Fixed Frog Plane

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    Stewart Perry

    Hello all,

    I’ve been woodworking for about 9 months now and this is my first post on these forums. A few months back a mate of mine gave me a couple of bench planes after his dad passed away. One was a Stanley 4 1/2 which I restored (and really like) and the other was the one in the photos below, which seems unusual in that it has a fixed frog and no depth or lateral adjusters. It’s a little smaller than a #4 and is a bit uncomfortable to hold due to lack of space behind the iron.

    I’ve never seen a plane like this before and I’m wondering what to do with it to be honest. I can’t find any manufacturers markings or any information about this kind of plane online. I don’t want to get rid of it but I can’t really see what I’d use it for given the lack of any fine adjustment. I don’t have a scrub plane so maybe it could be converted to that (although the throat is far too narrow at the moment). Any suggestions?


    Stu - Surrey, UK


    I’ve never worked with a plane like this. I’d try tapping the top of the blade to set depth and angle. I’ve made a few scrub planes and have never had to open the mouth. The gap that appears in the first photo suggests you’d be fine without filing the mouth open.


    That plane looks a little like a hybrid.

    I’d venture that the reason the mouth arrangement is tight and awkward is that the iron/cap-iron are a marriage.

    I expect that with a fixed bed and mouth, the original blade would have been a single piece iron held in place by the screw-cap. It would have been set and adjusted in the old-fashioned way by tapping inwards and sideways with a hammer; I must say that’s unusual for a metal body plane but perfectly normal in some wooden bodied tools. It may well have been a home-made plane; pattern-makers often did that to produce something to their liking.

    What can you do?

    If you really don’t like it, move it on as is….

    If you have a use and liking for it, clean all the rust and krud off, measure the length and width of the blade, dispose of it ethically and obtain an old iron of the same dimensions. A modern, thin iron may work, but the old irons would probably be a bit thicker but without a backing cap-iron it should fit.

    There are plenty of used old irons about, second-hand but do ensure that it is in good order. There should be absolutely no rust/corrosion on the back, behind the bevel; everything else can be fixed except that which is terminal.

    Good luck

    Dave Ring

    Whatever it might be, I’m pretty sure that the cap iron is original to the plane, based on that rectangular slot. Likewise, the squared off bottom of the slot in the iron suggests the same thing.

    This is clearly an old plane with an unusual (and IMHO not very good) design that may have some collector value. I wouldn’t make any alterations until I found out more about it.



    Whatever it might be, I’m pretty sure that the cap iron is original to the plane, based on that rectangular slot.

    Agreed. The lever/screw/cap appears original.
    I meant to state that I thought that the blade and cap-iron assembly beneath it was a later marriage.

    There may be a very usable plane in there screaming to be let out.


    It would make an ideal candidate for trying your own restoration methods; rust removal, rasping (the handle), grinding, polishing, etc., before working on something more important later on.

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