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Thread: Stanley No. 7 Jointer Plane Question

  1. #1

    Stanley No. 7 Jointer Plane Question

    I am trying to buy a few hand planes and learn about working with them since I have never really done very much of it. I have been looking at Stanley No. 7 planes and noticed that there are "Made in USA" versions and "Made in England" versions. I saw one the other day that said G12-007 Made in England. Are there any differences between the English No. 7 and the USA No. 7? In other words, is there a reason to buy one over the other? Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Southern Minnesota

    I would steering you away from any stanely plane made in england, those are the most recent castings and are usually painted blue. Along with the most recent castings the machining is usually the most intolerable. Meaning they need the most fine tuning due to poor machining. The frogs usually don't sit completly flush the blade may not sit flat they are just cheaply made. I would suggest any stanely plane made after 1909 and before 1942. Those planes tend to have the most improvements built into them and are still machined fairly well. Check out this link it will tell you everything to look for and how to date a plane. You should also check out Patrick Leach's page There is tons of information on both of these pages. IMHO any plane with made in the USA stamped in the casting is better than the UK planes though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA

    I am pretty much of the same opinion as Paul.

    Of course, it is just my opinion. Surely people have bought the newer Stanley planes and have had good results. After the 1930s there was a lot more engineering to reduce the costs of manufacturing than there was to improve the usability of the product. It was the beginning of the false equivalency idea that an inexpensive product is more economical than the higher priced item.

    Many of my planes are of earlier manufacture than Paul recommends. The planes made during the period (1907?) 1909-1942 have all the improvements and none of the degradations used in the making of Stanley hand planes.

    The main improvements during this time were the seating for the frog (1902), the frog adjustment adjustment screw (1907 or 9) and the larger adjuster for the blade depth (1920).

    For more information on this check out Johnny Kleso's site at

    He has a lot of information on planes and a good type study.

    There is also a good amount of information right here on SMC in the Nenaderthal wisdom/FAQs thread:

    Your profile does not indicate your location. There may be SMC members in your area who would be willing to let you test drive their planes so you can get an idea of what you are looking to add to your shop.

    How are you getting along with the #4-1/2?

    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Marietta GA
    I bought a blue Record 07 and fitted it with a Clifton blade and stay set. I've been extremely pleased with the results. The sole required very little fettling. Can take a sub-thou shaving but I use it at 3 thou most of the time.

    My recollections are that English made iron is superior to iron in the states. Why? Just opinions I've read over the years. My opinion is that each plane stands on it's own as casting is a art that requires luck now days more than lost expertise by pre-WWII iron mongers.

    In any case, a Steve Knight jointer will put them all to shame IMO.

  5. #5

    I haven't had a chance to use the 4 1/2 very much because it is just now warming up enough that I can get out in the shop. But the little bit I have played with it, I like it. I think I'm going to like using it once I get the hang of it.

  6. #6
    The Black UK planes are very well made but same as the USA made planes with Blue or Maroon painted planes, the hardware is not that great..

    Just take your time looking and you will find a nice plane for a good price..
    I buy 99% of my planes from eBay Collectable Tools
    It may take you 2-3 months but in between you can buy some out sizes you might need..
    ebay sells 100+ planes a week so its just a matter of time..
    I own several 1930s planes like new in the original boxes so finding a good plane just takes time..

    Let me edit this post:
    I just when to ebay and it has listed
    5,391 results found in the Hand Plane Catagory not 100+
    Last edited by Johnny Kleso; 03-25-2011 at 1:46 AM.
    aka rarebear - Hand Planes 101 - RexMill - The Resource

  7. #7
    I prefer the earlier black "made in England" planes because they have a thicker casting than their "Made in USA" counterparts. I have several of them and they perform very very well. That said, I would stay away from the later versions which are designated "G****" for the reasons stated earlier.

    cheers, Paul

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I have a maroon "USA" #7 and a black "UK" 5 1/2. Both were bought in 1975. I have fettled, tweaked and fiddled with both many times over the years and can now say they both work very well. The 5 1/2 seems to have a more robust casting with much less sloppiness in the depth adjustment. The #7 needs almost 3 full turns before takeup! I did have to lap both soles and adjust the frogs as they were set almost 1/4" behind the mouth and provided almost no support for the blades. If you enjoy tinkering, buy an old one in decent shape rather than a new one.

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