It's a bottom of the line block plane, maybe a 110. Not totally
useless, but it's the kind of plane that you wouldn't worry about it
rolling around in the bottom of a toolbox or lending out to your
brother in law.
For every complicated, difficult problem, there is a simple, easy
solution that does not work.
I have one of those, I think I bought it for something under $15.00. Very
cheap, not very good.
It looks like a Stanley, or a Record 9 1/2 block plane. There are low angle
block planes for about $30.00 USD that are better.
I did tune up my block plane (that looks like the link you gave) once, took
about 12 hours, as I recall, to flatten out the bottom, Square up the mouth,
and attempt to put a edge on the blade. The result was simply not worth the
effort. The more expensive block plane, as in the link below, took less
time to tune up, and took a good sharp edge and stayed sharp.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
note the screw feed for cutter depth, front brass adjustment for mouth
opening, and better all around machining.
WIKI (What I Know Is): before motorized miter cutting tools, miters were cut
with a hand back saw and a miter box. A 45 degree cut was close but never
on the money. For framing carpentry, like door frames, since a block plane
can be used to cut end grain, it was used to match the two ends of the 45
degree miters to form a tight 90 with no gaps. Back in the days when Bob V.
worked with Norm on This Old House, the technique was demonstrated once.
Trust me, a motorized miter saw is WAY better method of cutting miters.
(Soap box warning!! Soap Box Warning!!)
The tool you have is one of those inexpensive tools that came out in the
1970s and 1980s that basically just made the users frustrated. It would not
do the job that similar tools a generation before could do. Since this was
before the Internet, and yes even before Woodsmith Magazine got rolling with
a full head of steam. The person who bought one of these was on their own
to some degree to figure out that it took a lot of effort in correcting
manufacturing errors to get the tool to function correctly. That turned off
a lot of would-be weekend wood workers.
During the Hyper-Inflation of the 1970s almost everything doubled or
tripled in price. So too did the cost of good hand tools. But the
manufactures came out with lines of tools that held the old prices, but were
worth just what you paid for them or maybe even less. This ran from back
saws, planes, and even wood chisels. Most of these junk tools have
disappeared, since power hand tools have mostly replaced hand tools.
Quality hand tools are still available, and it still takes a full day to
tune up any new plane and sharpen the blade. And that will never change, at
least I pray it won't.
So to answer your original un-asked question: If the plane your father gave
you has someone's investment of a day or two to tuning it up once a long
time ago, it may be worth the effort for you to do honor to that person by
keeping it tuned up and a good sharp edge. If no one ever tuned it up, it
not worth much, except as a teaching tool for you to learn how to tune up
a plane, sharpen a plane blade, and learn to adjust cutting depth by
on the front or back with a small hammer.
(Excuse me, I need to get the soap box back to the store.)
Good luck with you tool.
OK - so that gets him a sharp iron (stamped steel), and, if the
sort of flat, a flat sole. But that 1/4 inch plus throat's going to
some imaginative modification - one sided curlies are easier to
with a bit tighter throat. Then there's the combined sheet metal
cap lever/chip breaker tucked under that rod through the blane body,
with its tightening spur bolt thing. Turn it to lock the iron in
but move the iron as you tighten it. Now you've got the cutting edge
skewed - with a sharp corner ready to create a nice groove in your
wood. Oh, and you might want to ease the top and bottom of the
back edge of the stamped steel iron cause it's going to be pressing
into the heal of your hand. If you have no problem setting the depth
of cut on a japanese plane (or one of Steve Knights woodies), setting
and adjusting the depth of cut on this plane should be no problem
at all - only not as easy.
Or, you can put it on a book shelf or in a display cabinet and smile
and think of your dad every time you see it - and pick up a useful
block plane at the flea market or garage sale for under $20.
Hmm-m, I guess I have to concede that point. Yes, as I think about it, you
Allow me to amend my statement:
For a weekend woodworker, you will find a motorized miter saw (after you
have adjusted the miter stops) will give you clean, fast, and very
acceptable miter cuts with way less fuss needed in final fitting. Of
course, the cost is lots more for the motorized saw, and then also you need
electricity, plus there is the safety issue, and so on. But overall, for my
choice, a power tool will give me a more time efficient way to cut
acceptable miters without the need for a block plane (only sand paper).
Note I said "more time efficient" which does not imply in any way superior
or more accurate; it only implies that the learning curve for hand cut
miters, which is a craft skill, takes a bit longer than learning to use a
That's a "block plane". It is intended for smoothing the end grain of
boards, the blade is set at a very shallow angle to facilitate slicing
cross grain. It's small 'cause the ends of boards are not very large
compared to the length of them. For with the grain work (planing the
length of a board) "ordinary" planes work better 'cause they are
longer, have a screw adjustment of blade depth, and have real handles
that make them easier to hold.
To cut crossgrain, the plane blade must be razor sharp. Any
dullness and it just won't cut. Your's may need the cutting edge
"renewed" on a bench grinder and then honed sharp with good fine stone.
The edge has to be sharp enough to slice paper and shave the hair off
Adjust of depth of cut is a little tedious, you loosen the knob and
eyeball the plane blade and then tighten the knob to hold the setting.
Start with the shallowest depth of cut.
I have one of these, from Stanley, and it works, but it does need to
be sharp and I do a lot of fiddling with the blade adjustment.
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