had a full range of tools. I even havd a trisquare with that red handle, with “Handyman” cast into it. Used to have a line up of three bench planes and a block plane. I am starting to change over to Millers Falls tools, so my Handyman tools (except for that square) are now sold off.

A #3, A #4, and a #5 size. Look at the totes as well. Some have almost no “foot” others have a normal foot.

Some had a chip breaker painted red, too.

Some are quite good, some…......

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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bandit571

7474 posts in 1427 days


#3 posted 07-03-2013 06:09 PM

Years made? I think they started back in the 1950s?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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poopiekat

3733 posts in 2479 days


#4 posted 07-03-2013 06:14 PM

Hmmm… I do think we could put together a list of individual planes, with their distinct differences. Then, we could maybe figure out the genesis for the line, what they looked like and how they changed from year to year. Then we can work toward an answer to Don’s question… when WERE they made??? Someday… a Handyman Blood and Gore... with apologies to Patrick Leach.

-- 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!!

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poopiekat

3733 posts in 2479 days


#5 posted 07-03-2013 06:17 PM

Yeah, Bandit!! I wonder when hammertone finishes became the rage, it was undoubtedly the 1950’s. Note also the kidney shaped holes in the lever caps, another giveaway. I’ll have to dig up my Popular Mechanics magazines and see if there are ads for Handyman stuff.

-- 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!!

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Don W

15516 posts in 1312 days


#6 posted 07-03-2013 06:47 PM

should be a handyman snot and tears.......

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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DocBailey

399 posts in 1104 days


#7 posted 07-03-2013 08:21 PM

I say let them rest in peace (or rust in pieces?).

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distrbd

1301 posts in 1191 days


#8 posted 07-03-2013 09:59 PM

My very first hand plane was a Handyman,bought it from ebay but while I was waiting for it to to be shipped I did a google search on it and boy ,everyone gave it a thumbs down,it felt like I couldn’t have bought a worse plane so when I received it I just put it away ,later on I bought a couple of decent Canadian /US made planes and compared them to the old HANDYMAN,then I realised why it was inferior ,it weighed less ,looked rough and crude . I use it just as often as my better planes which is not often LOL.;

-- Ken from Ontario

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bandit571

7474 posts in 1427 days


#9 posted 07-03-2013 10:56 PM

Also in the tool box with the Handyman Square

A small, fancy screwdriver.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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JustJoe

1554 posts in 782 days


#10 posted 07-03-2013 11:47 PM

Don’t go hating on Stanley now just because they learned how to market to a broader audience in the 50’s. Yes, a lot of the line was cheaper, but some pieces were just rebranded from their regular line.
In addition to all the planes:
The handyman line included a set of chisels in a pouch – plastic handles that were squarish (flat front/back with rounded sides). I I’ve had/sold two sets that were a clear/gray color and I think there was another one with clear/red color handles.
t also had a few Yankee screwdrivers – at least the 233H, 133H and 433H if not more.
There were a few braces – the H1250/1253.
There was a small set of regular auger bits that is hard to find now.
They made individual socket chisels with cheap wooden handles, don’t know the number but I don’t see them that much so they either melt in direct sunlight or are getting rare.
Block planes that were copies of the #110 but with decals on the red lever cap.
I had (might still be buried somewhere) a small bench vise that bolts onto the bench but only if your bench was about 1” thick or less. It has 1.5-2” jaws on it.
An eggbeater drill.
There was at least one style square.
They also sold tool sets in wooden or cardboard boxes. Those included a short saw (very hard to find) and the brace also came with up to six screwdriver bits – 3 regular and 3 phillips.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

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quartrsawn

143 posts in 1957 days


#11 posted 07-04-2013 12:27 AM

... and I’ll bet they are better made than the Chinese junk sold in Big Blue and Big Orange today !

-- Nat - West Sayville,L.I., NY

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Deycart

397 posts in 1002 days


#12 posted 07-04-2013 12:28 AM

I have a few handyman bar 6” bar clamps. They don’t have very much clamping power, but at 4 for 50 cents it was hard to pass up.

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Deycart

397 posts in 1002 days


#13 posted 07-04-2013 12:34 AM

This is my Dunlap push drill that I restored. I striped the old black paint off and the red stuff and made it purdy.

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poopiekat

3733 posts in 2479 days


#14 posted 07-04-2013 03:44 PM

Oh, well…you guys are probably right. All the good research projects have already been taken, and done well. Perhaps I’ll just break up my Handymans and create a spare parts depot on eBay….the frog screws have got to have some value, at least…or are they inferior too? Or, I’ll donate them locally. Postal charges alone (Canada) preclude any incentive to sell them on eBay. Heck, I know I’ve got less than $100 tied up in those in the pic above.

Still, it’s fun to talk about Stanley’s dark days of plane making!

-- 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!!

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bandit571

7474 posts in 1427 days


#15 posted 07-05-2013 03:42 PM

The Handyman line took over from the Defiance line.

Strange thing is, I once had a Handyman #1204, and a Companion #4 sized plane. Other than what was cast into the lever caps, and stamped on the irons, they were the same exact plane

except the Sears Companion could take thinner shavings. Don’t know why…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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