Type Study Flowchart

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Getting started

(Commentary by Jay Sutherland) I’ve converted some of the plane dating information found in Patrick Leach’s Plane Type Study into an easy-to-use hypertext flowchart. Hopefully by answering a few questions about your plane you can determine which type it is.

The flowchart starts by asking questions about the cast iron bed of your plane. I’ve chosen the bed as a starting point because it has many easily identifiable markings, and it probably wasn’t replaced that often.

Unfortunately, many plane types share the same bed markings, so other features are also used in dating. Some plane parts were frequently replaced by their owners, or are easily separated from the plane, such as irons, cap irons, knobs and totes, and lever caps. These features are avoided where possible, along with features that appear in only some planes of a given type (i.e. frog adjustment screw).

Where possible, the flowchart uses parts that were probably replaced less often, such as frogs, depth adjustment screws and lateral adjustment levers. This approach doesn’t guarantee that you’ll date your plane correctly, as the flowchart can be thrown off by some hybrids. The best approach is to use the flowchart to date your plane, and then visit the Plane Type Study and Plane Feature Timeline to verify the type.

Disclaimers

The type study is based on the #4 bench plane Hybrids of plane types are very common This type study applies only to Stanley planes made in the U.S.A. English Stanley planes do not follow this type study. For more information, read Patrick Leach’s comments on Stanley plane dating.

Start Here

Types 1-20

How many patent dates are cast into the bed behind the frog (toward the tote)?

0 1 2 3
Types 1-8 , 15-20 Types 13-14 Types 9-10 Types 11-12

Types 1-8, 15-20

Is the plane size number (i.e., No. 4) cast into the bed?

YES NO
Types 15-20 Types 1-8

Types 1-8

Is the plane size number (i.e., No. 4) cast into the bed?

YES NO
Types 5-8 Types 1-4

Types 1-4

Is lever cap back recessed?

YES NO
Types 53-4 Types 1-2

Types 1-2

Is “BAILEY’S PATENT” “AUG. 31, 1858, AUG. 6, 1867” stamped into the depth adjustment nut?

YES NO
Type 2 Type 1

Types 3-4

Is the frog receiver a broad rectangular area with an arched rear (toward the tote)?

YES NO
Type 4 Type 3

Types 5-8

How many patent dates appear on the lateral adjustment lever?

0 1 2 3
Types 4-5,8-9 Type 8 Type 5 Types 6-7

Types 6-7

Is the depth adjustment nut stamped “BAILEY’S PATENT” “AUG. 31, 1858, AUG. 6, 1867”?

YES NO
Type 6 Type 7



Types 4-5, 8-9

Does “STANLEY” appear on the lateral adjustment lever?

YES NO
Type 8-9 Types 4-5

Types 9-10

Is the depth adjustment nut stamped “BAILEY’S PATENT” “AUG. 31, 1858, AUG. 6, 1867”?

YES NO
Type 10 Type 9

Types 11-12

Is the depth adjustment nut large (1.25″ diameter)?

YES NO
Type 12 Type 11

Types 13-14

Is a raised ring cast into the bed as receiver for the knob

YES NO
Type 14 Type 13

Types 15-20

Is the bed painted blue?

YES NO
Type 20 Types 15-19


Types 15-19

Do the toe and heel have a raised, broad, flat rib casting?

YES NO
Types 16-19 Types 15

Types 16-19

Is “STANLEY” printed vertically on the lateral adjustment lever?

YES NO
Type 19 Types 16-18


Types 16-18

Is “STANLEY” printed vertically on the lateral adjustment lever?

YES NO
Type 18 Types 16-17

Types 16-17

Does the plane have wartime features (handle and knob stained red or painted black, depth adjustment nut made of steel or hard rubber, or heavier bottom castings)?

YES NO
Type 17 Type 16