The weekend comes round again and ‘dad jobs’ raise their ugly head. This weekend, finishing a small bathroom cabinet I’ve thrown together in a bit of a rush, before relatives arrive next week. And to be honest, I’ve thrown it together so quickly, my idea for little sliding doors just isn’t working out. I reckoned I could get a couple of bits of Perspex cut and mount it in runners, but I’ve fixed the runner in place with a gap that’s too narrow for the door.
I suddenly remembered my little Stanley 98 & 99 side-rebate planes, which ended up saving the day. The 98 opened up the gap a treat and now the door slides smoothly. Normality is restored in the house, I can go back to my beer.
Just thought I’d post pics of a couple of new acquisitions. First up, a pair of Stanley 99 and 98 side rabbet planes. Each plane is only 4″ long and 1/2″ wide, with manufacturing dates ranging from 1896-1942. I’ve been looking for a nice pair of these for a while, but the price has always put me off. Enough to make me buy more essential tools. Recently though, I had these bundled in with a job lot offered to me, which made them cheap.
The planes are great for running down the insides of rebates, dados or any other grooves. The little blades on each plane are held in place with small finger-tightened clamps, and you run the plane sole, (more like a narrow plough plane skate, really) along the face inside the rebate.
Stanley introduced the ’98’ first and followed up with the ’99’. There’s also a small depth stop at the front, which was introduced in 1930.
[warning]Tool Nerd Alert! The rosewood knobs on these planes are frequently sacrificed to replace knobs on a Stanley No.1 plane, a much more expensive tool. However, the nut that holds the knob captive on the 98 and 99 is nickel coated, not a brass nut.[/warning]
I spent so long looking for a good, unadulterated, original one of these, that in the end I bought one from a dealer. The Stanley #112 is a scraper plane, basically a mixture of the Stanley #12 and a Stanley No.4 smoother. It’s used to scrape a fine finish over stock and has no other uses. And of course, there are new models out there, and obviously Lie Nielsen has a pretty much exact copy for sale. However, if you know me, you’ll know I always prefer to go ‘old-skool’, so I wanted to find an original Stanley.
The performance of the plane very much rests on setting and adjusting the angle of the blade. Not getting it right will produce a teeth-grinding chatter, akin to the kid drawing his fingernails across a blackboard. Correctly setting a ‘burr’ on the cutting edge is also very important. This is known as ‘burnishing the blade’. You’ll need a hard steel rod (or proper burnishing tool) and a vise. Basically, you’re trying to create a small sharp hook all the way along the bottom of the blade. This sharp hook is the fine edge that scrapes the stock, when held at the correct angle in the plane.
When it comes to fine-tuning the blade, some people will swear by the original Stanley blades, which are markedly thinner that some new production replacements out there today. However, the excellent Hock Tools, who make a new, thicker blade, have a good write up on their site about how to create that all-important burr.
Revel in the beauty that is the Stanley No.7 Jointer plane.
[notice]Tool Nerd Alert! The following information is reserved for people who, like me, probably should get out and socialise a bit more.[/notice]
I believe this plane is a Type 11. It has rosewood handle, and the front knob is a ‘low’ version. Manufacture date is therefore 1910-1918, and the blade should carry a pretty wacky ‘V’ ‘Stanley, New Britain, Conn, USA’ logo. It has a small brass depth adjuster nut and it has the ‘APR-19-10’ patent date added behind the other dates on the plane casting, behind the frog. Please let me know if I’ve got this wrong. You learn by your mistakes!
Jointer planes like this one, are used to true an edge, so that successive pieces butt up against one another very closely, or they’re used to get the face of a piece of wood very flat. At 22″ long, it’s one of Stanley’s biggest planes, being only secondary to the No.8, which is 24″. Jointers are long planes because the ‘sole’ of the plane is less likely to follow the ups and downs of the wood, but will instead remove the high and lows, ready for planing with a smaller-sized plane.
I think these planes are just beautiful, and for not much money, you can snag one on an online auction site, and have a killer tool working in no time. If the one you find is rough, rusty and looks like crap, this is the sort of thing you need to do.
So there it is. The second of my Bailey family.
I buy old, good quality woodworking tools. If you have any tools you would like to sell, please get in touch using the contact form on the home page.
This is the standard Stanley plane, designed by Leonard Bailey, of Boston Massachusetts. This one is a ‘No.4’, and sits in a middling position on the size scale, from the diminutive ‘No.1’, through to the large jointer, the ‘No.8’. I’ll soon be posting a some more detailed info about Leonard Bailey, and his association with Stanley as a separate page. In the meantime, I’ll stand on the shoulders of giants, and point you to the wonderful website of Patrick Leach, Patrick’s Blood & Gore. If you’re looking for information about Stanley tools, Patrick’s website is an absolute must-read.
Patrick’s earlier career was in software. He developed an interest in woodworking early on, and now admits to being a ‘self-confessed tool fanatic.
He has an enviable knowledge of Stanley, and other well-known makers.
A proportion of my own small tool collection is made by Stanley, and it’s becoming something of a mission to build a complete set of Stanley USA-made ‘Bailey’ planes, numbering 1 through to 8. Recently I managed to find my first Bailey, (which is a number 4), from a private sale on the web.
Tool nerd alert! (Quite geeky and unnecessary facts about frog casting variations follow).
The casting in the base of the plane takes a lot of stress holding the frog, which in turn holds the blade, chipbreaker and lever cap. Consequently, the method for holding the frog was constantly being revised by Stanley and was the focus of many new patents. Previous to the design shown, the frog was seated on a flat bed with machined grooves, but in 1902 this new design was introduced. The frog has support from a cross rib and centre rib, and also support on its leading edge from the casting, as well as being held by the two bolts. Planes of this period have ‘PAT’D/MAR-25-02/AUG-19-02’ embossed into the sole of the plane.