Stanley Handyman

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  • #138082
    Anthony Greitzer
    Participant

    Just thought I’d comment about a flea market handplane buy I made over the winter. First, a little background. I was buying rusty, cheap hand planes on eBay but stopped because it was taking time away from woodworking. I was buying Stanley Handymans and fixing them up and reselling them on eBay and making a small profit. Anyway, I had one left over that I did not completely fix up and last night decided to finish it. In every way, the plane is a little smaller than a Stanley 4. So fast forward to this morning. I’m finishing my Paul Sellers workbench today and decided to use the Handyman to plane the remaining well-board stock square and straight. Surprisingly, it did just as good of a job as my other planes (Stanley’s 4 & 5 and a Record smoothing plane) when I planed the legs, bench top, and aprons.

    Anthony

    #138086
    Matt McGrane
    Participant

    Maybe I shouldn’t be such a hand plane snob. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get a handyman plane. But yours is not the only time I’ve heard of people getting good results with one. You must have done a good job cleaning it up and sharpening.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/

    #138087
    Richard Senior
    Participant

    I have a Stanley Handyman (12-204, plastic fittings, maroon paint) that I bought new in the UK around 1996 and it has been good to me. I see stories of them not even being fit for use as doorstops but mine has done all sorts of joinery and household work, including planing endgrain on hardwood door stiles. The 1950s Stanley No 4 that I later inherited feels nicer in the hands with the wooden handles and brass depth adjustment, and is less prone to tear out, but I still use the Handyman for squaring up stock. We seem to have more of an understanding when it comes to getting an edge square.

    I think there has been a wide variation in planes that Stanley labelled as Handyman over the years. The casting on mine is almost identical to the No 4, the only difference I can see being the frog adjustment screw, which this Handyman variant omits. It likes the frog set back and nowhere else, so adjustment isn’t helpful on it anyway.

    #138092
    Anthony Greitzer
    Participant

    I do need to clarify something about the Handyman. It was good for dimensioning. There was tear out and I would not use it for final surface prep.

    Anthony

    #138144
    oltexasboy
    Participant

    I also have a Stanley Handyman #4 and one complaint I have is simply the weight of the plane.(too light) I also was given a #4 made for craftsman by Millers Falls, and it is a very nice plane. Good weight(1 1/2lbs. heavier) and with a Hock blade it is my new go to plane. I would like to replace the cheap plastic handle but I haven’t been able to locate one yet.

    #138145
    aaronfay
    Participant

    I’ve had both varieties: Handyman planes that (once set up) were pleasant to use and performed almost as well as any plane I own, and others that, after hours of tuning and fiddling, couldn’t take even a shaving out of straight grained pine without chatter and serious effort. I think that consistency probably was the worst problem with this generation of planes. I still grab them when they’re cheap enough and try to tune them up. When they are decent I think they’re great for someone starting out but not sure they want to invest a lot of money into tools, or for my kids who tend to knock their planes on the floor from time to time 😉

    #138158
    STEVE MASSIE
    Participant

    I don’t own a Handyman Plane, as long as the frog is not stamped steel most planes can be fettled to work reasonably well. And of course make sure the blade is sharp.

    Steve

    Steve Massie, I live in the great State of Florida, US

    #138166
    ehisey
    Participant

    The comment on stamped steel echo’s my old opinion on them, till I happened to end up with one by accident (a miss bid on ebay). I fettled it for practice and was rather surprised when it turn to out work very well. At least as well my old Stanley #4, even on end-grain. It is a bit more sensitive to blade sharpness than my cast frog planes.

    Tuscloosa, Alabama
    Lung T'an Hu Huesh Kung-fu Woodshop

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