OK... I Admit... I Am So Lost On Hand Planes

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Forum topic by Maveric777 posted 01-04-2011 03:49 PM 3190 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3680 days

01-04-2011 03:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane blade

I poster a blog a bit ago about my special Christmas gift I received from my Father In-Law (My Most Prized Christmas Gift...). Just in the last couple of days I have finally been able to put my hands on these and get to work.

I have come to the conclusion I know less about these than I first feared. I am wanting to order some parts but nervous about if i even know what i am ordering (I’m on a tight budget and don’t want to waste money). So I figured i would post a couple of pics showing what I got and a few questions…

First off…. What in the world do I actually have here?

The Fulton has a 14” sole, a 2” mouth, the frog had 409 molded in it, and has 5266 molded on the body.
The Sargent has a 10” sole, a 2” mouth, the frog also has 409 molded in it, and 409 molded on the body.

I know this sounds dumb, but I am getting so confused here…lol

Also I lapped these little bad boys last night and discovered although i can get the sole flat I still see pitting from rust. Its not terrible, but most definitely noticeable (especially in the 14” Fulton). Can they still be a reliable tool with this issue?

Long story short…. I found the good replacement parts to get both planes working at Highland Tools. My only kicker is I am looking at $150 roughly to get it done. I know these are family heirlooms, but if i spend that kind of money I want them to perform properly. If they look as though they wont I Will simply find cheap replacement parts and display them (save my money and buy at least one decent plane)

Just not sure where to go from here…. Just confused and not sure what direction to take….

Sorry for the rambling… These things have my head spinning….lol

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

18 replies so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3587 days

#1 posted 01-04-2011 04:07 PM

Good post Dan. This is one that I’ll be watching closely myself. I don’t think the pitting on the soles would be to much of a problem after they’re flattened and polished. I had a couple of chisels that were pitted on their backs and once clean up and flatten and polished worked well. Have some I want to restore to use myself.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3380 days

#2 posted 01-04-2011 04:07 PM

The hand plane book would be a good start. When you flatten the sole, you MUST have the blade and all parts installed – just don’t have the blade protruding. Otherwise the sole may not be flat.

Look on the internet and search for “tuning hand plane” this will get you on the road to hand planes. This works for “out of the box” brand new planes and well as old planes – unless you bought a new Lie-Neilsen or Lee Valley plane.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3384 days

#3 posted 01-04-2011 04:10 PM

I have a few of the old planes with pitted souls (he he) soles and they don’t seem to suffer.
If you have the sole flat and the pits don’t apear to be in critical areas by your pictures then ok.. What 150 dollar parts are you considering ??

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View chrisstef's profile


18024 posts in 3610 days

#4 posted 01-04-2011 04:10 PM


I wouldnt worry too much about the pitting they should work just fine if the rest of the sole is flat. You are going to want the smoothing plane, the smaller of the 2, as close to dead flat on the sole as possible. Reason being is that there is less sole in contact with the wood. The longer of the 2 planes should be relatively flat on the sole, im assuming its a jointer plane.

Its hard to see what else you may need .. is the frog cast into the body of the plane? But besides that do you have irons? Do you have a cap iron? A couple more pics of all the parts would help out.

If you do have all the parts you should be able to get them back into working order as users with a bit of time.

BTW .. i just finished Garrett Hack’s “The handplane book” .. so now im an expert lol. Id suggest spending $30 on that book, it will tell you everything you need to know about a plane, why it works, why it doesn’t work, and a whole pile of other useful info.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3380 days

#5 posted 01-04-2011 04:21 PM

Just one more note – there is no better way to impress a father-in-law than to take a gift like this, clean and tune them up to shave pieces thinner than a piece paper and do this effortlessly.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3678 days

#6 posted 01-04-2011 04:25 PM

Just an idea – - These planes come up on ebay all the time and they are not very expensive. You may be able to buy planes like these for less than $30 and get the parts you need that way.

FYI – Stanley Bedrock planes sell at a premium price, but the Fultons and Sargents are usually much cheaper.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3639 days

#7 posted 01-04-2011 04:27 PM

I’ll take em off ya hands buddy! What are friends for?.... Right?

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Mario's profile


189 posts in 4000 days

#8 posted 01-04-2011 04:29 PM

Dan, clean them up, make them look nice, save your $150.00, buy a new Veritas.

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 3600 days

#9 posted 01-04-2011 04:29 PM

You have 2 hand planes that were standard sizes for most carpenters back then ! The Sargent is equivelent to a “stanley #4”, the fulton is equivalent to a stanley #5. $150. seems quite high_.(In my opinion). A lot of people THINK that the sole needs to be perfectly flat and smooth. This is NOT so. ! Remove the rust ! Rust will contiue to get bigger and will also leave marks in your work,. If you have all the rust out of the pits, use a wax to coat the bottoms, they will glide along wood just fine. (Mat not look good for display – but is okay for a user) Some planes came out with a corrugated bottom, (grooves cut lengthwise on the sole of the plane)the theory was they pushed easier, less friction ! (I have a few, I cannot honestly say that is true). SO, a few pits should be less friction (lol) The only time I think pits are a concern is on the iron(blade). You cannot sharpen a pitted blade properly ! If those planes were givin to me: I would remove the rust, try to buy the parts , sharpen the irons , maybe give the knobs and totes a little finish, and START planing.
I would be VERY happy if someone gave me a present like this !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4365 days

#10 posted 01-04-2011 04:33 PM

Chris Schwarz, editor of “Popular Woodworking” is the modern guru of handplanes. His new book, “Handplane Essentials” is very informative.

I also do a lot of shopping at Highland. Atlanta is a five hour drive and we get up there 2-3 times per year. Highland of course has very nice, and expensive Hock hand plane irons and chipbreakers. However, they also carry the much less expensive Stanley blades and chip breakers;

While not as good as Hock blades & chip breakers, with a little sharpening and attention to the chipbreaker fit on the back of the blade, they will work just fine.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View mafe's profile


12286 posts in 3693 days

#11 posted 01-04-2011 04:53 PM

Hi there!
NO WAY!!! (unless all needs to be original parts).
You need app 10 dollar for a iron and cap:

The rest is more or less up to you!
They will not be new, but they will probaly be your favorites for life, and they will sure be worth the efford due to their history.

If you want to make them better, you can buy new blades, and caps:

I have promised you to send the lever cap you are missing for free. (send me a mail with adress).

Here are app. all the links you need, so go for it, and ask all the questions you need, what I don’t know I’ll figure out.


Best thoughts my friend,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View mafe's profile


12286 posts in 3693 days

#12 posted 01-04-2011 04:58 PM

Here are a good example of a not ‘over’ restored plane.
Yes I like that guy…
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3380 days

#13 posted 01-04-2011 05:06 PM

For my old planes, I get my parts at flea markets, garage sales, tool shows and the like. As long as you know what you are buying – that is where the books come in handy – you can get very nice cleanable replacement parts for $5.00 – 10.00.

If you are going to spend $150.00 look at Lee Valley or Lie-Nielsen and get a new toy.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3680 days

#14 posted 01-04-2011 08:34 PM

Thanks everyone so much for all the feedback and wealth of information…. This morning i was thinking this is a lost hope and really started doubting the whole project…. I feel so much better about the whole thing now.

I got to admit…. Last night I was taking in an “Information Overload” over the Internet. The one thing i took from all the info was “Buy the best blade money can buy or your plane ain’t going to be worth crap” (OK that is what at least i took it as…lol). Looking back where I heard that from was in fact the very folks selling the blade. I do not doubt one bit a blade can make a plane go from a Pinto to a Porsche, but I was thinking it was a must.

Here is what I was planning on snagging from Highland…

2 screw kits (some screws where buggered up while removing and the depth adjuster & screw where seized up on the Sergeant) $9.99 ea

1 Bench Plane Lever Cap Kit (per one was missing) $13.99

2 Blades (I honestly don’t know what blades to buy but I was looking at hock blades @ $50 a peace. Then I would have to get at least 1 chip breaker) $50 ea blade and $30 cap iron..

So that right there has me up to $164 not including shipping…..

So now I am going to change directions a bit. Truth be told I don’t want these to look like a brand new plane. I want them to show where they came from and the long road it took to get to this point.

I am thinking I will get the 2 screw kits, 2 iron with chipbreaker (as recommended by 8iowa), and 1 lever cap kit. I don’t have an Ebay account and I always worry about buying used things I cant hold in my hand before purchasing.

Another quick question… Since both frogs have the 409 markings do I consider them both #4’s? And with that being said do I simply look for blades that fit #4’s?

I did order The Handplane Book last weekend. On top of that I am currently reading Hand Tool Essentials at the moment (maybe that is why I am getting the bug so bad and becoming a tad impatient…lol). The other factor is my Brides Grandfather is starting to have more bad days compared to good days. I really want to hand him his Dad’s hand tool and see for himself I didn’t let the family down…. Sounds corny, but he is much like me in being a sentimental sap about stuff like this…. it would mean a lot to him seeing them back in working order….

Yet again I’m long winded… Sorry about that…. and thanks again for all the help. I would honestly be lost without my Lumber Jock friends…

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4251 days

#15 posted 01-04-2011 10:05 PM

There’s a fair degree of cross-brand compatibility with old bench planes. In
some parts of the country plane parts are easy to find and cheap at flee
markets. In other parts of the country, ignorant antique dealers over-value
old junk and would rather hold it than sell it.

Back East old planes are common and parts are too. In California, they are
considerably less common and antique dealers over-value what they have.

Hock blades are good quality but they are quite hard and a take some effort
to sharpen. I don’t go out of my way to install premium irons in my bench
planes. I have both Lie Nielsen planes and plane old Bailey’s and I can honestly
say I’m not aggravated by the quality of the steel in the original Bailey planes -
it takes an edge and stays sharp enough for me – and when it gets dull I just
make it sharp again. I don’t mind sharpening and can do it pretty quick.

The soles don’t need to be perfectly flat in my experience. There are some
areas that should be tuned, but you don’t have to obsess about having
a perfectly flat sole on your planes.

There are plane collectors all over the country – and lots of them have been
accumulating random parts for years and years. Ask around your local woodworking
community and you’ll probably locate somebody who has a stash of parts.

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

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