All Replies on Which Iron to choose for a No. 3 Stanley

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View GregTP's profile

Which Iron to choose for a No. 3 Stanley

by GregTP
posted 07-25-2016 12:54 AM

13 replies so far

View JayT's profile


6412 posts in 3065 days

#1 posted 07-25-2016 01:07 AM

Thicker irons shouldn’t be necessary on a well tuned plane. The only time I replace an iron is if it is extremely pitted. If you are getting chatter, it’s usually a result of either not being sharp enough, trying to take too thick of a shaving or poor frog fit. Proper fettling and sharpening will take care of the problem.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1602 days

#2 posted 07-25-2016 02:19 AM

I replaced all my plane blades (except the Veritas and LN planes) with Hock blades. Don’t know if you can still get them. The thicker iron makes a big difference. I think Veritas or LN can supply you, and the new PMV11 metal, though more expensive, would be a good choice. But if Hock is still in business, I’m very pleased with them

View tshiker's profile


94 posts in 2163 days

#3 posted 07-25-2016 02:29 AM

I agree with Jay, mostly. You’re not getting chatter because the blade is thin, you’re getting it because the plane is not set-up properly. There is lots and lots of info online about how to set-up and fine tune an old handplane. If I was you I would spend some time to get the plane set-up and tuned correctly and then decide if a thicker aftermarket blade is needed. I think there are some legitimate reasons to replace a vintage plane iron (I’m going to order one for my Stanley 4 1/2 this week) but chatter ain’t one of them.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2748 days

#4 posted 07-25-2016 02:54 AM

I’ve never noticed a difference in performance between new and vintage blades. In fact the new, thicker ones can, without modification to the plane, sometimes limit the use of an old Stanley because Stanleys weren’t made for thick blades. The Hock in my #8 can close the mouth opening completely if I lower the blade too much. Even after frog adjustment. Have not filed back the mouth in that one yet but I’ve had to file back the mouths in a few of my planes because of this. Also, securing a Hock blade on an old chipbreaker is difficult on a couple of my planes because they screw is a tad short. I have to push the blade and chipbreaker really hard together to get the screw in the hole. Minor annoyance but it’s annoying.

I think you must have seen a chipbreaker added to that IBC blade. The blade itself doesn’t cost $90. You don’t need to replace the chipbreaker if you get a new blade. However, I do like the newer chipbreakers out there because there is absolutely no way anything can get stuck under them. I don’t see them performing better than an old one, but I think they were engineered better.

Primary reason I own Hock blades – they’re for standard angle planing. It’s only a visual thing, I’m not getting better results. For higher blade angles, I use vintage. All I do is look at the blade and know what job it’s for, vs. screwing up the wood with tear out after a few passes and me saying – oh yeah, moron, wrong blade for this job.

View MikeUT's profile


200 posts in 2213 days

#5 posted 07-25-2016 04:39 AM

Jay is right. You can get an old blade sharp enough to circumcise a gnat (Sorry for the John Candy reference). The only real advantage to new blades is that they can be harder so you can go longer without shaving them. IMO, it wouldn’t be worth it to buy a new blade for a 3. The only reason to use a #3 is if you don’t have a #4. Save your money for a #4 or a #4 1/2.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1171 posts in 3385 days

#6 posted 07-25-2016 05:18 AM

Greg, I bought a Lee Valley PM-V11 iron for my #3. It is a type 19 (1948-1961), so one of the later ones.

The original iron was pitted too badly to rehab, otherwise I wouldn’t have replaced it.

I decided to buy the matching LV cap iron but ran into a snag with it. When trying to set the cap iron at a very close distance to the edge of the blade, the cap iron screw hits the frog casting. I have to grind a bit off the head of the cap iron screw to allow it to fit where I want it. But the original cap iron works well with the LV iron.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Robert's profile


3951 posts in 2334 days

#7 posted 07-25-2016 02:56 PM

Depends on what you’re doing and whether maximum performance is a must.

After trying one, I think an upgrade iron performs better than the strandard thin blades.
Cheapest I know of is Veritas around $65.
You have to weigh the cost:benefit based on my first sentence.
Never had an issue with thicker blades blocking mouth. You do have to back frog off a little.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View DoitRightorNotatAll's profile


7 posts in 2315 days

#8 posted 07-25-2016 03:13 PM

Greg, A woodriver blade from woodcraft will fit.

View Julian's profile


1592 posts in 3544 days

#9 posted 07-25-2016 04:01 PM

I have an old Stanley #3 that I purchased on Ebay awhile ago. I kept the original blade; just cleaned and tuned the plane. It works fine and no chatter. A thicker blade may not solve the chatter issue.

-- Julian

View bondogaposis's profile


5843 posts in 3205 days

#10 posted 07-25-2016 04:03 PM

I think replacement irons are worth the money especially on a smoothing plane. I’ve used Hock irons w/ excellent results. When working w/ used planes and flattening the soles will make the throat opening a little wider. A thicker blade will compensate for this and having more mass in the blade is not a bad thing.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bandit571's profile


26519 posts in 3537 days

#11 posted 07-25-2016 06:34 PM, an Ebay store…...has the iron and chipbreaker for $11.95, plus $3.40 S&H and it is a Buy it Now sort of thing. iron has the “V” logo, looks to be a decent length. it is a 1-3/4” wide cutter assembly made for the Stanley #3 and the Stanley #5-1/4…same size used in both…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View bandit571's profile


26519 posts in 3537 days

#12 posted 07-26-2016 02:24 AM

Happen to have a Millers Falls No. 8, and a millers Falls made for sear #3…..both have their original irons, and chipbreakers in them…they are both very nice smoothers, and have had zero chatter, or other problems.

There is also a Millers Falls No. 11 in the till. Uses the same size iron as a #3 smoother, but is in a #5-1/4 size. 11” long, a junior jack plane size. Also has it’s OEM iron and chipbreaker. No chatter, and will make see-through shavings with the best of them. Does not take all that long to tune a plane up, time wise…...just a little elbow grease.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View GregTP's profile


63 posts in 1797 days

#13 posted 07-26-2016 02:37 AM

Thanks guys, sounds like good advice all around. I have a Stanley #4 and a Freud #4 both in good shape that work well with their original blades. The No. 3 looks like the iron is in good shape but I haven’t had the time to even take it apart yet so its hard to say what I will find.

I have rehab’ed all the planes I use now (and have about 20 others that I haven’t, and some that I probably won’t, rehab later) so I’ve gotten comfortable, if not good, at getting them back in fighting shape. I invested in some good water stones that get them plenty sharp so I’m not so worried about the sharpness, more the heft that a thicker iron might offer.

-- From exercise machine warning label: "Step ladders can cause injury and even death; the ROM machine is more dangerous than a stepladder"

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