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These features are avoided where possible, along with features that appear in only some planes of a given type (i.e. Where possible, the flowchart uses parts that were probably replaced less often, such as frogs, depth adjustment screws and lateral adjustment levers.
This approach doesn't guarantee that you'll date your plane correctly, as the flowchart can be thrown off by some hybrids.
Four categories seem sufficient to describe and roughly date a plane: Pre-lateral for any plane that has no side adjusting mechanism for the cutter, low knob, SW model or tall knob (SW stands for Stanley Works but is usually called Sweetheart) and late models for WW2 vintage and later.
In the United States, the words “tools and hardware” and “Stanley” are almost synonymous.
Unfortunately, many plane types share the same bed markings, so other features are also used in dating.
Some plane parts were frequently replaced by their owners, or are easily separated from the plane, such as irons, cap irons, knobs and totes, and lever caps.
I've chosen the bed as a starting point because it has many easily identifiable markings, and it probably wasn't replaced that often.Start by reading Patrick Leach's comments on Stanley plane dating. If you thirst for heaps of data on plane dating, visit the Plane Type Study or the Plane Feature Timeline. This page leads you down a hypertext flowchart to determine your plane type.It includes links to Patrick Leach's original Plane Type Study and the Plane Feature Timeline.In 1857, Henry Stanley, Frederick's cousin, launched the Stanley Rule and Level Company, which acquired Leonard Bailey & Co. Bailey held numerous patents on such mainstay tools as planes, which Stanley Rule and Level...Stanley Hand Planes helped write the American hand plane story from the late 1800's on.