Old Stanley no. 5 worth saving? No name plane can't seem to adjust. ideas?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by KevinBlair posted 03-16-2014 03:57 PM 2985 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View KevinBlair's profile


56 posts in 2523 days

03-16-2014 03:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane

Hi everyone, I have two hand planes about which I can use some advise. Hopefully the pictures come through.

The first is an old Stanley no 5. A flea market find with a fair amount of rust. I cleaned off the rust and then started to flatten the sole with 100 grit, then 150 grit sandpaper. The pictures show where I am at; a flat sole with a fair amount of pitting. I am not sure whether this plane can be saved. I would say the deepest pitting is maybe 1/32 or more deep. I have an excellent Millers Falls no. 14, which is equivalent to the Stanley 5, so not a huge loss if it cannot be saved. Still, it would be nice to bring it back if I can. What happens if I continue to grind away at the sole and remove all of the pitting? Can I use a friend’s stationary belt sander? Can I go with a heavier grit (maybe all the way to 50)?

The second one is a “no name” plane. “Made in the USA” is the only marking. It is about 9” long and 2 1/8” wide. Not a Stanley and probably not Millers Falls as despite the red cap it doesn’t seem to match any of the dimensions on web pages for Millers Falls planes. It seems well made, despite not having any markings.

Regardless of the maker, I cannot seem to get this plane adjusted properly. The iron is sharp and at a 30 degree bevel with no secondary bevel. The plane seems designed for a fairly steep angle of cut, as compared to my Stanley no. 4. With the frog pulled back as far as possible and the iron adjusted to the smallest depth of cut possible (i.e., the depth adjustment screw turned as far as possible to make the shallowest cut), I can get it to cut, but not smoothly and this doesn’t seem right to me as I have no ability to make any further adjustments. I have played around with the frog, the chip breaker, the adjustment screw, etc., but to no avail. Any ideas would be welcome.

11 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3845 days

#1 posted 03-16-2014 04:06 PM

Set the chipbreaker so there is less than 1/16” of plane
iron protruding. The depth adjustment lever doohickey
engages the slot in the chipbreaker.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19006 posts in 2765 days

#2 posted 03-16-2014 04:11 PM

Show a picture of the lateral adjuster on the one with the red cap. Also, set it beside the #5. Is it bedded at 45 degrees (the #5 will be)

I’d stop trying to flatten the #5 and put a camber on it for a jack, but either way, the pitting will not hurt your performance and as a jack, not being perfectly flat won’t either.

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

View KevinBlair's profile


56 posts in 2523 days

#3 posted 03-16-2014 04:42 PM

Hi Loren and Don, thanks for the replies. The chipbreaker is 1/16 from the edge of the iron, so I don’t think that’s the issue. The iron is a bit rounded at each end. The left end of the iron (looking at it from the top as you’d insert the iron into the plane) is a bit more rounded than the right side. Not sure how much that all matters. I do wonder about the bevel; perhaps it shouldn’t be 30 degrees for this plane?

For the pictures, I put it up next to my Millers Falls no 14. It looks to me that it matches the no 14 in terms of angle, but hopefully you’ll be able to see it from the pictures as well as be able to see the lateral adjuster. As compared to my other planes (I own Stanley no. 8 and no 4. along with the Millers falls 14 and a couple of block planes (one Stanley and one Craftsman that is probably a Millers Falls), I don’t see any real differences that explain the difficulty in getting it adjusted and working well.

When placed next to the N0. 14, it sure looks like a Millers Falls product, but it doesn’t seem to match anything on oldtoolheaven. Not that important, but always nice to know who made things. Kevin

View Don W's profile

Don W

19006 posts in 2765 days

#4 posted 03-16-2014 04:49 PM

I think its a later Defiance. They were made by Stanley as a lower grade plane.

I typically grind mine at 25 degrees but it shouldn’t make that much difference. Is the sole reasonably flat? The early Defiance’s were not to bad. Yours looks pretty poorly manufactured.

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

View KevinBlair's profile


56 posts in 2523 days

#5 posted 03-16-2014 09:21 PM

The sole is flat and everything works well, i.e, the lateral adjuster seems fine, the depth adjustment seems fine, and so forth. All in all it feels about the same as several other planes I own. I am going to check how sharp the iron really is. I sharpened several of them a few months ago and I wonder if it’s not as sharp as I want to believe.

It could well be a Defiance. Whoever made it wasn’t proud enough of their product to put their name on it :-)

View bandit571's profile


21729 posts in 2880 days

#6 posted 03-16-2014 09:59 PM

That red lever cap was usually placed of planes made for Sears & Roebuck sales. Not a Defiance, or a Victor, just a “Trade” plane for Sears. About like the Companion line of tools you see in a Sears Store today. Yep, it was aStanley MADE plane.

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

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3195 days

#7 posted 03-18-2014 02:00 PM

Noname plane:

This may be off but is the bevel facing up or down? The bevel should be down. It should be a perfectly fine plane. Many planes were made by the major plane makers for Sears and other retailers without name (or with a house brand name.)

Miller Falls plane:

Relax about the pitting. Unless it is right at the mouth, it makes absolutely no impact on it’s performance. Even at the mouth, the impact is debatable.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View WayneC's profile


13783 posts in 4294 days

#8 posted 03-18-2014 02:24 PM

I was wondering the same thing as David. On the no name plane can you post a close up of the cutter?

#5 looks workable to me. Worst case you could camber the blade and use if for scrubbing…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View KevinBlair's profile


56 posts in 2523 days

#9 posted 04-13-2014 03:04 PM

Hi everyone, my apologies for disappearing. It got really busy and I haven’t had much time for woodworking.

The no. 5 is working perfectly. I did as suggested and stopped worrying about the pitting. I now have the no. 5 and the Millers falls 14 and both are working great.

As for the red cap (no name, but probably Sears). It is bevel up. I decided that it had to be the blade not being sharp enough. Sure enough, once I re-sharpened the blade, it started to cut. It is still difficult to adjust, but I think that is an indication that it is a cheaper plane.

Thanks for all of the advice!!


View DocBailey's profile


584 posts in 2557 days

#10 posted 04-13-2014 03:18 PM

”As for the red cap (no name, but probably Sears). It is bevel up.”

This is a bevel-down plane.

View WoodAndShop's profile


149 posts in 1706 days

#11 posted 04-17-2014 01:26 AM

Kevin, your No. 5 should be used as a scrub plane anyway, so it shouldn’t matter too much if there is some pitting. Use a cambered iron (8 degrees) and use it to remove rough material. I’m not sure if you can see my photo very well, but it shows the bottom of a No. 5 Jack plane…notice the cambered iron (blade) and imperfect bottom?

A smoothing plane or jointer plane, on the other hand should be flat & unpitted. Does this help?

-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials:

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics