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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    39
    Posts
    5

    Default Australian Stanley without frog adjustment screws.

    Hi All

    I just purchased a second hand Stanley No. 4 plane that's Australian made. It doesn't have any frog adjustment screws under the blade depth wheel, only the 2 screws that go vertically through into the sole. The questions I have are : 1, Is this a good / bad thing? 2, How do I go about setting the frog?

    Total beginner here, I've had a brief look around on the google but not really found much info out there.

    Thanks for any advice

    Gareth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    3,335

    Default

    Are the threaded holes there, I have never seen a No. 4 without the adjustment screws and plate, you could set the frog by trial and error, loosen the screws move and tighten the screws
    until you are happy with the setting

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    39
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Nope, no holes at all. There appears to be a small indent where the little metal peice would go. I've got pics but can't work out how to upload them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Brisbane (western suburbs)
    Age
    73
    Posts
    9,018

    Default

    Gareth, setting a frog is something you do once in a blue moon - often once in the entire time you own the plane. The slop between the tangs that engage the adjuster screws and the groove in the screw on many planes does not make for precision setting. Personally, I think the frog adjuster screws were more of a sales gimmick than a genuine advance in pane technology. Setting a frog is no less frustrating with the screws, you have to assemble the thing to check if your setback is where you want it to be, disassemble, alter the position, reassemble - and so on. The screws help, but not as much as you may think.

    There are more serious issues to be aware of if it's a later model of the Stanley Aus. group, in particular, the fit of the frog on its bed. I had one I bought new in 1981 that was such a lemon of a thing I could never get it to work properly. The frog seat was machined accurately only on its top part, the flat on the toe of the frog that should've mated along the back of the mouth was as rough as hessian underwear. I fiddled & faddled with it but I didn't have the skills to sort it out by hand, and had no access to milling gear, so all I could ever get out of that plane was the lightest cut in very soft wood - it would chatter & stutter over anything remotely challenging.

    At the same time, I had an Australian-made #5 that was about 16 years older, which was (& still is) an excellent plane, and the main reason I bought he #4. I wasn't as aware of what makes a plane a plane back then, & it took me a good while to figure out why the #4 was such a dog when the 5 was a pleasure to use, but eventually, I came to understand it. However, understanding was not followed by acceptance and we divorced when my eye fell on an earlier English Stanley with a much better fitting frog......

    If you are new to hand planes, there's a bit to learn about these deceptively simple tools before you get the best out of them. But don't give up, many folks report that happy day when everything came together and they suddenly made full-width gossamer shavings on woods that hitherto only produced crumbs and shreds. It's a very satisfying and triumphant moment......

    Cheers,
    IW

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    blue mountains
    Posts
    4,018

    Default

    Like Ian said the screw adjustment is not really all that much help. A lot of the budget range planes do not have the hole bored to take the screw. They were aimed at the home handyman rather than the professional. I guess leaving that bit out cut down on labour costs. That said no reason it cant work just fine. There was a similar thread last week about an Acorn plane also with no adjusting screw.
    Regards
    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Petone, NZ
    Age
    64
    Posts
    2,051

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    Gareth, setting a frog is something you do once in a blue moon - often once in the entire time you own the plane. The slop between the tangs that engage the adjuster screws and the groove in the screw on many planes does not make for precision setting. Personally, I think the frog adjuster screws were more of a sales gimmick than a genuine advance in pane technology. Setting a frog is no less frustrating with the screws, you have to assemble the thing to check if your setback is where you want it to be, disassemble, alter the position, reassemble - and so on. The screws help, but not as much as you may think...
    I agree.

    For me, the importance of the frog adjuster screw is it tells me the plane is likely to be of a better quality. They leave out the screw on budget planes to save cost - what else have they not done, to save cost? QA?

    But if you already own a plane without the screw, try fettling it - it may be a good one. The presence of the screw is not a guarantee it's a good one, nor is its absence a guarantee it's rubbish. But when looking at a prospective purchase, the presence of the screw slightly increases the odds of a reasonable plane (of course, this doesn't apply to really old USA Stanleys made before the screw was introduced - some of them were really good quality, I believe).

    Stanley introduced the frog adjusting screw to their Bailey planes in 1907. It is believed the screw was used on Bedrock planes before then.

    My tuppence worth.

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Hobart
    Posts
    2,304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth80 View Post
    Hi All

    I just purchased a second hand Stanley No. 4 plane that's Australian made. It doesn't have any frog adjustment screws under the blade depth wheel, only the 2 screws that go vertically through into the sole. The questions I have are : 1, Is this a good / bad thing? 2, How do I go about setting the frog?

    Total beginner here, I've had a brief look around on the google but not really found much info out there.

    Thanks for any advice

    Gareth

    Good Morning Gareth

    This sounds like the little brother of an English made Stanley No 4 that I bought six years ago. Concensus was that it was a "handiman" model and a generic piece of crap. Here's the original debate:
    El Cheapo Plane - Why Bother

    If it's as bad as mine just cut your losses.


    Cheers

    Graeme

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    70
    Posts
    92

    Default

    Hi Gareth,

    I am selling a number of fathers and grandfathers tools. One is a Stanley Bailey No 5 made in USA for $50 which you may be interested in. Given you live in Canberra you are welcome to come and view a wide selection of tools for sale.
    See for sale on the forum.

    Regards Graham

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