Stanley planes by numbers 1

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Stanley 1 smoothing plane     

offered 1867 - 1943

5 3/4" long

with  a 1 1/4" cutter       

Without doubt the most famous of all Stanley planes. Never had a lateral adjuster, never had any number markings. Some models have B or S cast into the bed, others have no markings whatsoever. Early types have a beaded rosewood front knob and a short handle spur. Later types have a slightly longer handle spur and a lever cap embossed with the Stanley name.

Problem areas: fork and (depth) adjuster nut damaged or not working. More obvious damages include: overhang under handle broken off; chipped or enlarged mouth, cracks and chips to sides, damage to top of frog. That one sounds obvious but I'm just as dumb as the next guy when it comes to checking a plane. No matter how good it looks: Always take the lever cap off and check the frog, always turn the plane over and check the overhang under the handle and the mouth. 


planes marked Damaged in the Stanley factory usually have minor flaws in  the casting.

Enlarged and chipped mouth. Mouth opening should be 3.5 - 4mm

Restoring/cleaning: Replacement handles and knobs are available from different sources. The modern rosewood is not always a good match, you'll have to shop around. The front knob and hardware  can be sourced from a No 98 or 99. It's not an exact match but very close.


The picture shows a beaded # 1 front knob, a 98 knob and a later # 1 knob.



   Cleaning Vintage Tools  




Not all planes are the same size.  Don't get too carried away with  exact measures! These are not  scientific instruments and foundries didn't work with 1mm tolerance!! Instead, expect anything up to 1/4" variance in the length of any Stanley plane.

These two #1s are the same vintage and differ by 1/8" in length

The one on the left is in original condition, the one on the right had the handle replaced and is partially cleaned.


Fakes and reproductions vary in quality. The one on the left is of poor quality. It could be improved with a rosewood handle and knob. Note the angle of the adjuster screw. Stanley would never have produced such a flimsy tool.  However, if you've never seen one you simply wouldn't know. The best fakes are partial reproductions and the master of them used to operate in Western Australia, let his name rest in peace.  He fooled better men than me. He used original parts like frogs, lever caps etc and made the rest from scratch in the workshop. His plane bodies were close to perfect but the overhang was always level with the rest of the sole, even in early models. Luckily for us, he  made only a limited number of copies for his friends. One of them ended up in one of my early auctions. I sold it as original because I didn't know any better.   Be vigilant and if possible, buy off a dealer who knows his stuff. There are a lot of sharks circling eBay. Yours truly has been fooled by fuzzy pictures and even fuzzier descriptions time and again. Pay particular attention to the lever cap, it can fetch up to A$ 400 on its own! Quite a number of crap planes can supply a stand-in that looks pretty good in a picture!


Too good to be true: reproduction parts are available for most Stanley planes.  Not every dealer will tell you that he fitted a plane with a brand new handle, sporting a reproduction 1920s SW decal. If it looks too good it usually is not an original.