This, and the following plane, are the bull nose versions of the #41 and #43. Two interchangeable nose pieces are provided with these two planes; one that functions as a bull nose, and one that's for normal ploughing. One of the arms (on which the fence fastens) threads into the main casting near the handle, but the other slips through the casting and instead threads into the installed nose piece. This sorta is a pain in the butt when you have to change nose pieces, but such is the life of a manual laborer.
With the bull nose attachment fixed to the plane, the plane can work into a 1/2" hole; i.e., when making a stopped groove, you can terminate the groove with a 1/2" diameter hole, and the plane can work up to it. When working bull nose with the plane, the bullnose piece often slams into the end of the work and can become munged up. Check this area out.
The early models are japanned with the deep floral casting that's common on the Miller's Patents which inspired them. They later became fully nickel plated, including the adjusting screws and chip deflector, and they don't have the depth to the floral motifs that the earlier models do. Starting ca. 1905, the floral casting was eliminated, and the plane became just another ugly chunk of 20th century metalwork.
While the cutters have a similar appearance to those provided on the conventional Miller's Patents, the cutters shipped with these planes are not the same thickness; the tool's cutters are thinner in cross section. The plane is normally found with its fillister bed missing, and should you own the nickel plated version of the plane and are missing the fillister bed, you have my best wishes and positive vibes for finding a nickel plated bed. The bull nose attachment is also commonly MIA.
A single fence was provided with the plane. This fence, like those used on the later #41's and other planes like the #45, has two pair of holes in it so that one fence can serve both grooving and fillistering functions; the top set of holes are used for fillistering work, while the bottom set of holes are normally used for ploughing. Check the fence casting all over for any signs of cracking or damage.
The demands in the workshop are rather limited for a plane such as this (quick, how many times you ever make stopped grooves?) so sales of the plane were weak when compared to the main line of Miller's Patents. Oh yeah, you can't use the fillister bed with the bull nose piece in place. Sad news, I realize, but deal with it.
A scarce version of this plane, made during the last few years of its life, has the number "143" cast into it. All the other planes of this style - the #41, #42, #43, #44, and #141 - never had any numbers cast into them.
These are the Radi planes (or whatever their names are of those new junk tools sold at major tool joints) of yesterday, and are the first hint of bad things to come where the depths to which Stanley would plunge themselves to develop new ideas was a bottomless abyss. Things are pretty much downhill from here in the New Chunks of Iron Department what were spawned during Stanley's boring-20's onward.
They are rather strange looking planes - a rectangular chunk of cast iron, with an eliptical cutout forward of the cutter and another behind the cutter. A diagonal groove is machined, from top to bottom at the midpoint of the plane, to receive the cutter. A raised portion of the casting, forward of the groove, carries a slotted and flat-headed screw, which is used to secure the cutter in position (you need a screwdriver - a real one and maybe the cocktail to loosen you up - to operate this plane). The sole is shaped to approximately one-quarter of an arc. The casting is japanned. "STANLEY" is embossed on the side opposite the cutter; the background to either side of the embossing is cross-hatched in a manner that's similar to a better machinist's combination square.
The plane comes in three different sizes - 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" (sized by the radius of a circle). The 3/8" model is the most common, with the 1/4" the least encountered. The cutter sticks up above the casting, and the vast majority of the cutters have the sweetheart logo stamped into them. Proper cutters also have the plane's working diameter stamped into them, right about where the cutter securing screw holds it in place, e.g., "1/2 CIR." Oddly enough, this same stamp, but in smaller letters, is found on the 'fence' right behind cutter. Check that the cutter has the proper stamps on it to ensure that it isn't a replacement. The plane's have "No. 144" embossed in the casting, along with the patent date of "U.S.PAT. 10-6-25", but the earliest ones just have "PAT APPL FOR" embossed in them.
I find them very cumbersome to grip. Woe is you if you decide to use one of these things and your rear hand slips - that cutter is hungry to slice not only wood, but your hand as well. You can get the same results that this plane yields with an appropriately sized hollow, which is far, far cheaper than one of these planes.
The planes are very rugged since there's not much a ham-fisted woodworker can damage on them, and many of them are found in nearly unused condition, which should give the astute reader that the things don't work worth a damn.
This plane is the narrowest version of the more common #148. It cuts a groove 1/8" wide, and centers it on stock 3/8" thick. You can use it on stock up to 1/2" thick, since the tonguing cutter has its outer portion purposely made a bit wider than its inner portion.
This plane is the narrower version of the more common #148. It cuts a groove 3/16" wide, and centers it on stock 5/8" stock. You can use it on stock up to 3/4" thick.
BTW, did you notice the effect the big war had on this and the previous three planes in this list? It was the perfect excuse for Stanley to punt them from their tool roster. Many of Stanley's planes, and tools for that matter, got bounced forever from production during WWII.
This is the widest and most common of three planes designed to match (tongue and groove) boards, and, for some strange reason, Stanley took to offering them decades after the debut of the successful #48 and #49 planes. That crazy and whacky Stanley certainly cherished either redundancy or total tool confusion by making this series. This plane centers a 1/4" groove on 7/8" stock, and can handle stock up to 1" thick.
All three are nickel plated metal, have their model numbers cast into the handle, and are sorta bizzare looking. They have two opposing totes at opposite ends of the plane, with the cutters positioned between them. There are similar wooden planes, made primarilly by the upstate NY makers, which undoubtedly inspired these later ones. They are used by pushing the plane to make one of the cuts, then flipping it, end for end, to make the other. One plane does the work that is commonly done by two. So, it's like having two, two, two planes in one.
There is a skate-like portion of the casting, which acts as the fence, that runs the length of the plane. To either side and above this part of the casting are the cutters - one for cutting the groove and one for cutting the tongue. Each cutter is secured by a captive, pivoting, and thumb screw-activated lever cap. I've seen several of the lever caps broken down below the pivot point and/or chipped at the leading edge of the lever cap, so keep an open eye about this area. The lever caps are attached to the main casting with a screw, so it's possible to make a proper repair by snarfing a part from another example that's otherwise terminal. Also, check the main casting as it can sometimes be found with a crack or chip down along the fence or one of the 'soles'.
Many of the planes have replaced cutters, with the grooving cutter lifted from a #45. The tonguing cutter is unique to the plane and it has a slightly radiused heel. Again, this cutter can sometimes be found as a replacement from a #45. If you see a notch cutout along the right side of the cutter, up toward the heel, it's a replacement.
I think these planes are uncomfortable to use, not so much on the right hand, but on the left since it's the leading hand that has to find some sort of tolarable grip on a chunk of metal that bends back toward your right hand. I prefer the good ol' wooden ones, which don't suck the heat out of your hands on a cold day like these do. Plus, wooden planes don't rust or suffer plane leprosy (peeling nickel plating) like these do.
The first models of this plane, and its two smaller brothers, has the patent date, "PAT'D JAN 20-03", embossed in the handle. A japanned version of this plane was offered during WWII. It's not very common, but good luck finding the one collector who gives a rat's butt about it.
This is one of Stanley's true rarities. Call me collect, if you ever find one.
Imagine taking the #62, and making it shorter, only to find that there is no room for the cutter adjustment mechanism. What do you do? Why, you take the conventional horizontally mounted Bailey adjustment, and mount it vertically. Problem solved? Nope. Bad managment decision here. The plane was a horrible flop, but those that did sell found more happy homes over in England than they did here in USofA, where we must be smarter it seems.
This plane has all the features the #62 does - an adjustable mouth, a rosewood knob and tote, and a cutter pitched at 12 degrees. It also suffers the same problem that the #62 does - the mouth can easily chip and the bottom of the rosewood knob can breakout due to frequent adjusting of the mouth. The distinguishing characteristic of this plane, other than the number "164" cast into it, is that the lever cap carries the brass depth adjustment wheel and the corresponding depth adjustment fork. The fork catches a slot cut in a hybrid cap iron secured to the cutter. This cap iron is not on the cutter to break the shaving (this is still a block plane with its cutter bevel side up), but only to adjust the cutter. It's very much like the cap iron found on the #9, #11, #11 1/2, and #25, but it differs from those in that it has graduations marked on it.
Another stupid plane brought to you by a company known for many nightmares come to life. But wait, there are more soon to come, I promise. The New Britain Stinktank had no shame dumping all sorts of offal onto the tool-hungry masses of America.
This plane was designed to make the mortices that are commonly found on doors; things like butt hinges, face plates, strike plates, escutcheons, etc., were its intent. Sorta like Norm's clever contraption for his 'lectrical routah, is what it does. It cuts mortices up to 3" wide and 5/16" deep.
There are two opposing rosewood totes to this plane, which give it a resemblance to the #148 style of planes. But, that's were the similarity ends. This plane has an adjustable fence, which can be removed to make the plane work as a conventional router. It has three different cutters, 3/8", 5/8", and 7/8" wide, which are screwed to an adjustable center post. Directly above the cutter is a coil spring that helps the cutting action; it is often missing or broken. There are two holes, one to each end of the plane, that allow a wooden sole (workman supplied) to be mounted onto the plane.
In an early advertisement of the plane, Stanley stated that the tool "might very properly be termed a mechanical chisel." I term it a piece of mechanical crap. I hate this plane, but not nearly as much as those that are soon to follow.
This is the first in a series of cheap rabbet planes. They all resemble the #78, except that there is no bullnose bed, nor is there a fence (these are rabbet planes, afterall). A large thumb screw activates the lever cap to secure the cutter in place, just like the #78's way of doing it.
Both sides of the plane are ground flat, so it can be used either left or right handed. The right side of the plane has depressions cast into it to minimize the amount of area that had to be machined flat. There is not much else that distinguishes these boring planes. They are useful, though I like wooden ones much better. As is the case with the wooden rabbet planes, a batten must be laid on the wood's surface in order to regulate the width of the cut.
The planes are japanned, with the later ones having nickel plated trim (the lever cap thumb screw and the depth stop thumb screw being the nickel plated parts). The planes have a bit of floral decoration cast into the tote (kinda reminds me of what you would see on a hearse or something like that) just like that used on the #78's. Toward the end of the plane's production, the tote was redesigned to have the fish scale pattern cast into the tote, and these models of the plane are found less often than those with the floral motif.
The depth stops are often missing from these planes. You can snag a depth stop from a #78, but seeing how many #78's are missing their stops as well, you may have to look awhile until you find one. If this plane is missing the iron and/or lever cap, you can pilfer one from a #78 since both are the same width across the two models. This plane never came with a depth adjuster, but that matters not one bit since the iron from any model of the #78 will fit this plane and its spur-happy brother, the #190. However, if you want the plane to appear original, you don't want to use an iron from a #78 that has the milled slots in the back.
Because they have no spur attached to the right side, the planes didn't sell nearly as well as the series that did - #190, #191, #192 - and Stanley finally punted them from their product line once some Einstein realized a spur is a nice thing on a rabbet plane (the wooden rabbet planes could also be bought without a spur, so it must have been a preference thing back then).
Same as the #180, except it is narrower, and because of this you need to inspect the iron and lever cap as they may be ground down from the wider #180 to function as a replacement. If you see milled slots in the backside of the iron, it's not original to this or any other plane of the series.
Same as the #181, except it is narrower. If this plane is missing its iron and/or lever cap, you're SOL until you can find one from a basket case example. This model uses captive lever caps that are held to the plane with a screw, like the #39 series uses. The lever cap can snap down at it bottom, where it places pressure on the lever cap, so check for that damage.
Identical to the #180, except that this one has a spur, on its right side (ahead of the cutter), to score the grain. The astute observer will note that this plane far outlasted the #180, due to the simple feature of the spur. Apparently, this was lost on Stanley, where a spur is very nice to have on general purpose rabbet planes that are designed for rougher work, like these are.
This plane, and the two that follow, parallel the #180 series in casting changes.
This plane is like the #78W, used to cut special rabbets for the installation of standard width weather stripping. It has a removable bottom guide that acts like a fixed fence.
Same as the #181, except it has a spur.
Same as the #182, except it has a spur.
Drumroll, please. We're about to view life from the tool gutter, so don your snorkel, and make sure your shots are current. It's time to go under.
But first, a precautionary note is in order. If you should ever handle one of these pieces of New Britain offal, be sure to do so with the protection of rubber suit and gloves. Handling them without such preventive measures requires immediate sterilization of any and all exposed flesh, lest you be struck dead in mere minutes by a particularly virulant strain of the plane pox. You have been warned!
Let's just say that this plane is an utter piece of junk, which Stanley made to cash-in on the tacky fibre board craze of the 1930's and leave it at that. Oh, this, and the next 3 are my most favorite planes to hate, in the whole wide world, right up there next to anything made by the Shelton Plane and Tool Co. Mere words fail to express just how much I loathe these planes.
Same as above except it has more junk with it to make that fibre board even more attractive. If you have one of these planes, and are wondering what parts came with it, or are even looking for the parts, you need more help than I can possibly give you.
Now it's time for a true story - no names were changed to protect the innocent. Or the guilty.....
One day, while out dumpster diving, looking for bottles I could return to claim the 5 cents deposit (10 cents in Michigan), I stumbled upon one of these guys. Startled, I whipped out my handy digicam, and took the following photograph of it in situ. Not wanting to touch it, for fear of catching some dreadful and incurable disease, I poked at what laid before my eyes with a stick to rearrange it. If you look closely, you can see all the parts that came with this tool (and I hesitate to call it that) which no one will ever boast of owning when the topic of collectible tools comes up at the local bistro. Image is below. Don't email me bomb threats if you turn to stone, ok?
ZOINKS! Even more stuff to make your fibre board the best on the block! The previous three planes are the ne plus ultra of Rube Goldberg plane design, winners of the prestigeous That's Incredible/Why'd They Do That Award for 60 consecutive years. Do America a favor and destroy every one of the above three models you may encounter, so that its competition might have a fighting chance in this year's awards. Please?
Oh joy, another plane for fibre board, but this one is special (can you say special?). It cuts a chamfer up to 3/8"W on fibre board. One woulda thought world peace was at hand with the introduction of this marvelous piece of technology, where folks worldwide would busy themselves with bevelling fibre board all day. But, no, we had two wars to suffer through during its production. Hmmm, is there a cause and effect here, somewhere?
The setting - The Stanley Board Room, President speaks, "Hey, fellas, let's make a plane that bevels hard board." Underlings respond, "Swell idea chief! It will sell like hotcakes!" Wrong, guys. You can't make shit shine. The only redeeming thing about this plane is that it's rare and collectible. I would never stoop so low to own one. They and the #194 are butt ugly!
OK, we're back. Hope you didn't suffer terribly while viewing Stanley's sphacelous underbelly.
Here's a funky plane that makes you wonder how it works, and why it was ever invented. But invent it J.W. Montague did. Stanley even embossed their name and the model number along the right side of the main casting, so they must have thought it a good idea.
This plane is designed to cut a curved rabbet (both on an outer edge and an inner edge, like on a picture frame) - something that every woodworker is chomping at the bit to do, day in and day out. That's why this plane was offered for sooooooooooo long. Sorry, Stanley, it was a dud as curved rabbets ain't that common, and by the time the thing made its debut, there were machines that could do the job. "Too stupid and too late" is this tool's epitaph.
It's kind of an ugly looking plane that sort of resembles a modified #39 (the dado planes), and uses the same sort of lever cap to hold the iron in place as the dado plane series uses; i.e., a lever cap that is held to the main casting with a screw. Check that the lever cap shows no damage or repairs as it's possible to snap this style of lever cap. Also make sure that the rightmost edge of the lever cap is flush with the machined surface on the right of the plane.
It has a #78-like tote, which is textured in the typical style of the planes produced during this era - a fish scale like surface. Directly in front of the tote is a #45-like cutter adjustment wheel, with a pin that engages a cutout in the cutter. The cutter adjusting mechanism is held captive to the main casting by means of two loop-like projections arising just in front of the tote. Check for any signs of cracks or repairs on the projections.
The cutter is set at a skew, and is is actually two cutters, one on top of the other. The lower cutter, which cuts across the width of the rabbet, is similar to the cutter of the #78 in that it widens to the right just above the cutting edge. The upper cutter is rather angular at the business end, and its rightmost edge acts as a spur to score the grain to leave the side of the rabbet cleanly cut. The rest of the upper cutter has a bevel across the bulk of its width so that it acts like a cap iron. These two cutters are secured together with a screw that's positioned below the lower cutter. The heel (top) of the lower cutter has the notch cutout.
The plane has a very short 'sole', roughly 1" long so that the plane can accomplish its function over differing radii. Directly behind the sole, the main casting arches upward and then straightens out along the rest of the casting. The main casting is fashioned this way so that there is no hindrance as the plane follows the contour of the piece, especially when cutting rabbets on an inner edge.
The depth and width of the rabbet are regulated by two adjustable mechanisms forward of the cutter. One acts as a fence to follow the contour of the work, and the other acts as a depth stop. The fence measures roughly 1/2" long and has a slight curve to it. The depth stop, very much like those used on the #45, has a slight curvature at its leading edge. Each of these is adjusted by turning a captive screw (one for each), and is then secured in position by a thumb screw. Check the casting about the area of the captive screws for any breakage or cracks.
Both the fence and depth stop are carried on a removable nose piece, which is secured to the plane's body with a slotted screw. The nose piece is removed when doing confined or bullnose work. The joint between the nose piece and the main casting is a broad tongue and groove, similar to the way the Bed Rock frog mates with its receiver. I've seen a few planes that have a hairline crack in the nose piece's casting, where it mates with the main body, so check that area thoroughly.
These planes are too valuable to use, but if you have more money than brains, and want to use this contraption, you'll find it a funky beast unless the cutter and spur are both very sharp and that they are set finely. When you get frustrated at the thing, you can always pack it in your backpack when mountain climbing as all that nickel plating makes it a better reflector than it is a tool.
Copyright (c) 1998-2012 by Patrick A. Leach. All Rights Reserved. No part may be reproduced by any means without the express written permission of the author.