My Favorite Planes

New Years Eve…freakin’ cold out there! Thought I would share some pics/info on a couple of my favorite planes that I use regularly, and their improvements.

First is my Stanley No.4 Type 7 smoother. I bought it off Ebay a couple of years ago, it was in pretty good condition except the blade was mostly used up and the tote was cracked. I was happy with it once I replaced the tote…for a while. I kept reading posts on woodworking forums telling of how performance was greatly improved with the installation of a Lie Nielsen iron and chipbreaker. That was all the encouragement I needed, and promptly ordered a replacement from Lie Nielsen to test the theory.  All I can say is that it is a plane transformed…no more chatter marks, digging in, etc. To top it off I put a healthy back-bevel on the back of the iron to increase the cutting angle to reduce tearout on difficult grain, and today it is my go-to smoother. Although…a Stanley 4 1/2 with a LN iron would be cool too…IMG_0663IMG_0667[1]Note: This is the full .125 inch thick LN replacement iron, NOT the “made for Stanley planes” thinner version available.IMG_0670[1]I was initially concerned that the iron might be too thick to fit the throat properly, but a few licks with a file was all that was needed. The only negative in the whole thing, is that there is now more backlash in the adjuster mechanism than was originally…but I can live with that.

Next is my Stanley No.8 Type 4 Pre-lateral. Another Ebay aquisition that was in worse shape than the No.4, and since it needed restoring, a plan started to hatch inside my brain…”Wouldn’t it be neat to put a LN 3/16″ thick iron in it”…hmmmm, a challenge.

I decided I would only get the iron this time, and would use the plane’s original chipbreaker instead of LN’s version. Part of my decision making process was that the breaker was going to have to be modified anyway for it to work, as the adjustment pawl was not long enough to extend through the 3/16″ iron, so I would use the original breaker vs effing up a LN breaker if it didn’t work. The throat was nowhere near wide enough to let this monster through, so out came the files. I clamped an angled hardwood block to the bottom of the plane sole to act as a guide and started filing…and filing. You have no idea how much filing until you do it…too late to stop now. Once the throat was dressed to the proper width to clear the iron (several hours and two days later…I spaced it out) it was time to address the other problem. Because the iron was so thick, the adjustment pawl would not engage the chipbreaker. After pondering and procrastinating for a couple of days I came up with a solution…two brass tabs drilled and peened to the breaker with brass rod which would engage the adjustment pawl and allow the iron to be advanced and retracted.IMG_0674IMG_0677[1]The plane works like a dream…some will argue it is not necessary on a jointer plane, but it sure looks cool with that big ass iron in it!IMG_0678[1]IMG_0671[1]FYI…some of you may have noticed the No.8 is sitting on top of it’s big brother in the photos…that’s another story. As always, leave them wanting more…


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