Popular Woodworking 2009-10 № 178, страница 17

Popular Woodworking 2009-10 № 178, страница 17

Tool Test

BY THE POPULAR WOODWORKING STAFF

Stanley's New Premium Plane

The venerable tool company stages a comeback in the woodworking market.

11 has been a long time since The Stanley Works built a handplane that was aimed at the demanding woodworker. But this year, the company shocked the hand-tool world when it announced it was producing a line of five premium handplanes.

The new line includes a redesigned No.

4 smoothing plane, a bevel-up jack plane based on the company's No. 62, two block planes and a shoulder plane.

The most interesting, unusual and useful tool in the line is the No. 4, which we'll review here. We'll review the other planes in the line on our web site.

The No. 4 is a surprisingly heavy tool at

5 lbs. (that's a half-pound more than a Lie-Nielsen No. 4 in bronze). The iron body is made in Mexico with an English-made A2 cutter that's Vs" thick. The knob and tote are cherry. The lever cap is a lightweight alloy and the adjusters are brass.

So far it sounds like standard fare in the premium plane market. So what's different? For starters, there is no adjustable frog. The bed for the cutter and the base are all cast and machined as one piece - a radical move on Stanley's part. If there's no frog to adjust, how do you tighten up the mouth? That's the other radical part: Stanley has added an adjustable mouth plate at the toe that works like a block plane's - an almost-unheard-of feature for a bevel-down bench plane.

Also different: The adjustment mechanism for the cutter. Instead of using the Bailey-style adjuster that Stanley invented, the company opted for a Norris-style adjuster.

28 ■ Popular Woodworking October 2009

Stanley Works ■ 800-505-4648 or stanleyworks.com Street price ■ $179.99

For more information, go to pwfreeinfo.com.

The other interesting feature is that the adjuster's lateral adjustment can be locked - I've never seen this before.

So how does the whole package work? Pretty well. The adjustable mouth works brilliantly. It's far easier to adjust the mouth this way than by shifting the frog on a standard bench plane. Overall, the plane was well machined. The sole was completely flat. All the parts fit well together, including the chipbreaker to the iron. And the iron held its edge for a good long time.

My two primary gripes are that the rear tote is chunky and uncomfortable; reshaping it would be hampered by the brass insert in the tote (it secures the tote to the body). My second gripe is the adjuster has more backlash than I like (1% turns to engage it) and it is located so you have to remove your hand from the tote to make adjustments.

The only other hiccup I encountered with the tool was I needed to disassemble the adjustment mechanism to reposition the

Norris style. The adjuster is the Norris style rather than the Bailey (which Stanley invented).

pin that moves the blade. It was too far back for the plane to work properly. It's a minor tweak, not covered in the manual. We'll post a tutorial on this on our web site.

Once the tool was set up, it performed as you would expect a premium plane to. It was capable of removing the thinnest of shavings, which is what you want from a smoothing plane. If Stanley could tighten up the adjuster and slim down the tote I think a lot of woodworkers would be pleased with this smoothing plane.

— Christopher Schwarz

CONTiNUED ON PAGE 30

photos by al parrish

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