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  1. #1
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    Default hand plane blades

    Just a quick question - are hand plane blades from vintage planes - Stanley, Record, Falcon/Pope, Carter, etc interchangeable if they are the same width?

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  3. #2
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    Yes

  4. #3
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    Basically if it fits it fits.
    But you really need to have the original next to the blade you propose to use just to check.


    Cheers Matt.

  5. #4
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    Yes except for Carter; their blades are thicker because the frogs only support them at the extremities. A Carter blade will fit any other bailey style plane but if you try to use another blade in a Carter it will flex too much and chatter. You could put in a Veritas or Hock iron in a Carter plane, but that would defile the blade...

    If you are looking for aftermarket irons to put into old planes keep an eye out for Titan or Australian Stanley HSS ones. These are superb.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Tiff View Post
    If you are looking for aftermarket irons to put into old planes keep an eye out for Titan or Australian Stanley HSS ones. These are superb.
    Did Titan make planes or just blades? Were there Stanley Australian made planes, or again, just blades? What makes the Australian blades superior to UK/US ones? If so, should I just get some Carter/Falcon/Pope just for the blades, as they are often sold much cheaper than their Stanley counterparts on the secondhand market?

  7. #6
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    Titan mainly made chisels and branched into making plane irons. These were unique in that the first 30mm or so (the usable cutting length) was made from a brazed on piece of solid HSS.

    When Stanley moved into Australia they bought out Titan (naming themselves Stanley-Titan) and began manufacturing in Australia. Falcon-Pope and Turner I think had also been merged with Stanley at that time as well. The upshot of it was Stanley in Australia began manufacturing tools not made in the USA, Canada or the UK. As an example their planes had aluminium frogs which were developed by Falcon Pope and Turner, and they continued manufacturing the heavy duty HSS irons alongside the normal carbon steel irons available everywhere else.

    Normal Stanley Australia, Falcon; Turner and Carter irons are no "better" than the ones you can buy off the shelf in Bunnings today; they stopped making the HSS irons well over 20 years ago; which is a pity because they have been compared and tested against ones made by Hock and Veritas etc and are as good as if not better than the premium manufactured ones, but as they are the same thickness of a normal iron they don't require you to file open the mouths of your plane to fit them. I'd have no issues with such butchery on a post WW2 plane but the best Stanleys were made before 1936 and I can't bring myself to hurt one of those!

    The only "advantage" of having a Carter iron is that being thicker they resist chatter in a plane that hasn't been properly fettled.

    THIS is a link to a page on Scribbly-Gum's website where he talks about Carters and also has the basic info on the history of the HSS tipped irons; with pictures! He also has pages about Falcons and Turners
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  8. #7
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    So if I get it right, both Stanley Australia and Carter used HSS blades, but Carter ones are 3mm thick, but Stanleys are 2mm thick? Does this mean if I buy a Pre 1960 Stanley Australia plane it will have a HSS blade?

    Also, why do you have to file the mouth to fit a thicker blade? Can't you just move the frog back?

  9. #8
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    No, brand new Stanley and Carter planes only ever came with normal carbon steel irons, and Carter only ever made carbon steel irons. If a HSS iron was wanted then it had to be purchased separately. Personally speaking, my choice in irons are Stanley HSS, followed by Titan HSS, then Record, finally Stanley carbon steel. Pre WW2 Stanley and certain Record irons were of laminated construction; these are nearly as good as HSS but are now rare enough so that using them is a bit of a crime! I have an early Record 5-1/2 with the weird 2-1/4 wide iron, it has a barely used laminated iron but Im going to narrow down a Titan 2-3/8 iron to fit it.

    Stanley irons have actually been made in different thicknesses over the years. Even recently I was finding that brand new English made irons sold in the black & yellow envelope packs were visibly thicker than the same English irons sold in the yellow blister packs. I think the thickest they got was about 2.4mm.

    As for using a thicker iron, post WW2 planes have always been made with considerably looser tolerances and some of them can squeeze in a thicker iron, giving a tight mouth. Most still need a bit of work, even if it is just to clean up the chamfer on the toe side of the mouth. The frog can only go back so far before the iron stops being supported properly. Earlier planes have fairly tight mouths using a standard thickness iron, thicker irons simply foul the mouth. These generally make the better user planes and really benefit from using a Titan or Stanley HSS tipped iron.
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  10. #9
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    Carter never used HSS irons.Stanley had them available for sale but they were never fitted as original in their planes.Anyway I doubt if any 1960 plane would have its original iron if it had been used much.The 3mm iron wont physically fit the mouth is too narrow.H.
    Last edited by clear out; 19th Aug 2019 at 10:39 PM. Reason: Update
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  11. #10
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    If is wasn't for shipping being a killer, you can get laminated old Sweethart Stanley blades fairly easily on ebay, the HSS Stanleys seem far rarer to me.

  12. #11
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    I will add my praise for the Stanley laminated HSS blades, they are certainly good, & were by far the best things going when they first appeared (late 60s/early 70s?). A friend alerted me to them so I popped along to the local haardware store, & sure enough, they had one in the size I wanted - can't remember how much more it cost than the 'standard' blades, but whatever it was, it was well worth it. I don't know what alloy they used, but it sharpened easily enough on oilstones & held its edge very well - I was into planing lots of River Red Gum & Mountain Ash at he time, which showed up the difference pretty starkly.

    These days there are plenty of after-market blades that are as good, imo. There was a time when I chased after the hardest blades I could find, but over he last 20 years or so I've come around to liking a good compromise; a blade that's easy to sharpen but hangs onto its edge reasonably well. Hock irons fit that bill admirably, for me. However, I do like to have a couple of PMV11 irons for planing stuff like Gidgee & She-oak that take the shine off O1 blades in about 10 swipes.

    Fitting after-market blades to various models & makes of Bailey type planes is usually not a problem, in my experience. The most common problem you do encounter is the cap-iron screws tend to be very short for the older, thinner blades, and either won't reach through the blade enough to grab the cap-iron, or hold by the barest bit of thread. The latter makes it awkward when you are sliding the cap-iron forward to set it in place - the screw tends to let go at the critical moment & I spend the next 5 minutes fumbling amongst the shavings for it.

    I've had no problem getting thicker blades through the mouth with the dozen or so old Stanleys & Records I've fitted with LV, Hock or IBC blades. Because the grinding bevel goes a bit higher on a thicker blade, contact with the frog ends a mm or so higher up the bed. I've not encountered a frog that can't be set set at least a couple of mm behind the sole bevel (which seems odd, since even thick blades will foul if you set it that far back). With the thicker blades, the extra bevel means the back will not touch the sole if the frog is ~1mm behind the sole bevel, which usually gives plenty enough room at the front of the mouth to get the blade through comfortably. There must be some cases where the frog geometry and fit is such that you can't get it far enough back for the blade to go through, but I've been lucky in not striking one yet.

    My biggest problem to date has been fitting newer blades to my old (~1917) Stanley 5 1/2 - up to 1924 they had 2 1/4 inch blades instead of the later 2 3/8". A lot of careful grinding was involved..

    Another thing to be aware of when refurbishing old Bailey type planes & pirating parts is that the cap-irons tend to be specific to the planes they were originally fitted to. There's a fair degree of inter-changeability within makes, but over the years, dimensions have changed slightly on some sizes, and knock-off makes can be way out. The problem is that the distance between the end of the cap-iron & the slot that engages the adjuster cam varies a bit. It only needs to be out by a couple of mm, and either the blade can't be extended or retracted far enough, or you'll be working with he adjuster wheel at the limit of its travel, with the cam binding in its slot & making it very hard to turn the adjuster wheel.

    I discovered how sensitive the adjuster geometry is the hard way. I'd spent a good deal of time making a cap-iron, for which I took the dimensions off a different make (but same nominal size) plane. The edge to adjuster-slot distance was about 2mm too long, and the adjuster knob had to be hard up against the frog to get he blade to engage. It was also really tight, due to the cam binding in the slot. A simple thing, but it took me several tries over several days to figure out the problem!

    Cheers,
    IW

  13. #12
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    The few planes I inherited from my grandfather and father are all bitsas of different makes, the blades, chip breakers and cap iron are all various brands and on my No.4 it takes about 7 turns of slack to adjust the blade. It must have been a normal thing to add different bits as they were needed from any source as they were needed. The No. 4 Stanley even has a two piece chip breaker which is a bit out of the ordinary.
    CHRIS

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    The No. 4 Stanley even has a two piece chip breaker which is a bit out of the ordinary.
    You might have a Record "Stay Set" cap iron. These allowed you to quickly remove the assembly and hone without disturbing the position of the cap iron; if all the tolerances on the plane are tight then theoretically it would have been possible to whip it out, quickly hone the iron and put it all back together without even affecting the iron depth adjustment.

    Theoretically.

    The Record Stay-Set Cap-Iron
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  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Tiff View Post
    You might have a Record "Stay Set" cap iron. These allowed you to quickly remove the assembly and hone without disturbing the position of the cap iron; if all the tolerances on the plane are tight then theoretically it would have been possible to whip it out, quickly hone the iron and put it all back together without even affecting the iron depth adjustment.

    Theoretically.

    The Record Stay-Set Cap-Iron
    Yep, the blade never gets shorter when sharpened and the chip breaker clearance would never change.
    CHRIS

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    Yep, the blade never gets shorter when sharpened and the chip breaker clearance would never change.
    Just like the magic puddin', eh Chris?

    The one & only 'stay-set' I ever had was a right pita! For starters, the removable part didn't sit straight in its groove, so I had to skew the screwed-on part to get the same clearance along the cutting edge. And as the Chief alluded, the theoretical 'going-back-in-the-right-place' idea just doesn't happen. There is too much clearance in the cam slot to register the blade assembly accurately enough in any plane that has had a year or two of use, & even if you are exquisitely careful & get the depth right, the lateral adjustment will almost certainly be off. It's one of those ideas that sound good, but should have been left on the drawing board, imo. I gave mine away & made a simple 'doesn't stay set' cap iron. That's how I discovered you need to be careful about where the cam slot is placed. Vers2.0 was better....

    Cheers,
    IW

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