How can I improve this block plane

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Forum topic by jtrz posted 12-03-2017 04:32 AM 1198 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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174 posts in 1951 days

12-03-2017 04:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane question

Found this at my great uncles after he passed. I can’t afford to get a high quality plane at the moment so hoping you all can aid me in tweaking this one to improve it’s performance. It’s a stanley and I think it is a part of the handyman or handymade collection whenver they made those. It’s 6 1/2” x 2”

So what do you think? Can I get this thing into good enough shape to get me by until the big bucks start rolling in?


-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

9 replies so far

View Andre's profile


3568 posts in 2584 days

#1 posted 12-03-2017 06:31 AM

Short answer is sure, but do not expect to make shavings in the 1/1000 range. flatten the bottom , sharpen the iron and use it.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2264 days

#2 posted 12-03-2017 07:18 AM

Pretty much.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View fuigb's profile


583 posts in 3735 days

#3 posted 12-03-2017 01:35 PM

IMO… educate yourself about old planes (e.g. “Blood and Gore” for the history of Stanley) and then troll estate sales, flea markets, and consignment stores for low-cost winners. If you even sorta know what to look for and where to do it you’ll eventually find damn good tools for $20 or less. Knowledge, patience, work ethic, and a ten dollar bill are enough to get you you set up with literally the cat’s ass of block planes.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16714 posts in 3396 days

#4 posted 12-03-2017 04:54 PM

As it’s said, ‘sharp fixes everything.’ In other words, make the cutter as sharp as you know how and the plane will work to the best of its’ ability. It lacks fine adjuster mechanisms, so fettling is trial and error (taps, check cut, more taps, check, etc. etc.). And once it’s set, leave it there.

Good luck!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16714 posts in 3396 days

#5 posted 12-04-2017 02:30 AM


-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View AESamuel's profile


105 posts in 2000 days

#6 posted 12-07-2017 08:28 PM

All I would do to that is flatten the sole, remove the rust, and get that blade nice and sharp; anything else would be pure aesthetics.

Key with planes like that is not to try and adjust the blade with your fingers, it will only end in frustration. Use a 4oz hammer with light taps to adjust the blade in, and side to side.

View Bill_Steele's profile


708 posts in 2509 days

#7 posted 12-07-2017 09:44 PM

I have a block plane very similar to this (see below). It really does work well if it is sharp and adjusted correctly. I can get fairly thin shavings—thin enough to read through.

I adjust it by first getting it close, and then with light tension on the iron, just tap the heel or the toe on the work bench to adjust the projection of the iron.

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

495 posts in 4746 days

#8 posted 12-15-2017 02:58 PM

There is more you can do.

These block planes have enormous mouths, which makes it difficult to set the blade for a fine cut.

To close up the mouth, you need to build up the floor behind the mouth. This will raise the section upon which the blade rests. I have done this to a LN #103 using brass shim, here …

Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

View jtrz's profile


174 posts in 1951 days

#9 posted 12-27-2017 12:24 AM

Thanks for all of the tips everyone! Sorry I am so late in replying.

I did a little bit of cleaning, sharpening, rust removal and gave it a go and it work pretty well. I decided against going into a more in depth refurbishing for now though I may to a more in depth sharpening of the iron.

In the meantime I found a few treasures at my grandfathers house that he let me have. Needless to say I am super excited.

Stanley Bailey #5 Jack plane

Stanley Bailey #6C Fore Plane

A Miller Falls I think no. 9 smoother.

Not sure about this one but I think it’s a smoothing plane of some kind. I’ll know more after I clean it up a bit.

Some more block planes. I don’t see any markings but I haven’t looked to hard at them yet.

I asked my grandfather when he bought these and he said they were his father’s so I am thinking a lot of these are from the 30’s. I am going to start a new topic to talk about these new additions sometime soon.

Thanks guys

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

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