This is one of the first woodworking tools I ever owned.
According to Patrick Leach of Patrick’s Blood and Gore Stanley plane pages, on the one hand “The plane is a must-have for woodworkers,” while on the other hand, you should, “Definitely stay away from the maroon colored block planes; Stanley must have hired some Greenwich Village arteest to come up with this hideous color.”
Personally, I LOVE it. Mostly because it’s one of the few woodworking tools that my Dad owned. I think he bought it in the 1970s. And it saw so little use in his possession that I can still read the handwritten $8.95 price on the finger rest knob.
When I first got it, I tuned it up and have loved using it ever since. Then, Lee Valley came out with their new steel alloy, the PM-V11. I wanted to try it, and decided to upgrade my maroon beauty with a blade forged from the new metal. Here’s a side-by-side look see.
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The iron that came stock with the plane is a bit over 1/16” thick while the new LV blade is 1/8″ thick with a 25° bevel.
Minutes after the postman’s delivery, I finished polishing the back and bevel to a mirror finish, and put it in.
Then I applied it to some mahogany end grain.
The new iron sliced quite nicely through the end grain, leaving a very fine finish. It handles it with ease. And it’s been able to take a more aggressive cut than what I could shave with the stock blade.
It’s also nice not to have to sharpen it as often as the O1 blade it replaced. So far, the only drawback was the $36.00 + postage price. That needs to be balanced against the lifetime’s use I expect to get out of it. And it’s an improvement that future family members will benefit from as well. Though by the time it gets to them, the magic marker price will have worn off.