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Thread: block planes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Indianola, Ia about 12 miles south of Des Moines
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    block planes

    I have 3 planes that I am trying to fet into shape. A Stanley 12-220, one is marked C-255. I think that it is a Stanley as it has the sweetheart symbol on the blade. The last is what I think is a Bluegrass Belknap 107-16. What I would like to know is the angle for sharpening the blades. Also would like to know if the C-255 is a Stanley or if it got rebladed. I googled c-255 and didn't come up with much. Thank you for your time on this.

  2. #2
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    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
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    Some pictures might help, Rex.

    As for sharpening, I usually sharpen block plane irons at ~25, regardless whether low angle or standard.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Cape Cod, Ma.
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    As Jim said. 25 degree angle to sharpen the blade regardless of the plane's bed is correct. The C-255 is a Stanley 220 block plane. Is the japanning maroon color? If so I believe it is from the 60's or 70's. the sweetheart series was from the 20's, so a previous owner most likely had a blade kicking around.

    Post some pics

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Reno, Nv
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    I have a Maroon 220 that Jim D just re-did for me...1972 and a ball to use
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  5. #5
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    I haven't had time to take pics of my block planes yet. I am in Stillwater, MN. for the weekend and there are a lot of antique stores here. I found a Bialey no. 14 for $45.00. Is that a good price.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Bloem View Post
    ...I found a Bialey no. 14 for $45.00. Is that a good price.
    To my knowledge, Stanley/Bailey didn't make a #14. Millers Falls made a #14 that was nearly identical to a Stanley/Bailey #5, and Sargent made a #414 that was also an S/B #5 clone. Maybe one of those is what you've found?

    #5 planes are just about the most common size out there, and they usually don't sell for a lot. $45 is a good price if the plane is in very good condition. Otherwise, I'd take a pass.
    Last edited by Jim DeLaney; 05-31-2011 at 12:39 AM. Reason: typo fix
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Perhaps some folks might find this chart useful.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indianola, Ia about 12 miles south of Des Moines
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    440
    Ding ding ding we have a winner. My memory was bad. I got the number but the wrong manufactor. Jim was right. It is a Miller Falls and it does look like the stanley no. 5. This shop have a few planes around the store and I couldn't remember what I saw where. I will get pics later this week. The plane is in what I would call above average condition. No rust, no broken parts, the blade is dull, but that is not a problem. The knob and tote are good. Now to get pics, and start cleaning and sharpening. This store also had a S/B #5 with corragated bottom. They wanted $65.00. They also had a stanley rabbit plane, can't remember the number. They were both what I would call in very good condition.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    St. Louis, MO
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    I like the early Millers Falls planes. Their fit and finish was excellent. They have a two piece hinged lever cap that spreads pressure on the cutting iron / chip breaker assembly over a broader area in order to reduce blade chatter. The idea is that it is less likely to flex the thin blade, pulling it away from the frog at it's mid point. I think it works fine, but does tend to require a tighter setting to keep the blade from shifting. This means adjusting the blade depth requires a bit more oomph. That, in turn, stresses the adjustment yoke, which is why Millers Falls moved from a cast iron yoke (earliest versions of the plane) to the steel yoke that was most common. It's not brittle and likely to crack under stress.

    The later Millers Falls versions got away from the hinged two piece lever cap. These planes were lower quality than the earlier ones - about on par with cheaper Stanley knock off's. Serviceable when tuned, but definitely not worth much money.

    The Stanley #5 may be a good plane, depending on its vintage. Most users shy away from hand planes made in the last half of the 20th century. Power tools were flooding the market. To compete for market share, hand tool makers aimed at low price (and cheap tools) instead of performance and quality. Parts became flimsier, made with poorer quality materials, and machined to lesser standards. Stanley was no exception. For detailed information on how to date a plane, google "Patrick's blood and gore" at the "supertool" website. It's a great resource and full of useful information for someone who's somewhat obsessive and doing homework on hand planes.

    My favorite old planes are Record (Stay Set versions), Stanley, Millers Falls (hinged lever cap versions), and Keen Kutter (single "K" versions) from pre-WWII. For minimal investment and a couple evenings of time / effort, these can be finely tuned and easily adjusted. Stanley Bedrock planes also have a cultic following. The basis of the design is to secure the frog more securely to the sole casting in another effort to minimize chatter. The configuration has been copied by several current plane makers (Lie Nielsen, Wood River, and Clifton to name a few). The Keen Kutter (single "K") planes are the same. The Bedrock planes work well, but you'll pay a stiff premium for a small performance improvement. Unless you're a well seasoned plane user, you'll likely not even notice the benefit.

    The older totes also tend to fit my hand better than the newer ones. That's no small thing when you're looking at a long planing session.

    Have fun with it.

    paulh

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