Part I of this post introduced you to Justus Traut’s patent No. 316,079 granted on April 21, 1885. This patent very clearly illustrated and described what became the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane (See Figure 1).
Figure 1. Traut's Patent 316,079 Drawing Showing the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane
The patent also included a drawing of the “spokeshave” style chamfer plane discussed in Part I (https://eaiainfo.org/2018/01/06/trauts-model-shop-chamfer-planes-part-1/). For consistency, the terms used by Traut in his patent description and that were used to identify the major components of Traut’s plane in Part I will be used again here in Part II.
Figure 2. Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1
Introduced in 1885, the Stanley #72 chamfer plane sold well enough that it remained in the Stanley line-up of specialty bench planes for 53 years until it was discontinued in 1938 . With is “V” shaped sole, the plane is designed to chamfer stock. Each side of the “V” shaped sole acts as a guide to maintain the plane at a 45º angle as the chamfer is cut. The front section or “sliding portion” of the plane can be raised or lowered to increase or decrease the width of the chamfer. The plane is capable of cutting a chamfer slightly in excess of 1¼ inches wide. With the front “sliding stock” of the plane set at its lowest position, the plane can also function as a smoothing plane. Figure 2 shows a Type 1 Stanley #72 chamfer plane and it is identical to the plane shown in the patent drawing except that the production model was fitted with a brass faucet handle set screw rather than the large round set screw shown in the patent drawing. The plane is 9¼ inches long and 2 inches wide. The cutter is set at a bed angle of 50 degrees with the bevel facing down. The cutter does not have a cap iron. The japanned lever cap fixes the cutter in place by tightening a thumb screw. The raised rib on the front “sliding stock” fits into the groove on the rear “gage” portion of the plane (See Figure 3).
Figure 3. Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1 Showing the Raised Rib on the Front "Sliding Stock" with the Brass Faucet Handle Set Screw
The faucet handle set screw when tightened holds the front “sliding stock” firmly in place and thereby determines the depth of cut and the width of the chamfer produced by the plane. As the front “sliding stock” is moved higher on the rear “gage” section, the resultant chamfer becomes deeper and wider. “STANLEY RULE & LEVEL CO. AND PAT APR 21, 85” is stamped in three lines on the upper end of the cutter (See Figure 4).
Figure 4. Cutter on Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane, Type 1
There are no other markings on the body of the plane to identify it as a Stanley product and the sides of the plane are japanned.<1> It appears that the “Type I” version of the plane was produced for probably less than one year. By 1886, “STANLEY” and “No 72” were cast onto the sides of the “gage” or rear portion of the plane.<2>
Figure 5. Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1 With Front Sliding Stock Removed
The addition of a bullnose front “sliding stock” for cutting stopped chamfers was made available by 1899 or 1900 and became an attachment supplied with the Stanley #72 by 1909.<3> On March 23, 1886 Traut received an additional patent, No.338,570, that described a beading attachment which could be substituted for the front “sliding section”. This attachment allowed the user to create various types of moldings on previously cut chamfers. This beading attachment was first made available to users in 1886. When this beading attachment was combined with the bullnose attachment and the #72 Stanley Chamfer Plane, Stanley marketed it as the #72½ Stanley Chamfer Plane with Beading Attachment (See Figure 6).<4>
Figure 6. Stanley #72 Chamfer and Beading Plane With Bullnose Piece, Beading Attachment, and Various Beading Cutters
Traut’s chamfer plane obviously worked well and was popular with Stanley's customers as evidenced by its longevity in the Stanley product line. The Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane is easy to set up and works very effectively and is actually a fun tool to use.
Figure 7. Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344
Recently, in March of 2017, an intriguing and somewhat mysterious chamfer plane that appears to precede Traut’s patented chamfer plane came to auction.<5> This Stanley Model Shop plane shown in Figure 7, has characteristics that suggest that it could have been made as much as 10-13 years earlier than 1885, the year Traut applied for his chamfer plane patent. This plane, which has Stanley Model Shop #344 painted on the toe, is 10 and 7/16ths inches long and 2 and 1/16ths inches wide, so it is both longer, wider, and heavier than the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane. It is beautifully made and machined. Like the 1885 Traut's patent chamfer plane, the “V” shaped sole is designed to hold the plane at a 45º angle as the chamfer is cut. Both sides of the casting are milled and there is a 1 and 3/8ths inch long scale inscribed on the left side of the rear “gage” portion of the plane. The scale is divided into 1/8th inch increments. A single line is inscribed on the front “sliding stock” of the plane opposite this scale. This scale and corresponding line were obviously intended to act as a guide for setting the depth of cut of the chamfer (See Figure 8).
Figure 8. Scale on Left Sidewall of Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344
The front “sliding stock” of the plane fits into a sliding dovetail on the rear “gage” portion of the plane. This sliding dovetail is machined to very close tolerances and creates a snug fit between the "sliding stock" and the rear "gage "portion of the plane. This is very different from the method of attaching the "sliding stock" to the "gage" portion of the plane on the Traut's patent chamfer plane (See Figure 9).
Figure 9. Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 on Left Showing Machined Sliding Dovetail Connecting the Front Sliding Stock to the Rear Gage Section and Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane on the Right Showing Raised Rib and Machined Groove Joining Front Sliding Stock and Rear Gage Section
As shown in Figure 10, the “sliding stock" is held in place by a compression screw with a knurled knob that is inserted through a hole in the right sidewall of the plane and is then threaded into the left sidewall. When this screw is tightened, it compresses the two sidewalls of the rear “gage” portion of the plane just enough to hold the front “sliding stock” firmly in place.
Figure 10. Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane 344 Showing Threaded Compression Screw Used to Hold the Front "Sliding Stock" in Place
The increased length of the rear “gage” portion of this plane allows for the use of Leonard Bailey’s cutter adjustment mechanism and the graceful curve of the sidewalls provides additional strength to the casting. This plane also has an adjustable throat plate under the front knob which allows the user to open or close the mouth of the plane (See Figure 11).
Figure 11. Front Knob and Adjustable Throat Plate on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344. Note Model Shop #344 Painted on the Toe
The front knob screw is fixed in place in the front knob by means of a piece of metal that is stuffed into the bottom of the knob. Once the size of the plane’s mouth has been set, the throat plate is then held in place by tightening the front knob (See Figure 12).
Figure 12. Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 Showing Adjustable Throat Plate and Front Knob Removed. Note the Metal Stuffed Into the Base of the Front Knob.
The plane’s cutter is 1½inches wide. At just 1/8th of an inch narrower than a cutter for a #2 Stanley smooth plane, it was likely made by simply grinding down the edges of a cutter from a #2 smooth plane. There is a small 1 and 7/8ths inch by 15/16ths of an inch rectangular plate with a slot in its upper end attached to the cutter with a screw.
Figure 13. Cutter on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 Showing Small Rectangular Plate that Slips Over the Cutter Adjusting Lever.
The slot is placed over the cutter adjusting lever which allows the cutter to be adjusted for depth of cut (See Figure 13). The lever cap also seems to have been produced by grinding the edges of a #2 smooth plane lever cap. A #2 smooth plane lever cap is 1 and 9/16ths of an inch wide, and the lever cap on this plane is 1 and 7/16ths inches wide (See Figure 14).
Figure 14. Stanley #2 Size lever Cap (left), Lever Cap From Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 (right). The Lever Cap on the Right is Slightly Narrower
There are no trademarks on either the front or rear castings. The markings on the cutter adjustment screw and the trademark stamped on the cutter suggest that this plane was produced sometime between 1872 and 1875 (See Figure 15 and Figure 16.<6>
Figure 15. Cutter on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344
Figure 16 Cutter Adjustment Screw on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344
If one assumes that the numbering system used for Stanley Model Shop planes was sequential, (and that is a big if!), <7> then this plane with Stanley Model Shop #344 on the toe appears to have been produced 10-13 years before both the “Spokeshave” style chamfer plane and the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane shown in Traut’s 1885 patent. The “spokeshave” style chamfer plane shown in the 1885 patent and featured in Part I of this post carries the Stanley Model Shop #776 which suggests that it was put into the Model Shop at a later date than this chamfer plane.
So, who made this plane and when? The lever cap, the cutter adjustment mechanism, and the adjustable throat are all features developed by Leonard Bailey. The graceful curve of the sidewalls on the rear “gage” portion of the plane and the fine fit and finish of the plane are typical of Bailey’s design signature. Leonard Bailey began his tenure at Stanley Rule & Level Company in 1869, and left the company in 1874 primarily because of a dispute with the Stanley board of directors over his desire to have total control over all the woodworking planes being manufactured at Stanley. Justus Traut and the men in his shop were also manufacturing planes at that same time, some of which competed directly with the planes being produced by Bailey and the men in his shop.<8> Is it possible that Leonard Bailey made this plane? He may have presented this prototype to the Stanley Production Committee who, for whatever reasons, decided not to put this plane into production. So, it went onto a shelf in the Model Shop and possibly got left behind when Bailey left Stanley. Perhaps several years later Justus Traut came across this chamfer plane on a shelf in the Stanley Model Shop and modified it slightly at a time when carpenters and cabinet makers were asking for a chamfer plane. Traut was adept at appropriating the ideas of the men in his workshop and turning them into patents, and it’s conceivable he may have done the same thing with this Model Shop plane. Traut’s version of the chamfer plane is smaller, less complicated, required less machining, and therefore would have been considerably less expensive to manufacture. Traut received approval for his version of the chamfer plane from the Stanley Production Committee in 1885 and went on to apply for and receive Patent No. 316,079 later that year for what became the Stanley #72 chamfer plane. If only we had access to the written records of the Stanley Production Committee. We know they exist and a review of these documents would help tool researchers find answers about this tool and so many others. Unfortunately, despite several attempts by multiple tool researchers and collectors, the legal counsel at Stanley has refused to allow anyone access to those records.
Figure 17. Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1 on the Left and (Bailey's?) Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 on the Right
So, although we know this plane was made at the Stanley, I’m not convinced that it was made by Justus Traut. While I’m not yet completely convinced that Leonard Bailey made this plane, I tend to lean in that direction. We know that Justus Traut gets credit for the Stanley Chamfer Plane and his 1885 patent No. 316,709, but it’s my guess that the idea was not entirely his! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Can you help solve this mystery?
by Paul Van Pernis
<1> The first description of the Type 1 Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane was in an article by Clarence Blanchard in “Stanley Tool Collector News”, Volume 4, Number 9, Summer 1993, pp. 12-13.
<2> A type study of the Stanley #72 and #72½ chamfer planes, titled, “The Stanley No. 73 & 72½ Chamfer Plane”, by John Wells & Chuck Wirtensen was published in The Gristmill, No. 123, June 2006, pp. 12-16.
<3> Blanchard, Clarence, “Stanley Plane Truth and Exceptions to the Rule, Stanley No. 72 Bullnose Attachment”, The Fine Tool Journal, Volume 46, Number 2, Fall 1996, p. 14.
<4> The number 72½ was sold by Stanley from 1886 until 1917. Further information about the 72½ is available in the type study cited in footnote #2.
<5> See Lot 396 from the 50th International Tool Auction, March 25th, 2017 by Brown Auction Services.
<6> See Roger K. Smith’s excellent type study of “Bailey-Stanley Iron Planes” in Patented Transitional & Metallic Planes in America 1827-1927, pp. 279-284
<7> A caveat! As I’ve mentioned in prior posts regarding Stanley Model Shop planes, the numbering system used in the Stanley Model Shop is at best confusing and and may not be entirely reliable in determining when tools were made and/or placed on the shelves in the Model Shop.
<8> For more information about Bailey’s years at Stanley see, “Leonard Bailey: The Years at Stanley Rule & Level Co., Part I” in The Gristmill, June 2009 No. 135, pp.30-37 and “Leonard Bailey: The Years at Stanley Rule & Level Co. Part II”, in The Gristmill, September 2009, No. 136, pp. 13-22. Both articles are authored by John G. Wells and Paul Van Pernis