Stanley vs. the other guys....

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Forum topic by Armandhammer posted 01-16-2014 10:29 PM 9171 views 1 time favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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235 posts in 2170 days

01-16-2014 10:29 PM

Here in the US at least, it seems that Stanley planes are the standard (not best, but most common). I assume it’s because there are SO many of them. I’m trying to start my plane collection and of course most classifieds are Stanley and ebay is flooded with them. I have been straying a bit and seeing some others, Millers Falls, Sargent, Record…the prices of these are better but how do they compare in quality? That’s all I’m looking for at the moment is quality tools that will work for me for a long time but I’d also like to save some $$$ if I can.

35 replies so far

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1329 posts in 2479 days

#1 posted 01-16-2014 11:18 PM

I have two miller’s falls and one stanley. I can personally say that I like the stanley better and it seems to be built a little better. That said, I am only comparing 3 planes, but that is my experience.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Armandhammer's profile


235 posts in 2170 days

#2 posted 01-16-2014 11:22 PM

Well, experience is certainly worth a lot. My first plane is being shipped tomorrow and it’s a Stanley No. 5. I still need (want) a No. 4 and No. 7 and a block plane to round out the collection. If I went with other than Stanley brands I could probably save 25%+ but not if it’s at the cost of quality.

Thanks for the post.

View TerryDowning's profile


1124 posts in 2662 days

#3 posted 01-16-2014 11:29 PM

I love my Millers Falls planes
Mine are all the premium line indicted by their respective model numbers.
I have #9 (Stanley 4 size) #14 (Stanley size 5) #22 (Stanley size 7)

a no 75 block plane
a no 07 skew block plane (stanley 140 equal)
a no 85 fillister (Stanley 78)
and the cigar spoke shave.

Easily the equal or better of the Stanley’s from the same time period. (mid 50s mostly, the #22 is world war II era)

-- - Terry

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 4287 days

#4 posted 01-16-2014 11:52 PM

I have a lot of planes go through my shop, so I have had an opportunity to try out planes from many manufacturers . I usually stick to Stanley planes to buy and sell simply because that is what most people want to buy.

The Millers Falls planes with the hinged, three point lever cap are good planes. I have a couple of the No.9 planes in my collection. They are fairly easy to get set up and work very well. A good solid feel. The No.9 is the same size as a Stanley No4.

The V&B (Vaughan & Bushnell) drop forged are also good planes. The drop forged base is said to be less likely to crack if dropped on a hard surface. The frog and frog receiver is a ramped type setup with a lot of surface contact area. The side edges of the frog receiver are raised up and fit into cutouts in the bottom of the frog helping to keep the frog square to the mouth.

I have tried a few Sargent planes and the ones I have used are about comparable to Stanleys. The Sargent planes seem to be a little heavier, more stoutly built.

Some Craftsman planes are good users. The ones that I have tried and liked were made by Sargent. The problem with Craftsman is it is sometimes hard to tell who actually manufactured the plane.

Dunlap was a Sears economy plane. The ones I have used have been difficult to set up to work well. I would stay away from the Dunlap bench planes. Some of the Dunlap block planes seem to be okay.

Fulton is another ‘value’ line from Sears(?). Haven’t used one of them that was worth keeping.

Union planes are hit or miss. They made a good plane but about half of the ones that I have come across were frankenplanes with miss-matched parts. If they have all the correct parts they work as well as the Stanleys.

I tried three or four Shelton planes. They were to fussy to get working right, although they worked good if you did. Same thing with Goodall.

These are all just my opinions based on limited experience. YMMV

-- Mark

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2438 days

#5 posted 01-17-2014 12:01 AM

I own two MFs – block (Stanley 120) and the #4 equivalent. I love the bench plane, use it all the time but I had to add a Hock chipbreaker because the one it came with was messed up. Like Mark said, it’s a three point lever cap. No question, it’s of comparable quality to my best Stanleys. Only reason I don’t use the block that much is because I bought a 9 1/2, which is more versatile and comfortable. But the MF block looks very cool restored and is great for quick, no-nonsense stuff.

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 3177 days

#6 posted 01-17-2014 12:09 AM

I have a Stanley #5 and a Record Block plane.
Both are of comparably good quality. I like the blue paint on the Record plane better :)

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3220 days

#7 posted 01-17-2014 01:25 AM

Check out – Hand plane 101 – Stanley bench plane type study

I collected for along time without really knowing what I was buying – if it looked cool and I didn’t have one, I bought it. fortunately dumb luck would have it..I did OK.

But, man, If I only knew…, who the hell keeps the box?

Once you research the history of Stanley, you will learn the History of all the other planes, many of which were consumed by Stanley in a fine example of capitalism and by one of the giants of industry…. a fascinating story.

I thought so anyway. Sure makes collecting more fun when you can see a plane from 4 ft. away sitting on a table at a garage sale and know what type it probably is and what it’s worth. then try and not let them see you drool on it while you make the deal. Ha!

As a collector I would also avoid the Stanley handyman, corsair, great neck, buck bros, sears, new Stanley planes

I also have a tradition: I try to buy one new Lie Nielsen plane every Christmas, from Santa of course.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4192 days

#8 posted 01-17-2014 01:56 AM

If you are finding Record planes for lower prices than Baileys,
buy them. They are a little nicer in general, imo… a little

UK made Baileys are a little heavier too.

I’ve never handled one but the Vaughn and Bushnell
mentioned above look like nice planes and perhaps

View Armandhammer's profile


235 posts in 2170 days

#9 posted 01-17-2014 02:25 AM

I saw a few records and the prices seemed a little lower or the same as the Stanleys…but they were on ebay with no bids. Didn’t seem to be much interest in them. Perhaps closer to the end of the auction the price goes up with bids…I don’t know. I’ll keep an eye on them though and try to do some research to see what’s what. There’s just so many brand and models and types that it’s really hard to keep up with, especially trying to figure it all out at once. I may just stay with Stanley since that’s what I’ve been researching the most up to this point so I’m a little more comfortable figuring out what they are from pictures. Still unsure on appropriate values. Once I get a few users in the shop I can start branching out to see what else is out there that I can add to the collection.

View knotscott's profile


8343 posts in 3920 days

#10 posted 01-17-2014 10:10 AM

I’ve had quite a few Baileys, Millers Falls, and Records. The overall quality depends a lot on the era they were made. Overall, I tend to prefer the older MF and Record planes….partly because I like the colors, partly because they’re different, and partly because the older ones also feel a bit heftier to me. I even sold my Bedrock plane because it fetches enough money, that I was able to buy a much larger Record plane with the proceeds. The Sargent VBM is right up there too. They’re all capable of being very nice planes… recognition is a big deal in the market place, but less important in the shop. Buy what you like the feel of in your hands.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View cavemancrafting's profile


6 posts in 1129 days

#11 posted 08-11-2017 08:06 AM

I have both Stanley and Sargent lineup. Personally, I grab my Sargents before I do my Stanleys. I like the thick irons and I’m not particular about having the frog adjuster. I usually set my frog and leave it. The casitngs on my Sargents just feel better. They are thicker, heavier and seem to push easier. That being said, i like Stanley totes better. Ive been spinning my own knobs for a while now so thats not a good comparison. All in all I like Sargent better than Stanley. Plus the fact that they are not as desireable as Stanley keeps the price reasonable.

-- Might as well enjoy the ride

View Don W's profile

Don W

19372 posts in 3112 days

#12 posted 08-11-2017 08:58 PM

I’ve restored a lot of hand planes. The first thing I do after whatever cleanup and or Restoration is needed is sharpen them and try them.

If you buy a Stanley-Bailey, the scenario will typically look like this.
Flatten the sole.
Flatten the frog.
Make sure the frog seats properly
Flatten the back of the iron. This can mean anything from several minutes on the course stone to a ball peen hammer and or a belt sander.

Find a type 4 or type 5 sargent it means
Flatten the back of the iron. Usually about 10 minutes or less.
Use it.

Type 6 sargent. See Stanley list.

Millers Falls. The back of the irons are typically not as bad as the stanley. And the soles are flatter. I’ve heard type 2&3 are the best, but will need to research more Millers Falls planes.

Early craftsman are the same as who manufactured them probably until about 1940ish, then we see a decline faster than the makers models.

V&B I haven’t found enough to comment.

Comparing tolerances in manufacturing you’ll fine the only maker close (and they’re pretty close) to a modern LN is the type 5 sargent and earlier.

That’s my 2 cents worth.

Edit: FYI this is an excerpt from a blog post I hope to post soon on TTT

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

View TaySC's profile


270 posts in 877 days

#13 posted 08-11-2017 09:22 PM

What is a Sargent 409 hand plane?

Think I found the answer. One ad said it was equivalent to the Stanley #4.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19372 posts in 3112 days

#14 posted 08-11-2017 10:33 PM

What is a Sargent 409 hand plane?

Think I found the answer. One ad said it was equivalent to the Stanley #4.

- TaySC

That is correct.

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

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2030 days

#15 posted 08-11-2017 11:37 PM

Millers falls made really good planes.

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

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