Craftsman Planes

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Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 05-31-2008 04:08 AM 5110 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2104 posts in 4212 days

05-31-2008 04:08 AM

I know that there is a stron opinoin about getting old planes and fixing them up, rather than buying the modern day versions of these tools. (veritas planes excluded). I’d still like to get people’s opionion on the craftsman planes though, particularly this set:

I know most people aren’t big fans of craftsman here, but I’m having trouble with finding good deals on ebay and I really can’t afford a handplane that costs more than my table saw. I think I know the answer that I’m going to get, but I’m going to ask anyway.

11 replies so far

View bryano's profile


546 posts in 4417 days

#1 posted 05-31-2008 04:34 AM

those are some nice looking planes. Though youre right about some of us not being fans of newer craftsman tools. You might try a flee market. I bought the same sizes A bailey and two sargents for 35$ and they did not need any refurbishing. they are good users in my shop.

-- bryano

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4228 days

#2 posted 05-31-2008 04:43 AM

These are Chinese made tools. I don’t know much about them. That’s a lower price than McFeely’s, who now carries Footprint tools. Their price is $106 for the set. Bryano is right, if you look around you can find good buys on good used tools. I’ve bought several planes off of Ebay in the past and they have been fine. Just give them the normal tune up you would have to if you buy them new. Don’t just stick to the Stanley’s. Ebay usually has Miller Falls, Sargent, Dunlap, even old Craftsman planes that are good deals.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4212 days

#3 posted 05-31-2008 04:54 AM

How old do you think I’d need to go for them to be decent quality? Did they all turn bad around the same time?

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4358 days

#4 posted 06-02-2008 12:05 AM

Don’t waste your money on cheap tools just because they are new and shiny. The old stuff is WAY better quality. Just keep looking. They are actually pretty common if you know where to look. And don’t pay antique dealer prices either. Antique prices are for dumb rich people who want to decorate their house (for the most part). You can find the same thing for much less at flea markets, yard sales, internet, etc.

Check this out.

-- Happy woodworking!

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4212 days

#5 posted 06-02-2008 12:58 AM

Well, I’m trying. I went to 2 flee markets this weekend. Paid $2 getting in and spent about $10 on gas driving to them and back. Unfortunately, no luck. In fact, I didn’t even find anything close to what I was looking for. They did have lots of power tools, but they all looked to have been used pretty hard and I already had most of the tools that they were carrying so no accidental finds. Obviouslly I can’ keep going back and forth, and these are the only real flea markets in the area. I’m not giving up, I’m just running out of ideas.

I’m going to try to check the yellow pages fora used tool store near me.

Thanks everyone for the help!

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4581 days

#6 posted 06-02-2008 04:25 AM

I would also check local antique malls. Sometimes you find a deal on a plane there. Antique street fairs can often yeild a deal as well. Relative to spending ~$80 on the set of 3 planes. I would suggest buying a LV block plane. I think you will be happier in the long run.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 4446 days

#7 posted 06-02-2008 07:42 PM

I don’t know where you live, but antique stores and antique tool stores are in tourist locations like for instance, Marietta, OH, Sandusky, OH, Cameron, NC, Sanford NC. Check local antique stores and they can point you in the right direction. This also can become a day trip because us ladies also like looking at antiques. Full fun day! :)

-- Berta in NC

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4212 days

#8 posted 09-24-2008 11:05 PM

I feel like I’m monopolizing the forums lately with plane questions, but I’m trying to limit them to a couple applicable threads. My follow up question to this thread is, if I buy older planes, are any of the pre-war planes better than post war? Did quality improve up until a certain point and then take a nose dive (making newer old planes, better than older new planse?)? Just some follow up questions. Thanks!

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 4157 days

#9 posted 09-25-2008 04:39 AM

Where are you located? Someone might be able to point to in the right direction.

View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 4038 days

#10 posted 09-25-2008 06:29 AM

Try estate sales and craigslist. Estate sales are where I get most of my hand tools… they’re dirt cheap and a lot of times, they are very high quality.
I do have several planes that I gave away to friends, these were mostly stanleys and grogs (I think that was the name… the cheap planes at Rockler) I kept my veritas plane and the biggest difference I found between the high end planes and the lower end ones was the amount of time I spent tuning them in…. flattenning the sole, sharpening the blade, and flattening all parts that come in contact with the blade. The grog was especially bad… had a lot of chatter… they took almost a full day of tuning to get them to cut well.
Another difference was the thickness and quality of all the parts. I think the stanley was a very good compromise… not too expensive and the parts seem to be pretty good but required some work. I don’t have experience with the craftsman planes.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4131 days

#11 posted 09-25-2008 03:00 PM

Those Sears planes are by Footprint – a Sheffield company which I think
has belonged to Record for awhile. Record makes pretty good quality
planes, comparable to British-made Stanley planes which have heavier
castings today than the ones available in the States.

I’ve never likes the idea of using a plane with a plastic tote… just gives
me the willies. It’s notable that older Stanley planes, and other brands too,
features nicely made Rosewood knobs and totes.

I guess at one time planes were always common at yard sales… but these
days people collect more than they need and the average homeowner
doesn’t know how to use one – so a tool that was once a workhorse on
every homestead is now fairly obscure and many carpenters don’t actually
know how to maintain them.

Regarding Pre-war/post-war planes... I have run across a lot of SW planes –
these were made by Stanley for a couple of decades so there are a lot of them -
called “Sweetheart” era planes. Some collectors specialize in this period
but the truth is the planes are so plentiful that mostly they’ll sell for less
than half what you would pay for a newer, generally inferior Stanley plane.

Identifying and dating bench planes – #3 through #8’s – is a game because the
differences are subtle… yet as long as the plane has a cast-iron machined
frog you’ll be okay generally. Some “handyman” planes by Craftsman and
Miller Falls have a folded sheet metal frog. I would avoid those in general -
they are both common and cheaply made.

Some tool brands that are sort of poor quality today, like Buck Brothers,
made some really fine stuff in the old days – so just keep your eyes open.
One time I went to an estate sale in California and the old fellow had passed
on and he’d had a pattern shop. I got some beautiful crank-necked chisels
and other unusual tools – though as I recall the planes got snapped up
by less discerning buyers who didn’t take the time to assess the smaller

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