The Stanley 92

Was in Woodcraft today. Had been thinking about a shoulder plane for a while. Didn't really want to spend for a Lie-Nielsen and would like to see the Veritas before buying, so I was on the fence. Well, they didn't have a Lie-Nielsen medium, but they did have, sitting on its price tag, a Stanley 92. Well, I'd read Very Bad Things about the current production 92s but I decided to take a look at it anyway. Didn't look too bad, seemed square and flat anyway, didn't expect it to come sharp (I don't expect _anything_ but razor blades to come sharp, and 5 years back I started using a straight razor so I guess I don't trust _them_ anymore). So, first step, chuck a piece of 2x4 in the vise and see what happens. Basically nothing much. The edge of the throat cuts better than the iron. Well, that's expected. So, flatten and sharpen the iron. Few minutes on the diamond plates, then go to the black Arkansas and strop and it's happy. Next, flatten the sole--took a while on the coarse diamond plate--turns out that the two sections weren't quite in the same plane--close, but not quite, but got it done.
So, put it together and see how it cuts. Turns out it cuts fine, on one corner of the iron, with all the adjustment in the opposite direction used up. Not good. So, did I screw up the iron while I was sharpening? Thickness is uniform as close as I can measure, edge is square, that's not it. How about the sole? No, seems to be square with the edges. So, on this plane the ramp is easily accessible--is it not quite parallel to the sole? Set the ramp on the medium diamond plate and put pressure on what would have to be the high side and see what happens. Well, turns out the ramp isn't flat, so this is a worthwhile exercise regardless. Give it about 30 strokes, reassemble, and see what happens. Better, not perfect. 30 more and I can get a uniform shaving with all the adjustment used up. 30 more and it seems OK. Meanwhile I've cut quite a sizeable little rabbet in my piece of 2x4.
Tear it down again, clean it, wax the sole, put it back together and it's done.
So now I've got a nice little shoulder plane, 50 more bucks in my pocket than I would have had if I'd gotten the Veritas, and I got my workout for today. So it's a win all around.
Shame Stanley can't get their quality up, but I guess they'd have to charge as much as the others.
Had hoped to get the pattern vise mounted, but it didn't happen, that's for tomorrow I guess. When that's in the bench with neither me, the bench, nor the vise broken, I'll be a much happier camper. I can tell already though that I'm going to need to build a heavier bench at some point.
-- --John to email, dial "usenet" and validate (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
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John:
Great exercise in "fettling" that plane, iron sharpening etc..
Had you not "saved" the $50, you'd have had a plane that works right out of the box with the Veritas. And, should you have gone with the Veritas and used it in a few of the applications for which it is suited, you'd notice the multiple comfortable gripping positions it has, pushing or pulling, upright or on its side. And if you got their larger shoulder plane you'd probably find the extra handle for when you're using it on its side to be a nice innovative enhancement. When it came time to touch up the iron, you'd also appreciate the set screws that make it a no brainer when you reinstall it. And then when you go to adjust the depth of cut you'd notice that there is essentially no slop/back lash in the adjustment screw so no more "overshoot", "undershoot", "overshoot just a liitle", "undershoot just a little", "overshoot a tad", "undershoot a tad" - AH! Got It!
The Clifton 311 (I think that's the number for the 3-in-1) is pretty nice and comes ready to go. But for me, the gripping position is still not comfortable in most uses.
You can pay for a good tool in dollars or time - but you pay about in the end.
charlie b
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On Thu, 14 Dec 2006 00:43:15 -0800, charlie b wrote:

I've had the iron in and out of the Stanley several times during the course of fettling it. I don't see where set screws could be applied to make the installation of the iron any more "no-brainer" than the Stanley.

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--John
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J. Clarke wrote:

I use a #92 (also #90 and #93) a lot. In the UK they're not badly made either. Take a US and a UK one, put them together and you can see daylight between the soles!
They're not shoulder planes though. They're OK for a small rebate where the others are too clumsy, but they don't really have the mouth adjustment you need for perfection in cross grain or end grain work. I still use the big heavy Preston for that - the extra inertia helps too.
For big rebates, I use old woodies or a #78. These clear the chips far better - the #92 quickly jams solid.
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wrote:

So you're saying that the UK is dumping their rejects on the US market? Or is there some town in the US named "England" in which Stanley has a factory? Because this one was clearly labelled "England" and unless Stanley lied any shortcomings it has can be laid squarely in the lap of the UK.
Want some Daddy's Sauce for that foot?

They don't? I can adjust the mouth down to zero clearance (or will be able to once I correct yet another triumph of English quality control--the front edge of the throat isn't parallel to the back edge or perpendicular to _anything_--fixing that involves hogging off more metal than I really felt like dealing with last night) or up to more than 1/8 inch. What do you perceive to be lacking in that department?

Since it wasn't intended as a rabbet plane, why would you expect it to do otherwise?
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J. Clarke wrote:

No, but the body castings on the US (a slightly different design) ones are infamous for twisting with age.

Henderson's Relish, please.

That's the problem with them. The mouth is usually parallel, but the iron positioning is too crude to keep the edge of the iron parallel to the mouth front edge. Obviously any extra wiggle between the body halves would make things worse.

Fair point, but I'm hoping to use it for something as it's not really up to being a shoulder plane. Normally I'm using it for clean-up, such as halved joints that I've hogged out on the saw. If I'm cutting a rebate from scratch, I use a bigger plane.
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I picked up a pristine English 92 (with the circular disc on the front, which I believe was phased out in the 1980s) for $45 at a tool swap meet, and it works just fine; it was never sharpened nor used. See Patrick's Blood and Gore about why the disc was there, e.g., to prevent warping of the toe section. I for one don't mind fettling, and use the $$ saved from not buying new for other tools and wood. Mutt

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wrote:

So the English are using two different castings, one for planes to be sold in the US and one for planes to be sold in the UK? How insidious. Do you have any idea why they are doing this?

Positioning doesn't seem any worse than on a block plane. Not noticing any wiggle at all between the body halves. Maybe I should shell out the 200+ for the Clifton that was sitting next to it to see if I can tell what you're on about.

If I'm cutting a rebate from scratch I use a router.
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[snip]

Seems like if you do not buy a Veritas or Lie-Nielsen or a Steve Knight or a few of the other high end planes, you're basically buying a plane "kit." I'm continusouly surprised at how many people buy nice products ready for use (like cars, TV's, power tools, etc.) but when it comes to planes, they buy the "kit." Nothing wrong with that, just seems funny to me.
Cheers and have some happy holidays.
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