ploughing ahead

I now have (most of) a Stanley #55 universal plane. Thanks to favourable planetary alignments I was able to obtain this plane for my own use and am looking forward to tackling various projects.

I said "most of" as the plane is not quite complete. There are more than enough components to perform various rabbet, dado, and beading functions - which should see me well along the learning curve. Careful browsing of eBay and various antique tool vendors should eventually garner the rest of the parts, opening up even more capabilities. It did come complete with 17 brand new cutters from Record Tools in England, so I won't be scrabbling around looking for irons just to get started.

This particular tool is, by many accounts, a notoriously difficult piece of equipment to coax into its best behaviour. However, within 1/2 hour of receipt and only cursory inspection of the instructions, I was ploughing a precise 1/4" groove along the edge of pine board to a fixed depth. I won't say it was effortless, but it certainly wasn't the torturous journey some people would have you believe. That said, I can already see that setting up multiple cutters in succession to create a complicated bit of casing or crown will be a matter of patience & perseverance.

I am not surprised that a tool in excess of 100 years old (if I read the markings on this example correctly) remains able to continue its work in the manner it began. Not much can be expected in the way of longevity for most offerings in the trade today. I am extremely pleased to be able to accompany this tool into its second century of useful output (and it will likely outlast me). A little cleaning and sharpening is all that is required to allow me to undertake some further experiments. My expectations are high.


Trevor said...

That's great news, Chris. Patience is You when it comes to tools, so I'm sure you'll do just fine with it. Just don't let anybody stir paint with the irons. ;-)

bobcatt said...

Patience & I have not been getting along very well recently. Maybe this will prove a turning point in that relationship...