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Forum topic by DevinT posted 03-30-2021 05:49 PM 823 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DevinT

699 posts in 44 days


03-30-2021 05:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mystery question plane blade research

I bought a 2 5/8” Stanley No 8 (type 11; “V” logo) blade on eBay for my Stanley No 8 (also type 11).

However, there is something unique about it that I have never seen before.


Did you see it?

What? What is that “H” on the blade? I know that there were some “H” planes sold in other countries (not sold in the US? I’ve seen suggestion on the Internet that they also never appeared in any catalogues), like this 4 1/2 H heavy smoothing plane:

Or this Rare Stanley 5 1/2 H heavy jack plane that sold at auction.

I have only ever seen a 4 1/2 H and a 5 1/2 H, let alone an 8 H on the off-chance that H planes had H blades. I have never seen any other “H” labeled planes besides those 2 models.

I found, I’m not the only one that has come into contact with this type of blade:

Comment #2 by Aj2 on Leonard Bailey sticks it to Stanley the story

Reads: “I have a Bailey bench plane with a chunk missing near the rear tote and H on the blade that’s a mystery.”

It was suggested by Aj2 that:

“I think you could be right the plane is probably 200 years old and they did have a lot of horses back then. It wouldn’t surprise me if they used horse manure fires to heat and temper blades. [clip]”

I think there may be some truth in that. From the “History of Quenching” by D. Scott Mackenzie, it was in 16th-17th century Europe that Giambattista della Porta (ca. 1535-1615) described in his books “Natural Magic” the process of quenching steel:

“If you quench red hot iron in distilled vinegar, it will grow hard. The same will happen, if you do it into distilled urine, by reason of the salt it contains in it. If you temper it with dew, that in the month of May is found on vetches leaves, it will grow most hard. For what is collected above them, is salt, as I taught elsewhere out of Theophrastus. Vinegar, in which Salt Ammoniac is dissolved, will make a most strong temper. But if you temper Iron with Salt of Urine and Saltpeter dissolved in water, it will be very hard. Or if you powder Saltpeter and Salt Ammoniac, and shut them up in a glass vessel with a long neck, in dung, or moist places, till they resolve into water, and quench the red hot Iron in the water, you shall do better. Also Iron dipped into a Liquor of Quicklime, and Salt of Soda purified with a Sponge, will become extreme hard. All these are excellent things, and will do the work.”

However, I do not think this was the method that was used as it was several hundred years earlier in Europe. Rather, I think we should be looking into Cyril Stanley Smith—of no relation to Stanley hand planes—whom authored “A History of Matallography. The Development of Ideas of the Structure of Metals before 1890.” He himself is too young to have influenced the creation of my particular H on the blade, since I know based on the type-11 “V” logo that the blade is ca. 1910-1918. However, in his book he documents late 19th century American quenchants.

C.S. Smith described urine, water and solubilized animal fats, and whale oil as quenching mediums.

I do think the “H” means hardened, but it’s anyones guess as to how it was tempered.

My current theory is that, based on the book “History of Quenching” is that my blade was made in a pre-technological era when natural materials were still very much a part of the quenching process and methods varied widely. I do think that these blades were processed differently than non “H” blades, and I have to question their composition as to whether they contained different elements in an alloy composition (Vanadium, Chrome, and steel perhaps?).

If anyone has any additional information, I’m definitely looking.

-- Devin, SF, CA


27 replies so far

View SMP's profile

SMP

3937 posts in 983 days


#1 posted 03-30-2021 06:05 PM

The planes H i believe were “heavy duty.” The irons i have seen quite a few with H

View DevinT's profile

DevinT

699 posts in 44 days


#2 posted 03-30-2021 06:08 PM

What sizes have you seen the H blades in?

-- Devin, SF, CA

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

2770 posts in 2053 days


#3 posted 03-30-2021 07:21 PM

I have had a few irons with letters stamped. Can’t remember which letters though. I just figured it was either a owner stamp or another one of those Stanley random stamps.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20049 posts in 3645 days


#4 posted 03-30-2021 09:13 PM

i’ve seen letters stamped on the back. For a time there was a number that meant the quarter of the year (1-4) and the year it was made. I think the letter is just a foundry stamp of some sort, but i could be wrong.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View DevinT's profile

DevinT

699 posts in 44 days


#5 posted 03-30-2021 09:29 PM

Hmm, like the D on a penny to say it was made in Denver mint

-- Devin, SF, CA

View SMP's profile

SMP

3937 posts in 983 days


#6 posted 03-30-2021 09:33 PM


Hmm, like the D on a penny to say it was made in Denver mint

- DevinT

Well the bodies I think are what S and B ? For the foundries. I took a look at some of my irons, 1 H, 1 O, another that had a number, something like 3663, and another that looks like it had a circle punch punched into it(when I first saw the O i guessed it was oil quenched). I don’t want to take my irons out of my main user planes as they are set nicely. Lol

View DevinT's profile

DevinT

699 posts in 44 days


#7 posted 03-31-2021 04:54 PM

SMP, thanks for taking a look. The mystery continues.

-- Devin, SF, CA

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1859 posts in 2726 days


#8 posted 03-31-2021 06:34 PM

I guess for collectors it matters. Personally, all my irons say “Hoch” on them. :)

View DevinT's profile

DevinT

699 posts in 44 days


#9 posted 05-01-2021 01:53 PM

The mystery has been solved!

So it turns out that the H means Heavy and was stamped onto laminated blades. This is according to an old-timer at a local senior center that I was walking by and struck up a conversation with. I do love picking folks brains, especially from the wise and experienced.

Story goes that not all blades in the Type 11 era were laminated. I looked a little closer and sure enough my H blade is laminated while my non-H blade is not. This explains why the H blade out-performed my Veritas No 4 smoothing plane with PM-V11 blade when pitted against each other in a side-by-side test. The H blade produced thinner, more consistent shavings with less effort.

I am ecstatic that the mystery has been solved.

-- Devin, SF, CA

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1703 posts in 804 days


#10 posted 05-01-2021 01:58 PM

OK, well I guess there not from Houston then….

View DevinT's profile

DevinT

699 posts in 44 days


#11 posted 05-01-2021 02:03 PM

LeeRoyMan, it’s possible the H is not connected with the fact it is laminated and that laminated blades out-perform non-laminated blades from the same era of the same thickness.

Was Houston significantly involved in the manufacturing of [laminated] plane blades for Stanley in 1910-1915 or something?

-- Devin, SF, CA

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1703 posts in 804 days


#12 posted 05-01-2021 02:47 PM



LeeRoyMan, it’s possible the H is not connected with the fact it is laminated and that laminated blades out-perform non-laminated blades from the same era of the same thickness.

Was Houston significantly involved in the manufacturing of [laminated] plane blades for Stanley in 1910-1915 or something?

- DevinT


It’s my dry since of humor.
I have no idea,
Pretty much know nothing about hand planes….

View Andre's profile

Andre

4506 posts in 2883 days


#13 posted 05-01-2021 03:24 PM

All my user are etched not stamped, PMV-11 :)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Andre's profile

Andre

4506 posts in 2883 days


#14 posted 05-01-2021 03:28 PM

So it turns out that the H means Heavy and was stamped onto laminated blades. This is according to an old-timer at a local senior center that I was walking by and struck up a conversation with. I do love picking folks brains, especially from the wise and experienced.

Pickin is fine just don’t and start Picklin, unless Bourbon or Scotch is involved?
Speaking for my self, lots of old folks here the Wise, well that needs some debate:)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3826 posts in 2875 days


#15 posted 05-01-2021 04:46 PM


The mystery has been solved!

So it turns out that the H means Heavy and was stamped onto laminated blades. This is according to an old-timer at a local senior center that I was walking by and struck up a conversation with. I do love picking folks brains, especially from the wise and experienced.

Story goes that not all blades in the Type 11 era were laminated. I looked a little closer and sure enough my H blade is laminated while my non-H blade is not. This explains why the H blade out-performed my Veritas No 4 smoothing plane with PM-V11 blade when pitted against each other in a side-by-side test. The H blade produced thinner, more consistent shavings with less effort.

I am ecstatic that the mystery has been solved.

- DevinT

Just curious Are you able to see the lamination.?
I can’t see any maybe it’s super thin. I do like the steel it takes a very keep edge.
My only complaint it’s so thin just over a 1/16 thick.

I still have my blade
Good luck

-- Aj

showing 1 through 15 of 27 replies

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