Stanley Sweetheart 9 1/2

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Review by HighRockWoodworking posted 05-17-2010 10:11 PM 10104 views 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Stanley Sweetheart 9 1/2
I must say that when I first read about the Stanley’s Sweetheart line I was a bit apprehensive. When thinking of a Stanley I normally think of what your everyday box store carries or an old plane I might find at a garage sale and not a high end woodworking tool.

I needed a new block plane and thought why not try the Stanley Sweetheart 9 1/2. Out of the box the plane has a nice weight to it, feels good in your hand, and looks great. The thick A-2 iron cut better than I thought out of the box and cut really well after a little honing.

After reading a few other reviews most of the complaints I read about were of the inside housing being skewed. After taking mine apart I did notice a little but not enough to cause the iron to not sit properly. The biggest complaints that I have is in the lateral adjustment. If I have the blade advanced to far forward I have to turn the lateral adjustment knob back two and a half times back to get the blade to withdraw and then another two and a half turns to get the blade to start advancing again, that is just way to much play. The other complain I have is that although you can adjust the mouth very easily it does not adjust enough. Trying the plane on a piece of slightly figured oak I kept getting tear out that I think would have been resolved if I could have closed the mouth up tighter to the blade.

All in all I am pretty happy with the plane and although I will not be replacing my other planes with the Sweetheart line anytime soon, I do see the plane getting used in my shop.

Chris Adkins

-- Chris Adkins,

View HighRockWoodworking's profile


182 posts in 3866 days

20 comments so far

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 4549 days

#1 posted 05-17-2010 10:33 PM

You should post the full body of your review on this site. Personally if I like your review here then I would have no issue of hopping over to your site to see what else you’ve to offer.

-- Ed

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1613 posts in 4452 days

#2 posted 05-18-2010 12:31 AM

I’m curious if the iron cap is made of aluminum.

After seeing the larger sweetheart planes at Woodcraft, I noticed wear around the screw and thought it looked like a weak point.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View HighRockWoodworking's profile


182 posts in 3866 days

#3 posted 05-18-2010 12:48 AM

Good point Tim. That is something I need to look at, and that was the first place that I felt like would show signs of wear first. I will have to keep everyone posted as I use it for a while. I have another project that I am starting that I plan on using it quite a bit so we will see how it does.

Thanks for the comment.

Thanks for the opinion Ed.

-- Chris Adkins,

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4600 days

#4 posted 05-18-2010 01:50 AM

i tried the new 9 1/2 at school and was not impressed by it, the top cap is aluminum and not machines well around the screw, plus it took me over an hour to get the mouth straight, it came out of the box crooked. this new series of planes does not come close to there original sweet heart or the newer lie nelsons or veritas. i will stick with fixing up my old stanley planes.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View KellyS's profile


78 posts in 4119 days

#5 posted 05-18-2010 02:59 AM

I have the same plane and yes, the cap is the weak link. It’s made out of aluminum or pot metal and I’ve already worn the threads out in the first cap after about 1 year’s infrequent use and started on a second. My brother owns a machine shop and I’ve thought about having him drill it out and add a thread insert. I must say that they were “Johnny on the spot” with getting me a replacement cap for it, but it was just like a scene out of the movie Idiocracy. I explained what I thought were the design flaws logically and with great clarity, but it was to no avail. I got the standard “Ignore the customers feedback and send them a new part right away to keep them happy” response.
It is my opinion that the brass threads on the tension wheel are too short only engage a couple threads in the aluminum, so all the tension rides on a few poorly, loosely machined threads that are doomed to strip out after a few adjustments. I think if the brass screw were longer and engaged more threads, it will last much longer. They put it on the box “guaranteed for life” I plan on holding them to it, but it will end up like Husky Tools. I’m sure after a while they will have a disclaimer about requiring the receipt, Like I’m going to have a receipt for my Dad’s 1/2” ratchet he bought 40 years ago.

I don’t mean to bash it, but I really hate to see things like this happen because you see companies like Lie Nielsen and Veritas making real improvements to hand tools and cranking out high quality stuff (Not to say that Stanley didn’t make improvements, they just didn’t follow all the way through with them). Stanley has positioned themselves in the market with a legendary name that is meant to side track people away from LN and Veritas and take some of the market share away from them. It only hurts them. Just like Walmart they make it tough for the littler guys who aren’t the 800 pound gorillas on the block, but are putting their best foot forward to provide an honest to goodness attempt at the best product available in the market. Don’t let the tail wag the dog! Don’t settle!

It is my opinion that you should forgo that Japanese Steak house dinner one weekend with the misses or hubby …take them to Dairy Queen for a Burger and a Shake and a kiss, take your savings along with that $100.00 you would have spent and go SUPPORT and REWARD the people who have stuck with it for all these years bettering their product and producing high quality

Sorry to rant!

-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

View Rick Boyett's profile

Rick Boyett

167 posts in 4099 days

#6 posted 05-18-2010 04:10 AM

I didn’t even think about the cap iron in my review of this plane. The body was machined so poorly that I just gave up on it and took it back.

Now I’ve got a Veritas low angle block plane. I need to get off my butt and write a review of it but I can tell you now that it is pretty kick butt..

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4780 days

#7 posted 05-18-2010 06:23 PM

I gave up on stanley block planes. Having bought a few of them in my life I find that they discontinue the plane and or redesign it and therefor parts and the blade/iron cant be replaced redering the block plane useless.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View woodprof's profile


44 posts in 4077 days

#8 posted 05-18-2010 06:48 PM

I’ve bought a few LN planes, and always found them flawless, but I felt a little guilty about the amount I spent on them. I partially justified it to myself by saying I was supporting my local Woodcraft store, which has a couple of great owners, Bill & Heather Caillet.

Now, thanks to KellyS, I have another reason to feel good about buying them. And they’re made in the USA!

View HighRockWoodworking's profile


182 posts in 3866 days

#9 posted 05-18-2010 10:39 PM

I definitly agree with you Woodprof. You just can’t go wrong with a LN!

Thanks for the reply.

Chris Adkins

Follow me on Twitter!

-- Chris Adkins,

View velo_tom's profile


123 posts in 3903 days

#10 posted 05-19-2010 01:22 AM

Can’t go wrong with Lee Valley and their Veritas tools either. I’ve bought several of their planes, just ordered another one today. I’ve always felt the tools I’ve received were as good a quality as I will ever need. I’ve never found it necessary to do any more than a quick honing of the blade and set it up for work, ie just a few minutes of light effort.

I ordered their router plane along with a some other things a few months ago. When the plane arrived they had not included the three blades that come with it. I thought, well this is an opportunity to see how they treat the customer after the sale. I sent them an email explaining the problem. I hit the send button, went to the kitchen and got a glass of water and returned to the computer. I was amazed to see I already had a reply, an apology and a promise to send the missing blades that day (and they did).

Between their great tools and fantastic customer service they have a very loyal customer in me.

-- There's no such thing as mistakes, just design changes.

View PCM's profile


135 posts in 3932 days

#11 posted 05-19-2010 04:09 AM

I have not heard any good reviews on the sweetheart planes. I buy either new veritas or LN both of which are perfect out of the box or I buy inexpensive old stanleys and put in the work to true them. Thanks for the good review.

View a1Jim's profile


118143 posts in 4464 days

#12 posted 05-19-2010 05:38 AM

your better off with an old Stanley for the money


View ShopCat's profile


121 posts in 4466 days

#13 posted 05-19-2010 03:45 PM

I broke down and bought the LN adjustable mouth low angle years ago. I use it practically every day. I have a couple more refurb older sweethearts and baileys including ones from their prime period early in the 20th century, but find they don’t even come close to what LN is doing now. He charges a stiff price for his work, but he makes a product that’s worth the price.

-- ShopCat

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4051 days

#14 posted 05-21-2010 01:56 AM

Sorry, but I am not taking the bait and going to your site to read a review posted as an LJ review…................

This was not an LJ review.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View HighRockWoodworking's profile


182 posts in 3866 days

#15 posted 05-21-2010 02:09 AM

Jim it was not supposed to be a LJ review…. I believe the reviews are open for everyone to post…. But point taken when I posted this I did post a few post that linked back to my site for full post as I had saw others do but decided that I didn’t think that was right so I have now been posting full post and if you want to come to my site then great but if not I still enjoy reading and responding you readers post or here as well.

-- Chris Adkins,

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