Saturday, November 30, 2013

Not only Stanley Planes

Stanley planes were for sure famous in the world and in their gold era, such a plane really made difference for more than one carpenter and cabinet maker generation. So when the patents expired many plane makers were in the hurry for copying them. Marples and Record in UK, as well as Sargent, Millers Falls, Winchester, Union in US...only looking at most famous. And for imitating Stanley standards, of course was impossible making bad tools.

Moreover, some tool dealers commit their planes to Stanley. This was the case of Simmons (St. Louis). He since 1866 marked his best made tools "Keen Kutter", a mark kept in use up to '40. I know two Keen Kutter plane series. One has letter K engraved on the plane body and is similar to early Stanley Bedrock planes, the other has engraved letters KK and was like to Sargent planes, and probably made by (I thank Mike Hamilton for giving me more info about Keen Kutter planes).

I had an occasion for have a closer look to a K series plane.

It's a K3 Keen Kutter plane. This plane is of a friend of mine, Ciro,  known luthier and skilled user of hand tools. Ciro, knowing my passion for planes, asked me for transforming the K3 in a super smoother , by changing the original blade  with a thicker one. In this way he would be able of planing harder and figured woods. A good occasion for taking some pictures.

I can say the K plane is very well made with good finish work. Handles are rosewood and all mechanical parts work precisely.

Knowing Ciro's preferences, I did only a functional recovery, leaving the plane with its lived aspect. The job was easier thank to the very good conditions of this plane.

The blade is a "Two Cherries" tapered blade, having a 4 mm of thickness at cutting edge, far more than an ordinary Stanley type blade.
In order to permit to yoke of engaging correctly the chipbreaker hole, I had to elongate its tip by adding sealing material (arc welding) and reshaping.

Sometimes it is necessary to enlarge the plane mouth and/or substitute the chipbreaker screw, but was not the case of this model.

The bed, like Stanley Bedrock planes, slopes toward the mouth; this allows to support the blade at cutting edge in all frog positions and permit the thicker blade insertion without have to file the plane mouth (this was necessary when I had to upgrade Bailey or Record planes).

A bevel (red point in the drawing) was filed on the mouth front inner edge. With a very close mouth (0,2-0,3 mm), this allows to create more room to shavings.  

I prefer to hone a smoother plane blade straight with rounded corners.

In this case, following Ciro's instructions, I added a 10° back bevel, for having a final cutting angle of 55° (45+10).
The result was fine. The blade thickness and quality make the difference and I hope this first shavings can satisfy my customer.



  1. I believe the K series planes are in fact Bedrock pattern planes made by Stanley for Simmons (a hardware store owner). I think the KK were made by Sargent.


    1. Many thanks, Mike! I'll correct the text for give a correct info.

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