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60-1/2 plane


FiddleMkr

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I modified my Stanley 60-1/2 low angle block plane with set screws. This really helped. Before the set screws, adjusting the blade seemed to take forever, because there was so much slop side to side between the blade and inside of the plane body. (Thanks to everyone who suggested the set screws.)   
          For people who have bought a lie-neilson low angle plane and also have struggled with a Stanley and done the set screw fix; is the Lee Neilson better than the Stanley with the slop taken out (and the sole flattened)? Is the Lee Neilson a joy to use?  
          

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The LN 60-1/2 is my most recent purchase, not quite a year ago.  I kept the Stanley version as well.

I did NOT do the set screw mod on the Stanley, but went directly for the L-N with the PM blade.  Yes, the slop in the Stanley was the primary reason to upgrade, but the quality/precision of ALL of the parts mattered too.  And I had to think up something to get for my birthday present.

I still have the Stanley conveniently at hand for general purpose shaving off wood, but if I want something flat and accurate, I unbox the LN.

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I am a frugal soul (don't call me "cheap!"), and I thought long and hard before buying a L-N 102 quite a while back, but now that I have it, it's one of the best bargains ever on a cost-per-use basis. I've been reading up on the pmv steel, and I'm sorely tempted. It's worth a lot to keep things sharper, longer, and I'm a big fan of heavier blades.

The Stanley G12-060 is an  upgraded 60 1/2 with a lateral adjuster, and I used mine for years and never bothered to put setscrews in mine. Compared to the L-N, it's not a bad plane, but I only use it when I don't want to change the setting on my L-N. You can get a G12-060 for about $35 on Ebay if you're patient, and they are easy to fettle. 

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13 minutes ago, Michael Richwine said:

I am a frugal soul (don't call me "cheap!"), and I thought long and hard before buying a L-N 102 quite a while back, but now that I have it, it's one of the best bargains ever on a cost-per-use basis.

I got my LN 102 earlier, and it definitely sees a lot of use for very fine work.  And not terribly expensive.

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Thank you both for your input. I will most likely have to have an LN plane. The set screws make the Stanley usable, but I am a believer in what my father told me; always buy quality tools son. They will last you forever and you will enjoy using them for the rest of your life. 
      For anyone interested in modifying your Stanley with set screws, this is the size and style of screw that worked for me, and hopefully knowing this will save you a little time. 
IMG_0494.thumb.jpeg.8e0762da05ad6ef3e71c2fa452fb3828.jpegIMG_0495.thumb.jpeg.11b16d1b40c74acf8ff5b6ae9cd9c0cc.jpeg

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I've never had an issue with the pointy end of the blade sliding laterally when adjusting the angle from side-to-side on any of my Stanley planes, despite their many other issues.

Like some others here have said or suggested, I consider Lie Nielson to be the top dog in planes for those who prefer to cut to the chase and get quality work done, over endlessly dinking around with their planes.

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Out of all the 60 1/2 style planes, Lie Nielsen really is the king. In fact I have two! - one has the standard blade and the other has a toothed blade. This has been my go to plane for the last 15 years, I did use a Stanley with a laminated Samurai blade before. A good 102 style plane is worth its weight in gold as well. The veritas apron plane is the first one I grab, but I’ve had it the longest and my wife uses the LN the most. 

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6 hours ago, FiddleMkr said:

I modified my Stanley 60-1/2 low angle block plane with set screws.

Hey,

Your plane might be a bit more useful if you shorten and dome the end of the screws that are up against the blade until just a bit sticks out the side when they are reinserted into the plane. Then cut off the excess with sand paper, (sandingboard) then pull the screws out just a bit more (one at a time) then sand off again so they will barely recess into the plane body when all is properly adjusted.

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2 hours ago, Evan Smith said:

Hey,

Your plane might be a bit more useful if you shorten and dome the end of the screws that are up against the blade until just a bit sticks out the side when they are reinserted into the plane. Then cut off the excess with sand paper, (sandingboard) then pull the screws out just a bit more (one at a time) then sand off again so they will barely recess into the plane body when all is properly adjusted.

I see what you mean, making the inside work smoother rounding the screws off, plus recessing the outside. I ordered some screws that are 1/8 long verses 3/16, and they have a standard round point verses the dog point. I may have what I need already?

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4 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I've never had an issue with the pointy end of the blade sliding laterally when adjusting the angle from side-to-side on any of my Stanley planes, despite their many other issues.

The main problem I had was that I couldn’t keep the blade true with the sole. One or both ends of the iron slid sideways when I loosened the cap to adjust the depth of cut. 

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6 hours ago, Ted skreko said:

Out of all the 60 1/2 style planes, Lie Nielsen really is the king. In fact I have two! - one has the standard blade and the other has a toothed blade. This has been my go to plane for the last 15 years, I did use a Stanley with a laminated Samurai blade before. A good 102 style plane is worth its weight in gold as well. The veritas apron plane is the first one I grab, but I’ve had it the longest and my wife uses the LN the most. 

How does the veritas apron plane compare to the LN? (I am assuming that the apron plane is about the same size as a LN and 60-1/2 Stanley)

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19 minutes ago, FiddleMkr said:

The main problem I had was that I couldn’t keep the blade true with the sole. One or both ends of the iron slid sideways when I loosened the cap to adjust the depth of cut. 

Yes the blades tend to wander in these easily. I remedied the situation by straightening and polishing the edges of the blade, and installing a brass bed for the blade to rest on, with brass side rails to keep the blade centered and perfectly straight, just enough clearance for it to slide. Use calipers to get the edges of your blade perfectly parallel with each other, then set your screws with gentle loctite and leave them just loose enough for the blade to move, you never have to mess with them any more. The end of the screws should be flatter than round. Install them in your plane with the round side out, just barely. Then sand them on paper backed by some firm rubber, or about ten sheets of paper or so, depends on the paper. You want a touch of squish to create the dome. Use a figure 8 pattern.Then install the blade and square it with the plane body using the screws. Then extend the blade a bit and sand it square with the bed of the plane. That will be the edge that you sharpen to. I don't loosen the cap to adjust, just pull it back a touch, then forward.

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1 hour ago, FiddleMkr said:

The main problem I had was that I couldn’t keep the blade true with the sole. One or both ends of the iron slid sideways when I loosened the cap to adjust the depth of cut. 

Oh, I guess that explains it. On most of my planes, I adjust the depth of cut and the side-to-side skew without loosening the cap. I clamp the blade in place, and it stays clamped until the next time I remove it for sharpening.

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On 2/18/2024 at 7:33 PM, FiddleMkr said:

How does the veritas apron plane compare to the LN? (I am assuming that the apron plane is about the same size as a LN and 60-1/2 Stanley)

The veritas apron plane is the same size as the LN 102, both low angle and smaller than a 60 1/2. Both of mine have the A2 steel blades and both blades hold an edge the same. Lateral adjustment on the LN is with a hammer, the veritas has a Norris adjustment that does drive some people insane. The LN is more beautiful, both are really nice tools. I find the smaller size is better for planing violin/viola fingerboards and general small work. I typically use the 60 1/2 as a small smoothing plane. For years I used a LN number 7 and a LN 60 1/2 for everything outside of arching. 

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On 2/19/2024 at 1:30 AM, FiddleMkr said:

The main problem I had was that I couldn’t keep the blade true with the sole. One or both ends of the iron slid sideways when I loosened the cap to adjust the depth of cut. 

 

On 2/19/2024 at 3:09 AM, David Burgess said:

Oh, I guess that explains it. On most of my planes, I adjust the depth of cut and the side-to-side skew without loosening the cap. I clamp the blade in place, and it stays clamped until the next time I remove it for sharpening.

Same here. I think the trick is to find the right balance between tightening the cap so that the blade doesn't move during use but that adjustment is still possible, even if may be a little hard to move. I have a Stanley 60 1/2 dedicated to fingerboard planing and once properly set up I have never had any problems with adjusting the blade.

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45 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

 

Same here. I think the trick is to find the right balance between tightening the cap so that the blade doesn't move during use but that adjustment is still possible, even if may be a little hard to move. I have a Stanley 60 1/2 dedicated to fingerboard planing and once properly set up I have never had any problems with adjusting the blade.

 I do the same tension wise, but I ended up taking out the skew adjuster on my Stanley (dedicated) fingerboard plane.  no problem adjusting with a quick tap.  Some of the irons I like are a little skimpy in the length department and the adjuster can limit forward travel...  like to be able to use a blade I've trued up for a longer time.

Is it true the Veritas being discussed here (the apron pane) has a non-square edge iron? That might drive me nuts. I use my Tormek square edge tool as a time saver.

I assume what planes you (or at least I) end up using the most are the ones that feel most balanced and comfortable in your hand.  For me, that's an old knuckle cap Craftsman (made by Stanley) and the Lie Nielsen (60 1/2). I find most Veratas planes don't fit me as well... and their block plane seems rather heavy.  If they fit me better, I'm sure I'd get used the the adjustment system and go to the trouble of grinding the edge square.

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2 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

 I do the same tension wise, but I ended up taking out the skew adjuster on my Stanley (dedicated) fingerboard plane.  no problem adjusting with a quick tap.  Some of the irons I like are a little skimpy in the length department and the adjuster can limit forward travel...  like to be able to use a blade I've trued up for a longer time.

Thanks for the tip, I'll keep it in mind when my blade gets too short.:)

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Well, just goes to show anyone can be reached.  After reading this discussion yesterday I was looking at the work on my bench, looking at the block planes I was using - one an old Craftsman, the other an Idunno.  Re-read parts of the thread, stared at the work awhile longer.  Today I went to the Lie-Nielsen tools site and bought a 102.  US$160 + S&H.

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16 hours ago, Dr. Mark said:

Well, just goes to show anyone can be reached.  After reading this discussion yesterday I was looking at the work on my bench, looking at the block planes I was using - one an old Craftsman, the other an Idunno.  Re-read parts of the thread, stared at the work awhile longer.  Today I went to the Lie-Nielsen tools site and bought a 102.  US$160 + S&H.

Cheaper to buy a gallon of vodka. :D

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I have a pile of small planes, a few Stanley 102 and 103s and odd copies, L-N 102 and 103, etc, but the other day my assistant had to do something particularly fussy and went through all of hers and all of mine, and picked out an old Stanley chrome-dome. Which also happens to be my fave as well (and never touches ebony!) I've had it for a while, and it's been borrowed a lot in the shop because it just works.

Reminded by this thread I picked up another of the oldest form (late 1800s) with the forked hole in the cap instead of a keyhole from Ebay, virtually unused (!) for $30, and it's really a honey of a plane. The early ones have laminated blades like Japanese tools, the hard part added in a different way, either just the cutting end or half the thickness of just the cutting end with soft steel the rest of the way up, and they are GOOOOOD. 

On my new old one the sideways lever is threaded to the screw, rather than floating, so it's more immediate.

image.thumb.png.71b78dbcf76f128f2310fa95d68810e4.png

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5 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

...an old Stanley chrome-dome. Which also happens to be my fave as well (and never touches ebony!) I've had it for a while, and it's been borrowed a lot in the shop because it just works.

Is this just luck of the draw or are there models/years of Stanley planes that are reliably high quality tools?

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