best adjustable compass plane available?

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Forum topic by tcarswell posted 04-24-2017 07:58 AM 2992 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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81 posts in 1900 days

04-24-2017 07:58 AM

I’ve always wanted an adjustable metal compass plane. However I’ve never held or seen one in person let alone know how to compare the old stanley models to the newer kunz model. any help or input or tips on how to get one that won’t need a lot of work and maybe stays under 500 dollars. If my only option is to fix up an old one I’d be ok with that too. I’m amazed lie nielsen and veritas haven’t stepped up and made one. I’m sure the outlay on RnD would be high I know lie nielsen has flirted reports of making one but I’m yet to see a light at the end of the tunnel there.
Thanks for any and all help and tips folks !

-- Nothing worth doing is easy ! (or simple)

4 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2562 days

#1 posted 04-24-2017 05:48 PM

I think there is more than one meaning of a compass plane, I take it you mean what is also called a circular plane?

Patrick Leach of Supertool says the 20 and 20-1/2 are Stanley’s best.

I’ve never used one but I have a Stanley 113. It works ok, but I wouldn’t say great. I can say stay away from Kunz, they are generally poorly made if the example I had and comments online about their planes in general also apply to their compass plane. Apparently Record also made a similar for a long time, but I don’t know anything about it.

I would think you could certainly get a good working example of a 113 or 20 for less than $500. You could either gamble on eBay or try one of the reputable tool dealers like Josh Clark at Hyperkitten, Patrick Leach, others I can’t remember right now, or post in the trade a swap forum here and maybe an LJ would have one to sell.

View JayT's profile


6353 posts in 2812 days

#2 posted 04-24-2017 06:17 PM

I have both a Stanely #20 and a #113. The #20 is hands down the better tool. Haven’t used or seen a Kunz to know how they stack up, but based on overall reported company performance, I would personally find a good condition vintage Stanley or Record instead of buying a new Kunz.

Staying under $500 is easy. My recommendation would be to contact Patrick Leach and ask if he has any available. I’d bet he has one or two good condition #20’s floating around (if not, he’ll find one) and will be able to quote you a price. Guessing it will be between $150-250, with the top end being one that looks practically new.

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

View Texcaster's profile


1286 posts in 2275 days

#3 posted 04-24-2017 08:28 PM

I have the 113 and am happy enough with it. It’s main use has been to make patterns for router and spindle work. I love it because once the desired radius is reached, it stops cutting. I found a second hand Kunz 113 and passed it on to a mate, no complaints.

I made two radius dishes awhile back.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19419 posts in 3168 days

#4 posted 04-24-2017 11:23 PM

I have both the #20 and several#113. I agree with JayT the #20 is better, but for occasional use the #113 does fit the bill.

I’ve seen the kunz. It’s​ definitely not built with the same standards as the Vintage.

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

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