Vintage Hand Planes OTHER Than Stanley

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Forum topic by CRAIGCLICK posted 04-24-2018 03:32 PM 2058 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CRAIGCLICK's profile


117 posts in 675 days

04-24-2018 03:32 PM

SO I’ve been looking at a lot of hand planes. I’m seeing a lot of them on Ebay from companies like Millers Falls, Sargent, Dunlap, and Craftsman.

I am, by no means, a collector…so value is really of no concern to me. I just want 2 or 3 decent planes that will give me good results with minimal setup (provided they are in good condition when I get them).

I’ve looked on, and I’m seeing a lot about Stanley and Millers Falls…but not much else (maybe I’m missing it).

Any thoughts on these planes from other manufacturers?

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

13 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5242 posts in 4562 days

#1 posted 04-24-2018 04:36 PM

Lots of good planes out there. Millers Falls is a great brand.
Stanley made a bunch of private labels (Craftsman, etc.).
Why not Stanley? They are plentiful, and relatively inexpensive.

-- [email protected]

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4250 days

#2 posted 04-24-2018 04:38 PM

I think the Bailey patents were expiring by the 1920s
and other manufacturers adopted the Bailey system
more. If you look at 19th century planes you’ll
find all sorts of wacky adjustment schemes. Stanley
consolidated the market and I think with a few
exceptions the other companies competed by
offering similar planes at lower prices.

Vaughn and Bushnell made some good planes,
though I’ve never handled one. Record planes are
good too – I think they went head to head with
Stanley and even kept some finer models in
production long after Stanley gave up on most
of the specialized planes.

I’m just talking about American and English planes
here. There’s a whole world of planes made
by foundries around the world at various times.

View mel52's profile


1181 posts in 867 days

#3 posted 04-24-2018 05:35 PM

I am starting to get a small collection of Miller Falls planes. Some I had to refurbish and some came ready to use. Got all mine from flea markets, estate sales and the like.

-- MEL, Kansas

View CRAIGCLICK's profile


117 posts in 675 days

#4 posted 04-24-2018 05:40 PM

Thanks guys. The only reason I ask is that the Stanley planes seem to fetch more money than the others on ebay. I can’t seem to find any planes at all locally.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2597 days

#5 posted 04-24-2018 05:42 PM

The Dunlap planes can be fine, but the ones o have seen lack some of the refinements of the Stanley’s. Such as no frog adjustment screw. My brother has a no 4 size and it works fine. Just harder to adjust the frog, but how often do you do that anyway?

Others you might see are Wards Master, some of which were Stanley made. They are generally pretty good. I have a no 3 that performs great.

Winchester is a highly sought after brand because of the name. I don’t think they actually made any themselves, I think they are all made by Stanley or sargent. I have seen bedrock style winchesters and bailey style as well.

Sargent planes are good options. They were a Stanley contemporary.

Keen Kutter K series are a clone of early bedrock planes, and the KK series are bailey clones. I do not have one but they seem decent from what I have read.

I have a Record No 4 1/2 from England. I can see where the design is different from a Stanley, such as the way the frog mates to the bed, but functionally it is equivalent.

Watch out for the no name planes. They can be fine, but many have inferior castings, adjustment mechanisms and folded steel frogs. Stay away from those.

Really a good thing to do is look at a Stanley type study page. Several are linked from you can get an idea of how the Stanley’s were made and changed over the years. Once you have a general idea of that you can often just look at pictures of various planes on Ebay and see if they are built to a similar quality of a Stanley, or have features left off to save money. Of course, there could be something wrong with that particular plane, but you can at least rule out the brands that have the cheap frogs or depth adjustments right away.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View HokieKen's profile


11983 posts in 1740 days

#6 posted 04-24-2018 07:20 PM

I’m a big fan of Millers Falls planes. They also made some of Craftsman and Dunlap planes. I also have Stanleys and Record planes both of which perform well.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View BlasterStumps's profile


1494 posts in 1041 days

#7 posted 04-24-2018 07:35 PM

I think a big part of making a plane a good user is how you set it up and sharpen the cutter. Even some of the cheaper models will work if you spend enough time on them. I cut my teeth so-to-speak on some of the planes you mentioned. Glad I did, I now am far more comfortable in my abilities to fettle a plane.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Woodknack's profile


13002 posts in 2982 days

#8 posted 04-24-2018 08:30 PM

On some the adjustment screw is right hand, on other brands it’s left hand, to keep them all the same.

-- Rick M,

View corelz125's profile


984 posts in 1578 days

#9 posted 04-24-2018 08:55 PM

you can find sargents most of the time cheaper than the stanleys. since you mentioned you read Dons site he has nothing but good things to say about sargents. I have a couple of sargents but havent had the time to get them work ways yet.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19420 posts in 3170 days

#10 posted 04-30-2018 10:35 AM

Almost every manufacturer made a good plane and almost every manufacturer made a not so good plane. The trick is knowing the difference despite the name. Stanley made more planes than anyone else. The name is known. It doesn’t make them better, just better known.

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

View Noskcaj's profile


23 posts in 886 days

#11 posted 05-01-2018 02:40 AM

Good answer Don. For instance, I have a. Craftsman no 5 plane that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It’s just plain smooth and perfect shavings. But it’s of an older vintage and I took the time to tune it up. When you pick up a quality plane in good shape you just can feel it.
Anyway my 2cents
Rick j

View Conejo77's profile


1 post in 550 days

#12 posted 12-18-2018 11:26 PM

I have been given an old hand plane that I am unable to identify and missing parts. The body measures 2 7/16 in. wide and 9 3/8 in toe to heel. The only markings on it are “Made in USA” just behind the forward handle and the number C73 stamped on the base where the frog mounts. The iron is just a hair over 6 3/4 in by 2 in. it also has stamped on the end “Made in USA” Any idea what make she is also I’m missing the forward handle and the screw that attaches the chip breaker to the iron. Any help would be greatly appreciated

Thank you

-- Randy

View KYtoolsmith's profile


108 posts in 462 days

#13 posted 12-19-2018 03:17 PM

I’ve been collecting, using and refurbishing hand planes for quite a few years. I fully agree with all the above on brands other than Stanley. Sargent, Miller Falls, Marsh, Siegley and others made excellent tools. The Craftsman, Fulton, Keen Kutter, Bluegrass, lines were relabeled Stanley’s or Sargent’s. As to buying on flea bay, most sellers seem to think that just because it has Stanley on it, it’s worth more… Not true! As was said above, even Stanley made inexpensive, poorly machined planes, their Handyman and Foursquare lines are not even close to a Bailey or Bedrock in quality of frog to bed fit, adjustment or even the shape and wood used for the tote and knob. I refurbish and resell (not on fleabay) primarily Stanley’s Bailey line of bench planes simply because I can readily find junk Bailey’s for replacement parts. I’m not sure where you’re located, but I seem to find planes in every flea market, junk store and yard sale… It’s gotten to the point that I spot a cheesy place a mile away and don’t bother to pick it up… Even a Bailey has to be in pretty good shape for me to buy it. Rule 1, never buy a broken tool!
My $.02…
Regards, The Kentucky Toolsmith

-- "Good enough" is just another way of saying "it could be better"...

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