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.
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
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
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.
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
— 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.