Good Plane for the Money

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Review by mramseyISU posted 01-09-2015 02:52 PM 6105 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Good Plane for the Money Good Plane for the Money Good Plane for the Money Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve had this plane for about 6 months now so I think that’s enough time using it to make up my mind. I picked this up on a trip to Rockler, I hadn’t planned on buying it but I had been wanting a No 4. Out of the box I justs tried it out on some white oak and with just a couple adjustments it was working great. When I did flatten the sole it took maybe a dozen passes on 220 sandpaper stuck down to my table say. Way less effort than any vintage stanley I’ve ever tuned up. Honeing the iron didn’t take a lot of effort either and I’ve only had to touch it up 2 or 3 times since. The A2 steel they use is really thick and holds an edge really nicely. The chip breaker is also way more robust than the old ones. The other thing I really like about it is that the tote is a lot bigger than an old stanley which is nice with you have big hands like I do. The old stanley totes are just a little small for my liking. The norris style adjuster takes a little getting used to but now that I have I kind of like it because my big hands make reaching in under the frog to make an adjustment a bit akward. The other nice feature is the mouth of the plane adjusts without tools by loosening the knox and turing the brass tab under it. All the adjustments you need to make can be done without tools and that’s really nice. Because of the mouth adjusting like it does the frog is cast in as part of the sole which is good and bad I’d say. I think it’s good because it should be more stable, the bad is that it’s going to be harder to flatten if I ever need to do that. The other thing to take note is that this thing is heavier than an iron No 4 Lie Nielson or Veritas.

Now on to what I don’t like. The lever cap doesn’t have a lever on it, I really like being able to flip that lever to get at the iron and chip breaker. The other thing is the finish on the sides of the iron is pretty rough. It looks like it was plasma cut out and the edges weren’t ground to clean it up. Those are both pretty minor.

Now I’ve never had a chance to use a really high end plane like a Lie-Nielson or a Veritas but this is every bit as good as the old Bailey planes I have and even better in some places.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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594 posts in 2835 days

3 comments so far

View Lucsdogs's profile


32 posts in 2772 days

#1 posted 01-09-2015 11:39 PM

That’s a pretty fair assessment. I’ve had mine for about a year now and I could repeat what you have stated. Luckily the sole of mine was dead flat, which surprised me a little. The fit and finish was good, not like a LN (I have a #3 for comparison) or Veritas but nothing to complain about. I did have to soften the corners though. When I was flattening a surface with a slightly skewed angle, the corners were actually making shavings like a scraper would. Its well balanced and actually feels a bit like a #5 when planning surfaces. I think it’s heft may have something to do with that. Its actually heavier then my #5 Record. I too prefer the lever rather than the knob for consistent pressure when tightening but no big deal really. A real sweetheart. (sorry I couldn’t resist)

-- Bernie, Oshawa, Ontario

View bobasaurus's profile


3743 posts in 4473 days

#2 posted 01-11-2015 07:16 AM

It actually looks like a surprisingly decent plane, despite being a modern Stanley. Having the frog cast as part of the body is kind of unique, and seems like it would be very sturdy. Maybe you could check its flatness with a small straightedge/rule, or even stick some sandpaper on the back of the iron itself and move it around. Having an easily adjustable mouth on a bevel-up plane would be very nice.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View mramseyISU's profile


594 posts in 2835 days

#3 posted 01-11-2015 05:21 PM

Bob, I do need to get a set of feeler gauges for home so I can get an actual measurement on flatness other than the relative one I have of how many swipes does it take to remove sharpie marks off the sole. That or I guess I could sneak it on the CMM at work and see what I get. The other thing is I get why people bag on the new Stanley stuff but I’d bet you a quarter none of the people bagging on them have actually tried them. There is this myth that if it isn’t made in the USA/Canada or western Europe that it’s crap. The reason that you get poor quality tools is because the company decided they wanted a good enough tool not a good one. I’ve got 3 of these new sweetheart planes and all three are nice tools for all the reasons I’ve listed above.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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