Dating stanley no. 4 planes

Contents:
  1. The Stanley Bench Plane Page
  2. How to Identify Stanley Hand Plane Age and Type (Type Study Tool)
  3. “How Many Patent Dates do you see behind the handplane frog?”
  4. Bailey Identification
  5. Stanley Bench Planes Mini-Site Navigation

Could I send you some photos, in itser for you to tell me what you think? Send them to vatoolworks gmail. April 8, at 2: Thanks Ed Like Like. July 28, at 2: Was the kidney-hole lever cap introduced with Type 13, or introduced with Type 16? July 28, at 7: They kidney hole was introduced with Type September 27, at September 27, at 5: October 4, at 1: October 4, at October 6, at October 6, at 8: Thanks for the reply..

December 21, at Just send you an email. Send me a couple of photos and I should be able to help. December 21, at 7: Hi Leonid and Bryant: On the back of the lever cap, bottom middle, between two ribs, the patent number is cast in the configuration shown below: March 7, at 4: March 8, at Thanks for the information.

So far, I really like the plane. May 28, at 9: Did Stanley make non Bailey no3 type 13 ?

Stanley's cute little #1 hand plane- What was it for, and why's it so rare?

May 28, at January 30, at 5: April 4, at 9: May 28, at 7: July 9, at July 14, at 6: Sounds like a s model. July 9, at 8: July 14, at 9: I just saw one for sale on eBay. It is a custom made plane. Very cool but not made by Stanley.

The Stanley Bench Plane Page

August 30, at August 31, at 9: October 13, at 3: October 13, at 4: December 13, at December 13, at 1: My mistake, it has Stanley, with no date, stamped on the lateral adjustment lever. December 13, at 2: Sounds more like a Type 7 or earlier model pre Like Like. Thank you for for your help Bryant.

I am ordering a replacement lever cap. May 8, at 5: May 8, at 6: Prices vary greatly depending on condition. July 7, at 4: I just came across a Stanley would like to Know year and value? July 8, at They were made from to Check eBay for recent sold prices to get a sense of value. January 7, at 9: Is this original or is this a replacement piece Like Like.

January 8, at 9: Bailey planes made after had lever caps marked Stanely Like Like. February 12, at 2: February 12, at February 13, at 1: Many Thanks Bryant, it good to have its approximate date and I will indeed check ebay. February 26, at 8: Type 13 or 14, to Like Like. February 26, at March 18, at 7: March 19, at 9: March 29, at 3: I have a Stanley No.

March 29, at 4: March 29, at 9: April 8, at April 9, at May 7, at 5: Is it possible to get replacement hardwood handles for a Bailey 5? May 7, at 6: Ebay is your best bet for replacement parts. September 24, at 7: October 14, at 8: Not likely, the transition planes are neither rare nor particularly valuable. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You'll probably find some amount of corrosion on the face of the iron where the cap iron makes contact.

This corrosion is often black in color and can be lapped out quickly. The corrosion occurs from the plane sitting idle where moisture is trapped between the two irons. Inspect the iron, even on its backside, for any cracks. The Stanley irons do crack due to their thinness, but it is not a common occurrence.

I've also seen an iron de-laminate; look them over around the bevel for this flaw Stanley did equip their bench planes with laminated irons up to about WWII - click here to see the company's propaganda for laminated irons. Make sure the cap iron fits tightly against the iron; you'll have to re-grind it if it doesn't. Strangely, you'll stumble across irons and cap irons that have mushroomed ends, like the kind you see invariably on wooden planes. Stanley planes that show this 'handiwork' must have belonged to transitional woodworkers, where the line between master carpenter and ham-fisted hack was but a mere hammer away.

Why anyone would smack the heel of the iron on this kind of plane is lost on me. If your plane has this feature, a file will make short order of it. Rarely, and I do mean rarely, you might find an bench plane with a strange iron in it. It looks as if someone screwed a razor blade onto the cutting edge of the normal iron. If you see this, sell the iron to a collector, and find yourself a replacement.

What you have is another one of Stanley's boneheaded ideas - "Ready Edge Blades.

Whenever the plane's cutter dulled, he could pull out a new one and screw it onto the holder. A few chips on the lever cap along its edge of contact with the cap iron are nothing to fear. These chips are from a previous owner using the flat end of the lever cap as a screwdriver to loosen the cap iron screw prior to the sharpening of the iron. This flaw lessens the value of a plane to a collector, but does nothing to hinder the plane's use provided the chips are not severe enough to prevent sufficient clamping pressure on the iron.

The lever cap underwent a subtle design change in the hole through which the lever cap screw passes. The first hole is symetrical and shaped like a key hole. During the early 's, the hole was redesigned and patented so that is has a kidney shape design. This change was done to address the supposed problem with the lever cap backing upward, off the lever cap screw, as the iron was drawn back while turning the adjusting screw. The planes had been made some 70 years, and used successfully for that same time, without the kidney-shaped hole so it seems that Stanley made the design change as a gimmick to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Look for stress cracks or outright chips about the lever cap's screw hole.

This flaw can diminish the plane's utility since the lever cap is apt to loosen during use. It's best to pass examples with this problem, unless you can salvage it for parts. Test the brass depth adjustment nut to see if it turns freely - a lot of times these are seized. If the knurling on the nut appears stripped or the nut is mis-shaped not a circle , it's a good indication that someone took drastic measures, like the use of vise-grips, to free it.

Chips in the bottom casting are sometimes found where the sides meet the toe or heel of the plane. These, too, have no harmful affect on the use of the plane, but they do lessen its value to a collector. Also, these chips are rather jagged so you may want to file them smooth lest they rip your hands to shreads during use.

Check the depth adjustment fork, which is held captive in the frog. It resembles a wishbone, with each side terminating with a round shape to the casting. Each side engages the circular groove in the brass depth adjustment nut. Sometimes, one of the sides of the fork breaks off, making the fork bind when it's adjusted. These forks are cast iron, but starting around the early's they became a cheesy two-piece steel construction. You might think it strange that the cast iron fork can break, but break they do, usually as a result of too little pressure from the lever cap on the iron, which then results in the iron being thrust backward during planing, putting an extreme amount of force directly on the fork, ultimately snapping it.

Stanley, in their instructions for using the planes, specifically addresses just how tight the lever caps should be - "If the Cam [of the lever cap] will not snap in place easily, slightly loosen the Lever Cap Screw. Some modern day tool authors, sure in their scholarly advice, recommend taking a pair of pliers and squeezing the 'tines' of the adjusting fork toward each other to take out some of the slop in the mechanism.

You'll snap the thing as sure as that plaid shirt and toolbelt wearing guy will use a bisquick joinah. If the fork is broken, you can pilfer one from a dogmeat bench plane by knocking out the pin that allows the fork to pivot. The pin normally pops out when driven from left to right as viewed from the rear of the frog. There were many modifications made to the bench planes over their production.

These are outlined in the type study, but the major design change, that of the frog and the way it seats on the bottom casting, is mentioned here in greater detail. There are four major frog and corresponding receiver of the main casting designs found on the Bailey bench planes. Sure, there were some experiments gone awry and a few minor modifications, but the descriptions of the four that follow are those that were in the longest production.


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The first design resembles the letter "H" when viewed from the front or rear of the plane. The frog is machined to sit on the sides, or rails, of this machined area of the main casting. The frog is screwed to the cross 'beam' that spans the rails. This design was the one Leonard Bailey finally settled upon prior to Stanley purchasing his patents.

Stanley continued this solid design for just a few years until ca. The second major design dispensed with the experimental frog ca. This design is simply a broad and flat rectangular area that is machined on the bottom casting. This machined area is rather low, and has two holes that receive the screws which are used to secure the frog in place. Likewise, the bottom of the frog is machined flat to fit onto the bottom casting.

This method of securing the frog was sound and it worked well, but the amount of machining, after the parts were cast, certainly made production more costly and slow, and they eventually cast two grooves into the main casting's frog receiver ca. Still, this construction was too costly. Thus, Stanley needed to modify the design if they were to become "The Toolbox of the World. The third design made its debut in , and was again patented by Stanley.

How to Identify Stanley Hand Plane Age and Type (Type Study Tool)

This re-design of the frog likely was an attempt of Stanley's to keep the competition at bay, since their original design's patents had expired just 5 years earlier. Under the new design, the frog receiver on the bottom casting is made up of a cross rib, a center rib, and two large screw bosses that flank each side of the center rib. The leading edge of the frog itself has a support directly behind the mouth to offer a solid base as a measure to reduce chattering. The rear of the frog rests on the cross rib, across its full width.

The frog has a groove that is centered across its width and is perpendicular to its front edge. This groove sits atop the center rib and is used to align the frog, keeping it square with the mouth. The center rib was slighty modified to a larger and arched shape starting around The two screw bosses, used to receive the screws that fasten the frog to the bottom casting, are purposely large and deep.

They were made this way to prevent the sole from deflecting upward when the frog is screwed securely into place. The entire frog is adjustable forward or backward to close or open the mouth, as the case may be by a set screw that is accessible directly below the frog's brass cutter depth adjustment nut. This frog adjusting screw was first offered on the Bed Rock series of planes, but soon found favor with frog adjusters everywhere and was added to the Bailey series starting around The fourth design, made right after WWII, has the frog receiver with the center rib now cast to resemble a wishbone.

There is a 'break' in the machined area of the cross rib, right above the frog adjusting screw. This new design wasn't patented.

“How Many Patent Dates do you see behind the handplane frog?”

This means that the plane didn't meet the quality specifications during its inspection. Usually, the imperfection is something trivial, like a flaw in the finish or a casting defect a pockmark or two. I've only noticed this marking on the planes made during the midth century. The earlier planes that had quality problems were likely trashed and never made it out to the adoring public.

Go see the 17 for some other 'imperfect' information. During the late 's and very early 's, Stanley decided to paint some of the frogs on their sides only a bright, Cheeto's-colored orange - you almost go blind looking at it. This orange paint covers the normal japanning that was used on the frog and main casting.

Why Stanley did this is anybody's guess. Perhaps they were trying to go one-up on the Millers Falls' line of bench planes, where that company painted their frogs a bright red. If this is the case, it's rather laughable as Millers Falls was never going to dethrone Stanley as the world's leader in metallic bench planes.

However, Millers Falls did debut their bench plane line in , which is the same time Stanley offered their orange frogs. This orange paint craze wasn't just limited to the Bailey line of planes. It can also be found on the Bed Rock series of bench planes, some of the block planes the brass knob and adjuster are painted orange , and on the 78 rabbet the embossed logo on the right side is highlighted in orange.

There are probably other planes that got the treatment as well. The bench planes are the most commonly found orange decorated planes, with the others being somewhat scarce. Stanley produced a very short-lived frog design during the early 's pictured in the image to the left. Stanley, realizing the genius of Leonard Bailey, may have thought that his new design would prove to be a threat to the conventional design and then decided to mimic his.

Bailey's Victor design certainly proved easier to manufacture as there was less machining involved, but it does have two real flaws: This frog is secured to the cross-rib via two screws that are oriented horizontally. Nice attempt Leonard and Stanley, especially since one size frog could be used on multiple sizes of the bench planes 3 through 8 , but the one frog fits all definitely didn't satisfy all users of the planes.

Many folks find it confusing about whether Stanley or Bailey made these planes. The answer is, both made them. Leonard Bailey, while working in happening Boston, Massachusetts during the 's and 's, came upon the fundamental design of planes with which we are all familiar. Stanley, having been a manufacturer of rules, levels, squares, etc for some 15 years, was looking to expand their toolmaking business, so they bought out Bailey's patents in They produced the planes with little change, where the only Stanley markings were on the iron and on the lateral adjustment lever.

Many people believe that the lever caps are replaced on these models or that they aren't Stanley products since they have "BAILEY" on them. They most assuredly are Stanley products. The Bailey-made stuff, from Boston, is very scarce and highly prized by collectors. The corrugated version of the 3. Like the 2C , the advantages that corrugations supposedly offer the plane during use are somewhat questionable on a plane of this size. The standard smoothing plane. This, along with the 5 , are what made Stanley a fortune. This plane will out-smooth any sanding, scraping, or whatever on most woods.

There are woods that present themselves as problems for this plane, and the rest of the Stanley bench planes for that matter, but this shouldn't deter you from owning one. The planes were designed to be general purpose and affordable, not to conquer any wood tossed their way. Many modern woodworkers have their first plane epiphany with this little tool as the curls come spilling out its mouth. Occasionally, you might find an early version of this plane with a built-in oiler located at its knob which holds oil that is drained through perforations drilled through the sole, directly beneath the knob.

This was an aftermarket addition, and unlike other aftermarket ideas, like the tilting handles on modified 10 's, which Stanley eventually put into production, the oiling device soon became a genetic deadend in the tool tree. The same oiling device can also be found on 5' s. The corrugated version of the 4. One of Stanley's dumber ideas, as can be inferred from their short time of offering, was the aluminum planes. The bed and frog on this plane are made from aluminum, which makes the plane lighter.

This was the supposed appeal of these planes, that they are lighter than the iron planes. That, and that they weren't prone to rusting. Rosewood was used for the knob and tote. Despite all these swell features, the planes were a miserable flop. These planes were produced at a time when nickel plating appeared on the lever caps.

All the ones I've seen have the old-style lever cap, without the new kidney-shaped hole that was first produced in If you see one of these planes with a lever cap that is nickel plated and has a kidney-shaped hole, it's probably a replacement. The depth adjusting knob is also nickel plated, as well as the lateral adjustment lever. They'd be useful tools if you were planing over your head all day, but not many of us do that.

Since aluminum oxidizes easily, these planes leave despicable skidmarks for lack of a better word on the freshly planed wood. The planes - those that were used, that is - also tend to develop a very ratty look to them. The surface of the aluminum becomes riddled with dings and scratches making them blech to even the casual Stanley collector well, maybe not all of them, but many of them for certain - most of them take on a striking resemblance to the lunar landscape after being used.

Those that are in mint condition have some appeal about them, but they still have look like of an aluminum pot or piece of foil. If you're collecting this stuff, make sure it's aluminum and not some iron plane in aluminum paint clothing - if the weight of the thing doesn't clue you in, a magnet will. The aluminum planes were appreciably more expensive than the cast iron models.

Bailey Identification

You have to wonder if any heads rolled for this braindead idea? Lucky for us that Stanley didn't make a mitre box, or something like that, out of aluminum. Hey, wait a minute, they did! Let's just say that the company was going through a phase and be done with it. Offered as indestructable planes maybe Stanley foresaw the nuclear arms race? They advertised them as being useful for shops that had concrete floors.

If I were in Stanley's marketing department, back when the planes were offered, I would have added that the planes were also designed for those workdudes prone to losing their temper, where the planes can withstand their being slammed to the ground during a fit of rage, like after you smash your thumb with a hammer or something like that.

Stanley Bench Planes Mini-Site Navigation

These planes beg abuse, and have a pressed or forged steel bottom. The steel is bent to form a U-shape. A piece forward of the mouth and rear of the mouth are riveted to the steel bottom. The lever cap and frog are made of malleable iron the normal bench planes have their bottom casting made of gray iron , with the frog's casting having a noticeably coarser texture than those provided on the Bailey line. The frog design is unique to this plane, and is not interchangable with other bench planes. The upper portion of the frog has concave sides, and resembles a glass long-neck beer bottle.

The frog is adjustable with the same patent arrangement that was provided on the Bailey bench planes. I have seen some examples that have a spacer piece placed behind the fork that engages the frog adjusting screw. They resemble the look of the BED ROCK series of planes, with their semi-squared off sides actually, they are slightly concave , instead of the rounded sides found on the Bailey line.

Their knob and tote are rosewood - a species that's certainly capable of withstanding the plane smashing on concrete? Speaking of the knob and tote, the totes used on these planes have a large hole bored in their bottoms so that they can engage the boss in which the tote screw fits. Thus, a normal 4 tote cannot fit on this plane without first enlarging the hole. The knobs are always the high knob variety, but the earlier models did not have the raised ring into which the knob fits.

After the idea of a raised ring was hatched, this plane had that feature applied to it to help it be even more indestructible than before. The planes are finished nicely, and look rather striking when in mint condition finding them anywhere near mint condition is difficult since most of the examples got transformed into dogs from all the rough use.


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  3. Bailey Identification | Virginia Toolworks!
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  5. The lever caps are nickel plated and look similarly to those used on the Bailey series. However, the lever caps are supposedly made of malleable iron and have a different pattern of recesses on their backsides than the normal lever caps. The frog and inside area of the bottom section are finished with a flat black japanning, which gives them the appearance of having been repainted.

    The plane is stamped "No. S4" into the top of the main portion can't say main casting here since these planes aren't cast , right at the toe, before the knob. This plane is scarcer than the regular 4 , but it is by no means rare. Seems there must have been a lot of cement floors that were eating the Baileys, I'll bet.

    This is a wider and heavier smoothing plane that some find preferable. Stanley, and other companies, would try to slip new models of planes into a numbering sequence of planes already in production, and would use the fractional designation so that they could be grouped with similar models in the sequence. The very first model of the plane has no number embossed at the toe, which, according to those who have tried to make a chronological typing of the Bailey bench planes, made its debut on planes in For this plane, one should check the toe for any signs of re-grinding and painting to make sure it's legitimate.

    The planes can also be found with the number embossed at the toe, and in a pre-lateral no lateral adjustment lever configuration. Be sure the japanning is original and matches well between the frog and the main casting. Some folks like the extra weight of these planes since the extra mass assists planing. I have this half-baked, semi-baked, even fully-baked theory that Stanley offered this plane as competition for the heavier infill planes, being produced in England.

    Problem is, this one isn't even a 'contendah' with those products from the eastern shores of the Atlantic. Certainly their extra mass is a step in the right direction, but other than that, these planes are left taxiing on the tarmac, while the infills are soaring to new heights. Think it sounds whacked? Prior to this date, Bailey had been producing the same series of bench planes, in various configurations, for roughly 8 years.

    Over in Scotland, Mr. Stewart Spiers was laboring in relative anonymity communication between the bonnie shores of Scotland and USofA was simply a boatride away back when Stewart first started , making bench planes designed using the same techniques as the traditional dovetailed mitre planes, which had been around for quite some time.

    Part of the appeal of these bench planes to the cabinetmakers was their mass, much heavier than other planes, which assisted the worker when faced with difficult grain. Spiers was the uncontested infill planemaker for decades due to the traditional psyche that fills the typical English dude's head. But the gaining popularity of Spiers' product line eventually was noticed by the toolmakers south of Ayr, down in merry ol' England.

    The most famous of them, Thomas Norris, started direct competition with Spiers sometime in the second half of the 19th century - it's actually debatable when he first took to making planes since his earliest descriptions of his trade were as a tool dealer, not as a planemaker. Norris finally adopted the title 'planemaker' in Eventually, many other English and Scottish planemakers jumped on the infill bandwagon.

    Names like Mathieson, Preston, Slater, and a host of others all raced for a slice of the infill pie by the 's. All of the makers were producing infill planes that were nearly identical to their competition's - heavy, solid, and massive when compared to wooden and 'inferior' American products. This rush by many manufacturers to fill the demand for fine planes had to have been noticed either by Stanley or by their mole operatives over in England. By the 's, Stanley had positioned themselves as the largest toolmaker in America, and one of the world's largest.

    They were on a mission of world domination, and set the wheels in motion to do just that. To achieve that end, they had to be saavy to what was hot and what was not. If they couldn't buy up their competition, they'd just offer a similar tool at a more affordable price. Give the customers what they want, or at least what Stanley would tell them they wanted, and at an affordable price, was Stanley's m. During this time Stanley was in its initial stages of expanding its product line with whatever they thought could sell. That same era was when all them English dudes were making them heavy infills - the time when their popularity finally escaped the lochs of Scotland for the toolmaking powerhouses of England.

    All the aformentioned tools were a radical departure from Stanley's main product line of bench and block planes. Stanley just reconfigured the common 4 , feeding it tool vigoro, making it more massive. Stanley truly felt that their planes were the best in the world, and they were hell-bent to force that belief in every corner of the globe.

    They eventually did, as any tool historian knows, even knocking off the former English tool giants. My opinion is that Stanley was jumping on the infill bandwagon simply by increasing the mass of the tool, but neglecting the other finer points of these planes. Stanley could not, or would not, make such a significant design change to their bench planes since they had too much at stake to lose - mass production at an affordable cost, both of which are contrary to the infill planes' practically custom production. These planes were 'unknown' for the longest time in this country. It seems that they were specifically targeted toward the English market, where the heavier infilled planes were still favored by many.

    The main casting is very much like those castings produced during WWII, with their noticeably thicker dimensions. The plane does have the letter "H" cast after the number. You might notice that I don't include the weight of this plane here. Because I've never seen any Stanley literature or propaganda about them. Perhaps someone in the viewing audience can toss one on the bathroom scale and get back to me in avoirdupois weights, not metric, please.

    If the scale hasn't been doctored by a household dieter, and it is to be believed as accurate, this plane weighs in at 5lb. The standard jack plane that Stanley sold by the boatload. This is the most useful of all the bench planes, and it is a very good plane on which to learn technique. It is the first plane used on rough stock to prepare the surface prior to use of the jointer and smoother. Practically every John Q. Handyman had one of these planes, of one make or another, for household uses such as trimming a door or sash. Its iron is often ground slighty convex so that a heavy cut can be taken; the edges of it are rounded off so that it doesn't dig into the wood.

    Each and every woodworker, including the 'lectrical toolers of the world, should have this plane. The plane can serve several roles when one doesn't have all the other planes in his kit. It can do the surface preparation with its mouth set wide and a deep set to the iron, it can do smoothing with its mouth set narrow and a shallow set to the iron, and it can do jointing, although not as easily as the true jointers, the 7 and 8.

    The corrugated version of the 5. See A4 for unbiased opinion. This is just that plane's bigger brother.