Stanley 13-050 Plough plane Unidentified screw

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    Colin Scowen

    I recently purchased this plane, and I can identify the use of all the screws except the one highlighted in yellow.
    I have looked at the instructions, and it is not mentioned in either the text, or the diagram.
    The machining marks in the hole (for the casting form) match the other holes, so it appears to be by design, however, the knurling pattern on this screw is different from the other screws.
    The screw goes through the slider, but there is no mating hole on the main body of the plane.
    Any idea what it is for?
    When you finger tighten the screw without the fence installed, it seems to bias the slider, maybe to get a slight taper on the guides.



    Colin, Czech Rep.


    I asked the exact same question about 30 odd years ago when I got a medium plough-plane and there it was.

    As you suggested – its intended use is to add rigidity to the tail end of the sliding stock. The booklet that accompanies my Record 050 says that it clamps the rear of the sliding stock……

    It is present on most of the mid-sized plough-planes that feature a sliding stock…. Stanley 50, Record 050 etc. though not on the next size series of combination planes, the Stanley/Record 45/405 and 55.

    Next question, do you use it? Over-tightening may distort the sliding stock or move its placement to the point where it binds in the groove……..

    However, somebody somewhere way back in the dawn of history of plough-planes must have considered it an essential piece of kit.

    That said, I never personally have used it on any of my planes and it does not seem to make any difference to the ride of the two stocks or the quality of the cut. The important thing is that they don’t move when cutting and do not bind in the sides of the groove as it is created.

    That screw is a little bit like an appendix…. we’re all born with one, but a totally useless bit of gristle.

    Colin Scowen

    I guess it may have either been added later, or removed later. I’m not sure which. I was only able to find the one scanned version of the manual (the one that didn’t mention it), and when I look at online images for this plane, some have the screw, and some don’t.

    I may ask around at work and see if anyone has more details about the when of it’s presence. Maybe that would at least give me a chance to date the plane a little more accurately.


    Colin, Czech Rep.


    As far as I’m aware, all 13 – 50 planes had that screw. Sometimes they were taken out and lost.

    It was in production for only a few years; mid/late 1960s to the early 1970s.

    Stanley ‘redesigned’ many of their traditional range of hand tools about that time before abandoning them entirely.

    It is a good worker, if a little weighty to use. One thing that you can do to improve its handling is to fit a wooden fence guide. There are two holes on the sliding fence for screws to fit one.

    Anyway, good luck with it.


    It’s possibly a marketing feature. To add mechanical/technical complexity to an otherwise basic tool. Potential buyers would assume it has meaningful purpose and choose that tool over one without it.

    Similar practices are still used today. Seen those protractor markings painted onto Workmate jaws?

    Stanley did similar with their router-planes; depth-gauge, bridge/shoe, lateral fence channels, cutters with graduations… Manufacturing competitors even copied worthless features, so as not to appear lacking by comparison.

    There’s an over-engineered equivalent on my Stanley combination plane. A thumbscrew to move a sliding section inwards and away from the fence. Equally useless.

    They were trying to sell new metal planes to craftsmen who’d used the same tried ‘n’ tested wooden variants for centuries. It had to appear improved.

    (Paul’s Sandusky Plough Plane doesn’t have one)

    Brian Stormont

    I found that tightening that screw can help adjust the width of the nose area and reduce binding as you plow deeper. By applying separation to the tail using that screw, it narrows the nose opening. Try using a caliper to measure the skate separation before and after tightening that screw – you should see by adding some tension you can get to skate width to be exactly the same front to back. Without the screw there is a little bit of difference.

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