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Thread: Stanley 4 Square Jack Plane tune up question(s).

  1. #1
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    Stanley 4 Square Jack Plane tune up question(s).

    Esteemed members, I recently acquired a Stanley 4 Square Jack Plane that I need for an upcoming job (we're building a new home and some tasks I've got do do myself). I had a Luban (Qiansheng) low block plane (similar to the Stanley #62) and with my arthritis it was just a tad too much to handle for me and I gave it to my son (who lives in another country so it is not easy to borrow).

    From research on the web I understand that this particular Stanley 4 square Jack Plane (one of the early models without any numbers on the bed) is better than the post war ones with the lever cap and yellow background behind the lettering and does tune up quite well. I might be mistaken (old versus newer model) but this was in quite clean condition so went with it.

    There is some paint on the frog where it sits under the blade and there is paint on the surfaces where the frog meets the bed.

    Perhaps one of the more knowledgeable members can give advice if it is wise to remove this paint or not (these planes were not jappaned, only painted).

    Looking forward to your input, Thanks.
    Last edited by Marinus Loewensteijn; 08-15-2019 at 2:31 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    They are a cheap hardware verity and not worth the money. An old Stanley Bailey or a Miller Falls with the two piece lever cap would be a wiser purchase.Since you said it was a jack plane it would be a #5 or a #14 if it is a Miller Falls and both are plentiful.
    Tom

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    It is preferable to maintain the japanning on a plane, but in case of a rust bucket plane, black automotive paint loogks good on the plane.

  4. #4
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    4 Square 5-1/4 came through the shop a few years back.....I cleaned the mating surfaces off, so they will match. Paint blobs, ya know....

    Bare bones plane...iron is good. No frog adjust bolt, but, didn't really need one.

    Stanley sold these as tools for the Home-owner for jobs around the house....there was a full line of 4 Square tools, not just planes....and sold as Stanley 4 Square tools, not as "hardware store" tools.....

    Depending on the model year...you will find either a lever cap like on a Transitional Plane (stipled finish) or the later models that had 4 red squares...
    YMMV, but....there was also the Defiance line going on, too
    Stanley 4 square.JPG
    Note the lever cap...
    Stanley 4 square, shavings.jpg
    Seemed to tune up just fine..
    Last edited by steven c newman; 08-15-2019 at 11:05 AM. Reason: found the photos...

  5. #5
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    Sharpen the blade and see if it works as is.

    If it doesn't work well, then it is likely as Tom says, "not worth the money" or the time in your case.

    Stanley made a lot of planes for the low end market needing a plane to fix a sticky door and then put on a shelf to forget.

    Here are some pointers on fixing up old planes:

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?114373

    There are a few other posts that may be of interest to you in the Neanderthal wisdom/FAQs:

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?103805

    If you can pick up an old Stanley/Bailey plane, you would likely be doing better.

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

  6. #6
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    Thanks to all for the replies and I'm aware that the 4 square series is not highly regarded but I need a 1 3/4 for a once off job and afterwards occasionally for a sticky door etc.

    This one comes to me from Australia and from what I've seen on the photo's is in good condition and not in need of overhaul like removing rust etc. Problem that most of the junior Jack planes that are on offer is that they apear to have been used in schools and have had a hard life and are in a bad condition.

    I've also read post that stated that they are just as good as later Bailey's and even are (quite a step) above those with the yellow lever cap......

    The plan is that first I will check the sole if it flat and then remove the paint on the "mating" surfaces between frog and bed. If that is all OK then cannot envisage a problem and can just sharpen the blade. If the frog wobbles then I can use some automotive grinding paste and try get it to fit. Worst scenario is (if everyting else is fine) to just use JB Weld as a filler, after all in the bevel up planes the frog is a part of the bed.
    Last edited by Marinus Loewensteijn; 08-15-2019 at 6:54 PM. Reason: typing errors

  7. #7
    Even though they may not be highly regarded, a 4 Square plane is probably just fine for around the house carpentry (and probably more). Most folks around here would turn their nose up at a Defiance plane, but I used one as my main smoothing plane for years, and still sometimes take it in my site box.

    I wouldn't even bother checking sole flatness, it is probably fine, just clean up the rust and dirt so you don't leave skid marks on the work. Then sharpen the iron and see if it works. If it works then you have a perfectly adequate plane for occasional use. You can certainly do more work on it, but you'll have to decide if it is worth the effort.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post
    Even though they may not be highly regarded, a 4 Square plane is probably just fine for around the house carpentry (and probably more). Most folks around here would turn their nose up at a Defiance plane, but I used one as my main smoothing plane for years, and still sometimes take it in my site box.

    I wouldn't even bother checking sole flatness, it is probably fine, just clean up the rust and dirt so you don't leave skid marks on the work. Then sharpen the iron and see if it works. If it works then you have a perfectly adequate plane for occasional use. You can certainly do more work on it, but you'll have to decide if it is worth the effort.
    Andrew, greatly appreciate relating your personal experience which trumps all opinions of those who have never owned one or tried to use one.

    Being retired there is sufficient time to put in "some elbow grease" but you are totally right with sharpening the blade first and then see if it works. I should quickly enough notice if the frog moves or not and go from there. After all why tinker with it (and spend more money) if it just works fine?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinus Loewensteijn View Post
    [edited]
    ...you are totally right with sharpening the blade first and then see if it works. I should quickly enough notice if the frog moves or not and go from there. After all why tinker with it (and spend more money) if it just works fine?
    Right, sharpen the blade and try it out. Any problems will make themselves apparent. Life often goes smoother if we don't try to fix problems that are not there.

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

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Right, sharpen the blade and try it out. Any problems will make themselves apparent. Life often goes smoother if we don't try to fix problems that are not there.

    jtk
    I do not even need to sharpen the blade - I have a pre war 3# Bailey smoother and just use that blade before doing anything else. ( and that blade was sharpened with a Veritas guide and Japanese waterstones up to 4000 grit )

    For full disclosure: I have build wooden boats as a hobby in the past (my father had a wharf but I went in another direction) and always bought new tools. Doing up an old 4 square is a first.

    I particularly was looking for a narrower plane with a longer sole than the #3 and the pickings are rather small. The only narrow pane I could find with Veritas is the small bevel up plane and that is not much different from the #3 Stanley. (and I will not go into the bevel up versus bevel down or the way things have been constructed - if it works then it works and that is all that matters)

  11. #11
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    I particularly was looking for a narrower plane with a longer sole than the #3 and the pickings are rather small.
    Acquiring a decent #5-1/4 was likely my most difficult plane hunting endeavor. Another SMC member offered me one. The two acquired via ebay were in pretty bad shape. It looks like they were beat to death by testosterone fueled juveniles in high school shop classes. One of them became my first scrub plane.

    BTW, my good user #5-1/4 is the only plane in my fleet with STANLEY at the toe.

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

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Acquiring a decent #5-1/4 was likely my most difficult plane hunting endeavor. Another SMC member offered me one. The two acquired via ebay were in pretty bad shape. It looks like they were beat to death by testosterone fueled juveniles in high school shop classes. One of them became my first scrub plane.

    BTW, my good user #5-1/4 is the only plane in my fleet with STANLEY at the toe.

    jtk
    Jim, thanks for the reply, you are basically confirming what I noticed on the offerings on ePray (or is it oBoy?) <wink>. Had too many "pre-loved" items arriving from that auction site that basically were a boat anchor. Hence ordering this from a shop that specialises in secondhand tool sales.

  13. #13
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    Not too many of my ebay dealings were boat anchors. Most of the time my search was for planes that looked like a good source of parts. Some might label me a bottom fisher. It paid off in that my expectations were to receive a wreck and often it was actually a usable tool with bad photos or other poor presentation.

    Ebay has changed over the years. There are not a lot of amateurs cleaning out garages with no idea of how to list something like there used to be. Back in the day it was easy to find an amazing deal because of listings of planes as a Bailey, instead of a Stanley, since that is what it said on the toe. There was also the folks who would make a typo with Stanely instead of Stanley. There were a few good deals that came my way from searching possible typos.

    During my years of acquisition there was a lot of time spent following searches and perusing yard sales, antique shops and all other places were rusty gold might be found.

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

  14. #14
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    I've been on eBay since 2004 and at that time it was fine to purchase. But with increased shipping costs, and now with upcoming import costs on all overseas purchases, it is no longer viable to be a bottom fisher. It does not help that many sellers these days have little knowledge of the items they attempt to sell from an estate and that they all think it is worth zillions of dollars. (Especially if I have to pay between US $40 and US $70 to ship a plane to New Zealand.)

  15. #15
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    Well.... the plane arrived this morning, well packed.

    No rust to be found anywhere, someone must have known how to keep it off. Marks from having collided with other tools and a steel ruler shows the bottom is far from flat, the toe is lower than the mouth and there is a dip in the sole were the tote sits. No cracks.

    The tote and knob have their black coating well worn off indicating that it was well used. (I take that as a good sign that the user did not think there was anything wrong with it.)

    Lever cap off and no rust to be found underneath, blade is about 170mm long and is a blade from the era with the SW logo. Chip breaker is clean too, no signs of recently having undergone rust removal etc. The levercap has the four red dots suggesting it is from the later rather than the early four square series.

    Thin layer of paint on the frog where it meets the blade, machining marks can been seen (and felt). Left hand thread on adjuster.

    Removed frog and surfaces where frog meets bed are properly machined. Same story as top of the frog: thin layer of paint, machining marks are visible. The bed has no paint on parts that was machined for fitting the frog. No rust. Chisel was sharp with a hint of discolorization and no sign it has been sharpened in recent times with a few small nicks. Angle of bevel around 24 degrees.

    Without doing anything it worked better than than the Bailey #4 that I bought new in 1976. This is a nice user plane and I see no need to start refinishing this. I do not understand at all the bad rap this series has, I'll take it any day over the post ~ 1960 Bailey gear when both are in the same condition regarding rust etc.

    I will have to do something about the sole since some of the nicks in the sole are protruding and will mark the wood but the question now is: how much to flatten?

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