Just some planes restored #8: Solar Mfg Co #3

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Blog entry by Don W posted 06-29-2011 01:15 AM 11982 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: The #7 Part 8 of Just some planes restored series Part 9: The #4 FrankenPlane »

Interesting story to tell. I was headed out this afternoon to run some errands. We stopped at an antique mall that we stop at a lot. Several of the vendors have some nice tools, but they are typically very pricey. Today I found this plane for $12, it was marked Solar Mfg Co. on the blade and that was the only marking. I can’t find any information on it. Its a little unusual to find a #3 like this. Something about this plane told me to take it home.

The real reason I wanted it was it looked exactly like a Stanley, it was a #3 (i’ve got 3 now) and the blade was thicker than everything I have now.

The frog is exactly like my broken #3. It fits perfect with one exception, the adjustment screw is right handed. The adjustment screw is also steel and not brass. It doesn’t have a lateral adjustment lever. If it wasn’t for the right handed screw I’d think about switching.

The lever cap is painted black. It also doesn’t have a spring on the back. There is no marking on the bed other than made in the us.

I just thought it was different. I’m sure it will work just like a stanley. I’ll clean it up and add it to the collection.

I decided to clean it up and see how it would come out. The handles were not rosewood, probably beech,

After sanding I gave them a coat of walnut stain to darken them a little. Then the typical BLO coat or three.

and the screw holding the handles where just regular tapered screws, not the Stanley type brass nuts.

Above I said the iron adjustment knob was steel. It wasn’t, it looked like brass, but didn’t come out as bright as a typical Stanley would have.

The cap was painted black. I planned to leave it unpainted but didn’t like the way it looked. For some reason the red can of paint jumped out at me, so that’s what it got.

It still came out fairly nice. It seems to work well.

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

7 comments so far

View CharlesAuguste's profile


126 posts in 3779 days

#1 posted 06-29-2011 05:33 AM

Ive heard of Solar Mfg co, seen then come up once in a while on ebay but more frequently around Ma since they were made in Worcester MA up to the 70’s, mainly knock off of others! yours look pretty good!

-- "the future's uncertain and the end is always near" J. Morrison

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5335 days

#2 posted 06-29-2011 08:07 AM

Looks like a good usable little plane. #3’s get extra points for being cute. : ^ )

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3892 days

#3 posted 06-29-2011 03:02 PM

I don’t know if you hollow grind or not, but be careful about the angle on that plane. The increased angle that thickens the tip of the blade really makes a difference when you sharpen I just about ended up with a bevel of 20 degrees because of that.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3931 days

#4 posted 06-29-2011 03:05 PM

It’s got a fat tapered iron, if I’m seeing correctly. I would have ran with it, too, having never heard of it.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Don W's profile

Don W

20175 posts in 3805 days

#5 posted 06-29-2011 03:09 PM

Good info. I’ll watch for that. Also I noticed when I tried to put the blade in my 5 1/4 the screw on the chip break is no longer long enough with the thicker blade. When you order a hock or similar blade, do you need to order a replacement screw as well?

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

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3892 days

#6 posted 06-29-2011 03:22 PM

no. The screw really becomes an issue on the chip-breaker. When you run into issues is when the lever adjuster can’t reach through the blade (due to thickness) and seat in the chipbreaker. Rob Cosman sells a blade and chipbreaker set that rectifies this (but I would just buy a blade the matches thickness)

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 3884 days

#7 posted 08-01-2011 03:04 AM

That Iron looks like a siegley.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

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