Chris Schwarz's Blog

Stanley No. 65: My Favorite Tool of 2010

I like chamfers as
much as I like grits. And making stop-chamfers with a little lamb’s
tongue detail at the end is like adding crispy pork belly and goat
cheese to my grits.

As a result of my design fetish, I feel like
someone in New Britain, Conn., was thinking of me when they invented the
Stanley No. 65 chamfer shave. This fantasy is unlikely, however,
because I wasn’t even a fetus at the time.

In any case, I finally
purchased a vintage No. 65 in 2010 and it quickly became one of my
favorite specialty tools. If you don’t cut stop-chamfers, don’t bother
buying one because that’s pretty much all the sucker does. But if you
need an accurately sized chamfer, there is no finer tool. 

The
beauty of the No. 65 is its two adjustable fences. These slide left and
right and lock with thumbscrews. With the fences set, you scoop out your
chamfer and the tool stops cutting when you reach your finished depth.
Even a grits-loving Arkie can do it.

The fences and the sole of
the shave are curved, so it takes a few minutes of practice to find the
sweet spot with the tool. But once you find it, you won’t want to leave
it.

The original Stanley comes outfitted with a blade that is
1-1/2″ wide, and the fences open to that full width. I’ve never tried a
chamfer that wide. But then, I don’t build many barns. With the two
fences closed all the way you’ll merely break the edge of a board – you
can’t even tell you are making a chamfer.

The tool represents
everything I love about older Stanley products. My version is from the
company’s Sweetheart era, which makes it circa 1919 to 1932. It is
rugged. Simple. Easy to adjust. And the iron is firmly bedded in the
shave.

If you can’t find a vintage No. 65, you have some other
options. You can add chamfer guides to your drawknife, which transforms
the tool into a very large chamfer shave. Record also made a version of
this tool for about 10 years. Search for the A65 when you are in
England. And Kunz still makes a No. 65. You can buy it at TraditionalWoodworker.com for a reasonable price.

For
years before I purchased a Stanley No. 65 I considered buying the Kunz,
but I’d had such awful experiences with two different shaves from Kunz
that I just couldn’t do it. If anyone out there has the No. 65 Kunz
shave and would like to chime in with their two cents, I’d appreciate
it.

— Christopher Schwarz

Other Handtool Resources to Explore

Don’t know much about Record planes? You should. The company produced
many fine handtools, even as Stanley was giving up on the woodworking
market. Get to know the RecordHandplanes.com site. There is lots of good information there.

• Another good source of Record-centric information is the book “Planecraft,
which has been in print for what seems like forever. Despite the fact
that it was produced by Record, there is some good (and not so good)
information in it. Definitely worth your time.

• Want to learn
more about spokeshaves? Get Tom Lamond’s book on the subject
“Manufactured and Patented Spokeshaves & Similar Tools.” And visit
his web site to read all the free information he’s posted there: yesteryearstools.com.

• Brian Boggs has an excellent DVD on chairmaking tools such as spokeshaves called “Drawknives, Spokeshaves and Travishers.”

6 thoughts on “Stanley No. 65: My Favorite Tool of 2010

  1. Ken

    To the gentleman wanting to know where to look for one, I would keep an eye on jimbodetools.com. They have new (old) tools daily. You can sign up for their email to get a daily update.

    Your pocket book may hate me for mentioning this site. I’ve certainly found a bunch of "gotta have" tools there.

  2. Christopher Schwarz

    I wrote a story on stop chamfers and lamb’s tongue details that will come out in the Lee Valley newsletter. Should be out in December I think.

    Chris

  3. theparttimewoodworker.blogspot.com

    Chris, I have been trying to do a "proper" stopped chamfer for months now. I have discovered that creating a chamfer is easy, it is the "proper" part of the equation that fails me.

    Could you either post a short explanation regarding your technique or direct me to one of your books or blogs that includes it?

    I would greatly appreciate it.

    Peace

  4. John Cashman

    I have the Kunz version. I purchased it somewhere around 1980, give or take a year. There were no resources back then to tell me how bad the tool was, or what to do about it, but it wasn’t hard to figure out.

    There was lots of paint where paint didn’t belong, so that had to come off. Some file work on the bed and both top and bottom of the cap smoothed things out. The cap was really chunky, so I had to take a lot off the top so the shavings would pass through smoothly. I have no idea how long it took to make it work the way it should, but I doubt it was an exorbitant amount.

    The sole is very round front to back, more so than some of the shaves that are supposed to be rounded. I think this is a big plus. You can cut tighter concave surfaces, and on flat work you can set it to take a heavy cut, and rock the tool back a bit to take a finer shaving, without having to adjust the blade.

    I’ve never used a Stanley 65, but for many years the Kunz was my favorite spokeshave, even with the chamfer guides off. In fact, I’ve used it more with the guides off than on.

  5. Mike

    Chris,

    Should I assume that any 65’s I find will now be double the price that they were this morning? A quick ebay search revealed that there are not any available, there was probably a run on them five minutes after you posted. In all honesty though I have never seen this tool (or didn’t recognize it) when looking through vintage tools. Was it very common? I’ve seen the No. 72 chamfer plane show up but never this shave, any idea where to find one?

    Thanks for sharing this; it looks like a very interesting tool.

    Mike Mitchell

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