Block Plane Dating

Block Planes from the Author's Collection

Block Planes from the Author’s Collection

A great deal of research has been dedicated to dating Stanley’s bench planes over the years, with type studies established for the Bailey and Bedrock lines, as well as many of the most popular specialty planes.  While comprehensive type studies exist for the no. 110, no. 9-1/2, and nos. 18/19 series of block planes, there doesn’t appear to be much information on the nos. 60 or 65 series of low angle blocks.

Frustrated at this, I began a quest two or three years ago to identify the major changes in the design and production of Stanley’s premium block planes, with a focus on the no. 60 series and no. 65 series.   Using existing reference material from the previous type studies, I poured over old catalogs, advertisements, the planes themselves, and anything else I could get my hands on.

Rather than try to create a formal type study, I decided to focus more on the practical goal of simply establishing criteria for dating the planes within the narrowest possible time frame.   While there are still some gaps and inconsistencies across models (some of which appear within the published type studies of the nos. 9-1/2 and 18 series), I’ve been able to narrow down the manufacturing date ranges for most major features.  I intend to eventually format the data into a more usable format, but for now I want to put it out for reference and feedback.  By cross-referencing the key features below, you should be able to narrow down the age of your plane to within a few years of manufacture.

Date your Stanley Block Plane:

Model 9 1/2 Series 18-19 Series 60 & 60-1/2 65 & 65-1/2
Intro. 1873 Intro. 1888 Intro. 1898/1902 Intro. 1898/1902
Body Style Detail
   Excelsior Body Profile Hump Toward Rear 1873-1898 1888-1898
   Handi-Grip Introduced Thumb Indentions in Sides 1898+ 1898+ All Years All Years
   Centered Profile Handi-Grip Profile Hump Centered w/ Indents 1900+ 1899+ All Years All Years
   Non-Adjustable Throat 1898-1902 1898-1905
Bed Stamping 97 Patent Date behind frog 1900-1904 1899-1903 1898-1903* 1898-1903*
S Foundry Mark 1894-1900 1889-1902 1898-1900* 1898-1900*
B Foundry Mark 1901-1904 1901-1902 1901-1904* 1901-1905*
“Stanley” added to toe 1920+ 1910+
“Made in USA” added behind frog 1930+ 1930+ 1930+* 1930+*
Model # stamped on side 1947+ 1947+ 1947+* 1947+*
Front Knob Boss Raised from 1/8″ to 1/4″ 1920+ 1910+ 1910+* 1910+*
Lateral Lever Stamp 3 Dates – 76, 84, 88 (bent up) 1888-1889 1888
4 Dates – 76, 84, 88, 88 1890-1897 1889-1897
4 Dates – 84, 88, 88, 97 1898-1901 1898-1901
3 Dates – 88, 88, 97 1901-1907 1901-1906
1 Date – 97 1908-1909 1907
No Date or Stanley Only 1910-1919 1908-1919
No markings 1920+ 1920+
Eccentric Throat Lever 94 Patent Date 1894-1909 1894-1907 1903-1907 1906-1907
Unmarked 1909+ 1907+ 1908+
Unmarked – Tip Turned Up 1955+ 1930s-50s* 1907+*
Lever Cap
   Flat Bench Plane Style Small Flat Bench Plane Style 1872-1874
   Hooded w/ Bottom Lever Dimpled w/ Scalloped Edge 1874-1879
   Hooded w/ Bottom Lever Thin Ribbon Hood 1879-1885
   Hooded w/ Bottom Lever Matt Texture 1885-1886
   Hooded w/ Bottom Lever Fine Cross Hatching 1886-1900
   Hooded w/ Top Lever 10-12-97 Pat Date around Lever 1901-~1917 1898-~1917* 1898-~1917*
   Hooded w/ Top Lever No Date, Machined Edges ~1918-1955 ~1918-1955* ~1918-1950*
   Hooded w/ Top Lever Japanned Edges 1956-1960 1956-1960*
   Knuckle Joint – Style 1 1st Type – “Stanley” w 86 Pat Date 1888-1904
   Knuckle Joint – Style 1 1st Type – “Stanley” Only 1905-1912
   Knuckle Joint – Style 2 (1913+) 2nd Type – “Stanley” w/ 13 Pat Date 1913-1919 1913-1919*
   Knuckle Joint – Style 2 2nd Type – “Stanley SW” w/ 13 Date 1920-1935 1920-1935*
   Knuckle Joint – Style 2 2nd Type – “Stanley” Only (-War Yrs) 1936+ 1936+
Rear Depth Adj Screw Thicker Knurled Knob Introduced 1930 1930
Depth Adjustment Nut Left Handed Threads 1899+ 1898+

* Estimated, Extrapolated, or Unconfirmed
~ Represents an approximate date

***

Tools shown in the photos on this site were returned to functional condition by Virginia Toolworks using museum quality archival preservation techniques.  Sharpened and tuned for use, every tool is fully tested and adjusted until perfect.

26 Responses to Block Plane Dating

  1. Pingback: The $1 Stanley rust bucket – an exploration | working by hand

  2. Pingback: Stanley #65 type 1 restoration | time tested tools

  3. Rob says:

    Any idea on a “C” foundry mark on the bed and lever cap?

    Like

    • Bryant Rice says:

      I’ve never seen a C foundry mark on a Stanley and I can’t find much reference for it elsewhere. There’s a thread on sawmillcreek from a couple of years ago that questions a C foundry mark on a Great Neck block plane, and someone responded that they had seen this on a Stanley 220. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/archive/index.php/t-207331.html

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      • Rob says:

        Ok thanks. It looks old but has the STANLEY and MADE IN USA embossed, japanned lever cap and body top and no other stamps/marks except for the two “C”s.

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      • Bryant Rice says:

        Hmm.. I’d love to see a couple of photos if you want to send them to vatoolworks@gmail.com.

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      • kent lingerfelt says:

        I just bought one today exact same discription

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      • Mat says:

        I have one. I will be getting photos. I have already repainted it. Looks like my 9 1/2. May be from the war years. No brass at all. The front knob and adjustment wheel are all steel. The sides of the plane lack the handy holds. It was a real rust bucket when I received it.
        I will send pictures when I have them.

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      • d3summerball says:

        I have one that has the c on the base of the plane and under the lever cap. It is a 9 1/2. I believe mine is from the war years. It does not have the handy hokds and it also has no brass on it at all. The front knob and adjuster wheel are both steel. This plane was in very bad shape when I received it.
        I will be getting pictures soon and will forward them on.
        Thanks.

        Like

  4. Steve Schamber says:

    Has anyone seen a thinner rear knurled adjustment screw without the Stanley logo stamped on the screw of a no. 60 or 65 block plane? I have three no. 203 block planes and one has a thinner knurled unmarked screw blade adjustment screw. Appears to be an earlier vintage, possibly just as the thicker screw was introduced in 1930. Other unusual characteristic is smaller diameter lever cap screw into the body.

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    • Bryant says:

      To my knowledge, the Stanley logo was stamped on all the adjustment knobs of the 60/65 series from time of introduction until the 1930s. Without a closer inspection, my guess is that the knob and the smaller diameter cap screw are probably non-original replacements from other planes and/or manufacturers.

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  5. Aaron Robichaud says:

    I have a Stanley #18 sweetheart style 2. It doesn’t have made in USA Has both S and B marked on the adjustable mouth plate. What year would that put it? On the chart the S and B foundry mark seem to end in 1902

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    • Bryant says:

      The S and B on the underside of the mouth plate is common, and the dates for this doesn’t reflect the same dates as the S and B foundry marks on the body. I’ve seen the S and B on mouth plates dating into the 1930s. Your plane predates 1930, when Made in USA was added. If it has Stanley on the toe, it was made after 1920. If not, it was made sometime before 1920. Impossible to narrow further without more information. Hope this helps.

      Like

  6. jon says:

    I have a plane that is identical to my knuckle joint no 18 stanley, with exception of not having the eccentric throat adjustment lever. It has no marking on the cap, except a B on the underside. The lat adj lever has, crossways, PAT 3 97 on it… (not sure about the three..could be an 8). The iron is marked REV-O-NOC & co. I’m assuming Stanley made this plane? What was their relationship with Rev o noc, and how long did it seem to last?

    Like

    • Bryant says:

      Rev-o-Noc was a tradename owned by the Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co., of Chicago, IL. HSB was a department store of sorts, and sold all sorts of things using their Rev-O-Noc brand, including tools, rifles, and shotguns. Think of it this way… Rev-O-Noc was to HSB what Craftsman is to Sears.

      There also seems to be a relationship to Richards & Conover of Kansas City, MO. Supposedly, HSB hired Conover to contract out their tools. Note Revonoc is Conover spelled backwards.

      To your question, Stanley (and others) made at least some of the Rev-O-Noc branded planes. I don’t know how long the relationship lasted.

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      • jon says:

        Thanks for your response.

        Uh…gee…another question, if I may? Did Stanley ever use a knob with a ferrule on their 110 block planes? I’ve got a 110 sweetheart with a ferruled knob, and I suspect the knob, (which is taller than standard, with no finger indent on top), is a jury rigged addition from some klutz that broke or lost the orginal knob.

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      • Bryant says:

        No ferruled knobs. It’s a replacement for sure!

        Like

  7. Jeremy Burrill says:

    Received a #220 for Christmas :) Made in Canada, Stanley and No, 220 in raised letters on the toe, Patent 10-12-97 around lever, S foundry mark. Any ideas on the age? Doesn’t seem to fit these categories.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Stanley #65 type 1 restoration – TimeTestedTools

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  11. Aaron says:

    I bought a box of old tools today and have a block plane. Hooded with top lever patent# 10-12-97. Upon further inspection. Behind the frog is another patent # 8-3-97. Then on the front I think it is called eccentric adjustment. (Brass locking knob). There is a date stamp of Feb 20, 94. How bout them apples?

    Like

    • Bryant says:

      Different features have different patent dates. Not unusual to see multiple dates on the various parts of planes. Sounds like what you have is a no. 9-1/2 likely made sometime between 1901 and 1904, give or take a couple of years.

      Like

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