Rookie Question About a Stanley Block Plane

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Forum topic by BobKat posted 12-07-2014 02:18 AM 1672 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 3356 days

12-07-2014 02:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane question

This may be a dumb questions but…. I just purchased a Stanley 9 1/2 block plane off eBay. I’ve never owned a block plane and am clueless regarding how to adjust the blade depth. Do you have to loosen the lever cap every time you adjust the blade depth or can you keep it tight?

10 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5112 posts in 1717 days

#1 posted 12-07-2014 02:28 AM

You have to loosen the lever cap to adjust the blade depth.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#2 posted 12-07-2014 02:38 AM

There is a screw and a lever besides the blade adjuster.
I set the screw loosely snug. Then flip the lever to lock the cap.
Next I try to adjust the blade. If it is too tight to move, then I un lock the cap and back out the screw a tad before re locking the cap.
It’s all trial and error for me, but that’s how I do it.
Bottom line, the cap has to be tight enough to keep the blade seated and not chatter, but loose enough to allow adjustment.
And one more thing, back the blade into the housing first and then gradually advance it and make a cut.
If you don’t get a shaving, then advance a little more and try again. Keep advancing just a little at a time.
Once you go too far and start snagging and gouging you have to back all the way out and start over so try not to go too far in the first place.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1333 days

#3 posted 12-07-2014 02:58 AM

Before i got used to sighting depth of cut by eyeing down the sole I used to get decent results by placing the block plane resting on two pieces of onion paper on my flat bench with the mouth of the plane clear of the paper. I’d leave lever cap slightly loose and the lateral adjustment level fairly dead center and I’d gently square the iron against the wood of the bench. Then tighten the lever cap and I’d get an onion paper thick shaving. Eventually ran out of onion paper. And learned to do it by sighting down the sole. :)

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View bandit571's profile


19975 posts in 2679 days

#4 posted 12-07-2014 03:11 AM

Never have loosened the cap on either of mine.

Trick is to only tighten it to keep things from moving around. There should be a wheel-like adjuster in the back, under the cap iron. Spinning it up, or down to adjust depth of cut. IF you can feel the edge of the iron with your fingers, it is too deep. Back the iron up until it just barely cuts.

On a 9-1/2, there is also an adjustable mouth. You can leave it wide open, or close it up almost tight. Just leave enough room for the shavings to go through.

Yes, I have “sighted” down the sole on some planes. And looked for that fine line to appear. Easier for me to test with the fingers. Then try a cut. Too deep? back it off a turn or two, try again. Do all the set ups on a piece of scrap wood. Once you have the depth set, leave it there.

Will you are looking up at the sole to see the edge of the iron, note IF one side sticks out a bit farther than the other corner of the iron. Above the adjuster wheel, there should be a lever. Called a Lateral Lever. You push it to one side or the other, until the edge is even across the mouth. If it won’t adjust, check the edge of the iron, to see IF it is square to the sides of the iron. I ahve had a few irons that someone thought should be skewed. Took a square, a Sharpie and i ground a new squared edge, and then resharpened it up.

Anything else?

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

View BobKat's profile


9 posts in 3356 days

#5 posted 12-07-2014 03:42 AM

Thank you so much to all! Great information that will help a lot! I do have one more question. It appears when I place the iron in the plane, the groves on the back of the iron do not sync up with the adjustment mechanism. What I mean is that at one set of notches the iron does not protrude past the sole of the plane. At the next lower set of notches the iron is already slightly past the sole of the iron when the brass wheel is at its lowest position. One set it too low and the other is too high no matter how I adjust the brass wheel. It almost seems that the iron might not be the right one for this plane. Maybe I need to get it in my shop and play around with it before I try to figure it out in the office…. Does this make sense? I made sure the iron is properly seated with its notches on the tab on the depth lever (see pic). Or am I just doing something wrong?

View bandit571's profile


19975 posts in 2679 days

#6 posted 12-07-2014 03:59 AM

I’d have to go and check mine, but I remember the slots were a bit off as well. After a few sharpenings, things got a bit closer. I usually run the wheel all the way in one direction, set the iron on a tab, and check to see which way it needs to go. I try with the wheel all the way up, and all the way down.

With the wheel all the way down, no edge should be coming through. Then just run the wheel up to advance it out.

Right now, Mine is just over halfway up.

About like this.

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15348 posts in 2615 days

#7 posted 12-07-2014 04:21 AM

^ What Bandit says re: getting it set. It’ll work, just have to work from either extreme as required to find the sweet spot.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View BobKat's profile


9 posts in 3356 days

#8 posted 12-07-2014 04:24 AM

Thanks Guys. I really appreciate your help.

View oltexasboy1's profile


250 posts in 1701 days

#9 posted 12-07-2014 05:32 PM

What those guys said is correct. The one you bought is fairly old, not an antique, but still a good usable plane.I have both a new one and an old one like yours, I also got on eBay, and the old one is a little more persnickety about setting but what bandit said will work in setting it. It looks like yours has an adjustable mouth opening, keep it set fairly close for most of your work, I think you will find that it makes a much better cut set fairly tight.
For what ever it is worth that is one of my most used and favorite planes I have.

-- "The pursuit of perfection often yields excellence"

View Don W's profile

Don W

18711 posts in 2564 days

#10 posted 12-09-2014 11:18 PM

one more trick, make sure the brass wheel isn’t upside down, or turn it upside down. it might buy you just enough.

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

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