It’s just a matter of perspective.

That’s the first number 4 I ever bought. Recently, while planing some syp for my marking gauge project I broke the tote. I wasn’t pushing hard or taking a deep cut. It just broke. I’ve had a few weeks to think about it. At first I was frustrated. The seller had really seen me coming. They had taken a modern stanley, you can tell by the blue paint, and added a sweat heart iron and a low knob off of something and grafted them together to sell me what I thought was a vintage plane. Don’t ask what I paid, it was too much. I’ve grown a little wiser and now I know what to look for. That said, I learned how to sharpen, setup and plane with my Franken plane. It served its purpose. It also made me realize that I preferred low knobs over tall knobs. When it broke it galvanized my nerve. I decided to hunt up a new number 4 type 11 with the vee logo. I went to Jim Bode tools and had a perfect one on the way for 95 dollars. Cheap. When I started with hand tools I was about to buy a caninet saw for 2500 dollars. I can tell you I have all the hand tools I need and I’m not at 1000 after 4 or 5 years.  With that said I was recently presented with a compromise. I found a number 3 type 11 that was mint to me. It was on ebay so I was nervous l, but the pictures were great. It only had one flaw. So I gambled and spent the 30 dollars. I was the only bidder. The flaw was too much for others, I guess. To me it made me like the plane even more.

On May 16, 1920 the owner had stamped or punched his name in the side. When I bid on it I thought I’d lap it out, but I’ve decided to keep it. The plane is emaculate and looks hardly used. No one wanted it and I’m glad to have it and use it for the rest of my life and care for it so it sees another 100 years. Like I said it’s all a matter of perspective. I wrote this post to let others like me, starting the hand tool journey, know  to be patient with themselves. You will get screwed on ebay. Live with it. Find the positives in broken totes and ruined work. It’s all part of the journey. And if you find an old tool no one wants, take it home and love it and make it yours.

Here she is with her new family.
Thanks for reading.
Take Care,

About senrabc

Hi, this is not really about anything. Just me testing the intertubes with my own random meanderings and thoughts. Ostensibly, big word, I’m using this site as my personal log of sorts. I’m a random guy with 4 kids and a beautiful wife living in sunny Florida. Pardon the gratuitous posts with pictures of cute kids. I have an iPhone and can’t help myself. My day job is working in the area of informatics at the University of Florida where I like the shell. Oh, yeah and incase you can’t tell I like woodworking with handtools. Goes along with my command line philosophy 😉 Thanks for reading. Christopher P. Barnes
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4 Responses to It’s just a matter of perspective.

  1. Gav says:

    Hi Chris,
    I have come across busted , uncared for, frankensteined planes enough to realise that the true value is in the parts and what they can become when put together. Glue the tote back together and use it as a scrub plane. Keep it for spares. Get it working again- it must of for a while and pass it on to someone considering one of the really crap big box store planes- because they usually aren’t worth putting any time into (the plane not the person!). It sucks when you get shafted, honestly some of the crapola I get told by some supposed antique/vintage dealers really tests my mettle know that I know my own knowledge generally exceeds theirs. I think it was Paul Sellers who mentioned that a lot of what you see and read on eBay is false, generally because the seller doesn’t really know a lot about what they are selling. Nice score on the 3, they sell in Australia up to three times that and some aren’t exactly pristine either. I have quite a number of tools with engraving or stamped owners name in them . I do often wonder what actual jobs the tools were used on sometimes but I do thank the previous owner for looking after it enough to enable me to use it as well.

    • senrabc says:

      Hi Gav,
      Thanks for reading all the way from Australia. I’m definitely going to fix the number 4. I will make sure she finds a good home.
      Take Care,

      Chris from Florida

  2. Artisanal Facts says:

    Hi Chris,
    I have a plane where someone put their initials in with a prick punch. The letters are about an inch high.
    Those letters are punched into the iron. You can lap off the raised rings around the punch marks but you’ll be lapping for a year to get the dimples out.
    Your tote may have broken from a loose screw. If you feel the tote wiggling when you are planing take the time to snug it up. Sometimes on planes that are new to me I’ve had to make a wooden spacer about 1/16 or so to bring the brass nut flush to the tote again. Then all is tight.
    I have bought and sold on ebay a lot. I’ve had good luck. The most critical part is packing the plane so the tote doesn’t break if the box is dropped or the plane is a rusty mess because it was raining all day when it got delivered. Your experiences will teach you what you want to look for in a plane.

    • senrabc says:

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the tips. I was wondering if I could sand out the raised dimples, but keep the marks. I’ll have to go check all my totes now. It may have been a little loose and that’s why it may have broken. I never thought of that. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read. Hopefully, I’ll learn to become a more discerning plane buyer, but dimples and owner marks are starting to grow on me. Makes me feel connected to the last craftsman that owned my planes.

      Take Care,

      Chris from Florida

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