Pinnacle blade & chip breaker upgrade for my Stanley Baily #4

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Review by Dan posted 02-09-2011 08:02 AM 6985 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Pinnacle blade & chip breaker upgrade for my Stanley Baily #4 No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Last week we got hit with a huge snow storm which covered my driveway with a lot of snow. I had to leave for work next morning and didn’t have time to shovel. I was able to get my front wheel drive car out of the driveway without getting stuck. The tires spun out a bit and the back fishtailed a little but after a little effort the car made it out. Later I took my full size 4×4 truck out and it plowed right through the thick snow with ease. No slipping, no spinning and the exit drive out was so smooth you wouldn’t even know that you were driving through a foot of snow.

Both of my vehicles were able to get through the snow but the truck was far easier. Did I need the truck to get out? No. Could I manage in the snow with just the car. Yes. However it sure is a pleasure and brings a lot more comfort and ease to drive the truck.

The reason for that story was because thats exactly how I would compare the Pinnacle/IBC blade and chip breaker to the original factory blade and breaker. I have been debating the idea of a new expensive blade and breaker for my planes since I started restoring them 8 months ago. I struggled with the old blades to get them square, flat and sharp. I put hours and hours into old plane blades and I just wasn’t getting the results that I thought I should be getting. However the price of a quality replacement blade and chip breaker was just out of my budget and even when I did have the money I just couldn’t see spending 80 to 100 dollars on blade and breaker. I spent a lot of time reading reviews of different blades and trying to decide if it was worth it or not. Well I got a good tax return this year so I finally decided to treat myself and buy some new blades and breakers. I was going back and forth on whether to go with a Hock blade and breaker or Pinnacle/IBC. I debated it so much that I decided to get both. I bought a Hock set for my jointer and the Pinnacle for my smoother. Ill review the Hock later in a different post. The Pinnacle/IBC blade and breaker comes as they describe almost ready to use. I spent about a half hour getting the plane and blade ready. I had to file the mouth of my plane open a little which was easy enough. I then spent a few min honing the blade. For my first attempt I used a piece of Cherry wood. The plane with the new blade went through the wood like my truck did the snow. No tear out, no chatter and super thin shavings. I tried on 3 different hard woods and it went through them all with ease.

My over all thoughts

The shavings the blade produced don’t seem much different then the ones I got with a fine tuned old blade. However the huge mass of the blade and breaker make it a ton easier to plane through hardwoods. When using the old blade I was able to get great shavings at times but I often struggled with woods like Cherry and Maple and I would get a lot of chatter and tear out. I could achieve great results with the old blades but it was not easy and it took a lot of effort and work. The new Pinnacle/IBC blade in my Stanley 4 is just a joy to use so far. It has made hand planing even more of a joy for me to do. You can get good results without it but if you plane a lot its a nice upgrade.

The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because of the price. I paid 100 dollars for the blade and breaker set and as good as the blade is I still think thats a lot of money. I am not disappointed that I spent the money but had I not had a nice chunk of extra money I probably would have skipped on this. I know woodcraft has these on sale now but the number 4 size was not on sale. I would be more willing to buy when on sale.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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3653 posts in 3739 days

8 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3973 days

#1 posted 02-09-2011 11:55 AM

thank´s for the the rewiew Dan :-)
it was a great idea to compare it with driving driving thrugh snow with two different cars
it made it a hell lot easyer to understand the thoughts behind all the talk about
upgrade or not upgrade with aftermarket blades
speciell when you have to pay 100$ for a set ….thats will fast be 500+ to cover just
the benchplanes used on daily basis

take care

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5777 posts in 4090 days

#2 posted 02-09-2011 07:55 PM

I have been teetering between the Pinnacle, and the Hock iron / chip breakers. I sure wish somebody would do a side by side review of them… I know my Groz #4 and #5 planes aren’t quite an antique Stanley, but I have them tuned to where they work well, I just feel improved iron and chipbreaker would go a LONG way to making these things nice planes…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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3653 posts in 3739 days

#3 posted 02-09-2011 08:23 PM

dbhost- That is the same thought I had and thats why I bought one set of each. I am actually planning on doing a blog soon comparing the two. However just to tell you now if I had to get rid of one set and keep the other I would keep the Pinnacle. The Pinnacle set is a bit thicker and seems like its a little better machined. The matched set just fits so perfect and smooth with each other. Is it worth paying 20 or 30 dollars more for? I don’t know yet.

If you decide on a new blade you can probably get away with just one. The #4 and #5 will take the same sized blade so you could use it in either plane. I think the blade is best for a smoothing plane as that is where you want your finest cut.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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13588 posts in 3551 days

#4 posted 02-09-2011 08:56 PM

I’ve got experience with the Hock sets but I’ve yet to purchase a Pinnacle variety. I agree with your sentiments, all of them. The blades are downright expensive and sure, they don’t get any “sharper” than the originals. Howver the thickness gives a stability that’s difficult to describe in better terms than your truck metaphor. The mate of chipbreaker to blade is perfect & stiff, which is difficult to obtain with old Stanleys (in my experience). It’s money well spent, but it’s a lot of money to spend. I’m going to check out this Pinnacle offering. Thanks!

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

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507 posts in 4093 days

#5 posted 02-10-2011 04:12 AM

dbhost: I went with the Veritas replacements for Stanley – they were a touch cheaper than even the Hock (and WAY cheaper than the Pinnacles). I’ve been using them a bit and plan on doing a review soonish.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

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3653 posts in 3739 days

#6 posted 02-10-2011 05:21 PM

Jimi- I was looking at the Veritas replacements also. A review would be nice as I don’t think I saw any when I was looking at them.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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226 posts in 3428 days

#7 posted 07-09-2011 03:00 PM

How much adjustment did you have to do to get the Oinnacle o work? 1/16” off the front of the mouth?

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4147 days

#8 posted 07-09-2011 03:22 PM

These are great blades but compairing them to the hock blade they have nothing on the hock blades only cuz you have to file the mouth of your plane for it to work also you have to wind the adjusting screw almost to the end of the rod it’s on. Other than that I can’t see nothing wrong with them.

I wanna try to do a compairason with the pinnicle and the lee valley blade/breaker set that would be the next test I’m gonna do a blog about all three, I did one on the pinnicle blade too you can find the info here.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

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