Rebuilding a Stanley #7 Hand Plane

  • 06 Oct 2017 2:08 AM
    Message # 5298014

    Greetings, I'm new to this forum n fact this is my first post. In my quest to obtain some hand tools I have a chance to pick up an older Stanley #7 hand plane that appears to have the makings for an overhaul. Is there someone out there that can offer advise as to what to look for and what to stay away from. I haven't checked it for square or if the controls  are true. I have a Small Dupont hand plane with all the original equipment that never seems to stay true. The blade adjustment nut has a lot of play to advance and retract the blade so I'm hoping I won't end up with the same thing with the Stanley. My question, is it worth the work and expense to tackle such a project or save my money and get a new one.

    Thank you for your input


  • 07 Oct 2017 1:10 AM
    Reply # 5300924 on 5298014

    A few things to check before purchasing a potential rehab.

    1.  How much blade life is left? If the current bevel is within an inch of the slot you will need a new blade.  A new blade could cost more than the plane itself.

    2.  Is the blade pitted on the side opposite the bevel?  If the pitting is not close to the bevel that is OK until you sharpen it back to where the pits are (which could take decades).  You may be able to back bevel the blade (the ruler trick) to cure the issue, or grind the bevel away, flip the blade and re-grind the primary bevel on the pitted side.  If the blade is in too bad shape either walk away or plan on purchasing a replacement blade.

    3.  What is the condition of the sole?  It should be a single plane from the front, across the mouth, to the back.  If the sole is slightly dished between those three points you may be OK.  If the sole bulges (is higher) between these three points, walk away.  That is assuming you don't have access to a machine shop with proper milling equipment to remove the bulge. A number 7 or 8 is a jointer and should be pretty flat in order to actually true the wood to a flat. It is a large plane, so if you are going to sand it flat yourself, you will need a large flat surface to do it on (float glass, or your tablesaw table).  It takes a lot of sandpaper of varying grits from at least 100 through 400.  Some say you only need to go to 220.  It also takes a lot of muscle and time. 

    4.  Is there any evidence of crack(s) at the mouth.  This is a weak area of all planes.  If cracked walk away.

    5.  On the frog make sure it isn't cracked, and doesn't rock in the plane.  The milled surface of the frog should be in decent shape, and the lateral adjuster should be present (if it is supposed to have one).  A lateral adjuster isn't mandatory, but it makes life simpler.  The lateral adjuster shouldn't flop around (pivoting is good).

    6.  No Stanley plane from the factory had square sides.  This is because they were cast, and without a taper the tool can't be removed from the mold.  Plan on working at least one side of the plane to square if you intend on using it to shoot.  Paul Sellers, if I remember correctly says it doesn't have to be perfectly square, because you can adjust the lateral adjuster to get the plane to cut square even if the sides aren't.  Now I haven't tried that but it seems to make sense that it can be done.

    7.  As for slop in the blade advance mechanism, there is always backlash in screw mechanisms.  That is why when you retract the blade, you must advance the screw mechansim to remove the backlash before you start planing again.  There is also some slop where the top of the yoke engages the square hole in the cap iron.  This is more of a tuning issue rather than a buying decision.

    8.  The tote and knob should be in good shape and not broken.  A broken tote than can be mated tightly isn't a deal breaker.  If either are too far gone, plan on buying or making replacements.  All the screws should be present and be the proper ones.  Stanley used odd sized screws that cannot be bought at the local hardware store.

    I am not sure what you mean when you say your plane doesn't cut true.  Make sure that the entire blade is secure and can't move under the pressure of planing.  The lever cap may not be tight enough to secure the blade.  The lever should snap down, but not so hard that you can't adjust depth of cut.  A loose mechanism will also allow the blade to skew which would cause the blade to cut inconsistantly from one side to the other.  If the plane jams with shavings, this could be due to the cap iron not being flat against the flat of the blade.  Where these two part meet no light should show, if there is light there is a gap for shavings to lodge and choke the plane.

    I just rehabed a Sargent 409 type 2 (same as a Stanley #4), that didn't require a huge amount of flattening, but i did work both sides to get them pretty square. The entire process took about 7 hours.  OK, I'm slow.  When I say pretty square, there was enough material that was square that the plane can ride a shooting board or your work bench without rocking.  Why both sides?  The plane is going to my daughter and son-in-laws auction/antique shop and the plan will be square for either a lefty or righty.  Given the time it took me to do the rehab, there isn't any profit, just the love of family and pride in returning a tool to ready to work condition.

    Hope this helps.


  • 08 Oct 2017 3:30 PM
    Reply # 5302490 on 5298014

     Concerning flipping the plane blade over to deal with pits, if the blade is lamenated, it won't work, the hard steel would be on the wrong side and the blade wouldn't hold an edge.  Sorry for any confusion here.

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