The new Stanley No. 4 smoothing plane.
Stanley Works will release five premium-grade handplane models this year that are designed to compete with planes from Veritas and Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, officials said.
The line includes new designs for a No. 4 smoothing plane, a low-angle jack plane, a shoulder plane and two block planes. All of the Stanley planes will have features that users have come to expect from high-end tools, including irons made from thicker A2 steel, bodies made from ductile iron and handles made from highly polished rosewood.
The new Stanley No. 62 low-angle jack plane.
Additionally, the sole castings will be heavier, all the knobs will be made of brass, the soles will be flat to .003″ and many of the planes will incorporate a “patented lateral adjustment locking lever,” according to company officials and literature.
The planes, which should be available by November, will have the following manufacturer’s suggested retail price: The No. 4 and the low-angle jack will list for $179. The block planes and the shoulder plane will list for $99. The planes will be available through woodworking specialty stores, not home centers. Company officials said the tools’ A2 irons will be made in England and the plane bodies will be made in Mexico.
Stanley officials said they designed these planes after working with the company’s “discovery teams.” These teams went into specialty stores and furniture-making shops and conducted two-hour interviews with woodworkers about what they wanted in a handplane.
Stanley then designed prototypes and solicited feedback from these users, which they then incorporated into the tools’ final designs.
The end results were very interesting. For example, the new Stanley No. 4 is a bevel-down plane. What’s different is that the frog and base are cast as one piece. This reduces the opportunity for blade chatter to occur. Also interesting: The plane has an adjustable mouth like a block plane. You unscrew the front knob and slide a throat plate forward and back for different mouth apertures.
The No. 62 Low-Angle Jack Plane also has many of these refinements, including the patented lateral-adjustment mechanism.
The new Stanley No. 92 shoulder/chisel plane.
The No. 92 Shoulder/Chisel Plane also features brass adjustment knobs and a wooden grip at the rear. Though Stanley officials didn’t have the finished width of the tool available, the No. 92 was historically a 3/4″-wide tool.
The new Stanley No. 60-1/2 block plane.
The two block planes , the No. 9-1/2 standard-angle plane and the No. 60-1/2 low-angle block plane , have less radical changes compared to their historic brethren. However, they have been redesigned to look like the rest of the new family of planes, and all the planes will use the famous Stanley “Sweetheart” logo from the early part of the 20th century.
When asked if other plane designs were in the works, a Stanley official said there was nothing they could discuss at this time.
As soon as functional production models become available, we’ll be testing these new planes and will report the results in an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine.
The new Stanley No. 9-1/2 block plane.