stanley planes from HD - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-26-2018, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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stanley planes from HD

What do people think of the quality of Stanley planes from Home Depot?
I presume they're better than the discount brands and not as good as the boutique brands.

Worth the $50 for a bench plane?

I'm not the guy to go searching out estate sales, flea markets, etc. to find old-generation Stanleys and Baileys.
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-26-2018, 01:15 PM
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Made in China?

... turning perfectly good wood into firewood every day ... :smile3:
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-26-2018, 06:07 PM
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Try one. If it does the job you want at a price you're willing to pay, then use it. If not, don't.
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-26-2018, 06:27 PM
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If you just want to try a hand plane and don't mind the fact that both options (flea market Bailey or new Stanley) are just a kit and not a tool then the HD Stanley isn't a bad place to start. I have no experience with the boutiques but I've re-worked both lower priced options and been very happy with the results. If I was buying an HD Stanley I'd look at it with a straight edge and make sure everything is reasonable square and there's no cracks. Which is the exact same thing I do at the flea market.....

$50 is dinner for two with a couple beers and tip at a cheaper place, what have you got to lose...
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-26-2018, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, for the past 25 years or so I've used a couple hand-me-downs from my dad. One's a Stanley No. 118--I think it's nicknamed a "schoolboy" because they were inexpensive, plentiful in shop classes, and not "serious" tools. The other one's a Dunlap jack plane. I don't have any complaints about them but maybe I'll buy a new toy.
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-27-2018, 12:01 AM
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Plenty of old Stanley / Bailey planes can be had quite inexpensive on ebay and many sellers will offer returns if you're not happy.
Personally I'd avoid the Chinese made newer models at any price. I have 2 I bought early on and the only use I have for either now is that of hogging out big slices (jeeez..the term won't come to me right now) The other uses are to decorate the shelf behind the other planes I have. Pretty useless IMO..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-28-2018, 11:14 PM
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I purchased a Stanley No. 5 from Home Depot several years ago. I spent 6 hours flattening and sharpening. I can still see mill marks in the sole, but it is flat enough for what I use it for and now works well enough.

Last year I needed a No. 4 bench plane and heard about the No. 4 Kobalt at Lowes. They retail at $29.98. The only one they had that day was a returned unit. I took it apart in the store with the salesman (who nothing about planes). I showed him the prior purchaser’s butchering attempt to take out the screws and nicks in the iron. He asked if I would give him $20 for it. I took it. I had it flattened and sharpened in 3 hours and am very happy with it. It has nice heft and is easily adjusted. The depth screw has a lot of play, but it spins freely to the opposite extreme until it hits resistance, then the iron smoothly extends or retracts. I am very happy with it and would get another one. For $30, you will still put time into it to tune it up, but it is very serviceable once tuned.
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-29-2018, 10:07 PM
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I have the Stanley "contractor grade" block plane. Long story short, it gets the job done, but it's the tool I'm most eager to replace.

The long version: Flattening the sole on this thing took HOURS, and I started with 60 grit sandpaper (that's not a typo - 60 grit). Getting the back of the blade flat was also a feat rarely achieved by mortal men. I love the block plane - the idea of it, anyway. I reach for it all the time, but the performance of the Stanley is very average. This is definitely a case of you get what you pay for. My advice is, if you see yourself using this tool a lot, then skip the big box store El Cheapo, and get something nice. I want to replace mine with a Lie-Nielsen.

⚡ Anthony
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-30-2018, 01:53 AM
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It should only take minutes to flatten a sole. Begin with a good quality 80 grit sandpaper, none of that harbor freight crap, stuck down to a flat surface and go to town. I was taught to retract the blade fully but leave it in the plane. Within 5-10 minutes you should be done. Mark the bottom with a sharpie to know when you are flat (it doesn't have to be absolutely perfect). Then you can polish on smaller grits if you want. I don't bother. 60 grit leaves deep score marks that are hard to remove. 80 grit is just right, then you can move on to 120 if you like.

If you have the money, buy a quality brand, but you can make the old ones work. You can even make the newer ones work but in my experience they have big mouths and don't do well for fine work. Don't overlook the transition planes (wood body, metal adjustments). People foolishly get snobbish and dismiss them but they are easy to flatten and the metal adjusters are good quality. Plus there is nothing like the way a wood body plane glides across a board.
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-30-2018, 10:29 AM
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You can get a really bad 100 year old Bailey or a really bad brand new HD Stanley. Key point is to check before you buy. If cost isn't an issue buy a boutique plane and skip the rework.
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