Handy tools #11: Scrub plane made from a maroon #3 Stanley

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 07-12-2020 04:02 AM 732 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Bowl horse Part 11 of Handy tools series Part 12: Fixed 3/8" marking gauge »

Found a guy on eBay who’s got a bunch of maroon #3 Stanley planes he’s selling for $37.50 each. They were $31 a year and a half ago when I bought one to try it out. At the time, I flattened the sole, decided it was a cheap plane and if I wanted to improve it, I’d probably need to buy a Hock plane blade at minimum.

Today I decided I was going to repurpose it as a scrub plane. I pulled the blade and walked over to the grinder. I freehand ground something between a 4” and 6” radius on the end of the blade. Between ten or fifteen minutes elapsed. It’s not exactly circular, maybe more parabolic from the look of it. Then I spent ten or fifteen minutes sharpening the blade on my coarse sharpening stone and called it good.

I adjusted the frog back a little to open up the mouth on the plane, and popped the blade back in the plane. Took it to the fir 6×6 I’m turning into a post for my post drill, and it does a pretty good job. For a shaving between 1/2 and 5/8 inch (yes, I’m only using between a half and a third of the blade, but it’s easy work this way), it’s around 1/16 thick, which is how I have my other scrub plane adjusted. It’s small enough that I can take off shavings like that for almost an hour before I need to take a break, and on the post, that translated to knocking one of the corners of the post down by 1/4 inch, tapering to nothing at the other end of the 8’ long 6×6.

Not bad for about $30 and less than an hour’s time. And a lot cheaper than buying a Lie-Nielsen 40½ scrub plane for $175. Well, unless my time is worth more than $140/hour.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

4 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


3309 posts in 3404 days

#1 posted 07-12-2020 11:00 AM

Looks like you definitely got your money’s worth on this, could even say it was a steal for that price. Nice tool transformation.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8279 posts in 1796 days

#2 posted 07-12-2020 11:59 AM

Thanks, Tom. I thought so too. I even bought a couple more from the guy yesterday, figuring I’ll throw one in as a bonus on a future swap or something. And maybe one of them will get a Hock blade and chip-breaker and become my go-to smoother (though I’ve been using the prototype I made for a previous swap as a smoother lately, and I’m pretty happy with that, too). Who knows, maybe I’ll carve a tote & knob and completely customize one, too.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Don W's profile

Don W

20161 posts in 3781 days

#3 posted 07-13-2020 12:05 AM

That makes it a useful tool.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8279 posts in 1796 days

#4 posted 07-13-2020 01:38 AM

Yeah Don. I’m glad I figured a use for it. And glad I got a few more to play with. Originally I was just going to scavenge the frog & adjuster out of it for use in a plane I made myself. Might still do that too. We’ll see. Fun to play with.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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