bullnose plane Stanley no 75 vs rebate no 78

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    Willem Diepeveen

    I have a question: Paul doesn’t recommend the Stanley bullnose plane no 75 because the bevel is placed downwoards.
    But on the other hand he does recommend the rebate plane no 78 from Stanley, although its bevel is also placed downwoards.
    Is it really a problem with the no 75 ?
    Kind regards.

    Dave Ring

    The Stanley No.75 is a cheap, poorly designed, crudely made piece of rubbish that is nearly impossible to use in its original state.

    Having said that, I must admit that I once managed to put one into a condition where it was barely adequate (with a lot of fiddly adjustment) to do some light, undemanding DIY work. Bringing it to this level involved an insane amount of filing and lapping.

    Please do yourself a favor and and spend a few dollars/pounds/euros more for a No.78 or (if you are looking for a small bullnose plane) a Stanley No.90 or one of the many bullnose planes made by Record or Preston.


    Patrick Lundrigan

    Patrick Leach says the 75 is good for “trimming and odd rabbeting.” the sides are not flush, so you can’t use it on its side (like to clean up the shoulder of a tenon). to use it to make a rabbet, you’d need to tack a fence to the work and some how control the depth.
    I carry one with my carpentry tools. my 90 stays in the workshop.
    the 78 has a fence, depths stop, and a nicker for cross grain, so it’s a completly different tool.

    Larry Geib

    I’m going to agree and disagree with Patrick Leach. He starts out his piece on that plane with

    “ This is a cheap, little rabbet plane, that is very useful in the shop”

    I agree with the first part and think he should have quit before the comma.

    The no 75 was made for almost a century. It was cheap in 1879 ( cost 50¢ USD in 1906) had several revisions and got cheaper made as time went along. I got one because one of my mentors had a pretty nice version that had a squirrel tail handle that functioned pretty well. Unfortunatel, by the early seventies, the string had run out on quality, and by 1973 production stopped right after I bought mine.

    By the time I got mine, the unboxing revealed a plane with poor warped castings, bad machining , a mouth that wouldn’t plane anything thinner that a dime, and a poorly tempered blade. Unless you can find an old one made BEFORE the sweetheart era, I’ll agree with Dave that you should pass on this plane or the modern Kunz version still made.

    After much fettling and frustration, I accidentally left the plane on the job. I was only a couple blocks away when I realized where I left it. I didn’t turn the truck around to retrieve it. It’s probably still in that bank. No self respecting woodworker would use it.

    Worst stanley tool I ever bought, certainly the worst new tool I ever bought, and my stable is 95% Stanley.

    Willem Diepeveen

    Thanks for your reactions.
    I now understand that the no 75 is badly designed, but still one question remains: the bevels are positioned the same way. And that’s the problem with the 75, when listen to Paul. But for the 78, that’s not an issue.
    Excuse that my English is perhaps poor in some way, but that’s because I’m Dutch. 😉
    Kind regards.

    Larry Geib

    I don’t think the bevel up or down is the key difference. I’d like a like to see where Paul says that. What’s important Is the final presentation angle of the top face of the blade edge, and there isn’t much difference between 45° set bevel down and a 12° plane body with a 30° ground blade set bevel up – only 3°. And lower resultant angles can cause more tearout in contrary grain.
    Here is a compilation of Paul’s on the subject:


    One of the real issues was that the sole of the nose piece, as designed, is not flush with the sole of the main body of the plane. It’s higher. So no matter how close you set the nose to the blade edge, you can’t set the plane any finer than that difference in height, which varied depending which rookie was tasked with nose grinding that day. The one I happened to get was apparently ground on hangover Monday, and the finest cut I got out of the box was the thickness of the dime I mentioned.

    Patrick Leach, again, finds the plane useful for cleaning up paint blobs, a job most people use a paint scraper for. He explains the sole difference like this:

    “ The section of the sole ahead of the iron is not co-planar with the sole behind the iron. The plane is purposely made this way to assist it with its cut (you guys what owns the ‘lectrical jointahs should know why the plane’s sole is the way it is) so there’s no need to practice sole lapping on it.”

    . I don’t know of any other plane that had a nose piece set higher than the body. Not even the peculiar 340 furring plane had the area immediately in front of the blade set higher than the sole.

    A hand plane functions differently that that Jointah blade spinning at 25,000 rpm. I still have one of those, and that’s what I used to get tough titanium or lead base paint off old door edges to rehang them. Fitted with carbide blades, they didn’t have to be resharpened often. Then I followed up with a real plane on paint free wood. The jointah could also take 1/8” off a door in one swipe, a job no hand plane can muster no matter how strong you are.

    As this plane is designed, the nose does absolutely nothing in a fine cut. Look at the #97 cabinet makers edge plane to get an idea of what it was good for.( if anything) and the nose just got in the way of that function and can’t be removed.

    One of the first things you needed to do to get the plane to work at all was reduce of eliminate that flaw, which meant you were purchasing a plane kit, or project, not a plane.

    Alan Green

    I bought a 75 pretty cheap….then I found out why. That thing is more trouble than it is worth. I use mine for a paperweight to keep paper plans in place on my bench side table..

    Dave Ring

    For any of you guys who haven’t discovered it yet, Patrick Leach’s voluminous (and sometimes controversial) tome on Stanley planes (“Patrick’s Blood and Gore”) can be found at:


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