My first plane was a Stanley number 4. I got it before I knew very much about the eras and best ages of tools to buy so I got one of the relatively newer plastic handled ones.
It works absolutely fine, but ever since day one I found that the lever cap doesnt just snap down like Paul’s always do. It just has to be pushed down in a single motion it doesnt really click. Therefore it is difficult to judge if the screw is too loose or too tight.
I bought a Record number 5 afterwards, this one was one that was built in the war and it does have that snap, but over time it has lessened. Not sure why that happened.
Is this something I can fix without having to get another lever cap?
I’m guessing you tried to tighten or loosen the lever cap screw on the #5. It is possible the cam mechanism is worn, which would lead to this. If the blade stays in place while you work and the plane doesn’t chatter, then I wouldn’t worry about it.
Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/
Have you checked the underside of the Locking-Arm of your Lever-Cap for flatness?
I too wondered about this ‘snapping’ shut after seeing Paul’s restoration video.
One I’m restoring had just one tiny bright spot where the Locking-Arm touches the Chip-Breaker. Gently filing this area gives it a larger bed to seat on when locked. That’s where the ‘snap’ comes from.
There are certainly variations in castings from cap to cap. Whether it’s supposed to be flat, or gently rounded, I don’t know.
I think it’s down to personal preference. If the underside of this cam is rounded, it still locks under pressure, albeit silently. Proving it doesn’t work undone when in use, I found it makes little difference. Although I do prefer the ‘snap’.
Just having restored 3 vintage to antique #4s with various level of “snap” as @alan141 says, you can bring the “snap” back. Trick is to have a smooth curve on the cam to a long flat landing spot for the lock down. This gets the snap back.
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