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Thread: Best Stanley Plane Age Type

  1. #1
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    Best Stanley Plane Age Type

    I have been working wood my whole life but just now, at age 50, getting getting interested in some hand tools; particularly Stanley Bailey Planes. After doing some online research and perusing online auction sites I began to wonder with all the changes over a century-- "What is the best Stanley Bailey plane type (age) for using in the shop?" Collector's value is not a factor and I realize Lie-Neilson and others makes excellent users. This is more of a personal enrichment question than for decision-making purposes. So imagine living on an island with all the various age types of Stanley Bailey Planes available. Which type would you choose if it you needed a plane as a user? For specificity let's assume it is a No.5.

  2. #2
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    This depends some on one's personal preferences. My preference is for a low knob. That would mean type 11 or earlier. Though a low knob can be put on planes up through type 13. After that they have a ring at the base and a low knob would have to be altered to fit.

    The type 11 is the favorite of many folks. The type 10 is almost identical minus a patent date. This is when a frog adjustment device was added to the Stanley/Bailey design. It is one of those things that sounds great while remaining mostly unused.

    A few of my planes are of type 4 through type 8. Their castings are a little thinner along the sides than later types.

    The later type 9 planes would be my choice for the economy. The frog design changed some during the 5 years normally attributed to type 9 planes:

    Type 9 frogs and bases.jpg

    Here is a post on this> https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?131234

    Type 10 through 13 would be up there in my choice if price wasn't an issue.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 02-16-2020 at 1:46 AM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    Like Jim, I like the low knob planes. But that's just personal preference. I think any plane that has a keyhole on the lever cap is good (assuming the lever cap is original to the plane). The later planes have a kidney shaped hole on the lever cap. I can't guarantee this statement but I think the earlier planes have a rosewood knob and tote. The later planes may have cheaper wood for the knob and tote.

    All that said, almost all of my planes are type 11 - maybe all of them, I'd have to check. Ten to fifteen years ago it was easy to find type 11s in good condition for a reasonable amount of money.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 02-16-2020 at 11:59 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
    What Jim said. I have a near full set of type 9's, missing #1 and #2, mostly because of the low knob and not needing the frog adjuster.

    ken

  5. #5
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    I’d go with type 15. You get the newest plane possible before the kidney shaped hole in the lever cap and the ogee shaped frog. And so it includes the high knob and base ring, the larger brass depth adjustment nut and the larger plane iron bearing surface all of which I prefer. Some of my preference is probably a perception of a benefit simply due to the existence of the feature rather than any real benefit. In my mind, lateral adjustment may be the only real “improvement“ at all.

  6. #6
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    I would imagine the best type would be the ones Tom Bussey has settled. They perform at today's improved standard.

    Beware any old tool that is still pretty.

  7. #7
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    the larger brass depth adjustment nut
    Many years ago on ebay my bid one on about a dozen large size adjuster nuts. So now almost all of my planes have the large adjuster if they are later than a type 6. Type 6 and earlier used right hand threads on the adjuster. This changed to left hand threading just before the changes which became type 7. There are some planes classified as type 6a with the newer threading in type study revisions.

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

  8. #8
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    I have a complete set of type 6 Bedrocks, #2 through #8 so I'm not really a Bailey man, but of all the Bailey types, I prefer the wartime models, the casting is way thicker than the peace time types. I have a wartime 4-1/2 and the base is thicker than a 4-1/2H.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Robinson View Post
    I’d go with type 15. You get the newest plane possible before the kidney shaped hole in the lever cap and the ogee shaped frog. And so it includes the high knob and base ring, the larger brass depth adjustment nut and the larger plane iron bearing surface all of which I prefer. Some of my preference is probably a perception of a benefit simply due to the existence of the feature rather than any real benefit. In my mind, lateral adjustment may be the only real “improvement“ at all.
    I’m with Josh for each point he made. I went looking specifically for a Type 15, and I appreciate it as the height of Stanley’s output before they moved away from the full-face frog. Caveat: the iron gets bent by the chip breaker, so it really only makes frog contact at the top and bottom. But the ogee top seems less suitable.

    Overall, I suspect my opinion is all subjective. Still, I recommend the Type 15.

  10. #10
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    Several people have made comments indicating they did not prefer the kidney keyhole. Is there a reason? Like I said in the original post my plane knowledge is limited but as an old history teacher I appreciate studying the various changes over time to a fairly simple machine.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by John Goodin View Post
    Several people have made comments indicating they did not prefer the kidney keyhole. Is there a reason? Like I said in the original post my plane knowledge is limited but as an old history teacher I appreciate studying the various changes over time to a fairly simple machine.
    For me, it's not the hole, itself. It's that it marks a time when the planes changed, for example, to a less expensive wood for the knob and tote. It's not a definite dividing line, but it's sort of a line between older planes and newer planes.

    It's a shorthand for changes in the planes.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Goodin View Post
    Several people have made comments indicating they did not prefer the kidney keyhole. Is there a reason? Like I said in the original post my plane knowledge is limited but as an old history teacher I appreciate studying the various changes over time to a fairly simple machine.
    As Mike said, it is a signifier of changes to the plane as a whole.

    The 'kidney lever cap' was introduced with type 16 planes, 1933-1941. This was also when the ogee frog came to be used on Stanley/Bailey planes. Many feel this was the first big step in cheapening the line of planes. There was less contact area between the blade and frog. This lowered the manufacturing cost. It didn't improve the usability. Some feel it lowered the quality of the planes.

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

  13. #13
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    +1 on type 15. Although my set are all War Time planes, ( type 17 ) because of the heavier casting.

  14. #14
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    I have from type 7 up to a type 20.....the ones I didn't like too well? WW2 era planes.....

    As long as they are not marked as Defiance, Victor, Handyman.....

    As for a Millers Falls? Type 1 through Type 4....stay away from any Type 5 planes....

  15. #15
    Myself, I don't care what "type" a plane is as long as it is in good condition and from around 1950ish or earlier. For a jack plane (#5) it matters less since they usually aren't used as a fine plane like a smoothing plane (#3 & #4). Most of my planes are from the 1930s and 1940s although I have some from the turn of last century and some from the possibility the 1960s. I actually like the WWII planes for the most part, since the castings are a shade thicker.

    I would take a newer plane from after Stanley's "golden era" if is was in good condition rather than one from then that was rusted solid.

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