The clone wars (part i)

When I’m at a tool swap, I often look at planes which are avoided by many people – the cloned planes. There were generally three types of planes produced by manufacturers. The first type is their main product line, the second type is the “economy-grade” tool line sold under a different name – Stanley had Handyman and Defiance (for “farm and home”), and Millers Falls had Mohawk-Shelburne.  The third type are cloned planes – planes made by plane manufacturers for other companies, usually catalog companies such as Sears, Roebuck & Co.. A good example are the Sargent planes made for Sears, namely Craftsman, and Dunlap. Craftsman was the Sears “premium” line, Dunlap the economy tools (appearing circa 1941) – both made by other companies. Were these planes of a lesser quality, but often had an equivalent model in the manufacturers own line of plane. Sargent made planes for Sears until the early 1960s. Later planes were often made by Stanley.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 3.54.07 PM

For example consider the block planes from the Craftsman catalog (circa 1960), specifically the 3704 and 3732. Both can be uniquely identified as Sargent planes because of their unique throat mouthpiece with “cammed adjuster“, patented in 1904 (Patent #220,834).

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 11.18.13 AM

The No. 3705 plane above, the “Handy Planer”, was equivalent to Sargent’s “Little Shaver”, the last plane made by Sargent. The Craftsman 3732 closely resembles the Sargent No.5607. Here is a photo of the Craftsman 3732:

craftsman_3732

And a picture of the Sargent No.5607 for comparison.

sargent_5607

The Craftsman 3704 is a little stranger in that it is 6 7/16″ (≈6 1/2″) in length. Later versions of the 3704 may have been made by Stanley, as the throat adjustment mechanism changes to the lever used by Stanley. Most block planes in the Sargent literature are either 6″, 7″, or 7 1/2″, no mention is made of a plane of this size. Another strange feature is that on the specimen I have, the blade depth adjustment mechanism sits on an incline rather than vertically. This could be one of the few examples of a clone which was adjusted for some reason. The only Sargent plane with this feature appears in Heckel’s “Sargent Planes Identification and Value Guide”, as an illustration under the No.307 (which was 7″ in length). Here is a photo of the Craftsman 3704:

craftsman_3704

And a picture of the comparable Sargent 306:

sargent_306

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