Stanley Planes

Block Planes


Learn How. Discover Why. Build Better. - Christopher Schwarz


Stanley Works' New Premium Planes
Copyright 2010. This article originally appeared in the Fine Tool Journal

1 of 4  



For years,

it was


that Stanley



... was going to jump into premium handplane market to compete with the likes of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, Veritas and Clifton.

Over in the United Kingdom, Stanley officials consulted with one of the world's experts on tuning planes to see what it would take to develop a world-class tool.

Here in the United States, I received a phone call saying that Stanley officials had walked into a New England Woodcraft, looked at the Lie-Nielsen display and bought "one of everything."

And then it turned out that the rumors were true.

At a 2008 press conference in New York City, Stanley announced it was getting back into the premium plane market.

I wasn't at that press conference, and no one seemed to pick up on the news until the company leaked some computer renderings of the tools in August 2008, and I posted them on my blog.

The renderings and the actual planes, which I have been using since May 2009, are shocking in many ways to both the Stanley collector and the user.

First – the plane's Sweet Heart logo aside – the tools are a break from Stanley's storied past visually. The tools look more like the modern Veritas tools than the vintage designs.

The new No. 4 and Low-angle Jack (the No. 62) both use Norris-style adjusters like the Veritas designs. Also like the Veritas: The new Stanleys use a lightweight modern alloy for the lever cap and use a more upright tote that can accommodate a four-fingered grip.

But it would be a mistake to call these slavish copies. The No. 4 plane in particular has a number of unusual features that merit some close attention. So let's start there.

The Stanley No. 4 Smoothing Plane

Like all the new planes in the Stanley line, the No. 4 is a surprisingly heavy tool, tipping the scales at 5 lbs. (that’s a half-pound more than a Lie-Nielsen No. 4 in bronze). Most of that weight is in the iron body (made in Mexico). There's also an English-made A2 cutter that’s 1/8" thick, cherry knob and tote, and brass adjusters.

1 of 4  


Dovetail Saws


Copyright © 2005-2018, and Wiktor Kuc.  All Rights Reserved.  Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
No part of the content from this website can be reproduced by any means without specific permission of the publisher.
Valid CSS!