Tool Profile – Sargent no. 514 Low Angle Block Plane

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Sargent no. 514 Low Angle Block Plane (Virginia Toolworks Collection, c. 1913-1918)

The Sargent no. 514 Low Angle Block Plane was Sargent’s answer to the Stanley no. 62. Manufactured from 1913 to 1935, the 514 is almost identical in outward appearance. Like the Stanley no. 62, this plane features an adjustable mouth and a similar horizontal depth screw adjustment. It differs, however, through its unique lateral pivot adjustment that enables the cutter to be adjusted laterally despite it’s extreme low angle. This adjustment design was patented by Albert A. Page on March 17, 1914.

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The lateral and depth adjustments

The depth adjustment knob screws into a cylinder that free floats vertically in a two sided raised boss in the main body casting. The depth adjustment bolt threads through this cylinder and pivots in a range limited by the two sides of the boss, enabling the lateral adjustment. A U shaped attachment on the back side of the iron fits into a notched area of the depth adjustment lever between the threads and the knob, providing for depth adjustment. The design is very clever and offers good stability, and is superior to the Stanley no. 62, in my opinion.

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The mahogany knobs sits on the cast disk with oval lugs

Like the no. 62, the mouth of the no. 514 is also adjustable, using Henry Sargent’s same April 26, 1906 patented design featured on Sargent’s other block planes. The front mahogany knob threads into the sliding toe section of the sole through an adjustment disk with two raised oval thumb lugs integrated into the casting opposite each other. By loosening the mahogany knob, the disk is grasped and the plate positioned forward or backward using the oval thumb lugs, thereby adjusting the size of the mouth opening. I find this a more precise method than the eccentric lever found on the Stanley planes.

Produced in relatively limited quantities, most of these planes are found today with chipped mouth openings or missing parts. This very early example from the Virginia Toolworks collection dates from 1913 to 1918, and is in very fine condition, only missing an area of japanning on the inside cheek. Values on these typically run from about $500 to $1000 depending on the condition.(1)

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The Stanley no. 62 (rear) and Sargent no. 514 (front) ~ from the Virginia Toolworks Collection

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1. Heckel, David, Sargent Planes Identification and Value Guide, 1997

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Dad’s Sargent Hercules Block Plane

The plane in its original condition in 2008

The Sargent Hercules plane in its original condition in 2008

This old Sargent Hercules block plane, a clone of the Stanley 110, belonged to my dad and is one of just a couple of his tools that I have. The Hercules was Sargent’s lower priced line of ‘handyman’ or value tools. This particular plane lived its life in our outdoor shed and was in pretty rough condition when I got it 8 years ago. I first restored it in 2008, but was never happy with it. At the time, I resisted repainting it, as I do with almost all tools, but so much of the original finish was gone that even after oxidizing, it was lifeless and dull.  In this case, the only way to get it back to anything resembling its original look was a full on refinishing.

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After the original 2008 restoration

The plane has practically no monetary or utility value, and I figured even if I painted it and later changed my mind, stripping it would leave it no worse off than it was to begin with. So last week, I repainted the body with black enamel, including the cheeks, which were apparently japanned or painted to begin with. After a couple of hours of baking in the oven, the paint came out very hard and should be reasonably durable, not that I will be using this plane for much of anything.

Now that it’s all said and done, this old Sargent once again looks pretty good. I think dad would approve.

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The Sargent Hercules after a full refinishing, April 2015

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