Friday, 4 January 2013

Stanley #130 blockplane

I recently started building up my collection of hand tools and decided to buy a used Stanley #130 block plane from a website called
This is similar to CraigsList in that a seller advertises the product to be sold on the website and then dealing direct with the buyer. Preloved get no commission from the sale and you can pay with cash, cheque(check) or Paypal.
I bought the Stanley #130 for a very modest sum of £18 (about $29 US) + postage.
I wasn't expecting much but I was in for a surprise.

If you don't know the Stanley #130 is a double ended block plane made between 1884-1955 (according to Supertool) it is 8" long by 1 5/8" wide. The blade can be either in the conventional position or re-positioned at the opposite end, almost at the end, to act in a similar way to a bull nose plane.
Blade in regular position

The blade is positioned underneath one of the round steel pins on top of the wedge in the casting bevel side up. The end of the wedge nearest the mouth is machined with two thin webs in the casting extending beyond and the blade back sits directly upon this. A clamping plate is then placed on top of the blade, again underneath the pin, and the integral knob is tightened to secure the blade.
There is no form of lateral or longitudinal adjustment and you have to manually position the blade and I found this very easy to do.
Blade in bullnose position
If you want the plane to act as a bullnose simply remove it with the cap and re-position it under the other steel pin. It couldn't be simpler.

On my example there is a rosewood knob at one end for use when the blade is in the central position.

The plane disassembled - not much to it!
Underside of the main casting
I examined the plane and found that for once the sole of the light iron casting was dead flat with surprisingly little hollowing behind either throat openings (obviously it hadn't been used very much) but a little blackening at the bullnose end and both adjacent faces were dead flat and square to the sole with very little corrosion in the entire casting. The machined wedges have a little pitting but nothing that is more than cosmetic. The castings are finished with the usual black japanning. The cap casting has a Stanley sticker on that is nearly worn off. I'm not sure of the year when this was made but the cap has QX1 C241 cast into the underside.

Underside of cap
The main casting has X1 MADE IN ENG cast into it. Maybe a knowledgeable reader could enlighten us as to its approximate manufacturing date?

I spent a couple of minutes ensuring the face of the blade was flat, it was, and gave the bevel a quick hone with my Veritas MK 2 honing guide.
I gave it a tryout on oak, maple and a piece of cedar softwood. On a light cut on end grain for the oak it was perfect, the hard maple was good too both with no visible chatter. On the cedar end grain it was not so good, however on long grain it was fantastic with no tear out for all 3 samples.
I increased the cut depth as I needed it to remove some stock from the cladding on one of the shop doors. It was removing 1/32" shavings like a hot knife through butter. As the cladding was already on the door I found it difficult to get an ordinary block plane in nearest the floor. I inverted the blade into bullnose position and it removed stock from that too.


This is a fine all round blockplane that can be used for site joinery (it probably was designed for that) and, in my opinion, would also be great for fine furniture.  It's just a pity that it isn't made anymore either by Stanley nor any other manufacturer in a different guise. A great buy for very little outlay. If you see one advertised - snap it up you won't be disappointed.

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