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Thread: More on #4 Planes

  1. #1
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    More on #4 Planes

    Yesterday I posted about four of my #4 planes, two "posh" and two not so "posh". Of the four my least favorite was a Record #4 from sometime in the late 1970's to maybe as late as the 1980's. OF's memories sometimes are not too reliable. Anyway to cut to the chase, Sparks replied that Record kept its quality up much longer than Stanley from the same time period and I think he is correct. Bottom line I thought I'd take another look at the Record and the Stanley. The Stanley #4 is smack dab in the middle of the best planes Stanley made. I haven't run a Type check on it in years but IIRC it is a Type 13. The Record is from well past the War and all hand tools lost quality in that period, some more than others. When I bought the Record it was because Record was considered to have retained better quality than the Stanley planes of the same time.

    As I posted yesterday, the Record was my least favorite of the four planes, mostly because of the tote and just overall cheesiness. That judgement was probably unfair because I was comparing it to two modern boutique planes and a Stanley that was made when Stanley was at the top of its game. The Record is a capable plane, it and post War Stanley's are very similar with few differences.

    I made a few photos this morning to show some of the difference between a pre-War Bailey type plane and a post-War Bailey plane.

    Profile:

    number4PlanesA.jpg

    Head on:

    number4PlanessB.jpg

    Frogs:

    number4PlanesC.jpg

    Totes:

    number4PlanesD.jpg

    Small differences but they can make big differences in feel when the cutter meets wood.

    ken

  2. #2
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    The Record has a couple attributes that would throw me off immediately. The blue paint is the first. It screams cheap. The poorly fashioned tote is another. It too screams cheap. Neither one is relevant to function. I’ll bet that it works just fine. It’s totally unfair. That’s just how petty I am.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    The Record has a couple attributes that would throw me off immediately. The blue paint is the first. It screams cheap. The poorly fashioned tote is another. It too screams cheap. Neither one is relevant to function. I’ll bet that it works just fine. It’s totally unfair. That’s just how petty I am.
    At least the Record/Marples has a decent casting. Some of the later Record and Stanley planes have a less finished or rough casting.

    To me the flat sided handles are not as comfortable. This can be remedied with a bit of work. The older Stanley/Bailey planes have a very nice feeling rosewood tote.

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

  4. #4
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    Are you claiming the frog in the later planes is cheaper and lower performing? And that you can detect the later frog's lack of performance when using the plane?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Danstrom View Post
    Are you claiming the frog in the later planes is cheaper and lower performing? And that you can detect the later frog's lack of performance when using the plane?
    Eric,

    Yes and no.

    The frog on later Stanley and Record planes has been made cheaper with less mating surface. No, if blindfolded and each plane had the the same tote, knob, and equal sharpness I would not be able to tell the difference, but then as I've posted before I'm not much of a princess. I'd never feel the pea, someone with more sensitivity might. Of course most of us do not use our planes blindfolded and with matching totes, knobs and so forth. In that case there is a different "feel" between using the later planes and one from pre-War.

    ken

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Danstrom View Post
    Are you claiming the frog in the later planes is cheaper and lower performing? And that you can detect the later frog's lack of performance when using the plane?
    My experience with some of the later frogs is they do not always seat square to the sole.

    Stanley was cutting the cost of production. Workers in such an environment often do less then stellar work.

    The castings on planes from some years of production have rougher surfaces. Engineering a product to improve utility is very different from engineering to lower cost of production. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. They often are.

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

  7. #7
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    Records' decline in quality happened a lot later than Stanley. The ogee frog did not happen until the mid 1950's. The blades are also a tad thicker. If the blue color annoys then you can always paint it in a color you like. Personally I like a dark green like the older Clifton.

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