Bevel up on a #4 Stanley?

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Forum topic by Truck11 posted 03-13-2012 05:07 PM 2590 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 3383 days

03-13-2012 05:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip

I needed a decent smoothing plane, but couldn’t afford the ECE Primus #711 or Veritas Low-angle smoother I want, so I took the (recently sharpened) blade out of my Lowes-bought, $20 #4 Stanley and flipped it upside down, thus making it a bevel-up plane. Adjusted the frog for a nice, tight mouth and left the chip-breaker in place, just on the reverse side of the blade.
So far, works pretty well.
Any thoughts? Suggestions? Am I ruining my plane (not that it really matters, since I will make a quality smoother purchase soon.)

8 replies so far

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 3964 days

#1 posted 03-13-2012 06:37 PM

This sounds like it’d be the equivalent of having a high-angled frog on your plane. Depending on the angle your bevel is on the iron, you’re essentially coming at the wood with a 60 to 60 degree iron. Haven’t tried it myself, but sounds interesting. Does the blade chatter? I doubt this would ruin the plane, but probably not operate as well as a true bevel up would.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 3461 days

#2 posted 03-13-2012 06:49 PM

The plane you speak of is not a Bailey type #4, but has the blade adjustment similar to the common Stanley spokeshave (sorry, model # slips my mind), correct?

I also don’t believe it has a chip-breaker (cap iron).

While you crtainly won’t hurt it, I think you would benefit greatly just by swapping to a good old Stanley #4 Bailey type plane. It’s a much better built plane in reality, and even in stock form will likely perform better than your upside-down blade plane.

Where as that plane you have doesn’t have the Bailey adjuster, but instead the knobs at the top of the blade, you may be able to fashion a small wedge from a solid hardwood to fit behind the blade to make a high-angle frog of sorts. I’m not sure if it would even work, just a thought.

If you’re happy with your plane how it is, use it.

If you aren’t doing huge panels, a standard angle #9-1/2 Stanley block plane with a 35 degree bevel will make a good high-angle smoother for smaller pieces. Works really well to be honest.

Good luck, and good job on the creativity! One of the best qualities a person can have is creativity and not being afraid to try new things, even if they’re not “normal”.

-- Kenny

View Don W's profile

Don W

19893 posts in 3581 days

#3 posted 03-13-2012 06:56 PM

I would think this would cause more of a scraping action than a planing action. Its not going to hurt, but it will change the cutting angle. It should work better for some task and not as well for others.

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5343 posts in 4973 days

#4 posted 03-13-2012 07:16 PM

My #4 is bevel down, and can scare me with the shavings. Really a SMOOTHING plane.
If your plane works well for ya, don’t argue.

-- [email protected]

View bandit571's profile (online now)


27879 posts in 3696 days

#5 posted 03-13-2012 07:33 PM

I have that H-F #33. I run it both as a bevel up, and a bevel down. Blade is nice and thick as well. And, for about $9….......

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Truck11's profile


7 posts in 3383 days

#6 posted 03-14-2012 06:43 PM

Actually it is a Stanley model #4. I know the model you’re talking about with the spokeshave-type adjustments, and yes, they do often sell that one at lowes (I actually have that model gathering dust on my pegboard because it has never worked well) but this is a bailey-type with a cap iron.
I have noticed far less (almost zero) chatter, especially when compared to its performance with the bevel down.
I’m using it as something between a scraping plane and a smoother, downhill grain on small boards. It’s working better than I expected. It’s not a Primus or a Veritas smoother, but it’ll do until…..
For larger work, I have a Woodriver #6 Fore plane that I am very happy with.
This is not my first frankentool, nor do I expect it to be my last. I was just shocked and surprised at how well it works – especially for such a simple fix.
Thanks for the kind words and feedback.

View thebenchdogs's profile


9 posts in 3279 days

#7 posted 03-15-2012 01:01 PM

As long as it works, that is all that matters. Sometimes thinking “outside the box” creates some really good alternatives. Just like when it comes to sharpening. There are so many different ways to sharpening plane irons and chisels, and as long as the method you use works, that is all that matters. Good luck.

-- Scott

View PatPollin's profile


11 posts in 3295 days

#8 posted 03-19-2012 10:45 PM

The high cutting angle should give you an advantage getting clean shavings on difficult grain patterns thanks to the scraping effect the previous poster mentioned. This breaks the fibers closer to the blade edge instead of allowing them to tear up. The Lee valley catalog has a good diagram of this but I can’t find a link to it online.

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