Oh, no! What am I going to do?!!!
I'll tell you what I'm going to do: I'm going to compare and contrast them over a series of blog posts.
|Here's my current go-to user. A Stanley type 11. Or maybe a type 12.|
I brought the Sargent to Spain with me, but a couple years ago I took it back to Germany and swapped it out with the Stanley. I did a very mild rehab to it. I don't normally go crazy shining up and polishing planes, unless there is a problem. This one cleaned up very nice, and I've been using it ever since.
How do I know it's the coveted type 11?
|Type 11s and 12s have three patent dates cast into the body.|
|Mine has the larger one. A type 12?|
Stanley sometimes used up old parts on new designs of the plane before completely switching over. It's also possible that parts of this plane didn't leave the factory together, but were cobbled together at a later date.
Whatever happened, I'm happy with the plane. I think it is a type 12, though.
|Look at the glorious frog!|
All I know is that this plane works well for me.
|Strangely, the only place this plane says "Stanley" is on the blade, which I have swapped out.|
Old blades like the one that came out of this plane have awesome steel that is easy to sharpen and stays sharp. In the other hand, I'm not such a big fan of chipbreakers from this era. They seem to be easily bent, and most of them I see (listen to me trying to sound like an expert!) have something wrong with them, and they don't lay perfectly flat across the blade.
I often will upgrade the chipbreaker on an old plane. If I can, I'll add it to the original blade. My favorite chipbreaker is the Veritas one, because it seems to be a little more affordable than most of the other premium chipbreakers. I think if you really want to upgrade something on your benchplane, before buying a new blade try adding a new chipbreaker first. You might find that's all it takes.
In this case, the original blade was pitted and in bad shape. I looked for a replacement, and found that Ray Iles makes one. I ordered his regular blade for this plane, but I've seen that he also makes one that is the original thickness. I haven't seen any of the premium blade makers make one in the original thickness. I think it would be great if they did.
|My after market blade and chip-breaker.|
|Someday I'll have to fix this.|
|I suppose this makes it a #4C, as it has corrugations on the bottom.|
So here's my take on this plane:
I honestly love this plane. As a smoother, it works like a monster. I really like the larger adjusting knob.
With a fresh stropping and the chipbreaker set very close to the edge, it can take an extremely fine shaving.
Why on earth would anyone buy another smoothing plane when one has this one?
Well, I thought it would be fun to test them out against each other. It can be difficult to find a plane like this. Can other planes perform as well? Let's test some and use this wonderful plane as a control.
Next: my new Stanley "Made in England" #4.