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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently started to become more interested in the style of woodworking I was taught at school in the UK in the 70's, so I'm checking out our New Zealand equivalent to Ebay for various bits and pieces, including hand planes.

Anyway, the listing for a Stanley 51 & 52 appeared recently, and as an oddity I added it to my watchlist.

The auction closed yesterday evening, and the first thing I noticed is the price that the thing sold for NZ$1,395 (US$930). To say I was shocked is something of an understatement ... :surprise:

However, my second thought was to wonder what the plane may have realised if it had been listed on Ebay, with access to a global audience, rather than the 5 million folks who live here in NZ. Would anyone care to hazard a guess ... :smile:
 

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I think it would have to be extremely rare, and extremely sought after, to be worth anywhere near that price. Or the seller may have just posted high for the Hell of it, and it paid off for him. Personally, I limit my buying off eBay here, to much lower prices, and first thing I do is look at the shipping cost. Earlier today looked at an item starting at $.01 (US), OK, then looked at shipping - just under $50. Needless to say, I passed. Right now am looking for a bench hand cranked tool grinder. I figure on paying around $30, for one in decent condition, and working.
 
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I've recently started to become more interested in the style of woodworking I was taught at school in the UK in the 70's, so I'm checking out our New Zealand equivalent to Ebay for various bits and pieces, including hand planes.

Anyway, the listing for a Stanley 51 & 52 appeared recently, and as an oddity I added it to my watchlist.

The auction closed yesterday evening, and the first thing I noticed is the price that the thing sold for NZ$1,395 (US$930). To say I was shocked is something of an understatement ... :surprise:

However, my second thought was to wonder what the plane may have realised if it had been listed on Ebay, with access to a global audience, rather than the 5 million folks who live here in NZ. Would anyone care to hazard a guess ... :smile:
JCG, If you are interested in old hand tools at reasonable prices,you might look at this site.
https://www.jimbodetools.com/collections/whats-new?mc_cid=b0d89151bc&mc_eid=5a41792ea3
I have bought here before and I am happy with their service.
It is also a good site to browse to compare tools advertised other places to see if they are pricing within the market range.
Herb
 

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Theo
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JCG, If you are interested in old hand tools at reasonable prices,you might look at this site.
https://www.jimbodetools.com/collections/whats-new?mc_cid=b0d89151bc&mc_eid=5a41792ea3
Ouch. I've bought good Disston saws for $3 each, and the most I paid for a plane was $25 for an excellent condition wooden plane. I call those prices collector prices. I would say start hitting flea markets, yard sales. garage sales, moving sales, estate sales, etc. And ask people if they have any old tools they want to get rid of, or do they know anyone that might, nothing like networking to find off-the-wall stuff. I don't collect zip, unless I can use it. Anything even halfway collectable, I get rid of it. If I can't use it, I don't want it.
 

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I see some of the Stanley numbers come up often but those are two that are unfamiliar to me so maybe they are rare. I'm also not sure what a chute plane is but that could be a difference in terminologies like rebate/ rabbet. I was able to pick up a lot of 4 Stanley planes at an auction on Saturday for what I think was a pretty decent price of $65 plus tax and buying fee. Also a German made draw knife for $22.50 plus. Total was $115 all in. The small block plane had an extra blade taped to it. All were in decent shape with no parts missing except for the fence for the rabbet/rebate plane. The rod for it is there so it got lost somewhere along the way. There are deals from time to time. Just be ready when they come along.
 

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I bought planes when my income was at its peak and I didn't have time available to resurrect a used, but cheap one. So I went with Wood River's V3 series, which are excellent and require very little tuning to perform wonderfully well. I do have one Stanley block plane the require just a bit of tuning, but once the irons were sharpened properly, has also been a pleasure to use.

If you have time and patience, a used one that might even be a little rusty, can usually be brought back to near new condition with a few hours of elbow grease. The cheaper planes and off brands often require a lot more work to tune, and usually have inferior irons that dull quickly and cause other problems. Preparing the iron is an art, but can be done largely with sandpaper. Sometimes you can buy a premium iron to put into a well tuned cheaper plane. What a difference a blade makes.

Here are a few videos of Ron Cosman on hand planes. Well worth watching.



Finally, here's an interesting Cosman on his top ten hand tools, which seems to fit your post nicely.

 

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I noticed he had a reserve on the auction of $30.00 so the starting bid could have been less than that. I do agree that these are very rare planes and I'm surprised his reserve was not at least 10 times that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the replies and suggestions gents.

When it comes to pricing and availability of anything you could care to mention, New zealand is a very strange little place. We have a comparable landmass and population to Colorado, but we're a long stretched out country, and 1/3 of the population lives withing 60 miles of where I live.

Also, our nearest neighbour, Australia is around 2,500 miles away, so that population distribution and our isolation mean that things tend to be way more expensive that most folks would imagine.

All of that is my long winded way of saying that, for common items like a Stanley #4 range from US$ 25 up to whatever some "enthusiast" may feel inclined to pay, so Cherryville Chuck's recent score makes me quite envious ... :smile: ... but here endeth the geography lesson ... :grin:

When it comes to restoring an old plane or the like, I've worked in engineering all my life, and I really enjoy "tinkering", which means there's some pleasure to be had in me taking a rusty, but sound, piece of equipment and turn it back into something that's functional. Less often I'll go the extra mile and make it presentable too ... :grin:

In terms of my Youtube watching, I've recently started watching Rex Krueger, and he's reminded me that cleaning or refurbishing these things needn't be too challenging, though putting the refurbished items to work is a completely different subject, as there's a lifetime's worth of experience behind all of the true craftsmen that are out there.

However, I look forward to watching Ron Cosman's videos to see how I get on with him / them.

Once again, thanks for all the replies, they're all very much appreciated ... :nerd:
 

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When it comes to restoring an old plane or the like, I've worked in engineering all my life, and I really enjoy "tinkering", which means there's some pleasure to be had in me taking a rusty, but sound, piece of equipment and turn it back into something that's functional. Less often I'll go the extra mile and make it presentable too ... :grin:


May I suggest a Stanley 55 to satisfy that itch...?
 
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The main points for restoration are making sure the frog the blade sits against is flat (may require a little light filing), making sure the chip breaker sits tight and flat against the blade (may require a little honing), and getting the blade flat (both sides) and sharp and the sole mostly flat. The latter two can sometimes take a bit of work. Some say that the sides should be square with the sole but unless you plan on using it with a shooting board then I don't think that matters very much. The rest is getting it adjusted properly with the right amount of cutting edge exposed. The older Stanley planes were decent tools but occasionally suffered from a lack of quality control to turn production into perfection which is what you may need to fix.

Another good video I've seen about restoring old planes was by UK woodworker Paul Sellers. He took an old Stanley and had it cutting thin shavings in 45 minutes to an hour. He showed how to put just enough effort into it to get it to work properly without being obsessive compulsive, which is something I'm bad about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
May I suggest a Stanley 55 to satisfy that itch...?
Thank you kind Sir, but after a modicum of Googling, and my preference for a basic KISS approach, you will understand if i politely decline.

However, should you find a spare, please feel free to send it in this direction for a thorough disassembly and cleaning, after which, reassembly may, or may not be an option ... :wink:

More seriously, I do wonder if Stanley were employing a few Nimrods at the time who though the number of bells and whistles attached equated to ... better ... :smile:

Also, I wonder if there is some relationship between the complexity of the 51 & 52 I originally posted, and your offering of the 55

Thanks Nick :grin:
 

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The Stanley 51/52 is a relatively rare bird indeed. And worthy of any collection. Especially when as it appears in nice condition. The 51 refers to the plane and the 52 denotes the "chute". More commonly known in the states as a shooting board. The 51 and 52 are unique to each other, being designed to work in combination. When it comes to value, they don't' come up very often and when they do, they go for a premium. Especially in nice condition.
 
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Also, I wonder if there is some relationship between the complexity of the 51 & 52 I originally posted, and your offering of the 55

Thanks Nick :grin:


Your fault...:grin:...your mentioning "tinkering" and "engineering" is what made me think of the 55. :smile:

I disassembled, cleaned and restored one for a friend of mine and I had a lot of fun with it and the manual...more than fun, it was interesting...of course, I played with it for a couple of weeks on different wood...liked it but it does take a bit to set it up properly. Luckily the manual did a much better job than any of today's manuals.

Good luck and have fun restoring what you find...that's what it's all about anyway...
 
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@JGC John...just remembered an interesting site to help with your researching... The Superior Works

Interesting site and read...see the Patrick's Blood & Gore section...
 
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does it have the 55 cutters that go w/ it???...
if not, the cost of them will make your nose bleed...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@Stick468; I have no idea, but I'd assume that what you see is what you get. TBH, I didn't know such a thing existed until Nick mentioned it ... :grin:

@Nickp obviously this was one of those rare times, and despite the fact the it seems to be incomplete, the price it realised was almost enough to make my nose bleed ... :wink:

Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to share the image directly from my Google drive, but the closing price on the plane was around US$140

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1POI3nMOG0henmdF0U-DXxFZttnMQZeV7/view?usp=sharing

For my $0.10 worth, I think a huge part of the attraction of the older hand tools is their simplicity. If you look at something along the lines of a Stanley #4, it really is a very, very simple machine, but yet very effective, especially in the hands of someone who actually knows what they're doing (ie, not me).

However, to me, and from a 21st century perspective, the #55 looks like a complete nightmare. Even putting the cost of the parts to one side, just trying to set the thing up must have taken a great deal of skill and then there's the time taken to develop some sort of control with the thing, so I'm happy to leave them for the collectors.

Thanks for the suggestion Nickp, but for mouldings, I'll stick with my mains voltage plunge router, thank you very much ... :grin:
 

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For my $0.10 worth, I think a huge part of the attraction of the older hand tools is their simplicity. If you look at something along the lines of a Stanley #4, it really is a very, very simple machine, but yet very effective, especially in the hands of someone who actually knows what they're doing (ie, not me).

However, to me, and from a 21st century perspective, the #55 looks like a complete nightmare. Even putting the cost of the parts to one side, just trying to set the thing up must have taken a great deal of skill and then there's the time taken to develop some sort of control with the thing, so I'm happy to leave them for the collectors.

Thanks for the suggestion Nickp, but for mouldings, I'll stick with my mains voltage plunge router, thank you very much ... :grin:


You obviously read the Blood & Gore section...:grin::grin::grin: Yeah, it's a bit of a hassle to set it up. I had fun playing with the one I restored but I wouldn't want to use it on a daily basis...
 
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